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Old 04-07-14, 10:08 AM   #1
jenmenke
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Need more info on Bianchi Camaleonte series

(Just tried to post this and lost everything because I wasn't logged in. omg… here goes again…)

Husband and I are in the market for new hybrid bikes (last purchased Marin mountain bikes in 1990). We live in a rural area on gravel roads and will also ride pavement, trails and take camping. (watertown, MN)

We both like suspension with locks. Have gotten a lot of conflicting info on disc brakes. Really confused about this. Read good things here, but friends with tons of bikes and experience say they are a pain in the ass and tend to fail. Any comments?

Husband likes the Specialized Crosstrail and Marin Dual Sport. Reading posts here he should also consider Trek (which one?) and Giant (escape??).

I seem to be stuck on the Camaleonte Cross. My confusion comes on Bianche's website: it is woefully sparse. There are 5 camaleonte models listed (Cross, Sport, Due Disc, Quattro, Quatrro Dama) that don't seem to line up with the (also sparse) online reviews, which list them as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. From my sleuthing, I *think* the Cross is the 3. But when I read about the 3 here, it doesn't seem to jive with the aluminum suspension fork shown on their website.

I should also say that we shopped 5 LBS this weekend and were appalled at the experience. I don't feel like typing it all again, but suffice to say, I've learned more in this forum in 30 minutes than I did all weekend at the bike shops. I would be better served to get input here and THEN go try the bikes out.

Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks, Jennie.
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Old 04-07-14, 06:55 PM   #2
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I'll just say that Bianchi bikes are extremely common here in Japan. They seem to have good componants and are popular with female commuters here in Kyoto. I know a woman here that rides her Bianchi mini velo thousands of KMs each year touring so don't limit your search on just the hybrid range.
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Old 04-08-14, 05:57 AM   #3
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Thanks Giantctf1, but isn't it correct to assume that if I know I'm going to be on gravel more than paved, that I should keep that in mind? If anything I think I'd lean more to mountain bike than road bike for that reason. I'm looking for a slightly more upright position, too, as I tend to get very bad knots in neck and shoulder from riding (and driving and cooking and computer work…)
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Old 04-08-14, 05:50 PM   #4
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Yes that's why I recommended looking past the hybrid range. I don't know the condition of your gravel trails, but if they are anywhere near what ours are, I'd be leaning towards a nice MTB. I use a Trek / Gary Fisher for the gravel and riverside dirt trails here and love it. The Bianchi Kuma is popular here and a good looking bike. Check it out as I would have bought one instead of the Trek, but I given an offer I couldn't refuse on the Trek.
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Old 04-08-14, 05:54 PM   #5
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Yes that's why I recommended looking past the hybrid range. I don't know the condition of your gravel trails, but if they are anywhere near what ours are, I'd be leaning towards a nice MTB. I use a Trek / Gary Fisher for the gravel and riverside dirt trails here and live it. The Bianchi Kuma is popular here and a ood looking bike. Check it out as I would have bought one insteadof the Trek, but I given an offer I couldn't refuse on the Trek.
Bianchi Kuma


My Trek

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Old 04-09-14, 07:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jenmenke View Post
Thanks Giantctf1, but isn't it correct to assume that if I know I'm going to be on gravel more than paved, that I should keep that in mind? If anything I think I'd lean more to mountain bike than road bike for that reason. I'm looking for a slightly more upright position, too, as I tend to get very bad knots in neck and shoulder from riding (and driving and cooking and computer work…)
As you are clearly not going to be doing serious Mountain Bike riding, then I think you would be better off with a hybrid that is more mountain bike oriented, than a hybrid that is more road bike oriented, and probably not a pure mountain bike.

With the Mountain Bike Oriented hybrids, you will be able to run 40mm wide tyres at the very least and quite possibly as large as 50mm if you wanted to. Also you could go down to 28mm if that took your fancy.

Plenty of nice options there.

Trek, Giant & Specialized all have pretty good websites, so if you pore over them, you should be able to find some bikes that you like the look of and after having done that, you could come back here and seek further feedback on some of the contenders you spotted.
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Old 04-09-14, 09:40 PM   #7
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thanks you guys. I have looked at various bikes (some of those suggested) in local shops. Was just looking for any guidance on the Camaleonte series, as I could not really figure it out and dealers here weren't super informed either. I'm pretty sure the Camaleonte Cross would be the only real contender, though, as I really do want the locking suspension. Another dealer suggested, just today, that I look at the Jamis DXT series, as it is similar to the Cross, slightly less expensive and has disc brakes. They sold a ton of them last year. Unfortunately non are in stock to try out. So the hunt goes on.
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Old 04-13-14, 11:44 AM   #8
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looked some more. Have it narrowed down to Trek 8.3 or 8.4, Specialized Crosstrail (models on 2014 differ, but I actually liked the base with the lockout suspension, tho didn't like the pedals) and the Calamonte Cross. Bummer is that they are all at different places and it is hard to directly compare them.

QUESTION: how important do you think it is for husband and I to buy from the same place from a convenience of service, etc? We live about 45 minutes away from any of the shops.
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