It wasn’t long ago we were all marveling at how Team Jumbo-Visma riders had stuck with ‘ancient’ rim brakes on their Tour de France rides. Yet now, Bianchi has swung all the way in the other direction, jumping head first into the burgeoning gravel scene with the full-carbon Arcadex. Leaning on decades of expertise in designing road bikes, the iconic Italian brand came up with a 1.1kg and 480g fork (size 55cm) full-carbon frame that’s almost all speed.
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The Arcadex is certainly race-focused, though it has plenty of touches to make it a versatile bike for your non-racing adventures. With aerodynamic tube shapes, a 1.5-inch ACR-compatible headset, room for 700×42 or 650×47 tires, flat-mount brake calipers, bars flared to 16 degrees and anchored by a 0-degree rise stem, and either mechanical or electronic shifting with internally routed cables, the Arcadex picks up where the all-road Impulso left off, and leaves the pavement entirely.
Bianchi has taken its time entering the gravel market, and consequently, the legendary Italian brand has had the advantage of watching gravel riders define what a gravel bike absolutely needs to have — and what it doesn’t. As a result, the Arcadex has many of the touches we’ve come to expect from a good gravel bike, including mounts everywhere and the ability to navigate several wheel size options.
On top of that, the inclusion of aero tube shapes is a nod to the growth of gravel racing. It’s clear the Arcadex is built for speed, though the combination of race touches with more adventure-focused touches makes the bike look pretty versatile overall.
The Bianchi Arcadex is available in five sizes and in two color options — gold storm or the iconic celeste — for $3,400-$3,800 depending on configuration and component spec.