Bianchi San Jose - long term reviews/opinions?
I am hoping to add a new bike to the stable this spring, and my mind is turning back to the idea of a singlespeed. Cyclocross SS's appeal to me because you can run fatter tires, knobbies, etc., plus I'm very comfortable with my ability to adjust canti brakes.
Does anyone out there have any long-term opinions on the San Jose? What has held up well, what hasn't etc.? Any issues with the crank or wheelset? My commute has a little bit of climbing, so I'm wary about cranking the crap out of it.
Those of you who commute singlespeed- do you have a ton of hills to contend with? How long did it take you to get comfortable with no gears?
I bought a San Jose in Oct, 2006 for commuting. I've swapped the pedals (of course) and seat. I added a rear rack & fenders. My commute is pretty flat but it's also straight and we sometimes get strong headwinds here in the afternoons so I added a Dos ENO freewheel and a 2nd chainring so that I can gear down for windy afternoons before I leave work without having to flip the wheel (hard to do with fenders).
It fits me perfectly, and I love it. The frame seems strong, as you'd expect a cross bike to be.
I don't have a san jose, but I do commute on a SS. I have a large hill that I go up to my volunteer job. Then down the same hill on the way home. You may tinker with the gearing alot, until it is what you want. Mine is a compromise, I can climb the hill, but mostly coast down it. When it comes to the compromise, err on the side of hill climbing, not top speed. Remember today you may feel like a super-biker, but there will be days when you are under the weather, it's windy, rainy, or other things that will slow you down.
I have a San Jose, but I rebuilt the wheels and added a Nexus 8 (red-band) to the rear.
To me it's not the hills (there are none here) but the wind. I ride my 42-19 Nexus in 5th (direct) a lot but a 10 mph headwind will drop me to 4th gear and a 10 mph tailwind will push me up to 6th.
I simply cannot ride 12 miles home against a bad wind in the wrong gear - my knees will not tolerate grinding at all.
As for the bike otherwise, I find it to be very nice indeed. Mine runs a rack, fenders, clipless and my own seat preference.
sic transit gloria mundi
Well, my primary ride is not San Jose but 2006 Volpe which is San Jose + gears. I put about 3K mile on it with no problems whatsoever. I just added Planet Bike fenders, Brooks B17 saddle, Continental Gatorskin 28 mm tires & Delta stem riser. It's just a great all-around bike suitable for commuting/touring/club rides/training. As far as the single speeds go, I just do not like them because just like the previous poster not only I do not like the headwind but also do not really enjoy killing myself by climbing the hills. Also, I really like going fast downhill. Did you ever try doing 40mph downhill on a single speed? I think not, 'cause I pass them by by dozen here in NY Prospect Park. The single speeds are suitable for flat 3 mile commutes but mostly for show off IMHO.