Bianchi introduces new Oltre Race and updated Sprint

Both models are available with Shimano 105 components, but does this include an as-yet unreleased 12-speed mechanical groupset?

Clock09:41, Friday 11th August 2023

© Bianchi

Bianchi has added the Race to its Oltre range

Bianchi has expanded its aero range of bikes with the new Oltre Race, and it may have inadvertently revealed a new Shimano 105 mechanical 12-speed groupset in the process.

The new Oltre model is joined by an updated version of the Italian brand’s all-rounder, the Sprint, with both models specced with Shimano 105 components to make them more accessible to a wider audience.

This includes the electronic Di2 groupset which was released last year and brought 12-speed technology to the 105 range for the first time. Intriguingly both bikes are also available on the Bianchi website with a mechanical version of 105. While the specific model of 105 isn’t provided for the Oltre Race, the crankset, rear derailleur and front derailleur are all labelled as ‘12-speed’ for the Sprint.

The mechanical 105 groupset is only currently available in 11-speed but a new 12-speed version has been rumoured for some time and this signals that a new groupset could be close to being released.

Shimano 105 caters to a wider audience

The model number of the 105 groupset isn’t the only thing missing for the Oltre Race, with Bianchi’s ‘Air Deflector’ technology also absent. It was the main talking point when the new Oltre range was released last year but it doesn’t comply with the UCI’s regulations, hence why you won’t have seen it used in pro races.

Essentially an aero fairing, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t to the UCI’s liking. It was only included on the top-end Oltre RC and Oltre Pro models but not the bottom-tier Oltre, and it also doesn’t make an appearance on the Oltre Race either.

That’s not too surprising as the new bike is designed to bring the Oltre range’s performance to a wider audience, hence why it's been specced with 105 components rather than Shimano’s higher-tier Ultegra or Dura-Ace alternatives. This helps to bring some of the costs down, as does the lack of the ‘Air Deflector’ technology.

Despite the accessible tag, it’s still a pure race bike inspired by the WorldTour tried-and-tested Oltre RC, featuring aero tube shapes and integrated cables.

Bianchi Sprint

While the updated Sprint isn’t new, it’s certainly sporting a new look which Bianchi says is inspired by its Specialissima, the Italian brand’s top-of-the-line, all-round race bike.

Like the Specialissima, the Sprint is also an all-rounder, but it’s also catered to a broader audience, forming the range’s baseline model.

It’s available with either Shimano 105 Di2 or the 105 mechanical groupset, and Bianchi says that its “lightweight carbon monocoque frame is rigid for adequate power transmission, and now features integrated cable routing and an updated set-up”.

Fans of Bianchi, and cycling fans in general, will be pleased to hear that both bikes are available in the brand’s famous Celeste colourway as well as a graphite option.

Explore the full range of Oltre Race and Sprint bikes over on Bianchi’s website.

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