Celeste is a colour that can only be associated with one brand: Bianchi. The moment we first got our hands on the classically­-designed Bianchi Specialissima isn’t one we’re likely to forget, conjuring up images of Coppi on the Passo Pordoi and making us weak at the knees. But legends aside, is Bianchi stuck championing a bygone era or is this one fully up­to­date?

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Coming in ‘CK16’, a somewhat modified version of the classic Celeste colour (which, incidentally, is Italian for heavenly), the Specialissima has stayed true to its roots and – in true Italian style – comes bearing Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS groupset and Bora Ultra Two wheels from the same house.

Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS 11sp Compact | 6.18 kg | € 12,599
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS 11sp Compact | 6.18 kg | € 12,599

Campagnolo’s EPS groupset won us over immediately, surely due to that satisfying click of the gears (despite their electronics). The Ergopower shifters feel great under your fingers, and the 35 mm Bora Ultra wheels fill you with confidence on turns and urge you to lean into the corners.

But back to the Specialissima’s striking carbon frame, for which Bianchi relied on the Countervail carbon formula, a particular sort of layering designed to cancel out road vibration. The high level of comfort delivered on even the shoddiest of tarmac stretches demonstrates Bianchi’s carbon expertise.

Bianchi-Specialissima-Super-Record-5

Tipping the scales at just over 6 kg, this lightweight bike proved the meanest competitor of all the test field when it came to uphill sprints – with all ten test riders united in praise. Fortunately, its spryness doesn’t detract from smoothness and stability on descents, taking tight corners as if on rails. The riding position isn’t particularly aggressive, but the stem can be easily changed to suit your preferences. The Specialissima is more than just a sole specialist, we realized; with its artful climbing skills and competitive nature, it’s capable of anything.

The tubulars are testament to its race­orientated nature though, and clinchers are the better bet for daily use.

Details of the Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS 11sp Compact

Well done: Edoardo would be proud of the Specialissima’s great overall concept.
Well done: Edoardo would be proud of the Specialissima’s great overall concept.
Impractical: The tubular setup saves weight and supports the nimble handling, but they are not suitable for everyday use, especially as the Vittoria Corsa CX rapidly loses air.
Impractical: The tubular setup saves weight and supports the nimble handling, but they are not suitable for everyday use, especially as the Vittoria Corsa CX rapidly loses air.
Modern Italy: The electronic but crisp feel of the Campagnolo Super Record EPS perfectly suits the modern but classy concept of the Bianchi.
Modern Italy: The electronic but crisp feel of the Campagnolo Super Record EPS perfectly suits the modern but classy concept of the Bianchi.

Specifications of the Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS 11sp Compact

  • Drivetrain: Campagnolo Super Record EPS 2×11 SP
  • Gears: Chainrings: 50/34 | Cassette: 11-25
  • Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record Skeloton, Dual Pivot
  • Tyres: Vittoria Corsa CX Tubular 700×23
  • Wheelset: Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 Dark
  • Weight: 6.18 kg
  • Price: € 12,599
The geometry of the Bianchi Specialissima.
Geometry of the Bianchi Specialissima.

Conclusion

The Bianchi Specialissima didn’t reveal any weaknesses, unanimously leaving us convinced of its impressive ride. Well thought out as a whole, the tubular set­up is perhaps the only limitation for day­to­day riders. Those looking for a race­ready whip for mountain passes and competitive Gran Fondos will find themselves frothing over the Specialissima. But while the price tag might not appear heavenly to your bank balance, the Bianchi is definitely celeste.

Strengths

  • As a whole, brilliantly well thought out
  • Classicel look, thoroughly modern specs
  • All-round performance

Weaknesses

  • The Vittoria tubular set­up loses air fast

For more information check the Bianchi website.

About the test

With 10 test riders descending on Barcelona from across the globe, we dedicated 9 days to pushing this season’s most exclusive and exciting and exciting bikes to their limits in a one-of-a-kind group test. Each rider brought his or her own specific experience to the process, with a test team comprised of four women and six men, including former Tour de France riders, biomechanics, bike shop owners, tour guides and amateur riders. In short: a gathering of highly experienced and well-versed road riding enthusiasts. Our goal was a simple one, to give you all the information needed to make you a winner: Why? Because life’s too short to ride the wrong bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The 10 most exclusive and exciting bikes in Test



All bikes in test: Storck Aernario Platinum G1 | Specialized S-Works Venge | Ritte Ace | Focus Izalco Max Disc“ | Festka One LT Dazzle | Crema Doma | Cervelo C5 | Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 | Trek Madone 9.9

Words: Markus Ybanez, Robin Schmitt, Emmie Collinge Photos: Constantin Gerlach, Klaus Kneist, Christoph Bayer