Bianchi has a new vibration damping concept that it claims could revolutionise endurance cycling. Just days before Paris-Roubaix, Bianchi officially launched the new Infinito CV, with Vacansoleil-DCM’s cobbles specialist Juan Antonio Flecha on hand to talk about his role in the creation of the bike.
We spotted the new bike with the team at last week's Tour of Flanders, but today Bianchi revealed the frameset's use of Countervail, a patented material developed between Bianchi and US company Materials Science Corporation (MSC), and exclusively used for cycling applications by Bianchi. Termed ‘Vibration Cancelling Composite Technology,’ the key feature is a viscoelastic carbon layer embedded between standard carbon layers at critical areas of the frame and fork – although Bianchi wouldn’t say where.
Countervail (CV) is also used by NASA in aerospace applications, but that won’t help you on the cobbles. Bianchi’s use of CV is designed to cancel vibration before it reaches the rider, not through a suspension movement, but by viscoelastic damping. This does not make the frame more flexible, Bianchi claims.
To demonstrate the material's performance, Bianchi had two open-ended seat stays mounted on a plate attached to a motor vibrating at around 60-80Hz — an approximation of riding over 15cm-wide cobbles at 38-40kph. One seat stay was of conventional carbon construction, the other contained the CV layer. Both used the Infinito CV mold. When a ping pong ball in a clear tube was held against the stay with all normal carbon fiber, it kicked, hopped and bounced, around 5cm above the stay. But when placed against the CV stay there was barely any visible vibration. Shown as oscillations on a graph, the vibrations put through the CV reduced to almost nothing around 60% faster.
Bianchi say the Infinito CV weighs around 950g for a 55cm frame, +/- 3-5% depending on paint finish. There will be four available – celeste, black/celeste, black/red and white/celeste, but apparently black is the lightest as it uses less paint. As it is a structural layer, the CV material doesn’t add weight to the frame, Bianchi says. The 1 1/8 – 1 1/2in fork will weigh under 400g, and the complete frameset gains around 100g over the outgoing Infinito.
Bianchi have no current plans to use CV in any other frames, but did announce that there will also be a disc version of the Infinito CV available when they both reach the market in June. This will be engineered with a strengthened left fork leg and stays to counteract the braking force of a full hydraulic system, which the company have been testing. The rear end will be spaced for 135mm hubs, with the calliper mounted on the chain stay, and the fork will have an integrated post mount and accept 140 or 160mm rotors. Although not UCI legal yet, Bianchi are clearly throwing their weight behind the imminent hydraulic braking systems.
The main features of both frames are longer head tubes, seat stays and wheelbase, internal cable routing for mechanical and electronic, PF30 bottom bracket shell, space for 28mm tyres, aero frame shaping, and eight sizes – 47, 50, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61 and 63cm. The head tube length for a 47cm frame will be 125mm, with an increase of 15mm for each jump in frame size, up to 23cm for the largest. Prices for both variants will be announced in June.
Tomorrow we’ll be swinging a leg over one of the new machines, and will report back once we’ve found some cobbles to point it at.