Weaknesses: FSA aluminum cranks that came with bike were replaced early on but, otherwise no real weaknesses.
My two previous cross bikes were both scandium tubing, even so, the carbon frame from Bianchi is a really nice upgrade. For a cross bike with the Bianch you have less weight and instant power transfer. I have mine set up with Sram Force components and Dura-Ace tubeless wheels with Michelin Mud 2 tires. This is the ultimate bike for long distance gravel road rides/races. Ready to race this bike weighs in at 16.5 pounds and with tubular lightweight cross wheels we are talking about cross bike weighing in at 16 lbs. First time on pavement I had to keep looking at bike to remember this was cross bike and not road bike. Geometry is right on and remember this is a race bike and it shows its true colors at race speed.
Strengths: Beautiful, stiff frame, well thought-out for racing, pretty light overall (I got mine down to under 17lbs. with DA/Reflex wheels).
Weaknesses: Components are inconsistent: handlebars, brakes and cranks were poor choices for a top-of-the-line race bike.
This review is for the 2009 Carbon Cross Concept Race. Full disclosure: I got this bike through the employee purchase program. The first thing I noticed about this bike is that the power transfer is immediate--there is definitely no flex in the BB area and all your pedaling energy goes straight to the rear wheel. The down side is that the ride of the bike is pretty stiff which is appropriate since this is the top-of-the-line race bike. The geometry works well for me: I sized it by virtual top tube length and the slightly sloping top tube leaves lots of room in the main triangle for shouldering the bike, though since I have short-ish legs and a long trunk, the standover height is very tight. This has not been a problem after 14 cross races this season. There is one set of bottle bosses, but they're on the down tube--not the seat tube. It's more feasible to shoulder your bike with a bottle cage on the seat tube than down tube, but I never race with a bottle anyway. The might as well put bosses in both places and let owners decide if and where they want to carry bottles. Tire clearance seems a little tight--I find quite a bit of sticky mud can accumulate in the typical places. Overall the frame is quite light and appears well-designed. It definitely looks like Bianchi has significantly improved their carbon frame designs since my 928 T-cube was produced in 2007.
The parts are a mixed bag. The stock Avid Shorty brakes are crap and were replaced with Tektro CR-720s. The Deda bars have a ridiculously short drop, especially for a size 58. My hands are too big to spend much time in the drops. The wheels are acceptable Mavic clinchers that work fine as training wheels. Anyone serious about racing will have a couple sets of tubular wheels. Shifters and derailleurs are good (a little TOO good--I switched out the DA RD for an Ultegra on my road bike. No need to beat up DA parts on a CX bike). The big weakness is the FSA SL-K Light cranks and BB. After the first muddy weekend races, the BB bearings seized. Replacement BB cups are not available so I borrowed a 105 crankset and BB from a friend and will find a more permanent Shimano solution when the budget allows. This is the second set of FSA cranks I've had and the others were trouble as well.
Strengths: The mechanical power delivery on this bike is absolutely incredible if its outfitted with high quality pedals. Every time I pedal the power delivery is smooth and effortless. Ride quality on this bike is superb and I have no qualms about riding over railroad tracks. Note where I ride the railroad tracks have a slight concrete ramps.
Weaknesses: At this price level you are really talking about diminshing returns for your money. Could you get a bike that can do 80% of what the cross concept can do for far less, absolutely. The carbon fiber cranks could be damaged quite easily especially if you eat "s***" and slip, which is a very real possibilty on asphalt with the stock tires. I already have a small thread of carbon fiber loose. For better or worse in my eyes the Cross Concept doesn't look like a $3,000 bike, it has a very utilitarian aesthetic.
I own the 2008 Cross Concept Race Force/Rival,I bought it in the 2007 calender year. The Cross Concept is certainly a fast bike but its performance improved significantly after I switched out the coffee cans for a set of Shimano DX pedals. Being a road bike it took me a few weeks to get use to the Cross Concept's riding style. It's also not something you ride quite as leisurely as most upright bikes. However these disadvantages are offset by the crankset's smooth mechanism and easy power delivery. This is a bike that can put down the power easily and efficiently. I'm not a long range rider but if I had to ride 30-40 miles I would probably appreciate the bike's smooth mechanicals and excellent power delivery.
The Cross Concept Race's ride is superb I can go over a local set of railroad tracks without too much fuss. Rocks and bumps are tolerable and not bone jarring in any way. However I would have to say this bike is really for someone who wants to go fast,its not something for the recreational rider. Since I do most of riding around an industrial area I found the stock tires to totally inadequate in dealing with the sort of debris that's quite common place here: thorns, small but sharp pieces of wiring. I changed the stock tires for Schwalbe marathon plus tires I haven't had a puncture, but not riding quite as much either so I can't say the tires are the only reason I haven't had punctures.
This bike is true joy to ride with the proper pedals and transfers power so effortlessly compared to my other bikes. Is this bike really worth the money? That's a hard question to answer but after living with this bike for a while I feel that it offers an exceptional blend of comfort and speed that simply isn't available with lower cost bicycles. This bike encourages the rider to push his limits.
Similar Products Used: Dahon Jetstream XP
Dahon Speed D7
Bike Setup: I swapped out the coffee cans,purchased from my local bike store, with a set of Shimano DX pedals. The tires of course have been swapped out and replaced with a set of Marathon Plus slicks which are much heavier than the stock tires. However the Marathon Plus tires are also much thicker and far more puncture resistant. I also added the all important water bottle cage as well. When I ride at night I use a night rider light.
Strengths: Durable, very spiffy frame, decent shock absorption, good all around gearing, great wheels: mavic ksyrium elites, feels solid on 60mph downhills, worth every penny.
Weaknesses: A little on the heavy side for road racing, but only due to the components: cantilever brakes, heavy wheels, seatpost, but hey, it is a cross bike after all!
Cross concept is a great bike. It has a bombproof design (I took this bike on numerous technical single track trails, yet it survived quite a few nasty crashes on pretty rooty sections), yet, it is light enough to do training road rides and class C and B races, the not so “important” ones (who are we kidding, all the races are important!). My bike weighs just under 20lb, everything is stock, except a 50/34 gearing of a crankset, and11-28 SRAM cassette. I weigh 170lb, most of the roads here in Alaska are crap, yet I am pretty comfortable on a 5+ hour ride over the gravel and chip-and-seal on 35mm tires. Rear carbon triangle and a carbon fork work excellently with the aluminum frame. It feels a little rough racing for 3 hours on 23mm tires, but hey, it is not a Cadillac! So, for someone with a budget of around $2000 this bike is a great deal, since it can do a lot of things pretty decently: commuting, cross, mountain and road races. Just swap rear cassettes and tires for appropriate terrain.
Has anyone seen one at the races or got close enough to one to have an opinion?
Am really interested in acquiring one but wanted some opinions before I pull the trigger.
Thanks for any input offered.Read More »
hello.i am new to this forum and i have an issue regarding my bianchi cross. it is a 2003 scandium frame and carbon fork. its been used a lot but naver raced. it has roughly 10,000 miles but the frame is in good condition except the paint. its all chipped out and it makes it look beat up. the ride i ... Read More »
Fit Question - How tall are you and what are your proportions? What size frame to you ride? I'm looking at a used 2006 that I am concerned might be too small. The geometry numbers seem spot on to fit me, but I cant imagine riding a 49 cm frame....I ride a 53 or 54 cm road frame with short TT. Do ... Read More »