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Old 05-18-06, 10:08 PM   #1
swillert
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Help ID an old Bianchi?

My mother bought this bike in 1972, and I've had it for the past 10 years or so. By now most of the decals have worn off, and I have no idea what the model is. I don't think it's worth much, but I'm curious to know what I've got. The brakes have been replaced and the rear derailleur is Suntour, front derailleur is Campy. The original leather seat is still around, just not on there at the moment.
If someone could help me ID it, or recommend a good place to look, I'd appreciate it!

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Old 05-18-06, 10:10 PM   #2
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That is a beautiful bike! I'll try and ID it for you if I have a little time, though others might be able to do it faster.

Is that a matching classic celeste pump? Awesome.
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Old 05-19-06, 11:08 AM   #3
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Thanks!
Yeah, that is the original celeste pump. The rubber in the pump nozzle is, of course, totally disintegrated by now and non-functional, but I like to ride around with it anyway.
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Old 05-19-06, 11:53 AM   #4
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I can't help ID it, but couldn't help but notice the two front chain rings being almost the same size....
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Old 05-19-06, 12:14 PM   #5
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Interesting

Interesting bike and unusual color...and pretty amazing that you still got the original pump...I dont keep pumps on my bikes anymore, I dont know how many I have had stolen... at least around here it seems people just steal pumps for the fun of it


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Thanks!
Yeah, that is the original celeste pump. The rubber in the pump nozzle is, of course, totally disintegrated by now and non-functional, but I like to ride around with it anyway.
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Old 05-19-06, 12:51 PM   #6
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So the proportions of the front chain rings are unusual?
My mother calimed it was a racing bike (it had lace-up wheels originally). Could that explain the chain ring sizes?
That might also explain why this bike is a bear going up hills!
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Old 05-19-06, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swillert
So the proportions of the front chain rings are unusual?
My mother calimed it was a racing bike (it had lace-up wheels originally). Could that explain the chain ring sizes?
That might also explain why this bike is a bear going up hills!
Yeah - that's not a climbing bike...... If I had to ride close gear ratios like that around here, I'd be pushing the bike most of the time.
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Old 05-19-06, 02:38 PM   #8
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It looks like a classic "bike boom" bike of the early 70's. Bianchi, along with many other Italian builders were cramming the supply chain with "gas pipe" bikes to fill the demand for "10 speed" bikes in North America.

Besides the great Bianchi graphics, and of course the Celeste color it really doesn't have a value beyond the sentimentality of it belonging to your Mother. I would make a fixed gear out of that old war horse and use it for sunday coffee runs.

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Old 05-19-06, 02:39 PM   #9
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heh. wow, this is well timed. I just scored a very similar bike from ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=7239837323

serial is 2G69895. it arrived last night and I'm in love.

this is my first bikeforums post, and I just signed up to ask you wise folks if you knew more about this bike!
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Old 05-19-06, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjp
It looks like a classic "bike boom" bike of the early 70's. Bianchi, along with many other Italian builders were cramming the supply chain with "gas pipe" bikes to fill the demand for "10 speed" bikes in North America.
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hrm. it feels awfully light for hi-ten.
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Old 05-19-06, 03:18 PM   #11
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vjp: When you say "gas pipe" bikes, does that mean heavy, clunky "look-alike" bikes? (At least that's the idea I get from jameshome's response). I agree, it's probably not worth much aside from sentimental value, but it is a relatively light bike. I was test riding some new Bianchis a few weeks ago, and there wasn't much of a weight difference between them and my old beater.
jameshome: That is an awfully similar bike! I hope you enjoy it! As much as I get frustrated with the gear-ratio and shifting on mine, I'm really happy with the fit & feel of the frame.
p.s. "hi-ten"? What's that? (Yes, I'm a newbie)
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Old 05-19-06, 03:43 PM   #12
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Cool bike, I just got one almost identical to this from my brother in law. he's had it in his garage for 25+years. I assumed from the serial number it was a 71. If yours was purchased new in 72 then that would make sense. Mine is darker blue. What's remaining of the decals look just like that as well as a lot of the pieces and parts. I'm going to convert to a single speed commuter bike after a cleaning/painting.
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Old 05-19-06, 04:37 PM   #13
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Clearly the brake levers are not original (they are aero type which is more mid 1980's) and I'm guessing that many of the other parts have been changed. The original gearing was probably half-step which would explain the close gears in the front, but you should have a freewheel with wider spacing in the back. I'd guess that originally the freewheel had a much larger largest cog, but when the Suntour RD was put on it couldn't handle such a large freewheel and hence a closer spaced freewheel was put on. Purely speculation here.
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Old 05-19-06, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swillert
So the proportions of the front chain rings are unusual?
My mother calimed it was a racing bike
What you have is what's known as half-step gearing. According to Sheldon Brown, "In the days of 4- and 5-speed freewheels, 8- and 10-speed bikes were commonly set up with chainwheels that were very close in size, for instance, 46/49, or 47/50. When used with typical freewheels of the era, the difference between the two front gears was about half as large as the difference between adjacent gears on the freewheel. (One reason for this was that early front derailers couldn't handle much more than a 3-tooth difference reliably!)

