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Old 03-23-11, 02:16 PM   #1
dynne
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Advice upgrading my Tange Bianchi from Taiwan

Hello,

First time posting in Mechanics thread. Always appreciate any advice I can get from more experienced wrenchers.

I just purchased my dream bike, an early 1990's Bianchi Alfana with a full Shimano 600 Tri-Color group. I believe it's currently stock, with 2x8 down-tube indexed shifters. I'd like to swap to STIs, but try to keep it as original as possible, and of course budget is always an issue.

Parts I can take from another bike and my parts bins include a set of Tiagra 3x9's, (newer) 105 front and rear derailleurs, a relatively fresh 9 speed cassette, and a new 9 speed chain.

Solutions I've envisioned

1. Install brifters with alternative cable routing a la Sheldon Brown and cross my fingers.
2. Swap out for 9 speed cassette and only adjust front derailleur with alternative cable routing. But then I might have a problem with running a 9 speed chain on a crankset that might be incompatible.
2. Purchase the new Shimano ST-R500 STI Flight Deck 2x8 Lever Set which should run fine with brazed on cable-stops. Relatively cheap using my own derailleurs if 600 isn't STI-compatible.
3. Treat myself to new/used Rival SRAM group (hard to justify)

I really enjoy the feel of the brake levers I have now over the Tiagra STIs. It appears as if the ST-R500s operate more similarly to what I have now. Is this correct?

Please let me know your thoughts. I'm sure this is more simple than I'm making it out to be and that a few other brains would be able to make a plan. I'd just like to get it right the first time.

I promise excellent before and after pictures if all goes well. Thanks!

Dynne
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Old 03-23-11, 02:29 PM   #2
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If you have an 8 speed indexed derailleur then the 9 speed STI levers will work perfectly with a 9 speed cassette and chain. The crank should work fine, too, with no need to change F derailleur cable routing.

If you can find a NOS set of ultegra 9 speed or 8 speed sti levers that would be great as tiagra is a step down in quality (but it will probably make little difference in performance
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Old 03-23-11, 03:16 PM   #3
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So the 9 speed chain will fit on the crankset I have?
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Old 03-23-11, 04:24 PM   #4
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Yes.
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Old 03-23-11, 05:20 PM   #5
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a '90s Alfana would have had 105 as the OEM group until '95 when it gained RSX STI group.

what color is your Alfana?
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Old 03-23-11, 05:26 PM   #6
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No need to swap out the derailers, unless your newer 105 FD is meant for 9 speeds, as it might provide better shifting than the original 600 unit when used with a 9 speed chain and cassette.

If it were my bike and I had those parts I'd probably put on the Tiagra brifters, 9 speed cassette and chain and call it a day. But if you want to keep your original brake levers bar-end shifters are another option. You can get them in 8, 9, or even 10 speed depending on how much you want to change the drivetrain.
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Old 03-23-11, 08:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
a '90s Alfana would have had 105 as the OEM group until '95 when it gained RSX STI group.

what color is your Alfana?
The bike is Fuscia, I guess. I need to polish it a bit to see the true shimmer. It's radically ugly, but in a good way. Like a pug.

Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'm gonna run the 2x9 brifters and upgrade the front derailleur to the modern 105. If I don't care for it, then I'll swap some bar end shifters on and see how that works.

Now I just need some warm weather!!
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Old 03-24-11, 06:57 AM   #8
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Unless your existing FD is damaged I don't think there is any reason to replace it.

Read this article...
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/speeds.html
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Old 03-24-11, 11:13 AM   #9
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Thanks for the link, SmallieB.

Great to hear that this will be very simple and I can keep my drive-train matching!

I don't have pictures yet, but anyone with knowledge of Bianchi's (cough cough, Bianchigirll) have a clue which years the Alfana was offered in this pinkish/purple color here?

http://s305.photobucket.com/albums/n...current=01.jpg

The link above is listed as a 1994, and is identical to mine except for the STI's and the down-tube stickers. Didn't RSX start in 1995? Bikepedia doesn't list colors or have images, so it's hard to tell the model year for my own. But the color should really narrow it down.

Thanks for everyone's help so far.
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