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advice buying a new road bike and question about Bianchi(16 posts)

advice buying a new road bike and question about Bianchifguy
Mar 24, 2002 12:23 PM
I want to buy a road bike and have become infatuated with the Bianchi XL Boron, which comes stock with the Centaur 20-speed group. I think it is the idea of an Italian steel frame with Italian components that gets me excited about a classic road bike. The problem is I cannot find a bike shop in Eastern Massachusetts that carries the bike so I can test ride it. There are plenty of dealers that will order it, but once I order it I own it without ever having ridden it. Shops have recommended I look at the Zurich or the Trek 5200, but I pine for the Bianchi. I can understand a bike shop not being able to keep an inventory of every bike but is there something about this bike that keeps shops from carrying it? Is the Centaur group on the XL Boron steel frame just such a bad deal nobody thinks they can sell it? Is it crazy to buy a bike without having ridden it? Is there another Italian bike in the same price range (less than $2500) that I should look at?
Tommasini Sintesi, Colnago MXL....C-40
Mar 24, 2002 12:44 PM
See it at or This frame is a lot fancier than the Bianchi. Fully chromed rear triangle, lugs and fork. A fine classic Italian frame for $1000. A complete bike with the much better Campy Chorus group is only $2250.

The only criticism I have of Colorado Cyclist is they only stock one color in 2cm size increments. The frame is produced in 1cm increments and many colors with different graphic patterns. CC is an authorized dealer. They could procure anything you want, but you'd have to wait for it.

You could even get a Colnago Master X-light for less than $2500 with Campy Chorus if you're willing to buy from or (european sources). The MXL is recommended for riders over 160 lbs. It's a pretty stiff frame that lightweights may find uncomfortable.

The Tommasini is well suited to lighter riders. It's standard diameter, round steel tubing (Columbus Neuron). Very large or heavy riders might find it to be too flexy.
Colnago MXL - my vote39x23
Mar 25, 2002 6:18 PM
RIding and racing the MXL for many thousands of miles now, and it takes a licking and keeps me in the hunt race after race. And despite its intended design (the beefier version of the Technos), is plenty supple for my 145 lbs. The geometry is perfect - shortish top tube, generous angles, and the ability to handle out of the saddle sprinting uphill, downhill, sideways whatever, with aplomb. The Sintesi is beautiful too - the chromed fork is a nice touch. And I know of many people who swear by their Landsharks. I challenge you to find a better crafted bike for the price. But in the end it comes to fit and ride. Don't skimp there.

Mar 24, 2002 1:08 PM
The shinning path leads directly to - your Italian cycling superstore. Why settle for a common Bianchi when you can get an exotic Viner? The price will blow-you-away! ($1745 w/Campy)

Mar 24, 2002 3:15 PM
I just ordered what for me is my dream bike from Gary at GVH Bikes. Landshark with Dura Ace, Mavic Open Pros built on the Dura Ace hubs, Selle Italia Flite for $2,300. Gary was very easy to work with.

I looked all over LBS options in the Portland Or area, shopped extensively mail order, and could not find a better value.

BTW, the Landshark is Dedacciai Zero Uno steel, with a Reynolds Ouzo Comp fork. I too looked at the Bianchi XL Boron, but felt the Landshark through GVH bikes was a better overall value.
welcome new shark ownerbadabill
Mar 24, 2002 4:55 PM
I have been riding my Landshark for 2 years now and cant be any happier. John Slawta builds a great frame that is light and responsive. Usually after a year or 2 I am looking to upgrade to a new frame, not now. So happy I will probably have him build me a new cross bike in the near future.
welcome new shark ownerSharkman
Mar 24, 2002 7:56 PM

Mine should arrive this week. I test rode a Zurich before I ordered the Landshark, and was blown away by the difference in a steel ride versus aluminium. My last bike is a Klein. Bought it when I was 36, 205 lbs, and strong enough to flex the frame of almost any steel bike (lots of heavy weightlifting). The difference between and 1990 Klein and a 2002 steel frame is just amazing. I have been missing a lot the last ten years.

I too hope that the Landshark is my last road purchase for a while. But to keep things interesting, will entertain replacing my Cannondale tandem with a Landshark tandem in a few years.

I feel for your dilemmaLone Gunman
Mar 24, 2002 2:27 PM
It depends upon what you want in the frame. Bianchi is not what it once was IMHO. Lots of nice other Italian bikes out there that will meet your budget but you won't get to test them out is the down side. Knowing your size and geometry is the key, GVH will help you there. Then the fun stuff starts, lugged or tig, chromed or full paint, tubing type, mfg, etc......Tommasini, Cinelli, Pegoretti, Viner, want meatballs with that spghetti?
Cannot say enough good things about Gary at GVH!tmguy
Mar 24, 2002 4:54 PM
I just got a Pinarello from him and his service and price were outstanding. I guess its not much help for you in actually wanting to test ride the bike. But, if you want a good deal in your price range without a test ride, he is the MAN!
re: advice buying a new road bike and question about Bianchipgager
Mar 24, 2002 8:34 PM
The Boron is a very thin and lightweight frame, which means it's delicate and not likely to last more than a few seasons at best. The ride is very nice- smooth, stiff, great climber. Bianchi fork supposedly not so great, but mine had an alpha. Their scandium frame is supposed to be great.
not likely to last more than a few seasons??RayBan
Mar 25, 2002 5:55 AM
Out of all the exotic bikes out there, I don't know any of them that have been proven to not last more than a few seasons? I don't think it's acurate to say that that is the case. Nothing personal pgager....
won't last forever butgrandemamou
Mar 25, 2002 6:09 AM
certainly not fragile. I have a friend who has raced one for 3 seasons he's about 165 and an absolute animal. Unless your a heavier rider or need a really large frame it should be fine.
thats the problem with test ridesgrandemamou
Mar 25, 2002 4:39 AM
Any time some one is considering a new bike the advice is invariably to take a test ride. It's not always necessary and often impossible. If you know exactly what you want or can articulate it well a "good" bikeshop can get you what you need. If you want a Bianchi/Colnago/Pinerello etc find a trustworthy shop that sells alot of them and they should be able to steer you in the right direction.

