Just ordered a 2003 Bianchi Volpe today from Jack Johnston Bicycles in Dallas. They gave it to me for $800 (Bianchi lists it for $850) plus 10% of any accessories I bought with it. Then just for grins they threw in 2 free cages and a water bottle. Great shop.
I would have liked to go nuts with the accessories, but they didn't have all the racks and bags I wanted. But I did buy a Blackburn EX-1 rear rack, a new floor pump, and a third cage.
Now I need a little help with the set-up. From my old bike, I already have a Brooks Team Pro saddle, Time ATAC pedals, and a computer. They are going to put all that on when they assemble the bike.
I don't plan on changing any of the gearing unless I find the need to later. It comes with Tiagra up front and Deore in the rear. I forget the exact gearing, but I think the granny gear is 25 gear inches.
I will probably start with a pair of Arkel GT-30 panniers. I'll put them on the back on days I commute (not as often as I should) and for a few light weekend tours. Then if I ever get the urge to haul myself out on a longer tour I'll move them up front and get the GT-54's for the back.
What I need help with is tires. It comes with some Bontrager Select 35C's. I'm a firm believer in listening to the advice of people with more experience than me. Most of you have reccommended Continental Top Touring tires for touring. I plan to get a pair.
The bike will be used for fitness rides, centuries, jaunts to the grocery store, and the occaisional light weekend tour. I am 30 and in good shape. My fitness rides go 25-50 miles at 18-20 mph on my old road bike. I tend to think the 35C's will be sluggish on the days I'm trying to pretend I'm Lance. But then again they will work great on the days I'm hauling gear around. I can say that the fitness rides will definitely outnumber the tours, for now anyway. Should I get a set of skinnier slicker tires for everyday riding, and save the 35C's for the days I load the bike down? Will it make much of a difference when the bike is already 26 pounds?
I'm looking at the Continental Ultra Gatorskin 700 X 28C for my fitness rides and a par of fat Top Tourings for tours.