BIANCHI IMPULSO PRO 2022 REVIEW – Road bike action

Last year we tested the Bianchi Arcadex, the traditional Italian brand’s first modern gravel bike model and, priced at $ 3,600, found it to be an off-road entry. able. Now, Bianchi adds to the dual-purpose mix with the Impulso Pro.

Where Bianchi’s signature Celeste paint color is a finish that ensures instant recognition in road cycling, the brand thankfully sees fit to lean on the blue / green hue as it continues to leap into the world of racing. gravel. The Impulso is part of their lineup, but it recently went under the knife for a ‘Pro’ carbon makeover. Unlike its aluminum predecessor, which is more dedicated to adventure gravel gurus, the new Impulso Pro aims to strike a balance between gravel and road for those with a more racy mindset.

THE FRAMEWORK

Previously made from an alloy, the frame is now constructed with full carbon tubes that are oversized in key areas for added strength and stiffness. The Bianchi Impulso Pro is available in six frame sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54 (tested size), 56 and 58cm. In addition to their traditional Celeste frame color, there is a new (and equally attractive) color named “Sage Escape,” which tone down a shade of light and dark green throughout the frame.

There’s decent frame clearance that allows for 38mm tires, but for some real off-road adventure that’s on the limited side of tire clearance. The lack of a third bottle holder is just as limiting as a real gravel bike. The bike’s geometry tends towards aggression with a 102cm wheelbase paired with a loose 71.5-degree head tube angle. Stack and reach on the Impulso Pro measures at 55.4cm and 38.6cm. The frame has modern touches, like flat-mount disc brakes and a full carbon tapered fork.

THE PARTS

Between wheels, tires, transmissions and small parts, the Impulso Pro stays true to its modern touches. With the Shimano name found on the drivetrain and brakes, riders can always be confident that these components will meet demand. Instead of running two chainrings, Bianchi specified the GRX 1 × 11 drivetrain. The 40-tooth chainring is mated to an 11- to 42-tooth cassette to provide easy knee-gearing in most situations. The stem, seat post and 16 degree flared handlebars are all Velomann alloy parts. To top it off, a Selle Italia ModelX Superflow saddle is used, which everyone found very comfortable.

“Tackling a variety of gravel, off-road environments and unique technical trails (some would consider mountain biking-worthy) is very much possible on the Impulso Pro.”

Aluminum wheels share the Velomann name and the 700c wheelset is a 32-hole roll bar with a 24mm profile. It should be noted that although the wheels claim to be tube ready, we had some difficulty getting each wheel to properly hold air when operating without tubes. We recommend that you take the extra step to reapply the new tape out of the box. Once this has been done, you can still use the WTB 37mm Riddlers supplied in stock.

Stability in high speed turns and steep terrain is no problem on this machine.

THE PATH

The Impulso Pro combines performance and compliance while pairing up with premium components with more affordable choices on the market. We see this as a great platform for a gravel runner to start them up with room to level up as they go. It’s possible to tackle a variety of gravel, off-road, and unique technical trail environments (some would consider worthy of a mountain bike) with the Bianchi. The scope seemed a bit long for the size 54 cm we were testing. Nonetheless, the bike felt stuck on steep descents with nimble but precise steering.

The performance and range of the Shimano GRX drivetrain is a great mix for racing or adventure on your local fire roads.

The WTB Riddler rubber remains a favorite for test pilots with a penchant for bouncing between the road and track settings. If a rider wanted to take things to the next level, an upgrade to the carbon wheelset would be beneficial to save weight for racing and further reduce vibration on bumps.

While GRX doesn’t have as wide a range as the 12- and 13-speed drivetrains from SRAM and Campagnolo, the Shimano 40-42 gearing provided the 1: 1 spin-to-gain ratio we favor. You know, the type of gear to go through long climbs on a fiery road on adventures or to pull yourself up to the front of the pack in a gravel event. Either way, some might opt ​​for a higher gear for smooth high-speed descents and dignified road segments during their commutes.

The 37mm WTB Riddler tires have proven to be capable for both on-road and off-road riding.

THE VERDICT

When it comes to real gravel chases, which for us always include real cobblestone chases, the Impulso Pro falls far short of its more authentic gravel brother. The Arcadex we tested last summer cost $ 1,000 less, weighs two pounds less, and, most importantly for a bike in this class, had frame clearance for a 42mm tire.

Roots, rocks and brake bumps are all tamed aboard the controllable Impulso Pro.

Due to the weight of the bike, the name “Pro” is probably a bit wrong. For the fastest riders among us, they found the bike’s biggest downside to accelerating with the weight of the stock wheelset. After putting aside their need for speed, these same riders quickly praised the bike’s handling and value all around dirt. The Impulso is a bike that we could use on the road to absorb rocks on a single track. We rode it hard out of the box, and at the end of the day it’s a remarkable gravel bike for someone looking to run and improve as they progress.

PUNCH LINES

Maximum tire clearance of 38mm

On the heavy side for the race

Great value for money to get you out on any surface

STATISTICS

Price: $ 4600

Weight: 23.15 lb

Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54 (size tested), 56 and 58cm

www.bianchiusa.com

Equipment

Helmet: POC Ventral Lite

Jacket: Sugoi zap

Bib: 7 mesh

Shoes: Shimano

Socks: MMCF

Eyeglasses: Uvex


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Wiley C. Thompson