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Old 05-12-16, 12:49 PM
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mrjav
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Bianchi Caurus
The Proto is Reborn

All of the mountain and road bikes of the 1990 Bianchi catalog carry strange names and, in cycling terms, are already outdated. In reality the big Italian player wanted to renew itself even in its glossary, assigning to its offroad line Latin terms corresponding to the family of spiders, mainly because the spider can climb wherever it wants, like the friendly bicycle. The high end bikes were given names of winds, some picturesque and pleasant, since racing bikes are capable of higher speeds and are therefore similar to the idea of a strong wind.

Caurus, ie Cauro or Chorus, is a wind that blows from the west and occupies therefore the upper left part of the quadrant. In fact, in the Bianchi line, it corresponds instead to an elaboration, especially graphically, of the Proto model.

The Bianchi "Caurus" is the object of this test.

GRAPHICS

A bike utilizing tubing in a very peculiar form and painted in glossy black with neon green highlights could not necessarily be called ‘subtle’. This bike, is singled out from the group at close range but can be called out from a distance, even if being ridden by a lone rider.

And yet the Bianchi Caurus succeeds, in our opinion, by being flashy but not chaotic. The two colors form a sharp contrast and, combined with bad taste, could have resulted in definitely eye-catching results, but lacking in style. Instead, the bike has its own modern personality, that needed updating, especially as seen by a younger market. Looking at this model in its totality, you can appreciate its balance of the geometry that is made up of lines and angles, not of colors. Also noted, digging into the details, is the accuracy of the finishing, especially the head tube logo, the famous Bianchi eagle, which is pantographed and filled with neon green on the black tube. The component group ties itself nicely to the model with its finishing choices. The one exception, unbelievably, is the substitution of the water bottle cage that has an opaque grey finish which is totally removed from the complete package.


THE SPECS

The frame of the Bianchi Caurus Proto is contructed of Columbus Max, Tig welded without lugs, except for the seat tube junction and the fork crown. These are original Columbus items as well due to the understandable shaping necessary. These are very particular tubes ovalized in different directions on the same draw, studied for its resistance to various stresses, that could not fit to any commercially available lug.

The fact is that a structure of this kind corresponds theoretically to a concept of high functional rigidity, understandable even to the naked eye, with the implicit promise not to waste energy with unwanted flex even a portion of the energy applied to the pedals. The fork blades for example are very flattened in order to assure a relative stiffness front to back and a relative give laterally, necessary to keep your line when taking curves and leaning over at speed. The seat and down tubes meet the bottom bracket shell with larger diameters oriented to counteract pedaling forces.

This frame measures 52 x 53.5 cm from center to center. It is 27.1 cm high at the bottom bracket and has a very tight rear triangle, barely 39.5 cm, with a wheelbase of 97.5 cm. Particularly balanced is the rake of 14 cm and trail of 5 cm.

Frame mounts are all welded, with just one water bottle mount located on the down tube. Cable routing for the rear brake is inside the top tube, while the cable for the rear derailleur is inside the chainstay that is bare from any chain protection. Seeing as there is no chrome, it would be a good idea to apply an adhesive chain protector (transparent) even if our road tests didn’t result in any marks on the paint. The dropouts are semi-vertical, but the tips have no chrome on them.

The bike is assembled with Campagnolo’s Record group, with Delta brakes and chainrings of 41/53. Selle Italia Turbo saddle. 3t Super Competizione 42 cm handlebar and 3t 84 100 mm stem. Regina America freewheel, with lightweight alloy cogs of 13-14-15-17-19-21-23 teeth. The chain is a Sedis Sport with chamfered internal plates. Wheels are made up of Campagnolo Sigma "Pavé Hardox" rims of 32 holes, laced three-cross with 2 mm Alpina stainless spokes and wearing Vittoria Corsa CX Squadre Prof tubulars.

THE TEST

In the saddle of the Bianchi Caurus Proto we rediscovered a familiar taste. We’re referring to our 1989 test of the Proto model in its original Bianchi color, of which this bike represents a true copy. The winning feature of this racing bike is its geometry. This is a bike that allows you to immerse yourself in an efficient position both at a cruising speed and while at a frantic pace with accelerations and constant changes of pace. We didn’t note any appreciable flexing of the frame and were happy, as it relates to the stiffness this model is known for, to appreciate its comfort when the road was smooth. While climbing the Caurus certainly has a constant yield when climbing regularly and is ready to respond when attacking out of the saddle. The relatively tight rear triangle is an issue in twisty descents: it’s necessary to move your weight to the rear to face tight radiuses with security.

From a mechanical point of view, we had to adjust the bolts on both derailleurs, but this is normal. That said, we had to intervene on the rear brake pads in order to adjust the wheel guides, which were misaligned. On the other hand, upon flatting a tubular, we were forced to deal with an excellent job of gluing, which was perfectly even and applied while warm, as you need to do on a high end bike like the Bianchi Caurus, taking its place alongside racing models of the highest value.


Fulvio Lo Monaco
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