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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Five Good Buys

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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Five Good Buys

Old 07-17-20, 08:51 AM
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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Five Good Buys

Five high-value bikes representing five different categories are reviewed.

LOTUS Prestige (sport touring)
UNIVEGA Gran Turismo (loaded touring)
SCHWINN High Sierra (all-terrain)
BIANCHI Limited (entry-level racing)
ROSS Signature Triathlon (semi-expensive racing)









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WTB: Bike World issue Jun 1974.













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Old 07-17-20, 09:20 AM
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I worked in a shop for a while that sold Bianchis. I know we sold a lot of Bianchi Limiteds. It was a well equipped bike and it had a pedigree even if it was made in the Orient.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I worked in a shop for a while that sold Bianchis. I know we sold a lot of Bianchi Limiteds. It was a well equipped bike and it had a pedigree even if it was made in the Orient.
What higher end models did your shop sell then and were those still made in Italy?
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Old 07-17-20, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
What higher end models did your shop sell then and were those still made in Italy?
Oh yeah the higher end ones were made in Italy. The guy who owned the shop loved Galli stuff. I didn't work that long in that shop though as I moved over to a different one that sold Peugeots and that is where I mainly worked.

But I remember the Limited because we sold a heck of a lot of them.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:47 AM
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I also remember the Limited as selling very well. It was a very good bike for the money, like the article says. The first Italian made model was one notch up from this, IIRC, and was also a nice bike, but arguably not as much bang for the buck. It was cooler looking though--fashion first... What cracks me up is that the reviewer dings the Limited because it has the non standard "Shimano" bolt diameter, presumably 130.

The UV Gran Turismo that year was also a great deal. Nice spec for the price. It cost, best as I can recollect, around half of what the top of the line Specialissima cost.
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Old 07-17-20, 11:19 AM
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An enthusiastic piece of writing. We do need to have a word about the definition of "world", though. I don't think any Ross ever made its way out of North America.
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Old 07-17-20, 11:36 AM
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hmmm. interesting "inflation calc" here... I notice in article "... at $2,100, the Ross Road Criterium was beyond the means of most racers..." So, that number goes into an inflation calculator and it's equivalent to $5,332 today. Granted, a very expensive bike, but I'd best that most Cat4's are riding at least that cost... are we "richer" than we were?
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Old 07-17-20, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
hmmm. interesting "inflation calc" here... I notice in article "... at $2,100, the Ross Road Criterium was beyond the means of most racers..." So, that number goes into an inflation calculator and it's equivalent to $5,332 today. Granted, a very expensive bike, but I'd best that most Cat4's are riding at least that cost... are we "richer" than we were?
Don't know for sure, but I would guess that yes, there are more people who are richer and the demand is higher so bike prices are reflective of that. I have done the same thing with MTB and it is similar.
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Old 07-17-20, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I also remember the Limited as selling very well. It was a very good bike for the money, like the article says. The first Italian made model was one notch up from this, IIRC, and was also a nice bike, but arguably not as much bang for the buck. It was cooler looking though--fashion first... What cracks me up is that the reviewer dings the Limited because it has the non standard "Shimano" bolt diameter, presumably 130.

The UV Gran Turismo that year was also a great deal. Nice spec for the price. It cost, best as I can recollect, around half of what the top of the line Specialissima cost.
I was going to make a post about that, probaby the very last time that any publication critiqued Shimano's 130mm bcd standard.

And the article provides additional evidence of Univega's use of short top tubes for a given frame size.
I measured my 57cm Specialissima's top tube the other day, realized that it was even too short for me (I usually seek out the higher stack-to-reach frames, but 55cm with slack angles is no bueno for this rider. Kind of bummed too, the bike having the rare AGC450 center-pull calipers with ball-bearing pivots, now off to craigslist or worse, the nearby college city wholesalers.

I've got a Bianchi Limited frameset here, took me a couple of years of good patience to free the seatpost. Time for a build-up!

1984 might have been the year that not only did mtb's completely take over, but road bike design expectations were changing fast. Touring bikes were still very much a thing as well.
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Old 07-17-20, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
snip . . .

