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Bianchi has made off-road bikes before, but the Arcadex marks its most advanced gravel model to date. For its carbon gravel bike debut, the Italian brand has emphasized integration, while outfitting the bike with all the features you need to take it from a weekend rider to a full backpacking beast.
It’s hard to miss the Arcadex’s striking design—there’s no mistaking it for one of the many cookie-cutter gravel bikes popping up left and right. It features a distinct angular frame shape that sets it apart from the pack. (And, of course, there’s no mistaking it as a Bianchi with that iconic celeste-green paint, which never fails to elicit compliments on the trails.) But the angular design isn’t just to differentiate the bike from competitors and let the designers show off a little. The frame shape makes the bike more aerodynamic, because speed is just as important off-road as it is on. There are some go-to aero features like dropped seatstays and a bladed fork and internal cable routing for either mechanical or electronic groups, as well as an integrated stem to save some more watts. But luckily Bianchi hasn’t gone looking for aero advances everywhere it can. The brand sticks to a standard 31.6mm round seat post, which makes upgrades down the line far easier.
Gravel bikes have been trending toward versatility for a while. The Arcadex is no exception. It sleekly includes rack and fender mounts and provides clearance for high-volume tires up to 700×42 or 650×47. And while all the stock builds feature 1x groupsets, nothing is stopping you from adding a second chainring up front.
It can be built up for however you like to ride, even for bikepacking trips that are liable to turn into mud-fests. But Bianchi manages to keep the build to under $4,000, even with the highest level mechanical GRX gravel components available. An alloy Bianchi-branded seat post and handlebar also help keep the price in check.
The Arcadex is designed to provide a more upright position that stays comfortable over the course of long days, though it’s far from the most slacked-out geometry available in the world of gravel bikes. Even with that more upright position, its aerodynamic features shine through, making it feel swift on those extended stretches of gravel, with steering that tends to stick to a straight line. But when the road gets more technical, it can easily maneuver around quick turns—unlike some other gravel bikes.
The bike’s 21.2 pounds is a touch heavy, though within the ballpark for bikes of this price range, but it’s hard to notice in any situation other than heading straight up a mountainside for extended periods. For quick changes in gradient or small steep kickers, the 40×42 low gear lets you get over anything with ease. For someone looking for a mid-range gravel bike, this has a little bit of everything.
$3,800 as built; 21.2 lbs (9.63kg), size medium; Shimano GRX 810 1x (40 crank, 11–42 cassette); Alexrims GD24 wheels; WTB Riddler Race 700×37c tires; FSA alloy stem; Bianchi Reparto Corse Alloy seat post and handlebar; Selle Royal saddle. bianchi.com