All Bikes All The Time
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boise, ID
Bikes: Giant TCR 0, Lemond Zurich, Giant NRS 1, Jamis Explorer Beater/Commuter, Peugeot converted single speed
How many rear gears are on your Bianchi now? Unless it is 8 or higher, you will be hardpressed to find STI shifters that will work with the rest of your current drivetrain. If it is 8 or higher, it will just cost you $100-$infinity and can be done pretty easily.
On the other hand....if you are willing to buy an new wheel and cassette (and maybe rear der...oh, and possibly new brake calipers), you can do just about anything you want.
I am running STI on a couple of my bikes but I have opted (for now) to run downtube shifters on my 1982 Peugeot P8 (one of my main commuting bikes). It works just fine in friction mode and is infinitely adjustable. That campy friction bolt-on shifting unit sat for 15 years in the snow/rain/sun and still works like a charm. Try getting that durability out of any STI unit.
I don't find downtube shifting to be all that bad. There are two downsides, as I can see (and one is more limitted to friction mode shifting).
1: Forget shifting in a heated sprint for a city limit sign or to the top of a small hill. Better be in the right gear to begin with.
2: Friction mode often requires some minor adjustment to get it exactly in the right spot. This is usually indicated by the sound of the chain hitting the gears. Because I often commute with music, I cannot often hear the squeek and don't know I need to adjust my shifting.
Here is a pic of my P8 set up as a 1X9. It has also been a fixed gear and a single speed. Because there are now 9 gears on the rear (new wheel, new cassette, new rear der), it is finally ready to accept 9 speed brifters (handlebar mounted ones like you asked about).
As you can see, an old frame can be made to run just about any new componentry. But that componentry often requires other new componentry to run well. In this case, the newer 700 c wheels went on just fine but they often require new brakes (long reach) to work on old bikes.
Last edited by Sawtooth; 02-26-09 at 05:46 PM.