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Old 05-24-07, 08:53 PM   #1
farm girl
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Help w/ Touring Bike Purchase

Hi,

I am about to purchase a touring bike and would appreciate some feedback. I am trying to decide between a bianchi volpe and the fuji touring bike. Both are about the same price. I have had a mtn bike for the past 13 years and am so ready to give it up! I do 3/4 day unsupported tours and day cycle 10-30 miles a couple times a week. I can't afford four different bikes so I need something that will serve both purposes. Also, I'm 5'8.5"....if I get the bianchi volpe should I go for the 52 or 55cm.

Thanks and please hurry as I'm leaving for a trip next Friday. I've been looking at different bikes for about 2-3 weeks now.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:58 PM   #2
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I'm a Fuji guy...so get the Fuji. I have rode a Volpe and I liked it, but I've never been on one loaded for touring, although it has and can be done.

The good news is that both bikes are quality bikes and you can't really go wrong.
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Old 05-24-07, 09:19 PM   #3
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Hi Farm Girl,
I just purchased a Volpe for general use and really like it - a very versatile and fun bike. The only potential drawback is somewhat short chainstay lengths compared to full-on touring bikes, which means you have to check your heel to pannier clearance and may end up adjusting the position of your rear panniers. I doubt it will be a problem for you but a man with large feet would have a problem. I will likely have to use my smaller pans on the back.

I have not done any touring on it yet since I have a Trek 520 already, but the Volpe is going to get a rack setup for light touring as I find it comfortable and not too heavy. A great training bike also. On size - i am about an inch taller than you, with a 32" inseam and I find the 55cm fit well - going slightly larger than normal (I normally ride a 54cm) results in a more upright (and comfortable) seating position.

Have fun.
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Old 05-24-07, 09:22 PM   #4
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farm girl, if you are from australia, check out the New Vivente World Randonneur. It's a bit more pricey, but comes stock with tubus racks, SKS mudguards and LX/XT componentry. Plus it's aussie made.
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Old 05-24-07, 10:18 PM   #5
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Both are quite nice. The Jamis Aurora is pretty much identical to the Fuji, I recomend that at times. They seem so close,I'd say availabilty is as important as anything in this case, the colors are the same too. Trek makes a 520, a nice bike, I've tested that one as well it's worth considering.. ALL strong choices.
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Old 05-24-07, 10:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farm girl
Hi,

I am about to purchase a touring bike and would appreciate some feedback. I am trying to decide between a bianchi volpe and the fuji touring bike. Both are about the same price. I have had a mtn bike for the past 13 years and am so ready to give it up! I do 3/4 day unsupported tours and day cycle 10-30 miles a couple times a week. I can't afford four different bikes so I need something that will serve both purposes. Also, I'm 5'8.5"....if I get the bianchi volpe should I go for the 52 or 55cm.

Thanks and please hurry as I'm leaving for a trip next Friday. I've been looking at different bikes for about 2-3 weeks now.
Have you ridden any of them yet? If so, what was your experience? If not, why not?
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Old 05-25-07, 02:55 AM   #7
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Fuji's a cooler name.

Volpe sounds goofy.

Go with the Fuji.
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Old 05-25-07, 07:47 AM   #8
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Have you ridden any of them yet? If so, what was your experience? If not, why not?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Mark

Hi Mark,

First let me thank everyone for their reply! This is such a helpful site!

Yes, I have been on both and I'm still having a hard time. First of all, when I purchased my mtn bike (1994)I was never fitted so I walked out of the store with a 48cm bike....too small for me. I rode it as a mtn bike off and on and several years later I moved to Berkeley where I put slicks on it and a rack and used it as commuter bike. I also rode up in the hills with it which wasn't that pleasant because it was really heavy. I went on a few short tours...it felt super stable loaded but climbing hills was horrible with it because a friend had changed the rear cassette to one that didn't have any low gears...painful! Why am I telling you all this.....just to say that I have little to no experience on a properly fitted road bike and don't really know how it's "supposed" to feel. The volpe feels light and might be great for the riding I do around my rural area (I live in Western Mass now) but maybe not so stable when loaded? The Fuji feels a bit heavier which feels right for the tour but maybe not great for the day rides? Maybe the Fuji is a better choice because it will ease me into the road bike feel? If I really end of doing a lot of riding perhaps I could save up for a lighter bike later on down the road?

