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2001 Bianchi Brava Upgrade(9 posts)

2001 Bianchi Brava Upgradedreier
Dec 3, 2001 5:06 AM
I want to upgrade the Sora components on my Bianchi Brava. What do people recommend? Can I upgrade to such things as a Campagnolo derailleur etc. and so forth? What are the key components I should upgrade to make the bike better and what kind of cost should I expect? Thanks, Joyce
re: 2001 Bianchi Brava UpgradeRusty Coggs
Dec 3, 2001 6:48 AM
Why ?? Standard question. Is it broke,wore out,not suitable for purpose?How do you mean better? Assume you have 8 speed? Most upgrades would be to 9/10 Shimano Stuff typically works best,or sometimes only with shimano stuff.Campy derailers with your Shimano shifters are a no go.
re: 2001 Bianchi Brava UpgradeTrent in WA
Dec 3, 2001 9:12 AM
Joyce, a couple of questions:

1) What are you trying to accomplish by upgrading?

2) What's your budget?

In my experience (I have Sora on my current road bike), the Sora shifting components are quite reliable for general riding if they're set up and adjusted correctly. There are two places where you can improve your ride and / or take substantial weight off of your bike: your wheels and your crankset. A good set of wheels--say, Ultegra hubs laced to a set of Open Pro rims--will run about $200 from a supplier like Colorado Cyclist and will probably take some weight off your ride, especially if you combine that with lighter tires and tubes. The other place to lose some weight is your crankset and bottom bracket: Sora cranks are real boat anchors, and you can take a pound off your bike pretty easily by going to an Ultegra triple crank and bottom bracket. If you want to economize, you could get by by either just swapping out the steel chainrings that come with Sora for aluminum ones. Or you could go with a Campy Veloce triple and bb, which are somewhat cheaper. (The crankset and bb recommendations are applicable only if your bike came spec'd with Sora cranks, or similar cranks with steel chainrings--I'm not sure yours did).

Hope this helps,
re: 2001 Bianchi Brava Upgradedreier
Dec 3, 2001 9:39 AM
Thanks for getting back. I am not so much concerned about lightening my bike, I do not race, but I want to upgrade to achieve a smoother shifting, riding bike that is more mechanically reliable. I was told that there were better "sets" I could put on my bike, namely a higher Shimano set or Campagnolo set, to make it run nicer. That's primarily what I am interested in, better quality, smoother running equipment with less chance for fundamental problems. With that in mind, what can you recommend and could I do something like this for less than $350. Thanks, Joyce
Here's one approachTrent in WA
Dec 3, 2001 2:57 PM
My recommendations:

1) If you're not happy with your bike's shifting performance, figure out what, exactly, you're unhappy with. With regard to shifting: Do you have a hard time shifting from smaller to larger chainrings in front? Do you frequently hear a lot of noise from the rear when you shift back there? Are shifts slow and imprecise? Are there any gear combinations that are worse than others? Depending on your answers, the fixes might run from tightening your barrel adjusters, to tweaking your chainline, to replacing a set of generic chainrings with ramped and pinned ones, to replacing the crankset. If you're having shifting problems, I really, really doubt that the problem lies with your derailleurs and shifters; in 1500+ miles on my bike this summer and fall, in dust, through rain and mud, up steep hills and on the flat, I have yet to miss a shift and have only had to tweak the barrel adjusters twice. (Of course, ask me in another 1500 miles, and you might get a different answer.)

2) As far as the ride quality goes: What kinds of tires and tubes do you use? They make a tremendous difference in how the bike feels; cheap, crappy tires will make a good bike feel like a skittery, uncomfortable piece of %$&!. For comfort, go with the fattest tires you can fit in your frame, preferable some (like Panaracer Paselas, Avocet FasGrips, and Conti Ultra 2000s) that can be inflated to reasonably high pressures. You can also try getting a new set of wheels.

The bottom line: New tires and tubes are very cost-effective ways to improve your ride; depending on what you choose, you should be able to upgrade there for $60, unless you go with racing tires (likely unnecessary for you), where the upper limit's going to be around $100. A set of Ultegra / Open Pro wheels from Colorado Cyclist, compatible with what you're running now, will be around $200. If your shifting problems are caused by derailleur adjustment, you can fix that with some guidance from a repair manual yourself or pay a wrench a few bucks to do it. If they're caused by cheapo, unpinned chainrings, you can probably get that improved by going to a set of TA rings for around $80. If you want to go whole hog and upgrade to a 9sp triple setup, you're looking at getting a new crankset, bottom bracket, rear derailleur, and shifters. The economy route with that would be to keep your current wheels, install a Shimano 9sp cassette, and go with Campy Veloce for the cranks, shifters, and rear derailleur, but after installation, you're probably going to be pushing your budget limits even if you order from overseas.

Hope this helps,
Here's one approachdreier
Dec 3, 2001 3:57 PM
Hi Trent,
Thank you very much for your patience and well informed advice. I think you have pointed me in the right direction. Happy riding, Joyce
re: 2001 Bianchi Brava Upgradejtolleson
Dec 3, 2001 3:49 PM
You're really talking about a whole new gruppo, and if you want to do it for $350 or less (including labor), I can't think of a single gruppo that you could get unless you buy used. If you stay with Shimano, you can switch some items but not others. If you want to do Campy you'd have to switch everything (OK, not everything. Not brakes and hubs and probably other things...)

There are folks here who can address the compatibility question way better than I, but I'd discourage you from upgrading your Brava (not to burst the bubble!)

Ultimately, dropping another $350 in your $650 bike, won't really give you a $1000 bike. It is said that the best way to buy new components is attached to a frame. While this is oversimplified, at entry-level (and even intermediate) bikes it is very true.

I'd either sell the Brava and upgrade with a new bike purchase or follow the advice above and buy a nice wheelset. Then you can simply put the old wheelset back with the bike when and if you ever sell, and you'll have your nice wheelset for your new steed.
re: 2001 Bianchi Brava Upgradedreier
Dec 3, 2001 4:03 PM
Thankyou for your very informed advice. I am somewhat of a novice and I do not know much about this, but I wanted to explore the various possibilities to make my bike run a bit smoother. Between your advice and some others I think I am pointed in the right direction. P.S. You didn't burst my bubble. I know I have an entry level bike, but I think I can tweak some things here and there to get a little smoother ride. Thanks again. Happy riding, Joyce
Upgrade around your price range!!!!Ligon
Dec 4, 2001 9:26 AM
If you are interested in going to shimano a couple of threads up "grandpa" said he was selling 9 spd Ultegra for about $300. Includes everything but the hubs. Sounds like a pretty good upgrade and right around your price range.