With the increasing popularity of gravel racing as its own gravel sub-category, Bianchi has responded with the release of the new Impulso. Bianchi says this new gravel race bike is focused on balancing aerodynamic performance, low weight, and off-road capability for riders competing off-road.
Until recently there weren't that many gravel events but with the rising popularity of the Gravel Earth Series, Lifetime Grand Prix events, and the UCI World Championships, gravel racing is attracting big names and hosting highly competitive racing.
Closely fought competition demands the best gravel bikes and gravel racing is attracting the attention of many of the biggest bike manufacturers. It's already a busy sub-category with the likes of Canyon's Grail, Cervelo's Aspero, Factor Ostro Gravel, and 3T's Exploro RaceMax already firmly established in the market.
When developing the Impulso, Bianchi took design cues from its Oltre RC aero road bike and the Specialissima climbing bike. Aero tubing and an integrated fork create a sleek frame shape to help cut through the air. This is combined with a new integrated handlebar and stem which hides the cables and features a 16-degree flare. The top-of-the-range RC model comes equipped with its own Reparto Corse RC43 wheelset, 43mm profile and 25mm inner channel, which Bianchi claims makes the Impulso one of the most aerodynamic gravel bikes in its category.
Although Bianch says the Impulso's progressive geometry has been inspired by elite bikes in off-road and cross-country MTB racing, the geometry looks to have more in common with its road bikes with a 71.5-degree head angle, 74-degree seat angle, 425mm chainstays, and a 70mm bottom bracket. Bianchi says weight is redistributed on the front to maximize aerodynamic efficiency but uses a shorter stem and longer 391mm reach to add stability.
If you were in any doubt about whether the Impulso was a gravel race-specific bike, look no further than the tire clearance. In a time that many gravel bikes are pushing clearance for 50mm plus gravel tires, the Impulso has a make clearance of just 42mm. While that might seem tight, there are a number of reasons behind it. For a start, 40mm tires seem to be the most popular size amongst racers as a balance between grip, comfort, and weight. Another factor is that many racers choose to run double road chainsets due to the high speeds of gravel racing and the larger chainring sizes limit the frame clearance.
Bianchi doesn't give any specific frame weights for the Impulso, but they state that the flagship model weighs a claimed 8.1kg for a full build.
The Impulso comes in three spec levels; RC, Pro, and Comp. The Impulso RC is the highest-specced model and features SRAM Force 2x AXS and Reparto Corse RC43 wheelset build. It's available in a metallic celeste with accents in Bianchi's iconic CK16 celeste on the top tube and will retail at $TBC / £5,899 / €6,849.
The Impulso Pro is built with GRX 820 2x12 speed groupset and Velomann Terbium wheels. It comes in Celeste Metallic as well as Black/Grey matt and costs $TBC /£3,699 / €4,249.
Lastly, the Impulso Comp, built with GRX 620 2x12 speed, is available in Celeste or a premium gold-brown which is said to be inspired by the rich tones of the forest. The Comp is available for $TBC /£2,649 / €2,999.
For more details head over to Bianchi.com.