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  1. #1
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    Bianchi Volpe vs. Surly Long Haul Trucker

    Hey there. I've narrowed my choices for a new touring bike down to these two 2009 models. I test road the Bianchi Volpe and it felt alot lighter than the LHT did. I test road both; the LHT actually had loaded panniers on it. The LHT felt like a tank; it was like driving an old Mercedes...you felt protected and safe. The Volpe seemed faster and lighter.

    I am planning on doing some long tours this coming year. One from Tampa, FL to Savannah, Ga, and another one from Tampa to Providence, RI this summer. The LHT seems like the obvious choice here. The problem I have though is that when I'm not touring, I want something that I can commute with and go onto some Florida (non-rocky, light) trails with. I also want to be able to race local races. I know I could race both frames.

    I'm asking for your input here. Tell me which you prefer and why? Have you tried both? Elaborate.

    Thanks!
    -Max N.

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    The Volpe has shorter chainstays--with the wheel closer to you and the bb, it will lean in to the turn and handle quicker. I'm not sure how different the rake or HT angle it. The Volpe is a relaxed Xcross bike, not a touring bike like the LHT.

    I rode several bikes, including the Volpe, before I bought the LHT. I liked the barcons and felt the general build of the LHT was better for my purposes... Some people buy the Volpe or the CC and spend some good money making it road worthy. I couldn't even afford new tires... Both nice bikes--there are several in the 1000-1100 dollar range that are all good bikes with different strengths. Get the one you like, they are all good.

  3. #3
    dia por dia El Pelon's Avatar
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    I commute three times a week on my LHT. It's close to 40 miles round trip, with about 1200 feet of climbing on the way home. Sometimes I ride my Litespeed, which is a lot faster, and a lot more nimble. But, the LHT is a more comfortable ride, and it is fun to ride. It's not any where near the most expensive bike I've owned, but hands down it is my favorite.
    Dia por dia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rejuvenator View Post
    The Volpe has shorter chainstays--with the wheel closer to you and the bb, it will lean in to the turn and handle quicker.
    If you have big feet, and/or use big panniers, you should make sure that you have room on the Volpe to use rear panniers without hitting your heels against them. When I last looked at the specs for a Volpe, I had the chainstay length at 16.7 inches and the LHT was 18.1 inches.

  5. #5
    zen. Hofweber's Avatar
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    I test rode the volpe with panniers and my feet hit (size 45).
    If you do get it, get a tortec or a logo rack. I personally didn't enjoy the bike loaded down.

  6. #6
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    "I also want to be able to race local races. I know I could race both frames."
    If you want to guarrantee a last place finish, get the LHT. If you want to be semi-competitive get the volpe. When I do group rides with my LHT, I can not finish the ride with the group and its a moderate/not fast group (I do finish with the pack on my road bike). With that said, I enjoyed my overnight trip with it, enjoy my daily commute with it and realy love my dirt road riding on it. Its just slow.
    So decide wich aspect you want more...
    Scott

  7. #7
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    So you do go off-road with the LHT? Like on trails and whatnot?

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    You're dreaming in technicolor if you think either of these bikes will fit your requirement to race. There's is no one bike that will do all this. But if you insist, the closest would not be a touring bike or a semi-hybrid like the Volpe, but rather what one would refer to as a "sport touring", "brevet" or "audax" bicycle. I don't know of any really mass-market bikes like this nowadays though, but they are available from a number of smaller, specialized builders. Of course, by the time you've spent the money, you probably won't want to ride such a bike on trails very much.

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I think the Volpe is a little better choice here. It can definitely handle touring, commuting and trails; it's been used as a touring bike for a long time.

    As to speed, I've been using a very similar bike for a little bit (Surly Cross Check). It doesn't feel particularly fast but I haven't been able to verify whether or not it is actually slower than a standard road bike. At a minimum, you'd have to swap the tires; if you want to use 23c's, you may need a second wheelset. A different (lower) stem position may also be required.

    I don't think I'd use the LHT to race, mostly because the position is too relaxed and upright.

  10. #10
    Velocipedic Practitioner
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    The Volpe may be the better choice. The LHT is a more purpose specific bike, and that purpose is hauling loads. I believe the Volpe to be more versatile.

