Cycling Plus - - FIRST RIDE -

It’s aero

Bianchi’s pro tour ma­chine, the Ol­tre XR4 Disc, is the brand’s pre­mium aero road bike, but the Aria is no wa­tered down Ol­tre. It’s unique aero de­sign and sharp han­dling make it the Porsche Boxster to the leg­endary 911 – you get 95 per cent of the fun for 70 per cent of the price. The Aria rides fast, han­dles sharply but with ease and feels ev­ery inch the su­per­bike, de­spite its rel­a­tive-to-the-XR4 mod­est price tag. To be hon­est we’d save money, look at some se­ri­ous up­grades and opt for the Aria.

It’s com­fort­able

We loved the rim-braked Aria, but that one feels firm com­pared to a non-aero bike. The disc ver­sion al­lows for more tyre clear­ance and when run­ning on plush 28mm Vit­to­ria Zaf­firo Pro Slicks, this Aria con­quers poor road sur­faces and smooths out ruts, mak­ing for a bal­anced speed ma­chine with tons of grip when rid­ing down­hill too.

Cam­pag­nolo im­presses

Cam­pag­nolo is seen less and less on com­plete bikes, but from the per­for­mance of Potenza here, we think that’s a real shame. The shifts ac­tu­ate quickly with a me­chan­i­cal thunk that feels so dif­fer­ent to Shi­mano’s soft touch. The disc brake per­for­mance is miles ahead of Shi­mano’s equiv­a­lent. The Potenza brak­ing has so much feel and sub­tlety to the lever that we rev­elled in the ab­so­lute control.

ONE THING WE’D CHANGE The nar­row han­dle­bar

Our 59cm test bike comes with a rel­a­tively nar­row 42cm bar. The shape is great, but for our broad-shoul­dered tester it was just too nar­row.

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