I whittled down my list to a few frames problem was the only dealers were several hours away. I drove 4 hrs to test ride a Colnago one weekend and did not like it. Major bummer. My conclusion was to stick with a great bike shop and trust their advice.

I did test ride the Boron. It was a really nice frame only problem was I wanted an EV2. I trusted the employee who owned one as to the ride characteristics and he was spot on. I got exactly what I wanted. A light,stiff, comfortable Italian racing bike. Do your homework and you should be alright.
re: Bianchitarwheel
Mar 25, 2002 5:43 AM
The geometry on the Bianchi Reparto Corse frames are the same, so I would try to find some aluminum Bianchis to ride, if I were you. Bianchi sizing is different than most mfgs, in my book. Bianchi sizes their bikes by the seat tube length, center to the top of the tube, which extends well above the top tube. So a 57 Bianchi is really about a 54 measured center to center. Plus their top tubes are rather long compared to most Italian bikes. Anyway, I had a 57 Bianchi Alloro and it just didn't fit me right, although it "should have" according to the fit formulas. The top tube was too long for me, and the head tube too short, so my bike had a very big drop from seat height to handlebar, which was uncomfortable. However, if you prefer a frame with a longish top tube and a large drop from the seat to handlebar, the Bianchis might fit you just right.
Don't do it.Fignons_ponytail
Mar 25, 2002 5:31 PM
In your price range I would say DON'T buy a Bianchi. I say this as a Bianchi user since I started cycling over 15 years ago on a Bianchi. I also was fortunate enough to be on an amateur team sponsored by Bianchi and was provided with SL, SLX, and then EL-OS frames from their Reparto Corse for many, many years. I still have a nice SLX frame, in fact, and use it on my rollers. I also have broken every Bianchi frame I have ridden except this last one.

There are many reasons why I would steer you away from a Bianchi. The first is you wanting an "Italian steel frame." As a friend of mine told me many years ago, "Bianchi is the Schwinn of Europe." In no way does Bianchi represent the artisanship that can be found by other Italian framebuilders (De Rosa, Colnago, Tommasini, etc...) because Bianchi mass produces everything, including their Reparto Corse frames. The skill and craftsmanship that you associate with Italian hand-built frames is not present. That's why all of my frames broke. I'm not a rough rider by any means. 165-170 pounds, 6 feet tall, all around cat III when I used to race. Every frame cracked due to "poor torchmanship" as a friend who used to rep for them said. Because they are so large and produce so many frames, they have many inexperienced builders working on them. This results in poor joints, cooked lugs, etc... that fail prematurely. My 4 frames that cracked in the head tube by the lug, the bottom bracket, and the chainstays. Do a quick search and you will see that Bianchi is probably the most represented manufacturer for cracked frames that you will come across on the net. Their aluminum frames seem to be even worse. Their frames can be beautifully built, or they can be sloppy (poor tube fits in lugs, for example)--I've had both.

Now, the good things. I don't want to sound too negative, because I truly loved riding Bianchi's. I rode them exclusively for over ten years and to this day still love the color celeste. Their geometry is a good compromise that gives predictable handling in all situations--from crits to climbs to steep decents. They also have a great warranty replacement procedure. Even when I wasn't racing for them anymore, I still was able to contact a local rep and usually for $100-200 could get the equivalent frame to replace the old one. Nothing like upgrading from an SLX to an EL-OS for $150.

All things considered, for your money you can do much better. A previous poster mentioned Tommasini. First class frames, with the craftsmanship that you expect from a hand-built Italian frame. The neuron frame is about $1000. You can get a Cinelli Supercorsa for about $900. Talk about classic Italian--chrome lugs, red paint. Just beautiful and much less than a Bianchi. Trust me on this one, you can do much better if you just look around.
Don't do it.fguy
Mar 26, 2002 5:59 AM
Thank you for all of the advice, it is very helpful. I am going to my LBS this Friday to get sized. The shop comes recommend by everybody and is one of the biggest in my area. They have Pinarello and Colnago frames. The salesperson I spoke with thinks we can do one of those frames (sounded like it would be a Pinarello) with Chorus and stay about in my price range (we may need to flex up 10% which I am willing to do). Any advice on those frames? Should I get my measurements and shop around for another frame?