    I used my Volpe for touring and was pleased with it. I never had a problem with heel strike, but I have small feet which may account for that. I have never ridden a LHT, but I now ride a Trek 520 which I imagine has an approximate feel. I cannot for the life of me imagine riding the 520 in any sort of race, or on any off-road riding beyond greenways and hard packed dirt roads. This bike is built to be a load hauling mule, not a racetrack thoroughbred.

    I no longer have my Volpe. I was considering using it as a commuter (a role I believe it would excel). But a friend expressed an interest in touring, so I gave her the Volpe since she rides the same size bike (and I really needed to make some space in my garage).
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

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    Senior Member brianmcg123's Avatar
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    Get a Surly Cross Check.
    Everyone's a roadie, they just might not know it yet.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamarobotman View Post
    I also want to be able to race local races. I know I could race both frames.
    Last thing I want to do is race with a LHT. That is just way off the spectrum, at least for me.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  13. #13
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    Wait, didn't the Volpe lose the eyelets or something in the last couple model years? I seem to remember crossing it off my list due to a model change.

    Anyway, i'd say get a Spec. Tricross. But that's just me: i like mine.

  14. #14
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    My wife rode Tricross, Trek 520 and a host of other usual suspects. She settled on the Volpe and she LOVES the bike. We've toured, and we do weekend rides ranging from brisk to just ambles. I'd suggest you mount a rack, hang a pannier and see of your feet hit the bags. If not, it's Volpe hands down for what you have in mind. The ride is solid and predictable, but still pretty sporty.

    For what it's worth, I commute on a Bianchi San Jose -- the same frame as a Volpe, but set up as a fixie/singlespeed. It's all I've ridden for several months, including weekend rides. The bike, at 61 cm, is a little small for me, but it's still probably my favorite ride ever.

    If you're about to drop around $1k on a bike, any shop worth its spokes should be happy to test mount a rack and bags for a little spin around the neighborhood before you get out your wallet.

  15. #15
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    Yeah I test road a Cross-Check before the LHT and Volpe and loved it so much. It's weird because it was a 58cm frame and I would ride a 56cm in the LHT. My inseam is 32.5in and I'm 5' 9 1/2". Would a 58cm Cross-Check be more ideal for me?

    After some thought I'm not going to lie, the Volpe was great but it felt like tinsel. The Surly line feels more rugged and tough, which is what I favor in a bike.

    Now I'm torn between the LHT and the Cross-Check. I'm leaning towards the Cross-Check, it felt right to me, even on long-loaded tours which is what I plan on doing.
    Last edited by iamarobotman; 10-21-08 at 10:18 PM.

  16. #16
    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    You should check out the Specialized Tricross, Jamis Aurora, and Jamis Aurora Elite as well. The chainstays on the Cross Check and Aurora Elite are just as short, at 425 mm or 16.7", as the ones on the Volpe. People don't typically mention that when they suggest the Cross Check as an acceptable tourer.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamarobotman View Post
    Hey there. I've narrowed my choices for a new touring bike down to these two 2009 models. I test road the Bianchi Volpe and it felt alot lighter than the LHT did. I test road both; the LHT actually had loaded panniers on it. The LHT felt like a tank; it was like driving an old Mercedes...you felt protected and safe. The Volpe seemed faster and lighter.

    I am planning on doing some long tours this coming year. One from Tampa, FL to Savannah, Ga, and another one from Tampa to Providence, RI this summer. The LHT seems like the obvious choice here. The problem I have though is that when I'm not touring, I want something that I can commute with and go onto some Florida (non-rocky, light) trails with. I also want to be able to race local races. I know I could race both frames.

    I'm asking for your input here. Tell me which you prefer and why? Have you tried both? Elaborate.

    Thanks!
    -Max N.
    I think you're asking too much from a single bike. The LHT is a great tourer for the money, and it's also a very good commuting bike. It's stable under loads, has a rugged frame, and is a joy to ride. It's also absolutely one of the last bikes on Earth I would ever consider racing. It's a tank, and the bottom bracket and cranks are very low to the ground, which makes it a tough bike to corner aggressively. The Surly Cross Check and Bianchi Volpe, both very good bikes, are not as good as the LHT for loads, but a lot sportier, but still not at all appropriate for racing or even aggressive group rides.

    I have the LHT, and love it, especially for touring but also commuting. I average between 12-18 mph on flat ground with no wind, depending on my load.

