Though it's only been an official model in Bianchi's line-up since summer, the Oltre XR. 4 Road Bike Frameset haunted the peloton throughout 2016 as a series of all-purpose prototypes beneath the black and yellow jerseys of LottoNL-Jumbo. We won't spill Bianchi's beans, but spot-checking images of the Dutch team throughout the year (typical behavior in the Competitive office) reveals a sprinkling of framesets that don't quite line up with the Italian brand's catalogue of officially available models. There are two takeaways from this observation. First, Bianchi clearly supplemented the engineering side of its XR. 4 R&D with what, for we cyclists, is infinitely more attractive: feedback from the organic experiences of some of the world's most accomplished, knowledgeable, and discerning experts on how a bike should feel. Second, we often have a lot of trouble concentrating on work when we'd rather be on the bike. The two conclusions are actually related, too, because the effortless responsiveness that LottoNL-Jumbo's feedback helped Bianchi tease out of the Oltre XR. 4 makes us want to get out on the bike even more. No amount of rider feedback can turn a dumpy noodler into a rocket ship, but since Bianchi was starting with the already impressive Oltre XR. 2, interstellar travel wasn't that far away. Compared to the XR. 2, the XR. 4's changes include deeper, more pronounced tube cross sections, an integrated seatpost clamp design, a lower seatstay junction, and the inclusion of Bianchi's Countervail technology. Engineering aside for now, our most important question (and the one pertaining to the LottoNL-Jumbo feedback) is: How does it feel to ride it' The answer is very, very fast. As we mentioned above, the Oltre XR. 4 is responsive enough to inspire rocket ship metaphors, a trait it owes to its oversized tubes, intimidating bottom bracket, and the high-modulus carbon fiber that the Countervail elastomer is designed to support. It obviously loves the flats, b...
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Bianchi Oltre XR4 Road Bike Frameset - 2017
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