With half-step gearing, the larger shifts are made with the rear derailer, and the front is for fine tuning. This allows an 8- or 10-speed set up to have a reasonable range with fairly close spacing of the gears. One downside of half-step is that it uses all possible combinations, including those that run the chain at a fairly severe angle. This is not a big deal in an 8-speed rig, but is kind of marginal for 10-speeds. Another serious disadvantage is that every other shift in the normal sequence is a double shift (front and rear derailers simultaneously).

Half-step gearing is most suitable for riding in flat terrain, where shifting is rare. For bicycles with few speeds, it does allow finer gradations to get as close to the "ideal" gear for the particular wind conditions as possible."

Later, cross-over gearing was more common, with a 52-42 chainwheel combination being the norm. With cross-over gears you normally shift the rear derailleur until you start running out of gears, then go to the other chainwheel and back a cog on the rear simultaneously to grab another gear.

The third type of gearing is known as "alpine", with an even bigger difference in chainwheels, that requires even fancier shifting to stay in sequence, but gives a wider range for touring.

Triple chainwheels is a whole 'nother thing. This, of course, applies to vintage bikes, not today's bikes with a zillion cogs on the freewheel, not just 4, 5 or 6.
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Old 05-19-06, 05:52 PM   #15
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It would appear to be a Bianchi Record, which was Bianchi's club racer. Club racers were the least expensive competition model. Unlike the entry level, dropped bar, 10 speeds, these bicycles were intended for novice road racers and competitotrs on a tight budget. Typically, they featured tubular/sew-up (not lace-up) wheelsets and tighter gearing, but otherwise components were generally identical to the entry level, sports/touring models, to keep costs down. The frame was generally hi-tensile steel, like the sports/touring models, but sometimes had steeper geometry and maybe an integral derailleur hanger. Comparable models from Peugeot would have been the PA10 and from Gitane, the Interclub.

In this case, the original rear derailleur would have been a Campagnolo Valentino. Given the racing application, the rear cogs look about the correct size. With half-step gearing, a 24T was common, certainly nothing bigger than a 28T. My racing bicycle from that era came with a low gear of 46T/18T, which I used even the hills. These days, I require a 39T/24T to make it up the some hills!
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Old 05-19-06, 06:41 PM   #16
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thanks T-Mar!
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Old 05-19-06, 10:51 PM   #17
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Hi-ten is short advertspeak for hi tension steel: a good grade carbon steel (not chrome moly, not manganese moly). Found on less than top line bikes. The pushrod front derailleur can't deal with more than a small number of teeth difference, hence the 49-52 chainring difference in front. The original brakes were probably balilla or mafac - not the best stoppers in the world, and ones that were sensibly replaced with japanese (105?) brakes in the 80's. The rear derailleur was most likely a Valentino (campy) - again not the best derailleur in the world and replaced with a suntour v-gt or something similar.

Believe it or not, those parts indicated a pretty good bike in the early 70's, and the frame may be made of something better than hi-ten. It looks to me to be a competitor for a Raleigh super course from the same vintage.
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