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Thread: Beater Bianchi

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    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Beater Bianchi

    Photos will have to wait (currently in the shed and we're getting a deluge here) but I picked up a blue Bianchi folding bike for $35 today. I've never had, seen or ridden one before and I just love it! So much so it's making me wonder about keeping my trusty Worksman steed in the stable any longer.

    The bike looks all of $35. Heavy silver paint on the chrome, some dry rot on the tires, a chunk taken out of the seat, but rides nicely, turns on a dime (the Worksman is a bit of a pig when it comes to handling) and breaks down into nothing. For once, I can ride with my kids at the park instead of jogging along!

    I did want to ask the other folding folks on here: is there a way to keep the bike folded? I figured the easiest way was to rig up an old backpack strap (nylon band and buckle) and just cinch it up around the frame. But sometimes my wealth of ignorance astounds even me and thought it best to ask.

    There may even come a day where I'll be taking this on the train with me. Any pointers, carrying methods (bags, packs) or etiquette I should know about in advance? Thanks.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnePieceCrankNJ View Post
    Photos will have to wait (currently in the shed and we're getting a deluge here) but I picked up a blue Bianchi folding bike for $35 today. I've never had, seen or ridden one before and I just love it! So much so it's making me wonder about keeping my trusty Worksman steed in the stable any longer.

    The bike looks all of $35. Heavy silver paint on the chrome, some dry rot on the tires, a chunk taken out of the seat, but rides nicely, turns on a dime (the Worksman is a bit of a pig when it comes to handling) and breaks down into nothing. For once, I can ride with my kids at the park instead of jogging along!

    I did want to ask the other folding folks on here: is there a way to keep the bike folded? I figured the easiest way was to rig up an old backpack strap (nylon band and buckle) and just cinch it up around the frame. But sometimes my wealth of ignorance astounds even me and thought it best to ask.

    There may even come a day where I'll be taking this on the train with me. Any pointers, carrying methods (bags, packs) or etiquette I should know about in advance? Thanks.

    Scott
    Is this a Bianchi Fretta? Which is a Japanese branded Birdy.

    Also vaguely remember Bianchi having a Raleigh type folder back in the 60s.

  3. #3
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    Is this a Bianchi Fretta? Which is a Japanese branded Birdy.

    Also vaguely remember Bianchi having a Raleigh type folder back in the 60s.
    I bought this fast (just finished grocery shopping when the seller called back; a race against the ice cream!) and remember the ad saying something about it being a Bianchi. Upon further inspection...





    It's a Picnik. Made in Italy (tag still on the tube), so we'll chalk this up to a noob mistake.

    Scott

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I once had a Bianchi with that frame. I've also seen the frame with Nealeco badges. First I'd heard of Picnik.

    My Bianchi had caliper brake on the rear also.

    Fun little bike.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  5. #5
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Just Googling "folding bike" pictures brings up plenty of bikes with a similar frame style. With a half dozen welds and some bent tubing, they were probably ridiculously easy to produce.

    I love this bike! I'd like to find a front rack for it as well (similar to some of the Bike Friday bikes I've seen on here). Anyone know of a good manufacturer? I'm thinking the small tire size won't allow for your standard size front rack to work without serious modifications.

    Scott

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Dahon's got one.
    http://www.amazon.com/Dahon-Travelle.../dp/B003NAL2XI

    I wonder if it can be installed with a caliper brake, though.

    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #7
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Seems roomy enough. And, with a coaster brake, isn't the caliper sort of redundant?

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    Schwinnasaur Schwinnsta's Avatar
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    You really should have both. There is nothing wrong with a coaster brake except that it is on the rear wheel. So if you use it alone, your center of gravity tends to pivot the bike around the front wheel taking weight away from the rear wheel. It os your weight times the friction factor of your tire material that provides the stopping power. So a brake on the front tire is inherently more effective. Same with cars too.

  9. #9
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
    You really should have both. There is nothing wrong with a coaster brake except that it is on the rear wheel. So if you use it alone, your center of gravity tends to pivot the bike around the front wheel taking weight away from the rear wheel. It os your weight times the friction factor of your tire material that provides the stopping power. So a brake on the front tire is inherently more effective. Same with cars too.
    Just for fun, I tried stopping on my street using all potential variables (coaster brake alone, hand brake alone, coaster and hand brake). The coaster provided that fun-as-a-kid tire skid and predictable slide out to the side. Hand brake alone I could feel my body lifting slightly off the seat (not the best feeling when all you're wearing is a derby hat). The combo, indeed did prove the best: a solid stop with minimal lifting of the hindquarters. I'll keep the caliper.

