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  1. #1
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    Bianchi Commuting Options

    Hello everyone. As you can all see, I am a brand new member here. I started cycling to work (and occasionally on the trails) in April of 2007. I am currently using a 1985 Peugot Crazyhorse Mountain Bike but it is not appropriate for me since 99% of my ride is on nice, smooth concrete (with the occasional dirt clod and pebble) and I want to go faster. I can only max out at 18 mph on a flat surface with no wind with this bike.

    I have decided that I want a Bianchi due to their style and quality. The recommended frame for my body is 57-59 cm (with 58 cm being ideal). I have been searching e-bay and find the occasional Bianchi road bike that fits this description. I was all set on buying one of these road bikes (there are many different models, as you all know) until I went to my local bike shop.

    The guy that talked to me at the shop said that, if I was sticking to Bianchi, I needed to get a Volpe or an Axis because that is the only bike appropriate for commuting. This is because these are the only "cyclocross" bikes that Bianchi makes. He says that if I get a standard "road bike" with standard "road bike tires", I will get a lot of flats and I will have to put a lot of money into tires because of said flats. He also says that the skinny, no-tread road bike tires are much harder to control. Is what he says on these issues true or is it a bunch of bunk?

    He has been selling bikes for a while, but I am not sure that he is 100% accurate. I have seen lots of people riding the no tread, skinny tires on the road and the trails and they seem to get along fine, although I am not there with them all the time to see how many flats and face-plants they get.

    The problem that this creates is that it limits me severely to my bike selection and purchase. Instead of waiting for a good deal to come along on a used bike, with the many models Bianchi makes, I would need to wait for an Axis or Volpe (if what this man says is true). Due to the cost of a new Volpe this year (Axis is much more money), I am going to have to buy a used Volpe. They pop up on Ebay, but not very often.

    So the summary of my quesetion is this: Do I really need to wait around for a Volpe or Axis or can I just buy any of the road bikes that Bianchi makes and be happy? I really don't want to deal with a lot of flats or face plants, but I also want to be able to get a bike within a month or six weeks. Believe me, I am actively looking. I am not a racer by any means, but I would like to open my options up if I can.

    He also was trying to pressure me into buying a bike right now. He says that there are shortages of bikes in the popular sizes, one of which is a 58 cm frame. He said that this is because there are so many people commuting to work that he can't keep up. He says that if he orders a 2008 model, it will be $999. There are 25 Volpes left in the nation in my size and they will not make any more at this price. The 2009 models will come out in September (he called Bianchi today) and they will be $1,250. He had 2007 models in the shop, but they were not my size and they were only $840.

    I was also wondering if anyone knew of any forums out there where people could sell used bikes exclusively.

    Thanks for your patience and I really need some help here so I can get a good used Bianchi.

    Joel

  2. #2
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I'd check with another bike shop, and take a look at the Bianchi website before I bought anything from this guy.

    He's not necessarily correct about road bikes as commuters, BTW. I use a touring bike myself, but I see people riding "pure" road bikes to work every day, and almost all of them have fully inflated tires. It really depends on how much you intend to carry with you. If it's just you and your lunch, ride whatever you like, including a Cervelo if you want. If you need to carry a bunch of extra books, papers, rain gear, and like to stop at the grocery store on the way home, then you might want to consider a bike with sturdier rims and wider tires, something that can take fenders, a rack and panniers more easily.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  3. #3
    There's time now icedmocha's Avatar
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    Try different models out. I ride a pure road bike (05 Felt 70) with 23mm (skinny, no-tread) tires. I carry a backpack or mtx rack trunk (or both) with anywhere from 5lbs-30lbs.
    Last edited by icedmocha; 08-04-08 at 06:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    The part about control is total BS. The point about flats, etc. is right on. On most road bikes these days you're limited to a 23mm or so tire. They don't like gravel, glass, nails, etc. very well and your choices for armoured tires are very small. If you don't have any of that stuff on your commute it's not really an issue of course.

  5. #5
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    So on average, how long do typical road bike tires last (no tread) in regard to miles? I know they aren't as sturdy as "knobbier" tires, so that is why I ask.

    Thanks,

    Joel

  6. #6
    Senior Member madfiNch's Avatar
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    I ride a San Jose in fixed mode and I LOVE it (lucked out on Craigslist in the middle of January). However, I have to say that if I ever buy a brand new geared bike, it will either be a Volpe or a custom-put-together Surly Crosscheck... The Volpe is really cool and I would be so jealous of you, fwiw.
    I don't know where you live so I can't give you that great of advice, but I would look at other bike shops and online. First, I would spend some time on Craigslist. People buy bikes and decide they don't want them all the time. Then I would try other websites - ebay, etc...
    Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Put 16,000 miles on an all steel 2000 Bianchi Eros commuting and club rides. It was a little work putting on the full fenders - but it accepted a rack just fine. Fun sporty ride.

  8. #8
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    Lots of people commute on road bikes with 700x23 tires. I did for the past seven months until I switched to 700x25's because they're more comfortable.

    Anyhow, his spiel about road bikes in general wasn't too far off. They usually don't have provisions for mounting a rack or fenders and they usually won't allow a tire wider than 28mm.

