Bianchi has just introduced a new Oltre XR3 road bike that incorporates their Countervail vibration damping carbon fiber tech into an aero design based on lessons learned from their top Oltre XR4. The new bike shares a similar look with its more pricey sibling, but simplifies the design of both frame & fork in an effort to make the comfortable aero race platform attainable for more riders at an expected lower price. Get a closer look after the jump, plus a breakdown of what has changed…
Bianchi had already leapt from the Oltre X2 direct to the X4 last summer, skipping over the X3 name in the process. Clearly they had something in mind leaving a gap for the new bike which could phase out the original generation X1 that is still in the line-up. Bianchi’s goal with the new frameset was to broaden the appeal of their aero Oltre range, but still keeping the Countervail tech that makes the bike rideable even on rough roads. The XR3 then shares most of the same aero benefits of the XR4 raced in the pro peloton by Lotto Jumbo.
Aesthetic differences in the new XR3 essentially boil down to three elements: a more traditional straight blade fork, with aero shaped legs, a simple rear wheel cutout in the seattube (vs. the XR4’s bulged cutout); and a thinner set of seatstays less shaped by aerodynamics.
Inside the layup, the carbon fibers are a slightly more economical mix of high & medium moduli, but the key feature is that the viscoelastic Countervail resin is still used. So the bike still claims to cancel out about 80% of regular vibrations like the rest of the Bianchi CV bike family, offering a smoother ride and inducing less rider fatigue.
One of the large visually different elements is the new full carbon tapered steerer fork. It still goes with a Countervail fiber and resin construction, though, and stays light and rigid at a claimed 370g.
The new bike gets a tapered 1.125″-1.5″ steerer inside of a headtube dramatically bulged around the bearings to minimize its footprint in the wind, plus mostly internal routing with the rear derailleur wire on the underside of the chainstay. That last bit is rather curious, as one of the the six announced specs includes an Ultegra Di2 drivetrain that may have some odd routing.
Down below, the bottom bracket goes for press fit PF86, while a full carbon dropout gets a metal insert for durability. The frame uses a proprietary aero seatpost with an expansion-style clamp in the toptube like the XR4 and a two position saddle rail clamp for 10 or 25mm of effective offset.
Geometry of the Oltre XR3 is mostly the same as racing fit as the XR4 with angles and reach more or less unchanged. It does however adds 5mm of stack height to headtubes across the entire size range to deliver the slightly more upright fit of most amateur riders. The XR3 will be available in a 7 size range from 47-61cm effective seattubes.
Frame weight for the new Oltre XR3 is claimed at 1110g for a size 55 frame. Bianchi lists 6 stock builds on the way all with Fulcrum wheelsets. The Dura-Ace compact, Chorus mid-compact & Ultegra Di2 mid-compact get Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG wheels, the Ultegra mid-compact & Potenza mid-compact get Fulcrum Racing LG wheels, and a 105 mid-compact gets Fulcrum Racing Sports.
The XR3 will be available in three color schemes: gloss celeste with black, matte graphite with celeste, and matte with gloss black. No word yet on actual pricing, but availability is slated for later this summer.