    Scott

  10. #10
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    I did ask around at another site (www.foldingcyclist.com; hope I won't get my hand smacked for mentioning a similar site) and asked the site owner about Picnik bikes. His response:
    This was most likely a private label bike. It is a common "U-frame" folding bike design from the 1970's. The frame was most probably made in Yugoslavia and imported to Italy and fitted with Italian parts - handlebars, seat, etc. While I've never heard of the "Picnik" brand, there are literally dozens of similar private label bikes whose names are ones I've never heard of. One of the more prominent Italian brands, Bianchi also imported a similar frame.
    So the Picnik is no real picnic. Still love it, though.

    Scott

  11. #11
    Senior Member philski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnePieceCrankNJ View Post
    Just Googling "folding bike" pictures brings up plenty of bikes with a similar frame style. With a half dozen welds and some bent tubing, they were probably ridiculously easy to produce.
    Yup, I have a "HYDA BIKE" (punny!) with the same geometry and locking mechanism. A great little bike.

  12. #12
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    I have a red one of these. I bought it over a year ago, but what I gathers was it was basically the same bike as the Bianchi. The guy I sold my previous folders a Dahon and a Bickerton said they same thing. He knew alot about folding bikes he said he had at least 80 in storage. I am getting ready to sell mine. I paid $30 for mine and it was mostly rideable. Its in better shape now and I put some dropbars on it and a front brake and the levers. I liked this better than the other folders I had because the seat actually went up high enough.

    My SUV is a bicycle

  13. #13
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    I'm so delighted to find another Picnik owner! I've been examining the frame and was pretty sure there was a large decal missing off the front (as well as wondering what the chain guard looks like). I like the drop bars, but I may go with a straight bar if I can find one...ahem... "pearl diving" (trash picking). Also really love the rear pack; who's the maker? Seeing how much better condition yours is, I almost feel cheated.

    Not that I've had much experience with folders, but I do like the fact that this teeny little bike can accommodate a 6'1" Clydesdale like myself and not make me eat my kneecaps while pedaling.

  14. #14
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    Even $35 for a frame would be worth it really. I had issues with the little bolt screw or whatever that was on the stem so I ended up putting a quick release seat-bolt through there instead. Its hard to get the right diameter of handlebar if you are just going on trial and error. I can't find my caliper to measure it, but that might be a good idea. I found it hard to get the handlebar and stem to snug up so if a straight bar fits how you ride that might be the way to go especially at your weight. Its a big bonus that you can switch the handlebars out on these bikes. I have a Dahon Boardwalk 6 that I bought on CL and I would have felt like I overpaid at $100 for it if it didn't have the same feature. I need to get my wife to check it out and see if she would ever ride the thing. If not I can start modifying it to my tastes. =)

    If you want pics of anything on my bike to compare let me know. I am going to be putting it on CL in a couple weeks as part of my downsizing of my bikes. Oh the rear rack bag is a Jandd. I think its this one, but I don't know for sure. I have had mine for at least 5 years and I bought it used at a thrift store.

    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FRRP
    My SUV is a bicycle

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    Collector of Useless Info
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    Here's mine, before and after.





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    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Great minds must think alike, CM. I was going with a play on the word "Picnik" and paint the bike in a food-y color, either a nice guacamole green or a orange creamsicle color. Since you've got the quac, I'll bring dessert...

    Is the stem and handlebars from another Picnik or did you fit something else to it? I also see that yours has a bracket for a rear set of calipers, unlike monsterpile's bike and mine. Does it have a coaster brake as well? Just curious. I also really like the whitewalls, that sets off the look just perfectly.

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

  17. #17
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Monsterpile:

    I'll break out my caliper and give everything a good going over before I start hunting down parts. Nothing is more depressing than finding a way-cool accessory for a steal and then discover it won't fit without some... massaging (sadly, often with a dead blow hammer).

    I'll send you a PM about pics of things I may want to see. I was thinking of remaking the decals, but that's a lot of trouble for a private label bike. While I can appreciate a Concours d'Elegance level restoration, my bike's are meant to be ridden, loaded down, fallen off of and generally used like a rented pack mule.

