There are a few glimmers of greatness in Bianchi’s affordable Intenso Ultegra, including the paint job. But there’s not enough celeste green to mask this bike’s shortcomings. It offers a dull ride that feels a bit harsh in the front end. But it’s the brakes that are the real deal-breaker.
Bianchi’s house-brand Reparto Corse brakes have a nice, musical name but are underpowered and hamstrung by heavy lever feel. The brake lever resistance was so bad that we lost a good deal of confidence on fast downhills and corners.
It’s unfortunate that the Intenso made us feel timid on the curves because the bike sports classic, neutral geometry, with a 73.5-degree head angle and 410-millimeter chain stays. It actually corners rather nicely but overall feels sluggish, which must be due to the heavy wheels since it performed respectably in the lab.
Perhaps Bianchi just got the spec wrong on a decent frame. Substitute Shimano brakes and lighter wheels — even if that means downgrading the levers to 105 to hit a similar price — and the Intenso could prove true to its color.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with RS500 50/34 crankset and 105 11-28 cassette; Reparto Corse brakes; Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels