FIRST LOOK: BIANCHI ARCADEX

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The Arcadex is the first all-carbon frame, to be added to Bianchi’s gravel line which was previously headlined by the all-road-oriented alloy Impulso

 

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The iconic celeste hue ridden by Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani is paired with a gloss navy blue that splits the front and rear end of the carbon frame at a 45-degree angle from the seat post to the fork. 

A relatively traditional gravel geometry is attained with a 102.4cm wheelbase paired with a slack 71-degree head tube angle. Stack and reach on the Arcadex measure at 59.5cm and 37.4cm. Max tire clearance on the Arcadex is slim at 700x42cm. 

At first glance, the busy lines of the Arcadex were reminiscent of BMC’s recent gravel bike the Urs. The curvy head tube, heptagonal down tube, overbuilt seat tube junctions and shapely rear end is a lot to digest for most drop bar fans. But, Bianchi assured us the frame is intended to smother vibrations while remaining nimble and wind-cheating. For example, the oversized, e-bike-like, bottom bracket is engineered to enhance responsiveness.

 In addition to aero watt-savings, Bianchi says the dropped seat stay design provides a more important aspect for gravel riding is the increased compliance. Of the two seat stay designs, Bianchi’s are higher and wider than the Ridley’s.

The Arcadex’s fork is massive. The angular, aero-styled fork has a claimed weight of 410 grams and stretches from 4.2cm at its narrowest to 7.5cm near the crown. Mounts for mudguards as well as three bottle cages and a top tube bag are included.

THE PARTS

Bianchi opted for the mechanical version of the Shimano GRX 800 drivetrain, those looking to save their lunch money should consider the GRX 600 build for $200 less. This is where a majority of the savings are compared to the electronic-shifting Ridley. An 11-speed 11-42 cassette and a 40t Shimano chainring pair for flexible gearing that can tackle steep off-road conditions much more capably than the race-focused Kanzo. 

More pocketbook savings can be found in the alloy cockpit. FSA’s SMR stem and gated headset spacers hide the rear shift cable and hydraulic brake line a Bianchi Reparto Corsa 6061 alloy handlebar completes the frontend.

Aluminum hoops from Alexrims keep the price low as well. At an internal width of 21mm and a depth of 30mm the Alexrims are much more traditional for gravel riding. The rims are mounted with 700×37 WTB Riddler tires which have low profile tread and small knobs for a more neutral tire than the Kanzo.

Bianchi Arcadex

Arcadex Weight: 21.18 pounds

Arcadex Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L, XL

Arcadex Price: $3600

www.bianchi.com

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