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    I have a 1987 Bianchi SLX. A real nice frame with ornate lug work (not the Argentine world championship special edition -- but has the same lugs with the "B"s all over the place - "Bianchi" in script on the seat stay - campy drops). It's been repainted 4 times, wrecked too many times to recall (but never bent/straightened), and has about 50,000 miles on it (I purchased the bike from a Cat 2 racer, and I became a Cat 2 while riding the bike). I quit racing 10 years ago and now weigh-in at a ground-trembling 225 lbs. The bike rides like a dream and is very predictable. I'm contemplating becoming "unattached" to the bike and purchasing a "newer" frame, but part of me knows that I'll just be disappointed. Here's where I need some input:
    1) At what point does a steel-lugged, Italian made frame break under years of stress? Will it ... ever?
    2) Is this bike unsafe to ride on twisting, high-speed descents?
    3) Without breaking the bank, what will ride as nice and handle with all of the confidence of the Bianchi?
    Yeah, I'm aware that the lid to Pandora's box is in deep trouble here ... but I thought I'd have-a-go at it! Thanks, Sean .... Nashville, TN
    Bead blast the Bianchi, inspect it for defects, powder coat it,ride it 'til you're too old then give it to your kid so he can repeat the process.
    • CommentAuthortaco
    • CommentTimeNov 26th 2008
    Agreed. Unless you've got a ton of hidden rust under the paint somewhere, or a small fishbowl's worth of water sloshing around in your bottom bracket, that steel frame is not going to fail--even if you're tipping the scales at a couple bucks. And if it did fail, it's not going to explode with a rifle-shot crack! like an aluminum frame, or with a sickening crackle like a carbon frame. It'll just get sorta gooey on you and you'll pull off to the side and thinking you've got a screwed-up rear hub. I'm your size and if you decide to get rid of the frame, post some pics--I'd take it off your hands in a heartbeat.
    • CommentAuthorbionnaki
    • CommentTimeNov 26th 2008
    what are your thoughts on purchasing vintage stems? Is that safe?
    Steel is awfully, awfully durable.

    I'm with rumblefiche: it deserves a good, close examination under the paint and a new powder coating. That way, you'll be certain about its condition and will do something great to preserve it.
    Often, if there is some rust, it's just on the surface. So like they said, ride the bike! Steel, especially older stuff that is of high quality, should last a loooooooooooong time.
    Vintage stems are just as good or better than new stuff.However, as with everything, there are bad ones(Pivo comes to mind). Stick with Cinelli,TTT,SR or similar quality.
    Thank you all for the input. I think I'll stick with the ol'reliable steed (sorry Taco). The last paint job was custom by Southwest Frames (I think) in Dallas. It was taken all the way down, dipped, the cable guides replaced, then primed and painted ($$$). I agree with the stem comment as well. I have a stash of old stems that I keep on hand... Cinelli, ITM, TTT, SR. All seem in good condition. I also became spoiled by Cinelli 64-44 bars (I just landed a new, gun-metal blue, "Milano" set from e-bay). I love the long flat section at the bottom. Ta'hell with all this "ergonomic technology". I had ergo bars for about a month ... the "selling point" was that the ergo part forces the elbow down making for a more comfortable, aerodynamic position. Instead, I found myself locking my elbows once my hands were on the flats. I'm not a foo-foo'er on new technology, but some of the new products just seem like planned obsolescence to sell more crap. I mean ... Eddie won 5 tours and only had 10 gears TOTAL ... what the hell do we need with 20 ... or 30 for heaven's sake! But, likewise, I think the 8 and 9 stuff is nice and has it's convenience factor. And the old turbo saddle went into the dump bin long ago (after the leather wore through) and was replaced with an Avocet O2 (I even splurged for the titanium rail model). My new FSR compact crank is good stuff too. However, I don't know if I'll ever part with my enclosed-spring Superbe Pro brakes... the actuation and response is still better feeling than most new brakes ... even after 20 years. Perhaps there's a new thread ... the best of the old stuff, the worst of the new stuff. Thanks again.

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