I'm looking for a touring bike. The 1999 Volpe (Bianchi) and the 2000 Randonee (Novara) stand as the two strongest candidates. Here my problem begins. Both bikes are priced similarily (~600). I have ridden both, liked both, and been given an overly simplified list of pros and cons (mostly one-sided) by the respective dealers. I haven't been involved in road biking enough to go down the list of specs and find the more suitable option. So, any bit of feedback on the bikes, the component groups, or suggestions on other similar bikes would be greatly appreciated.
Novara: ChroMoly frame, Tiagra components (except for the shifters, which are Sora), Shimano LX canti breaks, Mavic T211 rims, slightly lighter than the Bianchi.
Bianchi: ChroMoly frame, RSX components (I am assuming the predecessors of Sora, though I'm not sure - can't find any info on them), Shimano Altus canti breaks, Mavic MA2 rims (also can't find any info)
Any bit of feedback would be great...
How to choose from things that are the same...
I've been in the same situation with both me and my wife at different times trying to choose from brands with similar features.
Actually, most bikes which cost about the same are likely to have similar characteristics and quality so it's not a surprise. Here's my suggestions:
o Buy from the shop that seemed better. (The one problem here is that employee turn-over at shops is generally pretty high so this may not be of much use a year from now when you need something fixed or a new accessory.) Talk to the guy who owns/manages the shop for the Bianchi if you can and see if he's appropriately customer-service oriented. E.g. ask how he chooses employees. The Novara is presumably an REI shop so all you can do is talk to the employees at the bike portion.
o Another thought is to look at the adjacent bikes in the line of each shop (the one's just more or less in price). In many lines, there's a value "sleeper" that has many good points and only a small drop in one area (e.g. has the same frame as the next model up but has just cheaper derailluers or brakes). If that doesn't give you anything, you've found your models.
o If all else fails, buy the one that comes in the color you like best!
o Flip a coin--don't use the results--just use it as a measure of which one you really want!
Both shops will tell you the same. That it is great. Of course many do not ride or are salesmen.
Basicly both bikes are the same. Which one do you like as far as looks?
As far as warranty goes, both these bikes are very solid and manufacturers defects is not an issue. Serive is an issue. If you want service for it from the shop. Find out which shop offers you this. Many shops will do free adjustments for a year or so, while others will not.
Also if you plan on getting into the sport buy from the smaller shop as they may have rides leaving the shop and some workers there might actually ride. This is a big plus in my book.
I live right by Nike WHQ in Beaverton and I wanted to offer assistance.
Originally Posted by Kaio