TUSTIN, Calif. — In electric bikes, Bianchi this week went from zero to 100.
The 133-year-old Italian bike manufacturer on Monday formally released its full lineup of e-bikes to the U.S. market, a lineup centered around the e-Omnia triad of e-bikes that includes a touring model, city model and full-suspension eMTB.
Bianchi dropped a total of six new e-bike models during the premier event, including several high-end performance variations that you’d expect from a company known best for its thoroughbred race bikes. Those included an all-mountain eMTB called the T-Tronic, the ultralight (~26 lb) E-Aria electric road bike and the aluminum-framed E-Impulso electric gravel bike. But, while the company’s heritage of competition and speed was on full display, center stage of it all was the E-Omnia family and its focus on form, function, safety and sustainable everyday transportation.
“This is the beginning of a shift at Bianchi,” Pat Hus, CEO of Bianchi USA said at the event. “We are a company that’s been a road race company for years and years and years. We’re not stupid though; we know the market is changing and we know we need to be in the e-bike space, and this is just the beginning of that.”
Hus said this week’s initial launch, which Bianchi held at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin, California, was just the first of several e-bike launches from the brand that’ll happen over the next six months. At least two more families consisting of 12 more e-bikes are in the pipeline, he said, and several Bianchi employees hinted specifically at a new electric gravel bike currently in the works (they wouldn’t cough up any more details, no matter how many times I asked).
“E-Omnia is just the start, there is a ton (more) coming,” Hus said during the Bianchi premier. “If I were to show you a pie chart right now of our business you’d see it’s 90 percent road. In three years, that will be 60 percent road and 40 percent e-bikes — that’s how quickly and how aggressively we’re coming after the e-bike market.”
Though it’s been no secret that Bianchi e-bikes were in the works, Monday’s premier event in California was the first time dealers and the cycling press got to see any of the bikes in person. Bianchi teased it’s e-bikes back in 2019 with the release of the futuristic (and exceedingly cool) E-SUV concept eMTB which serves as the inspiration for the entire E-Omnia lineup.
The E-Omnia lineup released this week is available for order but, just like everything in the bike world right now, availability is limited. Few of these bikes currently exist on U.S. soil but more will arrive soon; Hus said several shipping containers full of bikes are currently “on the water” en route to U.S. dealers and customers.
To the bikes:
Bianchi E-Omnia T Type:
The T Type was the only member of the E-Omnia family at this week’s premier that was available for testing. The “T” in its name stands for “Tourer,” but it’s stout Class 3 motor and built-in rack makes it a solid daily commuter.
It shares the same gravity forged angular aluminum frame we see in the other E-Omina bikes, but this version comes in a high step and mid-step option.
A Bosch Performance Speed motor capable of Class 3 (28 mph) speed is built into the bottom bracket and a 625Wh Bosch Powertube battery is hidden inside the frame. It’s got a Velomann suspension seatpost to smooth out bumps and a SR Suntour 120mm XCM34 front air fork with boost hub spacing and a thru axle for added stiffness.
It’s spec’d with a Shimano XT 12-speed rear derailleur and a Deore shifter, which makes for a really solid and crisp shifting commuter drivetrain. Like all the other E-Omnia bikes, it’s chock-full of thoughtful features like front, rear and side integrated lights, a Bosch Purion display and an extremely stout looking rear rack that’s welded to the frame. Bianchi couldn’t say how much weight that rear rack is capable of holding, but accessories are available for an integrated child seat and pannier bags and a Bianchi rep assured me the rack would easily hold a full-size adult.
We didn’t have lots of time on the T Type, but the bike rode exceptionally smooth during our short test ride. I’m usually a seatpost suspension skeptic (they can sometimes ride like a cheap pogo-stick) but the Velomann felt plush and supportive, especially paired with the SR Suntour fork. We’re seeing more high-end commuter bikes spec’d with mountain bike drivetrains and the Shimano XT rear derailleur that comes on the T Type seems to be the industry’s go-to of the bunch. It shifts crisp and the clutch mechanism keeps the chain from slapping the frame, even when romping over speed bumps and curbs.
