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Old 01-14-07, 09:34 AM   #1
Turd Ferguson
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Bianchi Volpe --> Touring?

Hello,

I was at the bike store this weekend looking at the Surly LHT and Urbanite and the Bianchi Volpe caught my eye. While is specifically designed for Cyclocross it does have design feature to suit Touring ( rear eyelets etc). At first look it didn't seem to have front fork braze ons although the sales guys said it could accomodate a front rack.

Typically, my tours are 2 weeks ( summer ), using 2 36L rear pannies with a handlebar bag haas been sufficient therefore bike seems to appeal to me. If I needed a "loaded" touring bike I'd lean towards the more traditional touring bike.

What are you thoughts? Would the Volpe make a good touring bike?

http://www.bianchiusa.com/07_volpe.html

Thanks,
Jaret
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Old 01-14-07, 10:26 AM   #2
Sadaharu
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The Volpe would be a fine touring bike, though the LHT and Urbanite are going to be better for more demanding tours. You could probably do a loaded tour on it if you really felt like it. By the way - what is your frame size? I am probably going to sell my 21" Cannondale T700 in the near future, as I just bought another bike, and I can't justify keeping four in my crowded garage. I'm at Bathurst and St. Clair.
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Old 01-14-07, 11:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
Hello,

I was at the bike store this weekend looking at the Surly LHT and Urbanite and the Bianchi Volpe caught my eye. While is specifically designed for Cyclocross it does have design feature to suit Touring ( rear eyelets etc). At first look it didn't seem to have front fork braze ons although the sales guys said it could accomodate a front rack.

Typically, my tours are 2 weeks ( summer ), using 2 36L rear pannies with a handlebar bag haas been sufficient therefore bike seems to appeal to me. If I needed a "loaded" touring bike I'd lean towards the more traditional touring bike.

What are you thoughts? Would the Volpe make a good touring bike?

http://www.bianchiusa.com/07_volpe.html

Thanks,
Jaret
Dude, definatly get the Volpe. Thats what I have and I have no problems what soever doing some fully loaded touring. I usually have 40lbs in the back and 25 or so lbs in the front + handle bar bag.

It is equiped with fork eyelets for a front rack. Although you would need to make sure that the rack will fit a volpe otherwise you will have to use the extra attachments, but it will fit any rack.

I think it makes an excellent touring bike. Of course it all depends on your preference and whether you think spending the extra $1000 or so dollars would be worth it for a LHT. For me, right now, it is not.
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Old 01-14-07, 11:48 AM   #4
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I've toured on a Cannondale cyclocross bike and it works just fine. However the geometry is more similar to a roadbike than a touring bike. This means that it will handle more sharply but won't be as stable and as relaxing to ride. You have to choose what you want. If you're riding with the roadies you might want the cyclocross. If your riding alone you might want the comfort of the touring bike.
A cyclocross bike will have shorter chain stays than a touring bike which may mean you'll have a heel rub problem. You may have to look for a rack that is longer than average. Many front racks come with hardware that allows their installation without the fork braze ons. The Volpe has a steel fork which is good because you wouldn't want to put a front rack on an aluminum or carbon fork.
The chainstay length on the Volpe is 16.7" verses 18.1" for the LHT. You would have to mount your panniers 1.4" further back on the Volpe to get the same heel clearance.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:01 PM   #5
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I use my Volpe for touring. As mentioned above it can take a front rack and has good clearance for fenders and what-not. I've never had any heel clearance issues, my panniers have always been set far enough back on the rack.

I bought it because I wanted a dual purpose bike that I could use for touring but also strip it down a bit and use it for my weekend joy riding.
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Old 01-14-07, 06:00 PM   #6
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Does anyone know if you can get a Volpe frame & fork combo? While the frame seems like it would be a great fit for commuting and light touring, many of the components are of questionable quality for a touring bike.
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Old 01-14-07, 09:01 PM   #7
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Bianchi markets the Volpe as "cyclocross/touring," so that says something. Maybe not much, but something. I've even seen a store sell it with a rear rack included O_o

A quick check on the Bianchi website makes it seem as though they don't sell it as a frameset, which is too bad I guess, though maybe there are somes tores that have a special-order type deal with the company.

Bike snobs (of course) often look down on the Volpe, presumably because it's a pretty good ride that's gained a lot of popularity and doesn't cost very much. These are all things that are very, very bad, apparently. Although to me, it counts as alot of money if whatever I'm buying is over 20 bucks. I considered buying the volpe, but kinda liked the feel of the Jamis Aurora better, and I'm getting a 70 dollar discount from the list price at a local shop.
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Old 01-14-07, 09:59 PM   #8
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While the Volpe is an excellent bike (based on what I've found online), I understand Surly will be offering early this year a LHT complete build for around $930. If the LHT is in your crosshairs, I'd consider that. For me, I chose the Surly Cross Check over the Volpe (I considered the Volpe; my LBS carries them and that's where I was looking to buy) for a variety of reasons, some of which are:
1- I found it at edinabike.com for $730 with S/H
2- it has DT spokes; I've broken 20+ no-name spokes on my Kona Caldera, but never have I broken a namebrand spoke; the Volpe has no-name spokes
3- it has barend shifters; I've read barend shifters are more reliable than STI and easier to work on if they break; the shifters also have a friction mode if needed; the Volpe has a low end STI
4- I've never been able to find any negative comments about any Surly products online, though I specifically looked for comments related to the Cross Check; in this case, the same is true for the Volpe
5- I read in BF the Cross Check paint was tougher than on the Volpe. This is important to me because they are both steel bikes, and keeping the finish intact helps prevent rust.

The one drawback (gasp! now there's a negative comment to be found) of the Cross Check is the gearing. I solved this by replacing the narrow range cassette with an 11x32 (stock gear inches = 38.88, now mine is 30.375. This has been more than adequate for recreational riding and commuting, but if I ever do plan to do any mountain touring I have two options to further reduce the gearing:
1- put in a 32 tooth ring up front (stock = 36; with a 32, gear inches would = 27)
2- put in a wider bottom bracket and add a small chain ring (22 tooth would = 18.5625 gear inches; if I did this because of the difference between the big and (new) little ring, I'd also have to either: replace the front derailleur (I have one laying around I can use), or put in a smaller big ring.

Last edited by hopperja; 01-14-07 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:51 PM   #9
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A full build Surly LHT for only $930? That I will have to see to believe.
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