1st let me say, I've searched tons of forums that talked about the Bianchi pista and I have a decent understanding of what kind of bike I'm getting for the money. I've also searched for the Trek T1, and although I've found a little, the reviews seem to be mixed and mostly focused on the looks of the bike.
The issue is I want to begin track racing this spring and would like a bike that could get me confidently through a season or two without a problem AND also serve as a commuter and overall training bike throughout the year. To make things more interesting, I could potentially get the Trek for the same price as the pista.
Although the idea of a super-light aluminum bike sounds fast and fun, I'm not sure how happy I'd be on the street -especially since I'm pushing 215lbs.
I suppose I'd like to know how heavier riders fair on T1-like bikes when off the track. Should I skip the deal and stay with steel?
2nd try. I have the '09 Pista purchased solely for track. I use a heavier fixed gear with softer 25c tires, relaxed geometry, lower bottom bracket and plush bars & seat for street. The idea of using the same bike for street and track seems really off to me. Remember, no brakes on track and your bottom bracket / cranks need to be high enough for clearance if you are talking about racing on a banked oval. As a heavier rider I'll tell you the Bianchi is pretty brutal for street if you leave it OEM for track. Also, not to talk you out of the Pista, be prepared for a little shock with the too obvious "Taiwan quality" of the Bianchi bike.
I hear ya. I know it is not the best line of thought to have a bike that's a commuter and track bike. Obviously it will be lacking in one or both. But with the budget I have, I can really only have one bike. The T1 looks like a good deal, and the I hear its supposed to be ok on the road. But I can't see how stiff track geometry along with aluminum will equal fun on the road. So, as good as a deal it may be, I might pass.
Maybe I should lay off the track bike idea overall. I mean, I haven't been in a velodrome yet, I have no idea what I would want. So why spend the money on something that may be a waste (no, i don't want it to just look pretty). Should I look more into just getting a road bike/commuter and renting at a velodrome for a season, or buying a "track" bike with more road geometry like the Mark V that could handle the streets first, and a possible season or two on the track?
You'd be surprised, some people (myself included) really like track geometry on the street. If you're a caffeinated commuter like myself (only on non-recovery days now!) you may find you appreciate the steeper seat tube, shorter chainstays and twitchier steering on the street. But some people commute in the same style as they'd ride a 60 mile road ride, whereas I go pretty much like I'm in a personal TT anytime I'm in the city (of course, except on recovery days) and save the long rides for the slacker geo. cross bike w/ slicks.
The Pista has nice geometry but you may find it flexy after you put in some training and get stronger legs. It's pretty much the same thing as all the other mass-marketed Taiwanese TIG'd steel frames, aside from a few small intricacies. The T1 would be a better racing canidate long term.
I've commuted on both steel and aluminum track bikes... you get used to either one of them, though the aluminum feels nicer for really hammering on and tracking straight while the steel feels nicer on really bumpy/crappy streets. But material and geometry isn't everything. You can offset some of the harshness that comes inherent in any given geometry or tubing selection by opting for lower-profile rims (Open Pros, Aeroheads et al.), nicer tires (anything with a kevlar bead should do the trick as they dampen vibrations nicely) and whatever you find works best for bartape and saddle.
And honestly, since you're a little heavier you're going to find it easier to flex your components. If you're taller too (6 feet or above), I'd say no question go for the T1. Better yet, ride them both and decide from there.
It's probably an exaggeration, but I think half the people at my local racetrack are on plain old steel Bianchi Pistas of various model years. There's a reason for that. It is a great bike. Great for the track, slap a brake on it and it's great for the street too.
By the time you 'grow out' of the Pista, you're probably going to be more concerned about buying super-aero wheels than another frame.
If the price difference between the two were what it is based on its MSRP, it would be a no-brainer for me: the Pista; however, since you can get a Trek for the same price, the best recommendation would be to ride them both and then decide. A bike with a higher sticker price is worth nothing if it's so uncomfortable you can't stand to ride it, after all.
"Quäl dich, du Sau!" (trans.: "Suffer, you swine!") - Udo Bölts
Man if thats not an awesome recommendation, I don't know what is
True. The Trek T1 doesn't seem to get a-lot of props but i've been very happy. I recently weighed it against new Jamis Sonik that has a much shorter wheelbase and the T1 was actually lighter. Holds up well too and I haven't had any problems! Good Luck!