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  1.  
    I'm a newbie here, and a new old bike owner. I bought a 24-year old Bianchi this spring and am riding all I can, amazed and invigorated by the efficiency and speed of a bike that's significantly older than my adult kids!
    Recognizing that rust, oxidation and time never rest, I had my celeste beauty professionally tuned, put new tires and bar tape on it (the tires, all by myself!) and cannot *imagine* a more funner way to get anywhere fast, wet and cold! Even the original Sella Italia seat is almost comfy!
    So...
    I know it's a bit luddite of me to even ask, but are new(er) frame/shifting/braking technologies (perceptibly) any better than my middle-aged baby, to the average rider?
    :-)
    chellissima

    P.S. I'll try to post a pic or two ASAP.
    • CommentAuthorkeeyop
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    Where'd i put that can of worms? Oh, here it is...

    Whole lot of opinions on these questions. Short answer: YES.
    Are upgrades worth it? MAYBE. Okay, that's not exactly helpful.

    Cheap & easy braking improvement: Kool-Stop salmon (colored, not fish) pads.
    Then, you have to ask if you're willing to alter the bike's "personality", whatever that may be... Downtube shifters? Keep 'em and upgrade? The 80's saw a lot of index-shifting changes, so compatibility issues abound. Trouble there. Don't like the location? There's always barcons or stem-mounted.
    Integrated shifters put braking/shifting in the same unit these days. Older, 90's "brifters" may, or may not work with your setup.

    Personally, I'd leave it as is. Or maybe slowly upgrade w/period stuff (watching for deals on ebay, not changing too much at once; so you can evaluate differences). Don't know what you have on there, but Bianchi's generally had good stuff.
    Save the upgrades for a different bike?

    There are a lot of people (bike enthusiasts among them) who love riding with 70's or earlier tech... I'm still in the 80's mostly, myself. I think it's great you're so happy with it as is!

    ps-If 24 is "middle aged", i'm in trouble...
    • CommentAuthorchellissima
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    Middle aged in bike years?
    (I have a 1945 bike in the basement and *that's* older than dirt, but it was my mum's, and *she's* not old. She remembers when radio was new, but she's not old...)

    The original brake pads, amazingly, will still lock up the front wheel with a firm squeeze, while still being controllable, so I'll save the Kool-Stop (love the salmon namen!) for when they wear down a little, but thank you for the recommendation. I have no idea what's out there, or what's best.

    My Bianchi has almost all Suntour Quattro hardware, (the model may be "Quattro") with a little Modolo here and there (skewers, pedals), though I replaced the sticking Modolo brake levers with inexpensive and vastly smoother modern ones, and put on clipless pedals. The rear derailleur is indexed (switchable to non- at the shift lever) and has a seven-speed cassette.

    I will leave it as it is, and if the bloom is still on the rose at the end of this summer, I'll even open an eye for original/vintage replacement parts. (I peeked at eBay just now: there are precious few at the moment.)

    Would an entire, new 2011 Bianchi be a better bike than I have now? Could I ride faster, longer or with more comfort for the six or seven-times price tag? Would the brakes and shifters be so much better than my old Suntours? More reliable?
    I read in some of the posts here that many, many riders love their vintage rides, but does a good, older ride come with a price most modern bikers wouldn't tolerate?

    Do I need to avoid any test rides of my friends' modern bikes to keep myself in happy ignerence about my Bianchi's dated charms?

    chellissima
    • CommentAuthoreaglerock
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    Posted By: chellissimaMy Binachi has almost all Suntour Quattro hardware, (the model may be "Quattro") with a little Modolo here and there (skewers, pedals), though I replaced the sticking Modolo brake levers with inexpensive and vastly smoother modern ones, and put on clipless pedals. The rear derailleur is indexed (switchable to non- at the shift lever) and has a seven-speed cassette.

    Huh? The only "Quattro" I've ever heard of in the bike is Crank Brothers Quattro clipless road pedal (sadly, discontinued), which wasn't made until long after Suntour was gone.

    "Original" depends on what the bike was when it was new - which we don't know yet, because we can't see it. Bianchi was a family-owned company for almost 100 years. But ever since the late 70s, it's changed hands a lot, and that's had an effect on production. Starting in the 80s, Bianchi made a lot of bikes in Asia - first in Japan, later in Taiwan. Most of those bikes were equipped with Japanese components - Shimano and Suntour. Italian-made bikes came with Campagnolo, Gipiemme, Modolo and other European stuff. Today, the only bikes Bianchi regularly makes in Italy are the steel bikes in the "Reparto Corse" series; the of the steel bikes (and all the carbon frames) are made in Asia - either China or Taiwan.

    If the bike is 7-speed, then it's probably 20 years old or more. At any time in the intervening years, a previous owner might have swapped parts around; the current components may not give you any clue as to what was there originally. The decals may also be deceptive; people can and do buy replacement decals to pass bikes off as something they're not. ID on Bianchis can be very difficult, because the frames in any particular year often look very similar. The distinctions are often noted in the components, the decals and the pantographs (engravings in the fork crown and seatstay caps), which can convey information about the quality of the steel tubing used.

