I had an emotional moment last night when disassembling my Oltre frameset, it’s been a fantastic weapon for road racing through out the year… but the time has come to say goodbye.

I prepared it lovingly for it’s final race of the year, the Burger Cycle Tour, it shone as it did the day I first built it and I was sad to see it go. It’s limited edition colourway, matte Black paint, dashes of Celeste and stealth graphics that made it stand out like Batman lurking in the shadows of Gotham. It was just as lethal, always faster than me yet still comfortable enough to ride all day begging for more.

One year on the frame is still in top condition, I had run the same shift cables all year, as well as BB30 bearings, although I’d opened them a few times for a clean-out and re-grease. The headset bearings too were the original items and still smooth.

Riding it has been a pleasure. The stiffness is great as you churn out power from the bottom bracket and the seatstays soak up the road vibes in unison. The most impressive feature for me though is the steering geometry. It love to turn, it loves descents and I feel like I’m robbing the frames alpine abilities by keeping it cooped up in South Africa. I would love to feel it handle the Alps and from what I feel will do so with aplomb. On more than one occasion I’ve stared at it in my rear view mirror and marveled at its aero profile. The sculpted headtube that cheats the wind and top tube that thins out to hide behind the head tube. The down tube the splits the wind away from the rotating masses and the stiff wind shaped seat post. It’s a feat of engineering to have all those properties in symmetry without sacrificing any one of them to gain on the other. It’s little wonder that they shape has not changed in three years as I doubt any improvements can be gained… besides one.

Hello Bianchi Oltre XR. The only area Bianchi has made changes is in the carbon layup as new technologies have become available in the Oltre’s lifespan. New carbon tech has allowed for a slight reduction in weight (30g)  while claiming a 20% stiffness increase. Something that, again, might not suit the average roadie, but as a racer it’s the old saying “Too much is never enough” and the generous helping of stiffness should help me in my quest to go forwards faster.

I chose the OB colour. It’s a mix of Matte Black and gloss over UD carbon, the decals are less stealthy in white instead of grey. Overall its a bit more of a statement and should go well with my parts kit that I will simply transfer over. I’m looking forward to posting my findings on the new XR soon.

Bianchi Oltre XR OB Black

For interests sake I’ve posted my results for the year on board the Oltre. It’s been a great year and seen some new heights in my riding 🙂

14th – UWCT Masters World Championship Road Race Mens 30-34

Burger Cycle Tour – 22nd Overall  – 5th SV

Coronation Double Century – 10th Overall

Killarney Crit Series, Spring – 5th Overall

PPA Spring League Series – 1st Overall

Atlantis Criterium – 1st

Durbanville High Schools – 5th

West Coast Express – 5th

Lady Loch League – 1st

Voor Paardeberg League – 4th

Cape Argus 2011 – 90th Overall, 20th SV

Bay City – 17th