By Colin Dennis
Sizes: 49 52 55 57 59 61cm
Size tested: 55cm
YouTube Video: coming soon
Bianchi’s Tiagra 2x10 speed cyclocross bike is a fine looking machine, but is the Zurigo Disc a CX bike that’s at cross purposes with itself, or is it a dedicated adventure bike for all seasons?
Dressed head to toe in Iconic Bianchi Celeste and white piping, the Zurigo Disc is an eye-catching bike, even after we covered it in good-old British mud. But it’s not just looks that makes a good bike.
The Zurigo Disc Tiagra is one model down from its stable mate, the Zurigo Disc 105, and yet the Tiagra version is still an interesting mix of aspirational handling, comfortable geometry and exciting ride potential.
The Zurigo Disc has the lovely responsive and sharp handling of an out-and-out CX race bike, looks terrific, and although some riders might find it a tad too heavy for serious cyclocross use, flat-out racing isn’t really the point of the Zurigo Disc.
This bike is a great deal of fun to ride off road, especially if you dabble into the technical elements of riding a road bike off road. The Bianchi Zurigo Disc is a commuter come adventure bike with enough attitude to keep things interesting when you want to play or ride hard. Check out our YouTube video.
At 10.5kg the Bianchi’s Zurigo Disc is well within the expected weight parameters of an off-road road bike retailing at twelve hundred quid. The D2 7005 series double butted frame, carbon forks and associated geometry are straight out of Bianchi’s special products range, hence the Zurigo's exciting and responsive handling.
Only when it comes to the tight technical aspects of riding off the beaten track do you notice the extra kilogram or two of the Tiagra specced bike. Here you need to simply adapt your ride and carry any momentum through to help keep the Zurigo rolling up short sharp climbs.
Thankfully, if you do have to dismount, the underside of the top tube is flattened to make for a comfortable shoulder portage.
But put The Zurigo on the gravel and the bike really comes to life.
The Shimano Tiagra 2x10 gives plenty of useable gears, the compact 50/34 chainset marries-up well with the wide ranging 11/32 cassette. The chainset may not be cyclocross orientated, but the overall effect both on and off road is welcome in so much that the gears are plenty low enough for all but the stickiest of off road climbs.
There are mudguard mounts front and back so you can keep dry in winter, plus there’s the option to stick a rack on the bike if needed. Flexibility is what helps make the Zurigo Disc such great value.
The Kenda Kwicker 700x32 felt narrower than the dimensions suggest, but on the hard packed trails this helped the Zurigo Disc to zip along quite nicely. Heading into the mire, the Kenda boots offered plenty of bite, but lacked suppleness and tended to bounce a little rather than roll over tree roots and other small obstacles.
We let a little air out of the tyres to see how this might affect the grip, but the lack of threads per inch (TPI) suggested that the Kenda Kwicker’s are just a little too rigid in their construction to be any more forgiving.
The Zurigo Disc with its sharp handling and narrow knobbly tyres kept me entertained off road whether it was CX riding or along the local converted railway line. This was also helped by the overall comfortable fit of the 55cm test bike. The selection of Bianchi’s Reparto Corse alloy components are stylish, strong and certainly help to enhance the attractive look of the Zurigo.
It’s really good to see that Bianchi don’t just offer this style of bike in three sizes like some other manufacturers. With no less than five size options from 49cm through to 61cm, there’s definitely plenty of scope to get the correct fitting bike. This is always an essential element to buying a bike anyway, but never more so when buying a bike for off-road riding.
Cyclocross riders often select a bike that is a little smaller than say their road bike. This is to offset the fact that a smaller bike is easier to handle when riding technical off-road sections. A smaller bike gives you greater chances of surviving any bail-out scenarios too.
I stand 5’ 11” tall in my bare feet and the 55cm Zurigo test bike delivered plenty of room to manoeuvre around the cockpit area when required. This was especially handy when tackling steep descents and climbs where you need to drop off the back, or quickly shift your body position forward.
On the other side of the coin, while sitting deep in the saddle and ploughing a fast line on hard packed trails the Zurigo allowed me to settle down into a comfortable aero position with my hands on the drops and eat up the miles without beating me up or pulling my back out of joint.
The short drop, compact handlebars are wide enough to be off-road friendly and indicate how much thought and detail has gone into the Zurigo Disc. It is reassuring that Bianchi also fit out the bikes with appropriate stem lengths and relative bar widths across the whole size range.
What does come as standard though are the 1.1/8 – 1.5 tapered headtube and a BBset PF30 bottom bracket. This helps beef up the areas where greater stresses are applied to the frame and components and make for a more secure and responsive ride.
The Hayes mechanical L6 discs come with 160mm rotors and worked really well. I was expecting less performance than the sharp and crisp effect than I actually got. The more the Hayes brakes bedded in during the wet, the better they performed, as you would expect. But I like nice surprises and the brakes handled the Zurigo with confidence on both short, sharp and long fast descents.
In summary: the Bianchi Zurigo Tiagra Disc is a great deal of fun to ride. Fast and comfortable on the gravel trails and the commuter run to work. The Zurigo Disc was playful on the technical trails and demands a little respect with its sharp handling.
A little of the best of both worlds is what the Zurigo Tiagra Disc offers. For riders looking to spice-up the commute ride home or venture out into the first tastes of cyclocross, the Bianchi Zurigo Disc will be the perfect stable mate.