Bianchi C2C 928 Carbon

THE STORY
In 1885, Edoardo Bianchi opened up a small shop on Via Narone in Milan, Italy. In 1888, he presented the world?s first bicycle with pneumatic tires, and in 1895, he built a women?s-specific bicycle for Queen Margherita and taught her to ride it. The legend of Fausto Coppi emerged while he rode a Bianchi and battled with Gino Bartali of Team Legnano in the 1940s and ?50s. It was on a Bianchi that the triumphant and ultimately tragic career of the beloved Marco Pantani transpired. The name Bianchi conjures up images of racing, of sky-green (celeste) frames and the ingenuity and passion of the 127-year-old Reparto Corse (Race Department) factory in Italy. Over a thousand victories and six world titles were won on a Bianchi. Fast forward to 2008, suspend racing history for a moment, and take a look at a more user-friendly Bianchi, the C2C (Coast to Coast) 928. The C2C line is just one of Bianchi?s nine categories for 2008. If you are a Bianchi fan, know that they make a bike for virtually every need. The C2C 928 is one model in a category designed for the weekend rider who wants performance and the comfort of a relaxed-geometry frame that carries the Reparto Corse image.

From racing history to all-day riding, the C2C 928 is designed to appeal to the masses.

THE FRAME
Made in Taiwan then shipped to Italy for hand assembly, the entire C2C line features carbon monocoque frames, which are made up of high-modulus carbon fiber and feature a 3K woven surface finish. The headset on the C2C is fully integrated, and the frame features the now popular oversized bottom bracket for increased rigidity. For 2008, the C2C line features KVID (Kevlar-Vibration Insulating Device), which are Kevlar fibers designed and utilized for their damping properties and used on the chainstays and forks of the 928. Bianchi?s BAT (Bianchi Active Technology) is also built into the 928. BAT is a method of aligning the carbon fiber filaments to offer stiffness without hampering the compliance of the frame over rough pavement. Longer rear stays also help increase comfort and decrease road shock, and a taller head tube makes for a more back and neck-friendly position.
Our 58-centimeter C2C 928 featured a complete Shimano Dura-Ace setup with Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels, Continental Grand Prix 4-Season tires, an FSA SL280 Carbon Pro seatpost, FSA K-Wing Carbon Aero bars and a Bianchi FF9 carbon fork. Fizik?s Celeste green Aliante saddle completed the package. The C2C 928 is available in 50, 53, 55, 58 and 61 centimeter sizes.

THE RIDE
We liked the C2C 928. It was a comfortable ride and soaked up a lot of the road chatter that tends to jar us on other bikes. On climbs, it performed well, the descents were stable, and the Bianchi buzz met us at every regroup on our weekly rides with comments about the bike, its cool looks, the Celeste green and the aura of Bianchi. The magnitude of the name ?Bianchi?makes it difficult not to pull for the company that got many of us riding bikes in the first place, and while the C2C is not bred to fill out the starting line at a national road race, it fills the endurance-comfort niche, and does it with integrity.

The Celeste graphics remind you (more than once) that the C2C is definitely a Bianchi.

The bike was balanced well, responsive going into corners, stiff enough on climbs to get power to the rear wheel efficiently, and it accelerated quickly. The one drawback is the price-for-performance equation. If we were pressed to choose from Bianchi?s entire C2C line, we would probably pass on the $4199 928 Dura-Ace model and pick the 928 C2C with Shimano Ultegra for $2700 or the Campagnolo Veloce version for $2600. You?d get the same frame with great components, but for a lot less money. Then, you could use that extra $1300 to $1400 towards a trip to Italy and really live the dream.

Price: $4199
Weight: 17.4 pounds
Contact: www.bianchiusa.com

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