Review: Bianchi Specialissima

I’ve been asking questions about Countervail since it first appeared on Bianchi frames in 2013 at that year’s Paris-Roubaix. Countervail is a viscoelastic material that was worked into the carbon-fibre layup of the Infinito CV, the Italian company’s endurance bike. Bianchi says Countervail cancels road vibrations. So, I wanted to know where this material was exactly. Was it like different types of carbon fibre, which are deployed strategically in frame to achieve different levels of stiffness or compliance? Was it only used at certain spots on the frame? Bianchi didn’t say. When I met with Angelo Lecchi, Bianchi’s road product manager, at Interbike in 2014, he wouldn’t tell me.

In June 2015, Bianchi launched the Specialissima, a lightweight performance bike with a new, lighter formula of Countervail. Soon after I got a bike to test, I spoke with Fred Morini, Bianchi’s product marketing and communication manager. Again, I couldn’t help myself. I asked where exactly they put the Countervail. “This is a very good question, but it’s one that we normally answer in one way only. The Countervail is embedded into our carbon layup. We say it’s in the frame and fork. But, we don’t say exactly how we put it in the carbon layup. That’s something we like to protect,” he said.