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mab 07-07-09 06:29 PM

1995 bianchi veloce
I'm looking into buying a 1995 Bianchi Veloce on CL. I'll see the bike and give it a test ride tomorrow. The add states that the bike has few miles on it, is in mint condition and has all the original equipment (Campy Veloce brakes, derailleurs, crankset, Mavic rims, etc). From what I've researched seems like a really solid bike. Assuming fit is good, and bike is in top condition, is the $500 the owner is asking a decent price? Any suggestions on judging the condition of the bike (ie pitfalls of used bikes to look out for)? I feel fairly confident in my ability to judge the fit of a bike and workability of the components, but am more concerned about how to judge the price of 15 year old bike. I can give more info after I see the bike tomorrow. Thanks.

wrk101 07-07-09 07:07 PM

Nemesis of a steel bike is rust, internal rust in particular. Pull the seat post, and with a flashlight, look down inside the seat tube. This will cover two big problems: stuck seat post and internal rust (so its a two-fer test, and one of my favorite).

Note, I really prefer steel frame bikes, every bike I have is steel except for one carbon and one aluminum. But internal rust can sneak up on you. I have seen bikes that looked perfect externally with some serious rust, and bikes that looked pretty rough externally that were spotless internally. Sometimes the stem gets stuck, so if you want to check that too, it doesn't hurt, and doesn't take more than a minute.

Of course, the normal external stuff, particularly focused on the frame (no dents, dings, etc), and true wheels, good shifting, etc.

Light rust can usually be remediated and should result in a healthy discount on the price.

roccobike 07-07-09 08:27 PM

If it fits and you are the end user, and if it's a typical beautiful Bianchi, yeah, I'd spring for the $500. Take some items into account. What color is it? Gloss black is worth less than Celeste.
Take a chain checker along with you. If you don't have one, buy one. Regardless of what the ad says, you need to check the chain to see if it has serious wear. Campy 8 speed may be nice stuff, but it is no longer supported by Campy so buying parts is whatever is for sale on ebay or from dealers who specialize in hard to find parts. If it's in good shape, go for the bike. If it's worn and you'll need to replace cassettes, shifters etc. take a step back and re-evaluate.
I know $500 seems high, but Celeste Bianchis bring out the bucks. If that bike was my size in my area and in good shape, I'd spring for the $500. Actually, I just missed a similiar Bianchi with 9 speed Campy for $600.

mab 07-08-09 05:57 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely take a look down the seat tube for rust (gotta make adjustments to the post for a test ride anyways). The chain checker seems like a no brainier as well. Ought to be able to pick one up from by LBS before I go take a look at the bike.

Rocco, thanks for the reassurance about the price. Yeah, the bike is a Celeste. Nice color, add me to the list of fans. I've never owned a bike that wasn't a noticeable color. I'm comfortable paying that much for a used bike, as long as I'm reasonably certain I'm getting quality that won't require another couple hundred in a few months. I just want something that will give me an opportunity to do some longer rides (upgrade from my semi-converted MTB) and be a platform that I'll be able to maintain without too many headaches. Is the issue of the rear 8 spd set going to be a problem if components wear out (ie I have to upgrade to a 9-spd cassette with new derailluer and shifters) or can replacement components still be found fairly easily and just replace what is worn out?

I'll post back once I give the bike a test ride.

Thanks again

mab 07-08-09 06:41 PM

Saw the bike this afternoon. Fit felt good. Really nice ride. I went to a bike store shortly afterward and had them put me on a bike to test ride and the comfort was comparable.

The bike is in very nice shape. Not mint, but very close. Few blemishes to the stickers on the frame, no noticeable scratches in the paint. Looked down the seat post, no rust (seat post even had a nice amount of grease on it. Chain and chain rings were in good shape. Really did seem like this bike hadn't been ridden much. Very little wear on the original tires (which seemed in remarkably good shape). Wheels seemed true. Gears shifted better than brand new bikes I've tested. Crank and bottom bracket were quiet. Needs new bar tape.

On to the point of concern. There was some rust around the bottom bracket. I didn't take any pictures, so I'll try to describe. First, there is a screw (hex head) on the bottom side of the BB (penetrates the frame) that is rusted. I'm not even sure what it's for, wasn't connected to anything. Then there was a little bit of rust the seemed to extrude from the BB onto the cranks. Didn't look like the cranks themselves were rusty. I know it's hard to diagnose anything without pictures, sorry. If I buy the bike, I'll take some pictures and maybe you guys can give more input then. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, and not opposed to taking things apart, cleaning and putting back together. I'm just not keen on hunting down and spending lots of money on parts (at this point in my life at least).

Any thoughts?

Thanks again

mab 07-08-09 06:55 PM

The bike has something of a funny story (or at least I find it funny), for how it has been used so little.

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl buy matching bikes in the summer of '95. Boy and girl break up at the end of the summer. Girls keeps BOTH bikes (sure, maybe she paid for both). Girl eventually meets a guys she wants to keep around. Bike never gets ridden. Years later husband decides to sell the boy's bike (tired of seeing remnants of partner's ex-lover maybe?). New guy buys bike last year, only to quickly discover it's too big for him (oops). Now it'll be mine?

rothenfield1 07-09-09 01:49 PM

As far as $500 for a high end 90's lugged Bianchi; I kind of think it depends on whether it's your idea of a dream bike or not. I used to consider the hand-made Italian bikes as exotic, expensive, collection art bikes. Beautiful examples of a road racing era gone by. Not really to be ridden, because you' be so afraid of getting that one scratch loading and unloading that would break your heart. So, I spent alot of time looking for a high-end 80's Japanese steel bike. Much more in my price range of around $200 and with excellent ride qualities that you could be proud of being seen on but not afraid to get a ding in. I ended up falling in love with a mid-90's Bianchi frame in grimy scratched up condition and over paying $250 for. Not a good wheeler dealer I. After putting another $100 and counting into it, I absolutely love this bike. It is far and away the classiest bike that I have ever owned. You can see pics of what it looked like when I bought it in the Bianchi Leggera post. I will be putting up a pic of the finished bike there soon. Even though it cleaned up really well, because of the paint chips already on it, I'm not afraid to rough it up as a daily rider. I did have the advantage of having a complete 105 group from another bike too small for me to put on it. But I have routinely seen these high end hand-made in Italy bikes from the 80's to the mid-90's selling for $800 or more.

As has been said so many times on this forum; if the bike fits, is in really good condition, and you really would like to have it, $500 may not be a bad price depending on your market.

MrPolak 08-19-09 08:33 PM

Got any pics? I'm about splurge for a Bianchi Veloce myself.

miamijim 08-20-09 06:09 AM

For some strange reason I'm not feeling it with this bike so......I checked it out on bikepedia and now I know why!!

Back in the day we sold Bianchi's and for some reason the Vittoria tires irritated me. They seemed cheap and cheesy, almost like $3 Taiwan tires but Bianchi went with them anyways because of the Itailianness of them. Bianchi did some other wierd things like spec'ing Miche headsets. WTF? Miche?

Overall its a very nicely spec'd bike with a full Campy Veloce Ergo group (except the headset), SS spokes, Mavic SUP rims and a few other nice features.

$500 is 38% of MSRP which is a little high but its not bad either. In regards to the rust you see, I wouldnt worry about it. As long as the chroming on the components is OK there isnt much to worry about.

See if she'll take $450.

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