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Old 10-09-06, 08:46 AM   #1
jejackso
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Bianchi or Rocky Mountain?

I'm new to touring and my husband and I are planning a cross country trip in the next couple of years. Right now, we are looking at touring bikes and I was wondering if anyone knew much about the Bianchi Volpe which is a cyclocross/touring bike and the Rocky Mountain Sherpa. We're willing to pay around $1500 per bike. The guy at the bike shop said that the rocky mountain is one step up from the Volpe, but it looks like the rocky mountain is specialized in mountain bikes so I'm not sure whether we should go with the rocky mountain or not. Any suggestions?
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Old 10-09-06, 10:40 AM   #2
PurpleK
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Everyone has their opinions. Mine is to avoid a mountain specific bike for touring. If I was going to do a cross country trip, I would definitely opt for a true touring bike.
I've been a Volpe user and truly liked the bike. However, I've not attempted any tours longer than a week on it. On my last tour only a couple of weeks ago, a crack developed in my Volpe's downtube. I now have a Trek 520 on order and expect delivery next week. Have you considered the Trek? It's reputation is pretty high for a noncustom made bike and will be in your price range.
But, if you're only considering the two in your post, I'd recommend the Volpe.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:34 PM   #3
Miles2go
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Welcome to touring. You'll meet many wonderful people out on the road.

The folks at RM have been around a long time and have a tendency to pull things off pretty well. I can't say if that translates to the Sherpa since I haven't ridden one. While I've not seen a RM Sherpa in person, I'd think it's worth a look. It's frame is of 853 steel and is warranted for life to the original owner. It's not a mountain bike (speaking in terms of geometry) and from what I can tell from the web, looks to be fairly well equipped.

Depending on your level of fitness (ex-Olympic athletes by chance?) and how much you plan to carry (camping or hoteling it) I'd pay attention to what you end up with for chainrings/gearing. Make sure it's low enough to get you through the mountains, without being too low for your riding style at the other end of the spectrum.

One look at the Volpe and I was immediately surprised to see how short the chainstays are on the current offering. This is supposed to be a touring bike but these days it's looking more like a commuter, with only two bottle mounts and no mid-fork brazeon for a front rack. I'd scratch it off the list.

The Trek 520 has already been mentioned but I'll add... It looks like they are still running with that 52/42/30 crankset combo which isn't a great idea for touring through the mountains. It can be changed but will come at an extra price.

Talking about the big bike companies, check out what Cannondale has to offer too. Lower gearing (26x34), two eyelets front and back, mid-fork rack mount and another company that gives you life on the frame for the original owner.
http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/c...ing/index.html

There are a great many bicycles to choose from and there's not likely just one right answer for you. For fun, take a look at all the bikes at www.fullyloadedtouring.com There are some tour accounts you can find from the links page too.

So what route are you thinking of?

Tailwinds,
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Last edited by Miles2go; 10-09-06 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 10-09-06, 04:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jejackso
I'm new to touring and my husband and I are planning a cross country trip in the next couple of years. Right now, we are looking at touring bikes and I was wondering if anyone knew much about the Bianchi Volpe which is a cyclocross/touring bike and the Rocky Mountain Sherpa. We're willing to pay around $1500 per bike. The guy at the bike shop said that the rocky mountain is one step up from the Volpe, but it looks like the rocky mountain is specialized in mountain bikes so I'm not sure whether we should go with the rocky mountain or not. Any suggestions?
I'm a great fan of the Bianchi Volpe as a light tourer, but if you have $1500, the RM Sherpa appears on face value to be one of the best (new) setups under $2k I've ever seen. Reynolds 853 is a great frame tubeset. The bike looks well spec'd except for the 52-42-30 rings, which I' switch out for 50-40-28 (or lower) if they'll let you.
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Old 10-10-06, 02:30 PM   #5
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We haven't decided on a route. We are actually doing something crazier than just going from east to west. We really have our hearts set out on doing all of the states inland. I'll be graduating soon so we were going to save up some money and go out for about a year. That's the main reason why I want to get the best bicycle that we can. The reason we have chosen either the Volpe or the Sherpa is because the LBS that carries these two bikes have been of much greater service than any other that we have been to. I wouldn't mind the Trek since it seems like a reputable bike, but the salespeople weren't that great and we also want to get the best fit possible. Right now, I'm leaning toward the rocky mountain sherpa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles2go
Welcome to touring. You'll meet many wonderful people out on the road.

