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  1. #1
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    Upgrade vs. Trade-In Discussion

    Recent returnee' to cycling. While I am in the process of fixing this, I have never had a good (OK - call it crappy) understanding of bikes. But I'm working on that. In the meantime...

    I own a late 90's vintage Bianchi purchased as a custom build of sorts from a LBS in California (I now live in NC). I honestly don't even know exactly what it is so here is some information.

    The frame is a Bianchi labeled as COLUMBUS, SPECIALATI RINFORSATA, ALLINIO NIVACROM, EXTRA EL LEGGERI, whatever that is. While it is steel I can't find any information on the Columbus website (admit that I didn't work that hard). I have no frame of reference (this is the only bike I have ever owned - at least since around 1960) but from my perspective this bike is very comfortable, handles well, etc.

    The groupset is late 90's Campy Chorus (53/39 front, 8x12/25 on the back). This works fine for me on the rolling hills around my home. Might be questionable on the low end if I were to chose a hilly century some day.

    Wheels are Mavic Open Pro with clincher tires.

    Pedals are some TIME model that uses some oddball (in my mind) cleat configuration (two piece cleats).

    My objectives are to get back into riding on a regular basis (biking fitness is not bad at the moment but it is all built off work on a spinner bike) using a century or two per year as targets/goals to keep my motivation up. I'd never ride a Crit (at least I never have) but I did a handful of road races in California. Doing that again is an outside possibility.

    So now for a question. At what point do you decide to quit upgrading your bike and trade in your current bike and buy a new one? I've got to replace my shoes so the pedals have got to go (I want something a bit more standard so I have some choices). And for a bit more money I can probably save a pound or more over what I currently lug up hills.

    I suspect that I eventually will want a somewhat lower gear than I currently have (although in the rolling hills around here I am really surprised at how often I end up in the 53/12 gear down inclines). From what I know my 'simple upgrade' choices are limited, but there are some. And, of course, you can go high end on a (for example) expensive compact crankset to save some more grams. Or go whole hog for an 11 speed groupset upgrade, probably gain a gear at both ends, save some more grams, and spend even more money.

    Tires/wheels and off we go. Or maybe save my money, replace the pedals/shoes (at least those would transfer to a new bike were I ever to buy one), work on my fitness and weight to handle the hills (or just forget about something like the 'Hilly Hellacious' or Six Gap centuries), and just be happy. It isn't like I'm riding a crummy bike.

    Just opening this up for comments - thanks.

    dave

    ps. The bike with pedals, spare tube, and tools weighs in the 21.5 pound range based on my bathroom scales. I'm guessing that for a couple grand I could drop a good 5 pounds off this.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    N+1, the stuff on that sounds serviceable but if you desire the latest top line stuff you Really need additional bikes ..

    go for the electronic shifting .

    want to shed It the C&V folks will take it off your hands ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-12-14 at 05:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    Not everyone needs a 2nd, 3rd or 4th bike.. The n+1 rule is pretty silly to me..

    The last 2 bikes I bought were new and my old bikes were donated to a coop....

    If it were me, I'd get a sparking new and shiny bike and donate the old one..

    My .02

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    Unless your bike is some kinda vintage jewel, most people won't wanna trade on it. Therefore, it's all about either selling it outright, or keeping it.

    If you keep it as an upgrade project, then you'll have to be getting something out of it, besides just an improved bicycle. Something more intangible, like fun! If it's not fun or enjoyable, then it won't get completed.

    I say, buy a new bike now, and gradually work on your project until done later...

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I vote for updating the shoes/pedals and call it good for now. You claim that the bike is comfortable- that's half the battle right there. Work on your fitness, get that first century under your belt and then you can think about buying a new bike to reward yourself.

    I'd also suggest keeping your current rig as a back-up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    Unless your bike is some kinda vintage jewel,..
    Bianchi Columbus/Nivacrom frame with Chorus components.
    Maybe not top of the line but close. That's a real nice bike.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Bianchi Columbus/Nivacrom frame with Chorus components.
    Maybe not top of the line but close. That's a real nice bike.
    Just for grins I did a bit more research and came up with the following.