I've got a Bianchi Limited frameset here, took me a couple of years of good patience to free the seatpost. Time for a build-up!

1984 might have been the year that not only did mtb's completely take over, but road bike design expectations were changing fast. Touring bikes were still very much a thing as well.
I'm looking forward to seeing the buildup on that Limited.

I think 1984 is too early for the influence of MTBs to be that large. I think they became more mainstream and really started to transform the market in the 90s.

This wiki entry suggests something similar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mounta...e%20in%201978.
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Old 07-17-20, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I was going to make a post about that, probaby the very last time that any publication critiqued Shimano's 130mm bcd standard.

And the article provides additional evidence of Univega's use of short top tubes for a given frame size.
I measured my 57cm Specialissima's top tube the other day, realized that it was even too short for me (I usually seek out the higher stack-to-reach frames, but 55cm with slack angles is no bueno for this rider. Kind of bummed too, the bike having the rare AGC450 center-pull calipers with ball-bearing pivots, now off to craigslist or worse, the nearby college city wholesalers.
That was kind of an interesting year for the Univega Specialissima. They only had the Gran Compe GC450 brakes for one year, maybe two. I think it was 1980? I'm a little fuzzy on the year. A friend in mine in high school had one. I still remember it locked in the back supply room in chem lab, (we were both TA's). The brakes really caught your eye. Anyhow, IIRC the Miyata 1000 version had already gone to cantilevers. Other than that model year, they basically tracked each other, and I really don't think there was any difference at all besides the decals and the lug cutouts. There were definitely some changes year to year. You might find another one that fits you better from a different year. I had one I built up from a frame. I think it was an 82 or 83 maybe. I don't remember it being especially short in the TT, but I think it was 1 cm shorter than my Masi.

Before 1980, I think the Specialissimas were still made in Italy and completely different.
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Old 07-18-20, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
hmmm. interesting "inflation calc" here... I notice in article "... at $2,100, the Ross Road Criterium was beyond the means of most racers..." So, that number goes into an inflation calculator and it's equivalent to $5,332 today. Granted, a very expensive bike, but I'd best that most Cat4's are riding at least that cost... are we "richer" than we were?
I think the psychological desire for one-upmanship is even stronger today than it was in the past. That racers are not richer, they are just conditioned by society and peer pressure to seek out every "minimal gain" that they can buy, and companies are better at exploiting that anxiety.
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Old 07-18-20, 08:34 AM
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We lived in a very different world in 1984. I see very few comparisons to today's world. Like comparing the fifties to the eighties.
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Old 07-18-20, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
hmmm. interesting "inflation calc" here... I notice in article "... at $2,100, the Ross Road Criterium was beyond the means of most racers..." So, that number goes into an inflation calculator and it's equivalent to $5,332 today. Granted, a very expensive bike, but I'd best that most Cat4's are riding at least that cost... are we "richer" than we were?
1984 was the second year of an economic recovery. Things were getting better, unemployment was dropping and life was looking much nicer, but still, that was a chunk of change for a lot of riders. In 1984 you could by a Ford Escort for $5189, or a GMC C1500 for $5400. Priorities are different today than back then I guess.
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Old 07-18-20, 11:08 AM
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In 1984, $2,100 for a bike was just over the top, way too much.
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Old 07-18-20, 11:37 AM
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$2000+ is what a high end Super Record (reduced) equipped racing bike cost then. The standard joke was "My bike on the roof rack of my car is worth way more than the car," and usually it was. This still lives on in "The Rules". The times were different in the sense that you only bought a bike like that if you raced or were an active club rider who rode a lot of miles, and commonly people had one bike. Yes, only one bike. Having a fleet would have been unusual.

There were ways to save money of course. You could get a Colnago frame mail order and put together your own for like half the above amount, or you could buy a used bike. A bike could be cobbled together from used parts for even cheaper, or some combination of new and used. That's what I did. No possible way I could have afforded a brand new top shelf racing bike.
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