    Considering your needs, and if you don't want to get different bikes for different situations, I'd go for the Volpe, if your feet aren't too big. It rides well, is perfectly fine for light-to-moderate tours, rides well, and is lighter and more nimble than other touring-type bikes in its price range. It also has STI-type shifting, which a lot of people like. (I'm fond of barcons myself).
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  18. #18
    tgbikes
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    I have a 97 volpe and a LHT. I was happy with the volpe for loaded touring, and all other riding that I do. The JANDD expadition rack is about 3 in. longer than most others,and should eliminate heal clearance problems. the newer volpes have no mid fork, low rider, mounts for ft. rack, No ft. rack = no touring bike, in my opinion
    A child learns what the village teaches!

  19. #19
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgbikes View Post
    The newer volpes have no mid fork, low rider, mounts for ft. rack, No ft. rack = no touring bike, in my opinion
    I know how you feel, and agree that front rack mounts are very helpful, but it's really not a problem. Just get some P-clamps and you're all set. Old Man Mountain also makes some outstanding racks that don't need mounting screws.

  20. #20
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm looking at the 2007 Volpe model, which I believe has the braze-ons for a front rack? Anyone had good experience with a BOB Yak and a Volpe?

    By the way, I'm going with the Volpe because I found a brand new one for $600.00. LBS really wants to clear its overstock. I'm liking the more versatility it offers over the LHT.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamarobotman View Post
    By the way, I'm going with the Volpe because I found a brand new one for $600.00.
    Great price.

  22. #22
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I have a Volpe and can attest that it's great for commuting and general transportation. I've also used it for touring with loads below 35lbs. It's fast enough for me. I've never had a problem with the shorter chainstays... although if I had larger feet or larger panniers that might be an issue.

    One concern I might have is with loaded touring (weight about 60 pounds.) It's generally considered a sport touring model... which to my mind conjures up credit card touring and overnighters.

    $600 is a steal. I paid $850 3 years ago.

  23. #23
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    I have a friend that has a BOB Yak he's willing to let me borrow for however long I want. He doesn't use it... basically I'm getting it for free. I think the Volpe and the Yak will work nicely together. Anyone have any experience with the two?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamarobotman View Post
    Yeah I'm looking at the 2007 Volpe model, which I believe has the braze-ons for a front rack? Anyone had good experience with a BOB Yak and a Volpe?

    By the way, I'm going with the Volpe because I found a brand new one for $600.00. LBS really wants to clear its overstock. I'm liking the more versatility it offers over the LHT.
    good choice. When I did most of my touring it was with a similar style of bike. With the bombproof wheels and tires available nowadays you have a good all around bike.

    I've been enjoying riding my LHT around town, over bumps and all but it's not a bike for out of the saddle sprints.

  25. #25
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    Well I'll be darned a Volpe thread!

    I also own a 2007 Volpe. I bought it in August of last year for $750. When I decided to get back into bicycling I was looking for a bike that could do a # of things; occasional mild trail riding, leisure rides on the Centennial Trail, get me across town, main transportation during the summer, (I am a part time teacher at the local C.C.) grocery hauler, you get the picture a little of everything. My structural requirements were; must be rack and fender friendly, wide tire capability, as many gears as possible, (at 50 I need em all!) and of course have a striking appearance.

    When I went shopping I was amazed at how many choices there were. It took me nearly two months worth of around the block test rides to narrow down the field. Ironically I had found the Volpe on the net but I could not locate one locally. While I was test riding a Tricross for about the fourth time I asked the kid "helping me" why his shop had high end Bianchi road bikes but no Volpe's. He scratched his head and said that there might be one downstairs in storage and to come back in a week or so. Turned out the kid found a stack of about ten of them which were supposed to have been transferred to another store.

    Since I had been at the LBS about once a week for nearly two months the manager let me test ride the Volpe over a four day weekend. During that test ride I learned a few things about both myself and the bike. So that when I came back to the store after the weekend I knew I wanted the bike and I also knew what modifications I needed to make.

    After a year with it I can say it has been a winner for me. I have made a couple more changes to it. Fenders, saddle, and cross brakes were the first items. I eventually changed out the CS for a 105 triple as I needed the larger chain ring for trekking around town. Eventually when the tires wear out I will replace them with something a little more city friendly but I am not in hurry quite yet. This spring I will be adding a rear rack to it with the idea of panniers to follow. Any recommendations BTW?

    My only real complaint is the color, but I love the name of it "Gang Green" who wouldn't want a bike with that!

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