The Bosch Performance Speed motor is one of my all-time favorites for commuting. Its responsiveness is top-tier and it gets up to speed very quickly. The bike in general rides well, especially considering it’s a little on the hefty side. Several Bianchi reps noted that the gravity forging process, while good for making unique shapes out of aluminum, is a heavier framebuilding method. Bianchi hasn’t published the weight of the E-Omnia bikes yet, but I was told the T Type likely clocks in around 60 lbs.
At $6,000, the T Type is likely going to be a commuter for people who’ve already discovered e-bikes and are sold on their transportation potential. In Europe, Bianchi’s got a fuller lineup of bikes including some more affordable options, and with the promise of more e-bike launches in the coming months it’s going to be interesting to see if the E-Omnia bikes start showing up at cheaper price points.
The C Type is Bianchi’s city e-bike. This one was not available for demo rides during the premier, but a sample model was on display.
The C Type is a step-thru e-bike with a low-slung bottom bracket for easy getting on and off. It shares the same angular gravity forged frame found on the other E-Omnia bikes but lacks a top tube and comes in black or white.
Like the T Type, the C Type is equipped with a Bosch Performance Speed motor capable of Class 3 speeds and a stout 625Wh battery. Hus said these motors were spec’d special for the American iteration on the E-Omnia bikes. In Europe, where e-bike top speeds are more restricted, the entire E-Omnia family comes with the Bosch Performance CX motor but that was swapped because “over here, people just have a different expectation of speed,” said Maxwell Frost, Bianchi USA’s marketing director.
The drivetrain is full 10-speed Shimano Deore and it lacks the suspension seatpost found on the T Type but shares the same SR Suntour fork with the travel reduced to 100mm.
At $5,700, the C Type is slightly cheaper than the T Type but it’s still geared toward the higher-end of the commuter e-bike market. Its expected to start being delivered by September of this year.
It shares much of the same integration and angular aluminum frame design as its siblings in the E-Omnia family, but with an asymmetrical rear suspension design that moves the drive-side chainstay above the chain, which Bianchi says reduces chain slap. Though it’s built as a true trail bike, the FX Type retains the same front, rear and side integrated lights found on the commuter and city bikes.
Bianchi spec’d the FX Type with the eMTB-specific Bosch Performance CX motor capable of 85Nm of torque and a 625 Wh battery. Like the T Type, it also has a mixed Shimano drivetrain with a XT 12-speed rear derailleur and Deore shifter. Suspension is handled by FOX, with a 160mm Float 36 Rhythm fork and a Float DPS Performance shock in the rear. The brakes are Shimano Deore MT520 4-piston hydraulic with 203mm rotors front and rear.
The FX Type is priced at $7,500 and is also expected to begin arriving in the U.S. in about September.
THE OTHERS: The Aria electric road bike, E-Impulso electric gravel bike and T-Tronic eMTB
Also on display at the E-Omnia premier were Bianchi’s performance-oriented e-bikes, including the Aria electric road bike, E-Impulso electric gravel bike and T-Tronic eMTB.
The Aria eRoad bike is exactly what you’d expect from Bianchi: A lightweight and racy thoroughbred that Bianchi says weighs in at just 26 lbs, which is remarkably light for an e-bike. Both the Aria and the aluminum-framed E-Impulso are powered by the lightweight EBIKEMOTION X35 rear hub motor that produces 250W of assistance and runs off a 250Wh integrated battery.
The T-Tronic is an all-mountain eMTB powered by the Shimano STEPS EP8 motor and a custom 630Wh battery. There will be several spec levels of the T-Tronic available in the U.S. ranging in price from $4,100 to several thousand more. All three of these bikes have much more traditional styling than the E-Omnia family and are geared more towards cycling enthusiasts.
There are additionally two other members of the E-Omnia family that are not currently being brought into the U.S., but might be imported if there’s enough demand. That’s the FT Type, a full suspension version of the T Type touring bike, and the X Type, which is a hardtail version of the F Type eMTB.