    The Bicycle Info Project :: Columbus tubing chart is an interesting description of various Columbus steel tubing builds compiled by 'Equus Bikes'.

    The following is a Google translation (one word at a time) of the verbiage on the downtube

    Tubi Speciali Rinforzati = Tube Special Reinforced

    Alliaio Nivacrom = Steel Nivacrom

    Extra El Leggeri = Extra the Light

    Kind of interesting.

    dave

  8. #8
    Senior Member slorollin's Avatar
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    "The frame is a Bianchi labeled as COLUMBUS, SPECIALATI RINFORSATA, ALLINIO NIVACROM, EXTRA EL LEGGERI, whatever that is. While it is steel I can't find any information on the Columbus website (admit that I didn't work that hard). I have no frame of reference (this is the only bike I have ever owned - at least since around 1960) but from my perspective this bike is very comfortable, handles well, etc.

    The groupset is late 90's Campy Chorus (53/39 front, 8x12/25 on the back). "

    In your situation I'd hang on to my bike, clean it up, re-condition rather than replace any bad parts and if a part is beyond salvage replace it with the same. I would be proud to roll into any crowd of bikes on that baby. Like an old BMW or Mercedes it will always be classy. Should you decide to sell it, do so outright, not as a trade-in. There is a robust market for the classics. The Campy components alone are worth a pretty penny.


    The great Confucius said that he would
    rather be a profound political economist than chief of police.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Tubi Speciali Rinforzati = Tube Special Reinforced... Ie Butted tube-set ..thicker on the ends.. thinner tubewall in the middle


    maybe the Compact 50-34 will do ? I have had a Triple on my derailleur bikes , <C> "race triple" a 50,40, 30 (sub a 24t) for square taper BB .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slorollin View Post
    "The frame is a Bianchi labeled as COLUMBUS, SPECIALATI RINFORSATA, ALLINIO NIVACROM, EXTRA EL LEGGERI, whatever that is. While it is steel I can't find any information on the Columbus website (admit that I didn't work that hard). I have no frame of reference (this is the only bike I have ever owned - at least since around 1960) but from my perspective this bike is very comfortable, handles well, etc.

    The groupset is late 90's Campy Chorus (53/39 front, 8x12/25 on the back). "

    In your situation I'd hang on to my bike, clean it up, re-condition rather than replace any bad parts and if a part is beyond salvage replace it with the same. I would be proud to roll into any crowd of bikes on that baby. Like an old BMW or Mercedes it will always be classy. Should you decide to sell it, do so outright, not as a trade-in. There is a robust market for the classics. The Campy components alone are worth a pretty penny.


    Thanks for the comment. Just to be sure that I understand what you are saying here (keep in mind that I am coming from a position of 'not enough knowledge')... My thinking going into this was basically 'how many upgrade dollars' do I put into this bike before this simply makes no financial sense (vs. a new bike).

    What you are saying is (I think) is that this bike kind of 'as is' (with functional issues resolved) has a vintage value that is different than its functional value. I wasn't expecting that but maybe I misunderstand.

    FWIW, regardless the 'vintage aspect' of this bike at this point I am strongly inclined to just do the pedals/shoes and nothing else until I have further improved my fitness and (more importantly) am better informed that I am now and have a better idea of what my real requirements are.

    And thanks to all for the comments/perspective. This is a great forum.

    dave

    ps. FWIW, this bike spent 14 years in my attic. I did have my LBS do a thorough job in getting it back to road-worthiness. Lots of adjustments, cleaning, and a couple of cables plus tires but that is all that was required. But the shoes (and therefore the pedals) are a near-term priority.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
    What you are saying is (I think) is that this bike kind of 'as is' (with functional issues resolved) has a vintage value that is different than its functional value. I wasn't expecting that but maybe I misunderstand.
    Exactly right. Your cool factor among bike people is going to shoot way up whenever you ride that bike.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Exactly right. Your cool factor among bike people is going to shoot way up whenever you ride that bike.
    So the real question becomes is it enough to cancel out my uncool reality