The folks at RM have been around a long time and have a tendency to pull things off pretty well. I can't say if that translates to the Sherpa since I haven't ridden one. While I've not seen a RM Sherpa in person, I'd think it's worth a look. It's frame is of 853 steel and is warranted for life to the original owner. It's not a mountain bike (speaking in terms of geometry) and from what I can tell from the web, looks to be fairly well equipped.

Depending on your level of fitness (ex-Olympic athletes by chance?) and how much you plan to carry (camping or hoteling it) I'd pay attention to what you end up with for chainrings/gearing. Make sure it's low enough to get you through the mountains, without being too low for your riding style at the other end of the spectrum.

One look at the Volpe and I was immediately surprised to see how short the chainstays are on the current offering. This is supposed to be a touring bike but these days it's looking more like a commuter, with only two bottle mounts and no mid-fork brazeon for a front rack. I'd scratch it off the list.

The Trek 520 has already been mentioned but I'll add... It looks like they are still running with that 52/42/30 crankset combo which isn't a great idea for touring through the mountains. It can be changed but will come at an extra price.

Talking about the big bike companies, check out what Cannondale has to offer too. Lower gearing (26x34), two eyelets front and back, mid-fork rack mount and another company that gives you life on the frame for the original owner.
http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/c...ing/index.html

There are a great many bicycles to choose from and there's not likely just one right answer for you. For fun, take a look at all the bikes at www.fullyloadedtouring.com There are some tour accounts you can find from the links page too.

So what route are you thinking of?

Tailwinds,
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Old 10-10-06, 03:10 PM   #6
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+1 for the Sherpa , I have one , I went with the RM over the trek 520 and Cannondale T800, value for money and it realy rides well, test ride them all if you can.
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Old 10-10-06, 03:30 PM   #7
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Some people tend to be very passionate about Bianchis and with good reason. They do make good solid bikes. However, don't discount Rocky Mountain. They are less well known in some circles but they make excellent bikes and also have a solid reputation. Having seen both the Volpe and the Sherpa up close, I personally would pick Rocky Mountain. It is a better equipped bike with better components and a geometry more suited to touring. And oddly enough, while the Bianchi bills itself as a CX bike and the Rocky Mountain bills the Sherpa as strictly a touring bike, I tend to think the Sherpa would actually be better offroad than the Volpe if it came to that. Although you'd probably need to swap the tyres on the Sherpa for something a little more aggressive.
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Old 10-10-06, 05:03 PM   #8
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I've done a lot of touring on my Bianchi Volpe, and it has performed admirably. I have well over ten thousand miles on the frame and it is still going strong. The hubs, brifters, and rear derailers are still original, though I'm on my third rim set and the other components had to be replaced due to wear and tear.
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Old 10-10-06, 05:26 PM   #9
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Looks like a pretty good steed(the RM)...I didn't even know they made a touring bike.
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Old 10-10-06, 08:08 PM   #10
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The tyers are the only thing I swaped on my RM Sherpa , Nokion RS are not bad tyers but for loaded touring I got Conti Travel contact, the bike is ready to take on Cuba , can't wait .......
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Old 10-10-06, 10:12 PM   #11
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i've been riding my bianchi tourer for about 34 years. if touring-sized 5-speed freewheels weren't so hard to source now, i'd say it's got another 34 years in it still. that said, as miles2go mentioned, the chainstays in recent years have been rather on the short side. also, note the "lightweight carrying capacity". if your trip is going to unsupported camping with a big load, it might be adequate but not the best.

i didn't see any price listed for the sherpa, and the chainrings & rear cassette sizes weren't mentioned either, but it looks like an ok bike.

some other bikes to consider:

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/06_aurora.html
http://fujibikes.com/2006/bikes.asp?id=143#
http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...id=1432000&f=8

also look at the newbie's guide: The Newbie's Guide To Touring Bikes
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