By David Ward
New is good. Everyone should get a new bike every few years. And tradition is good. Everyone should have an Italian bike. And colorful is good. Everyone should have a bike in his favorite color. And new components are good. So this year, I got a new red Italian bike. A Bianchi Sempre, to be exact, to which I had mounted the SRAM Red gruppo.
The Sempre is an all carbon fiber bike with racing geometry. My Italian mistress for the last seven years has been a Colnago (yes, Italian) CT-1. It had a frame made of titanium, with carbon fiber fork and stays. (All yellow, silver, and black. A beautiful bike, but, not red). It is a ride I have greatly enjoyed. So it was with a certain sense of uncertainty that I first mounted the Bianchi, wondering if it would measure up to my Colnago. It did.
From my home, I immediately go either up or down. On this maiden ride, I headed up, and immediately noticed how light and responsive my new ride felt. As a person who slogs up hills any way, any help is appreciated, and my new Bianchi Sempre was noticeably helpful.
I headed up Little Mountain, a very beautiful and popular ride up Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake, and then on up to Big Mountain, a bear of a climb. This is a twisting, winding, climbing ride, complete with switchbacks. Climbing, I decided, is what the Sempre was designed for. It felt sweet all the way to the top.
While I was somewhat surprised by how great the Bianchi felt while climbing, my first major surprise was when I came back down. The road to the top of Big Mountain is composed of several switchbacks with tight turns and fairly straight stretches in between. As I rolled off the summit, the Bianchi immediately accelerated beneath me, so much so that I was a little breathless and slightly on the brakes.
Then, as I went into the first turn, I found myself taking it wider than I normally do. This was my next surprise. The racing geometry of the Sempre requires a little more work through tight turns. It is extremely stable, but I had to accentuate my lean and counter-steering to hold my turns tight through the corners. Once I made this adjustment and had made a few runs up and down Big Mountain, I was again feeling like a master of descent.
People say that carbon fiber bikes lack the sensitive feel of a steel or titanium frame.. Being aware of this general reputation of carbon fiber, and while this is also somewhat true of the Bianchi Sempre, I was pleasantly surprised with its sensitivity whether riding up, down or on the flats. I have an old Trek OCLV, also a carbon fiber bike, and the feel of my Bianchi was on an entirely different level.
Finally, it is a pretty bike. In addition to being a machine, a bike should also be art. My Sempre, with its bright colors, celeste highlights (this is a Bianchi, after all), artful lines and paint job is a beautiful bike.
I have now spent the entire summer riding my new steed. I genuinely love this bike. I love its color, its look and its ride. New is good. Carbon fiber is good. And red is good. Bianchi put it all together for me.
Bianchi is good.
Bike Reviewed: 2012 Bianchi Sempre 53 cm with SRAM Red components.