Bianchi’s Intenso Dama was the surprise of the 2016 Buyer’s Guide, wowing testers with a silky smooth ride that transforms into a race-tuned steed when pounding on the pedals. This year it wowed us with that same smooth ride and kept our attention with aggressive race abilities.
The Italians label it as an endurance bike because of its longer wheelbase (1,002 millimeters) and big tire clearance (enough for 28-millimeter tires), and this led to a distinctly comfortable ride over rough terrain and kept us feeling fresh on long test rides. A tall 170-millimeter head tube puts riders in a more upright position, but if you’re like us and prefer a more aggressive fit, slamming the stem gets you into a racer’s position.
It also boasts quick steering and impressive acceleration. An aggressive 73.5-degree seat tube angle helps move your hips forward for more efficient power production and a stiff English (BSA) threaded bottom bracket transfers power for a responsive ride.
A compact 50/34 crankset paired with an 11-28-tooth cassette means the Intenso is ready to take on any adventure, straight out of the box. Upgrading the stock Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels would really help this bike shine, while swapping out the alloy bar and stem for something lighter and more compliant would elevate the Intenso to best-in-class status. Still, despite the mediocre wheels and cockpit, at $3,800 for an Ultegra bike, the Intenso is the best deal of the bunch.
We also love the look of this classically styled bike. The matte graphite finish with splashes of Bianchi’s signature celeste green oozes elegance.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 11-28 cassette; Fulcrum Racing 5 LG wheels