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

  18. #18
    Senior Member Russcoles11's Avatar
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    Will it get a wicker (picnic) basket?

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    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russcoles11 View Post
    Will it get a wicker (picnic) basket?
    Methinks not!!! It sounds like Scott is gonna work it till it drops - maybe cook it and eat it later - I don't know.


    Note to self - Keep Scott far away from Sybil (my R20) and Big Bertha (my trike).

    P.S. cycle maven - What a great "before and after". Love the color and I like how the grips and white wall tires compliment each other.
    Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 03-16-11 at 08:15 PM.

  20. #20
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russcoles11 View Post
    Will it get a wicker (picnic) basket?
    Complete with a baguette, a wheel of brie and an aging copy of French poetry.

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

  21. #21
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyFlorida View Post
    Methinks not!!! It sounds like Scott is gonna work it till it drops - maybe cook it and eat it later - I don't know.
    You laugh, but have you tried my boiled cable casing with meat sauce? Delish!

    I guess I've met too many guys who insist on owning a bike that might have been hand forged by blind Albanian monks and seem shocked to even consider the idea of riding it, much less outside. Whattaya gonna do, put it under glass and make it a coffee table?

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

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    Senior Member philski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
    Very nice. Mine is a "HYDA BIKE" and it's a darker lime green color. I am hoping to have a friend powdercoat it in a nice electric green. I love the look of your bike.

    Mine has the original handlebars and seat but I'm thinking of replacing the original handlebars with drop bars and integrate the brake cables in the frame, to keep the clean lines but the emergency brakes. Also planning on "fixing" it...

    again, my compliments to your refurbishment!

  23. #23
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    Some Progress

    Well, the bike fairies have been generous. A few weeks ago, they started prepping a house down the street for demolition and one of the first items delivered was a huge dumpster. Of course that means anyone with trash to spare is quick to hurl it into the gaping maw of the empty container (hopefully without getting caught). I, the picker, am on the opposite end of this food chain. One of the first items in was a nondescript BMX bike that someone quickly painted in brown and green. How quickly? Quick enough they didn't even bother to remove/cover the handlebar grips, wheels, gears, nuttin'. This stunning artistry was capped off with random brand names and comments poorly scrawled on with a Sharpie. Fortunately, they didn't eradicate the pedigree completely:



    A Magna Rip Claw. I gutted the carcass and kept the rims and other useable parts for the Picnik. I'm thinking these rims will make a nice replacement to the existing ones, although again my ignorance usually makes it into the room 15 minutes before me so speak up if I'm about to do something painfully idiotic. If nothing else, the seat seems a suitable replacement to the existing one.

    I also landed some paint for the bike. I had hoped to do a custom mix color at Sherwin Williams, but it would have meant buying an entire gallon to get the color and type I needed. Instead I got a can of their Rust Control primer and a can of Rust Control in Gloss Safety Orange. The upside: terrifically cheap ($6.78 with tax for both cans; they had a 40% off deal this weekend). The downside: the cans have those cheap blue plastic nozzles. Whenever I've used one, they spit like a feral cat and make the paint look like it was wiped down with an orange peel. Once the weather warms up some, I'll put the cans to the test and let you know how things turned out.

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

  24. #24
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    Good salvaging on your part. Hope the rims work out. Like the idea of the Gloss Safety Orange color.

    It's funny but I like light colors on bikes, as long as it isn't mine. Go figure.

    Wow!!! The painting of that BMX sounds a lot like the painting of the R20 I got from a thrift store.

    It actually looked like someone stepped back from the bike and sprayed painted anything that wasn't masked off. This meant they sprayed over cable housing, pedal arms and parts of the brakes, rack, handlebar, stem, seatpost and fenders that weren't covered well. What a mess.

  25. #25
    Member OnePieceCrankNJ's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if there's some trend with painting a bike like that. I saw another kid on a bike recently where everything except the seat was lemon yellow. There wasn't even the thought of trying to hide how poorly it was done: blowback along the tire walls, the pedals, everywhere. It's likely a safe bet if I went to the kid's house I'd find a lemony yellow outline of said bike on the driveway.

    Is it to mark a bike as yours? Limit theft? Hide a Wal-Mart bike amongst pricier bike-shop bikes? I have no idea.

    Scott
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. - H.G. Wells

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