Bianchi is a legendary brand within the road bike world, but the Italian brand has always offered a mountain bike range alongside their skinny tyred offerings. This Nitron 9.4 is very much a classic cross-country race and marathon machine, but it's also the most affordable bike in the range to get the benefit of all their carbon fibre know-how.
Despite sitting at the more affordable end of the race-bike market with a £1,650 price tag, the Nitron still has a pretty impressive 12.1kg weight in this large frame thanks to a 29" wheeled carbon frame that it shares with more expensive bikes in the Nitron range.
It doesn't get the vibration absorbing Countervail technology seen on the top end Methanol, but you still get shapely unbraced seatstays that should offer a bit of give, plus deep section chainstays paired to a chunky bottom bracket area to help power transfer. Most importantly of all, this 9.4 model is the 'right' colour - Bianchi Celeste green.
Plugged into the tapered headtube are a set of RockShox Judy Gold forks, which offer up 100mm of travel and use a Motion Control damper with bar-mounted lockout. As you'd expect of a modern bike Boost hub spacing is seen front and rear along with through axles, with the Formula hubs lacked to tubeless-ready WTB i23 rims. The rubber is extremely racey in the form of Kenda's lightly treaded 2.2" Honey BadgerXC Pro. For the task of riding up, down and along at race pace, they'll probably do just fine - but we imagine mud isn't their forte.
Shimano does both drivetrain and brakes, with an 11spd Deore 11-40T rear cassette paired to a 36/26T double at the front. The non-series brakes are one place where it looks like a price-point has had to be met, but previous experience shows they work well enough in practice and it's nice to see that they've gone for a 180mm rotor up front, something often overlooked on race bikes. The build is rounded out with some own brand finishing kit plus a Selle Royale saddle.
We're going to be taking this mean green machine for some big old rides and maybe even a spot of racing, so check back with us soon for a full review.
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