Maybe this all seems excessive for an $800 bike but it's a big purchase to me at the moment. I also don't have a lot of knowlege when it comes to componets.....can anyone tell me which bike is better on that end? Thanks again for any help!
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Old 05-25-07, 07:56 AM   #9
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Be careful with the Jamis Aurora

Quote:
Originally Posted by old and new
Both are quite nice. The Jamis Aurora is pretty much identical to the Fuji, I recomend that at times. They seem so close,I'd say availabilty is as important as anything in this case, the colors are the same too. Trek makes a 520, a nice bike, I've tested that one as well it's worth considering.. ALL strong choices.
The tires on the front might be a problem. 28's are about as big as I can get on my wife's bike. The fork width is not the problem, the tires hit on top.

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Old 05-25-07, 08:59 AM   #10
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I used to tour on a 52cm Bianchi Volpe. The only issue I had was the location of the third water bottle mount underneath the downtube. Even a small water bottle in the cage would obstruct turning the front wheel. Other than that I thought the bike performed very well and would not hesitate to get another one.

However, if given a choice at the time, I probably would have selected the Fuji Touring over the Volpe (which btw is Italian for fox, I think). It is a more purpose built bike whereas the Volpe is more of a general bike which also happens to be pretty good for touring. I now ride a touring specific bike (Trek 520) and have been amazed at how much more comfortable it is. While I haven't ridden a Fuji, I suspect it may also be more comfortable due to its design purpose. Of course, that is the kind of thing you need to find out on your own during test riding.
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Old 05-26-07, 10:24 AM   #11
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Ah, the Fuji touring bike isn't really a *true* touring bike, it has don't have super long chain stays and can flex a bit when loaded (but it's great when not loaded with say...more than 25 pounds). It's also a pretty fun road bike unloaded. Fuji really hits the sweet stop for an all arounder.

Farm girl, you seemed to like the Volpe better from your test ride?....so go buy it and never look back. You'll love the bike, it will do everything you want it to do.

And yes, $800 is a lot of money. Ask as many questions as you like.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:01 AM   #12
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Without over-explaining,the Volpe seems better on paper. You're fortunate to have BOTH such brands available. Honest, the color and over-all appeal are important aspects to consider at this point. DO ride at least one. I'd guess they'll ride similarly, HOWEVER, get your size correct. To me, you being a gal and given your stats., the 55 seems big. You may be long-legged, OK, but female-spec. geometry dictates shorter top-tubes for a reason. Aside from all else,women "bend" at a higher point on their bodies and the seating and reach is different than a man's due to this AND you have shorter arms. The 55 MAY be ideal, try it first. The stand-over seems OK on either I'd say,that too will become apparent.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:43 AM   #13
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Let me start by saying that my tourer is a Fuji World, now discontinued, which was Fuji's higher end touring bike - so I am not anti-Fuji. That said, the Fuji Touring is too heavy, geared more like a road bike, has a crappy rear rack and a bad rep concerning the wheels and spoke breakage. Although the Volpe isn't a true touring bike and I don't believe the front fork has rack braze-ons, it is geared better and seems to have a better frame. If it were an either-or choice for me, I'd pick the Volpe, though I know of a couple people on these boards that speak highly of the Fuji Touring.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:58 AM   #14
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chipcom you're correct but none of the stated bikes have front braze-ons,Years ago, I for one ,would have associated front bosses with loaded touring. The last few years, it seems less of a consideration The Trek 520 does though. The Fuji that's currently offered is an Elios, it's difficult to find on the Fuji website, it's under "specialy road bikes".
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Old 05-28-07, 09:39 AM   #15
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Not mentioned but worth looking into, is Surly's Long Haul Trucker. You can now buy it complete, as opposed to just the frame. A couple hundred dollars more than the Fuji or Volpe but cheaper than the 520. In your size, it would most likely come with 26 inch wheels which is a plus. I just purchased one to replace a heavily toured Volpe and I'm really happy with it.

In the battle of Fuji versus Bianchi, I'd go with the Bianchi. IMHO, wheels are the most vulnerable component in this price range and the Fuji wheelset looks suspect. FYI. I even had problems with broken spokes on the Bianchi wheelset after about 2000 mi of full-loaded touring with a trailer. However, your lighter weight could make it less of issue. Ultimately, though, I would go with whatever fits you best.
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Old 05-28-07, 04:05 PM   #16
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I am the same height as you and was between sizes on the Bianchi. The 55 was too big and the 52 was too small. I bought a 52cm Cross Check, but was also looking at the 53cm Jamis Aurora.
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