    dave

  13. #13
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    Read the posts in this section and you will soon realize that you own a bike far superior to what most of the returning or new riders who post here own. You can change out the cassette to one with a wider range provided your Campi RD will support it. That will give you a wider gear range for the hills. 21.5 pounds with spare tools and tube is not going to win any weight weenie awards but is really decent. I kept a 21 pound Motobecane Le Champion for over 30 years and never made any upgrades to it. It had Phil Wood hubs and the other components were stock. I finally got old enough so that I could no longer ride it comfortably so I gave it away. Good bikes last for decades and just keep going. Most ordinary riders don't know the pleasure of riding a real fine bike. They think a 40 pound $100 bike is the cats meow. Little do they know.

  14. #14
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    Dave - I'd keep it as is, just replacing the shoes and pedals. Going to a high-end carbon bike won't influence your time on a century, and you've already said it's comfortable. You'll get more admiring looks on the Bianchi than you would on a new bike, along with comments from older cyclists (on carbon bikes) to the effect of, "I used to have one like that, and damn, I wish I never would have sold it."
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  15. #15
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    All the new carbon bikes these days tend to get lost in the crowd IMO. When I see something classic that is well taken care of that is what stands out to me. Unless you are doing some serious climbing the 5 pound weight difference won't matter much. If you can ride the hills well on it, and you decide to get a new lightweight bike in the future you will fly up the hills. Post some pics.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the comments. Based on these comments and other research that I have done, I am going to basically stick with this bike for the foreseeable future. When functional upgrades are required (right now pedals/shoes are a given and something lower than my current 39/25 is likely) I will be trying to preserve what this bike is which means probably spending a good bit extra (so be it). Beyond that I will be on my Bianchi for a good while.

    FWIW, I have attached a picture.

    dave

    Side.jpg

  17. #17
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
    Thanks for all the comments. Based on these comments and other research that I have done, I am going to basically stick with this bike for the foreseeable future. When functional upgrades are required (right now pedals/shoes are a given and something lower than my current 39/25 is likely) I will be trying to preserve what this bike is which means probably spending a good bit extra (so be it). Beyond that I will be on my Bianchi for a good while.

    FWIW, I have attached a picture.

    dave

    Hot. Nice little gem you had hiding in your attic.

  18. #18
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    Oh, hell yeah, I'd hang onto that!
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  19. #19
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
    Read the posts in this section and you will soon realize that you own a bike far superior to what most of the returning or new riders who post here own. You can change out the cassette to one with a wider range provided your Campi RD will support it. That will give you a wider gear range for the hills. 21.5 pounds with spare tools and tube is not going to win any weight weenie awards but is really decent. I kept a 21 pound Motobecane Le Champion for over 30 years and never made any upgrades to it. It had Phil Wood hubs and the other components were stock. I finally got old enough so that I could no longer ride it comfortably so I gave it away. Good bikes last for decades and just keep going. Most ordinary riders don't know the pleasure of riding a real fine bike. They think a 40 pound $100 bike is the cats meow. Little do they know.
    I had a similar situation, I had a few old bikes, my brother is quite a bit shorter than me, my nephew is close to my size. I gave my nephew a columbus frame with a 30 year old campy super record group set to pass it on to someone who may appreciate it. He was getting into riding fixes. So now he has a fine piece of machinery that has some wow factor. I wonder if his buddies think it is a cool bike to have.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  20. #20
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Dave that bike is a keeper. I just got my first Bianchi a couple of years ago. It was an older steel framed bike.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
    Thanks for all the comments. Based on these comments and other research that I have done, I am going to basically stick with this bike for the foreseeable future. When functional upgrades are required (right now pedals/shoes are a given and something lower than my current 39/25 is likely) I will be trying to preserve what this bike is which means probably spending a good bit extra (so be it). Beyond that I will be on my Bianchi for a good while.
    Your left lever will run a triple front, where 30x25 would be like 39x33 and 26x25 like 39x38 or 34x33 without compromising your gear spacing on flat ground or forcing an early shift to the big ring because the same cassette on a compact 34 small ring acts like one with a starting cog two bigger on a 39.

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