    That said, the Volpe and Axis are both great choices as they will allow you to use wide tires, fenders and a rack but it's not like they're the only cross or touring bikes on the market. If you want a cross or touring bike, look at other brands.

    I've actually been looking at the Axis myself and at 6'2", I'm about a 58 myself. I went down to my local Bianchi dealer about three weeks ago and was told there were plenty of 59's ready to be ordered; there is no "58" in the 08' Axis, just 57, 59 and 61 sizes. So, either my dealer was wrong or he was wrong.

  9. #9
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    I had a love affair with a Bianchi Boardwalk, it was a great ride, commuted 14 miles one way, it was a hybrid, had MTB bars, no drops, STI finger shifters. I enjoyed the bike so much I made big plans for a ride across Europe on it in 00, but on a training ride, a fully loaded ride, I lifted the bike wrong and broke the seat stays that go to the chain stays. It killed my trip plans, for a moment, someone helped me out with a Trek 7600fx, but it wasn't the Bianchi. I also had no clue that it was repairable, I was so broken hearted, and never got use to that Trek, wound up selling it last year after 6 years trying to dial it in.

    I have seen the Boardwalk recently, looked rather sharp too. I would take the advice here and check the website.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

    "The more you drive, the less intelligent you become." Miller "Repo Man"

  10. #10
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Here is what I'm commuting on this summer. A 1977 Schwinn Volare a true road bike and a Bianchi tangent an early cross/hybrid as far as I know. I'm running 700 X25C tires on both and not a problem yet. The Volare runs Panaracer Pasela Tour guard with kevlar belt and the Bianchi wears Specialized Armadillos. Both are great commuters I have a set of Panniers I got from Bikenashbar and I switch both the panniers a Carradice zipped roll seat bag betweem them depending on which one I feel like riding for that week. Bottom line ride what feels good to you and don't worry about it
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

  11. #11
    South Denver Commuter Leiniesred's Avatar
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    I commute on a Bianchi...Milano.

    It comes with fenders and a chain guard to help keep me clean and dry.
    The stock 1.5 Kenda Qwest tires work fine on dry singletrack and last forever.
    Stock internal gear hub and roller brake means very little maintenance.
    If you are really into the "Bianchi" thing, it comes in "Celeste" color. (you can even get matching celeste tires)

    Sure it is a glorified cruiser bike to some. But to me it has proven to be a very reliable, low maintenance commuter. Mine has about 5,000 miles on it. The only thing I changed was the seat (for a brooks) and some tubes. I ride it 25 miles /day and 4-5 days a week.
    200? Bianchi Milano (main commuter)
    2003 Specialized Epic

  12. #12
    The Thing Itself
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    I commute 12 miles per day on a Bianchi Pista, and it works great for me.

    Of course, all I need is a change of clothes, which fits (and weighs) just fine in a messenger bag / backpack. I like the fixed gear setup not only because it's elegant, but it also makes for less maintenance - something which I think is a definite plus for a commuter bike. I also think that the handling of it is a boon for commuting in a larger city like Boston, as it makes weaving through stopped traffic to get to the head of the line that much easier.

    To commute, I added a front brake, as I'm not insane. I have a pair of SKS clip-on fenders as well, though I have yet to use them as it's been dry (or at most a light sprinkle) every day that I've ridden to work since I got them, but people seem to have good things to say about them.

    As for flats: well, they do happen, but not especially often for me. The streets around here are pretty crappy, but they're usually pretty clean.

  13. #13
    The Haberdasher BroadSTPhilly's Avatar
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    I ride an actual non-cross road bike with no fenders and no rack. My commute is between 8.5 and 13 miles in the morning for the most part and 8.5 in the evening. I carry my lunch, my clothes and usually a laptop on my commute. I get a lot less flats on this than I did when I rode a mtb with knobbies. I don't know exactly why but I do run Mr. Tuffies and have kevlar belted tires which are both useful for flat prevention. I strongly prefer smaller tire widths and although I am running 28's right now I will probably go back to 23's when these wear out. I suppose that it is correct to say that standard road tires are harder to control but it is also true that an Audi a4 is harder to control than a Dodge Caravan. What I mean is road bikes are harder to control but they also control better once you get used to them, they are more nimble and , manouverable than any other type of bike on the road. Finally I question your commitment to Bianchi. If you want one cause they are cool than fine get one. But if you just think that they are better than anything else they aren't. Especially if you are a craigslist lurker check out the older panasonics, raleighs, schwinns and the like that are all quality bikes without perhaps all the hype of bianchi
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    pancake theoretical physics is a good new direction for this thread.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV27 View Post
    The part about control is total BS. The point about flats, etc. is right on. On most road bikes these days you're limited to a 23mm or so tire. They don't like gravel, glass, nails, etc. very well and your choices for armoured tires are very small. If you don't have any of that stuff on your commute it's not really an issue of course.
    I find that I do just fine on bontrager 25 mm tires... but I also have a bike that I commute on that has the bontrager select 23 mm tires and they work fine over rough roads... I haven't tried to ride them on a
    gravel path though...

  15. #15
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    I commute on a "Dawes lightning Sport"... its a pretty inexpensive touring style of bike... unfortunately, though you can only get it off of ebay...

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