    One fairly definitive indicator of where the Bianchi was built is the bottom bracket threading. If you can see the bottom bracket cups threaded in behind the crankarms, they should either be stamped 1.37" x 24 (BSC, AKA British, commonly used on British, Japanese and American frames) or 36 x 24 (Italian, used on Italian frames and non-Italian custom frames made by individual Italian-trained framebuilders/fetishists). You can also measure the width of the BB shell between the driveside and non-driveside cups; BSC is 68mm, Italian is 70mm.

    An Italian thread BB shell means an Italian-made frame, usually from some flavor of Columbus steel. A BSC thread shell means a Japanese-made frame, usually from Ishiwata steel. Note: Japanese Bianchi does not mean "bad"; the Japanese Bianchis of this era were very well-crafted, often much better than the frames made in Italy.

    Until we see some photos, any opinions we may voice on what the right components are, or what changes are worthwhile, are just hot air. Pretend we can't see your bike; because right now, we can't.
    • CommentAuthorchellissima
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    Thanks, Eaglerock,
    I'm no photographer, it's pouring cats and dogs outside and so they were taken in my opulent indoor studio, and I used my laptop's camera (a *teensie* lil CCD thing), but I've posted pics and some details.
    I couldn't find the '36x24' on the bottom bracket mechanism (can't see), but the BB itself appears to have a 3-digit serial number stamped into it (*three* ?!) and a "9.BD" - though the D is half-size and skewed 90 degrees. Might be 9.Ba?
    The cap over the crank arm bolt says Ofmega. Maybe Quattro refers to both Ofmega *and* Suntour components in the group?
    The bottom bracket is exactly 70mm wide.
    Anyway, that's what I've found.
    :-)
    • CommentAuthortypeDvorak
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    Loving that headbadge, mang.
    • CommentAuthorchellissima
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    I've been pouring over my bike now, looking for identifying marks, especially as to where it was made.

    It's stickered 'Made in Italy,' one way or the other, all over, and Ofmega, Bianchi and Suntour are a mix of Italian and Japanese... even 'Quattro' is a cypher: was it a Suntour brand? An Ofmega? A Bianchi? There were and are certainly other bikes labeled Bianchi Quattro, with the same componentry and appearance, but not a lot of information about them.

    The 'Bianchi Quattro' is an obscure bike! Or is that 'rare'? (The serial number might be just three or four digits!)

    Or is just everything about Bianchi in the late 80s hard to get information about??

    Back to the reason I like it: It rides beautifully!

    And back to the original question I posed here: Has technology in the last two decades made a difference in road bikes I could appreciate?

    Or would I best avoid sampling new delights that I can't afford? ;-)
    • CommentAuthorper.k
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    In my opinion, the main differences between my older ride and my modern one are stronger brakes, lighter frame, smoother shifting.

    But I ride my older one a lot more because I'm not worried about keeping it up as much :p
    • CommentAuthorkeeyop
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    @Eaglerock: "hot air"?! i'm offended...
    speculative, maybe :) i stand behind my original input's relevance.
    (interesting info you provided, btw)
  2.  
    Hot air? I didn't say hot air anywhere... did I?
    • CommentAuthorHaegan
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    to answer your question: yes.

    not to say that older bikes don't have merit, i love my old bikes. but there is certainly a noticable difference. And that also does not mean you need a new one either...
    • CommentAuthorkeeyop
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    @chellissima: no [get it?]
    ^^
    most [not all] modern improvements in bikes are marketing-driven... aside from some ergonomic changes such as the integrated shifters mentioned previously; pedal/cleat technology improved efficiency (looks like you already have clipless pedals). Things got lighter, but also became geared more towards racing needs and technology. Shifting improved, and didn't know when to quit, turning into an "arms-race" of gear clusters. Older road bikes had more sensible [comfortable] geometries. {opinionated retro-grouch rant}
    I'd recommend checking your chain for wear. The pins should line up at the 0 and 12 marks on a standard (non-metric) ruler. Worn chains damage teeth. Dive into Sheldon's site for more info on everything... :)
  3.  
    No?

    Um... what was the question again?

    Signed,
    Bemused on Bianchi
  4.  
    @ keeyop:

    Ah! NOW I get it! :-)

    So, lighter and faster, but maybe an equivalent race bike nowadays wouldn't have stolen my heart as easily! Like an old MG Midget: it's no Miata as far as speed, sleekness and serviceability, but it has more soul.

    Thanks!
    • CommentAuthorkeeyop
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011 edited
     
    pow! instant classic bike geek. welcome aboard! (OGs: pardon my impertinence)
    • CommentAuthorthe rabbi
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    bianchi makes their c2c line that is not racing-oriented.
    • CommentAuthorveggie
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    Posted By: chellissimait's no Miata as far as speed


    Ha, miatas fast? they feel fast because they are go carts(I cant say anything about the 2nd and third gens though, only the first)
  5.  
    Miatas are *lightning bolts!*

    But then, I drive an antique Midget and think some mopeds are quick...

    ;-)
    • CommentAuthorveggie
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    Don't get me wrong, I love miatas. I'll agree, they do feel like lightening bolts.

    I usually drive a 60hp Honda Civic, my dad's miata always feels fast
    • CommentAuthorurchin0903
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2011
     
    Posted By: chellissimaMiatas are *lightning bolts!*

    But then, I drive an antique Midget and think some mopeds are quick...

    ;-)


    which mg is it?
 
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