Eurobike 2012: BIANCHI introduces Methanol 29 FS- by c_g

Like we had announced yesterday – here comes the world premier of the all new BIANCHI Methanol 29 FS platform. Some of you may remember my ride impressions on their Methanol SL hard tail, that I rode during the Garda Festival this spring (here) – it was pure breed racing rig, with no compromises for anything but speed – extremely stiff, efficient and fast. This bike was anything but a leisurely or relaxed. The new Methanol FS This bike has been developed with major input of their successful TX Active-Bianchi Racing Team. Gerhard Kerschbaumer is one of their better known racers who has been doing really well in this year´s XC World Cup and Italian Championships.

As suggested by the name resemblance the Methanol FS picks up these genes and philosophy of its hard tail sibling and takes that to a new level. It has only one aim to be the fastest bike on the race course and for those that “do racing with the sole purpose of winning”.

By this close relationship to the hard tail you find several of the same technological and design details on the full suspension bike.

    • Immediately noticeable and well supported by the graphics is the strong sculpturing of the frame – especially around the head tube area, but also on the down tube and on the rear end. Hidden behind those bulges are long specific carbon fiber reinforcements, that assist in achieving an extraordinary stiffness, a system called Embedded Reinforcement Construction (or „ERS “).
    • Then there is the signature Triple Wall Tube (TWT) which has the carbon laid up with an extra carbon reinforcing wall running all along the center of the down tube – again for increasing stiffness and strength.
    • To protect the Carbon structure from impacts, the entire underside of the down tube gets a titanium weave laminated in, the „Ti-Net = Titanium Net Technology“.
    • To make the best of carbon technology, there are 3 different unidirectional carbon fibers used on this frame (Toray 40T-30T-T700)
    • Of course you find a tapered head tube, an X-12 rear axle and a PF bottom bracket (here a PF30/73), full carbon dropouts and post mount brake bosses (160mm)
    • Interestingly all cables run externally – which with the intended use of racing in mind makes absolute sense for quick repairs and change of components.
    • At 1970 gr. (without shock) it is very light, but not the light est around
    • There are three sizes (43 cm = 17” / 48 cm = 19” / 53 cm = 21”)

But let´s have a look at the suspension. As you can see, BIANCHI has turned to a 4 Bar system with a true Horst link for full braking independence that provides 100 mm of travel. The design is such that pedal kickback is kept really low. What is unusual is that the Methanol FS is deliberately designed to be ridden much like a hardtail (with a locked out suspension), and to open up the suspension primarily for rough trails and the downhills. For that purpose the MAGURA shock does not have a platform damping, but is either open or completely locked. Again, no Compromises but pure racing performance – that is what the BIANCHI´s engineers had in mind when designing the Methanol FS.

Looking at the new BIANCHI it becomes apparent that Design and aesthetics are just as deeply rooted in BIANCHI´s Italian mentality, as is Racing and technology. As such the bike to me looks very unique and beautiful – especially in the matte carbon/celeste color! I love the looks of it!

There will be 3 models of the bike and one frame kit.

The top end Methanol 29.1 FS will come with a XX gearing, FSA contributes the K-Force Light dual cranks (24/38t), post, bar and stem. The wheels are FULCRUM Red Metal XL wheels (special CARBON TI W-Wheels with Crest rims are an upgrade option) with HUTCHINSON Piranha tires. Braking and suspension duties are all handled by the top of the line MAGURA parts – MT8 R fork with remote (the same we currently have on test – first impressions coming soon ), a TS RL shock and MT8 brakes. This complete bike (and the framekit) will have the honor of wearing the traditional Celeste color – the other ones come in a equally appealing black/red finish.

The Methanol 29.2 FS will have the identical frame and suspension components but be down spec’ed one category – SRAM X.0 gearing, MT 4 brakes, SUNRINGLE Black Flag Pro 29″er wheels (with FULCRUM Red Metal XL or the CARBON TIs as upgrade options) and FSA Afterburner components.

The Methanol 29.4 FS takes things on to the SHIMANO side, running on XT gears, FULCRUM Red Power wheels, MT4 brakes and FSA V-Drive componentry. The high end fork and shock remain throughout the range.

Summing up my report I see, prices and weights have not been communicated yet … I will try to chase these facts down while still attending the Eurobike show, which is revealing more and more interesting news.

Stay tuned as we continue our coverage of the EUROBIKE trade show 2012.