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Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the Snake(7 posts)

Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the SnakeASiegel993
Sep 10, 2003 9:15 PM
I've come across a major dilemma. That dilemma is which 'cross bike to buy? My ONLY two options are the Kona Jake the Snake and the Bianchi Axis. All in all, the two bikes would cost me basically the same price. The Axis seems to have a nicer frame (both bikes will be 04s btw) and a nicer fork. The part spec seems to be about the same except for the crankset and wheels. The JtS has a TruVativ Elita crank and 105-Mavic MA3 wheelset. The Axis has the Sugino (will be a triple next year) crankset and Alex A320 wheels. The Axis also appears to have a nicer seatpost, saddle (although I'd probably sell it), bar and stem. The Axis appeals to me way more aesthetically (especially the 04... I wish you guys could see it!). The crank and wheels are a little suspect to me, but I've been told that although they're not great, they're not bad either. The Axis has the added benefit of much wider gearing, and the carbon fork. The Kona, however has rack mounting eyelets as well as fender eyelets. This will be both a cross bike and a rainy-type commuter all-around bike. The Kona has the Bianchi beat in practicality. This situation seems to be rectified somewhat with SKS' new RaceBlade XL fenders. This looks like it'd make it possible for me to mount fenders on without having to fidget at all. But, the RaceBlades look like they don't have great coverage near the seat-tube area. How essential is this do you think?

Sorry for my long-winded post. Any opinions you can offer me are much much appreciated. Thanks a ton.
-Siegel
re: Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the Snakeflyweight
Sep 11, 2003 9:12 AM
The bikes are pretty similar in all major ways. I'd go with the one that fits you best.

As for RaceBlades, I just got a pair and they're great. You don't really nead coverage near the seat tube. At that point almost all the water has been flung off the wheel. RaceBlades are definitely on my short list of cool items of the year. The eliminate any reason not to run fenders in bad weather.
re: Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the SnakeTWD
Sep 11, 2003 9:33 AM
I have an '02 Axis and really like it. Haven't ridden a Jake, so I can't comment there.

The Sugino cranks on my Axis were OK, except for the fact that the left crankarm fell came loose and got all munged up on the first ride (worthless LBS obviously didn't torque the crank bolts to spec). They worked OK otherwise, but are pretty basic. The bottom bracket that came with the bike was also pretty crappy, as were the pedals (different than what it has now). Seems like they spec the axis out pretty well where you notice it, and skimp where you don't (cranks, BB, pedals). I trashed all that stuff and upgraded.

As far as the Alex wheels, I would be a little cautious. I built up a set of spare cross wheels using Alex rims and they suck. There was a huge bulge at the seam, and the machined braking surface was really wavy all the way around giving the braking a pulsing feeling. A friend of mine bought a road bike for his wife, which had the Alex A320 wheelset and he says its working fine for her (although she is light and doesn't ride very hard).

In regard to the rack/fender mounts, I think Bianchi made a mistake by eliminating the rack mounts on the stays. You loose alot of versatility. However, Bianchis website states that the the 2003 axis frame still has "Rack eyelets" (assume they mean a single hole drilled in the dropouts). If the 2004 is the same, you should be able to mount up a fender to those holes.

As for the SKS race blades, they look like an option, but not as good as full coverage fenders. That extra bit of coverage near the seat tube does wonders for keeping crud out of the front half of your drivetrain and keeps the backs of your legs a bit drier from the knee down.

Hope that helps.
Full Fenders For SureGripped
Sep 11, 2003 3:36 PM
I do a lot of commuting in the rain (pac NW) and the more fender coverage, the better. The front should go as far down as possible and the back should come all the way around to the chain stays. The low coverage keeps as much rain off your feet as possible. If your feet get cold, then life sucks. My Redline has fender eyelets and that is a BIG deal to me.
re: Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the Snakehappycx
Sep 11, 2003 10:26 AM
I currently have an '02 Axis I bought slightly used. Its in great shape, but I think its a little tall for me. I was thinking of going to the 04, but I haven't seen it yet and I know there are some changes for this year. Can you give some more details? Thanks!
re: Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the SnakeThe Walrus
Sep 11, 2003 1:03 PM
I've had both bikes, and I'm inclined to lean toward the Axis--it has a more "mellow" ride and feels a bit more stable than the Jake. I'm not a huge fan of Alex rims, either, but there's nothing wrong with the Sugino cranks. I wasn't aware that Bianchi eliminated the eyelets for '04; that was a bad decision, IMHO. If you've followed this board much, you find the Axis owners almost universally praise the versatility of their bikes, but apparently you can kiss that goodbye. My suggestion is that you start looking for a NOS '02 or '03 model Axis--you'll get the rack/fender mounts, wider gearing range, less-harsh fork and a
i much
lower price.
re: Bianchi Axis vs Kona Jake the SnakeASiegel993
Sep 11, 2003 3:40 PM
I'm not looking elsewhere. I'm getting the bike through my team's sponsor store. Bianchi is an actual sponsor, and Kona isn't. The store sells both however and we're not required to ride Bianchis. I've gotten the feeling that the Bianchi is the better bike. Everybody seems to like it really well. I could be wrong in what I said about the rack and fender eyelets. The guy who manages the store, is on my team, and owns an Axis said that his doesn't have any mounts on it at all. I looked at his bike, but mostly I was just checking out the frame and fork. I didn't bother to look for fender eyelets on either the fork or at the dropouts. I guess that was a mistake. On Bianchi's website, the 'store' has their carbon cross fork as one of the items and that definitely looks to have fender eyelets there. Maybe the back does. If anyone has an 03, please look and tell me.

As regards the 04... I can't tell you much b/c I didn't see much. He just showed me the picture. Looks like it has the same spec parts, except the crankset is definitely a triple. The new paint is absolutely gorgeous IMO. The general design is the same as the 03, but the marjority of it is celeste (instead of dark blue) and I think the front may be dark blue or green... I don't remember. What's really awesome about it though is that there's a lot of red in smaller bits like the little oval around the Bianchi logo and stuff like that. It looks really hot IMO. We were all sitting there ogling over it. My guess is you'll be able to see on Bianchi's website (choose Italian for language) in a few days. That should give you a better idea as well as me!
-Siegel