Author Topic: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?  (Read 2308 times)

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Offline phish814

Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« on: June 26, 2012, 10:48:00 pm »
I have recently come into a new (old) Bianchi Volpe from 1999.  I was being thrown away because it had a front end collision that bent the fork slightly but upon extensive inspection didn't damage or bend the frame or other components at all.  My question is whether or not this frame would make a good loaded touring bike/commuter, and if putting a hundred or so dollars into a new fork and shifters is a good investment. (btw the shifters are worn out...) 

Thanks for your input in advance.

Patrick

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 11:43:06 pm »
Maybe.  Assume this bike needs a 1" fork.  Nashbar has one for $70.  But it is a road bike fork.  Not lots of clearance for big tires like a touring bike uses.  No cantilever or V brake mounts.  You will have to look around to find a touring bike fork in 1" steerer.  Figure $100.  It will likely be threadless steerer, so $25 for new headset and $25 for new stem.  If you can find a threaded 1" touring fork, then you can use the existing stem and headset probably.  Firgure this bike is 7, 8, or 9 speed.  9 speed bar end shifters can be found for $75 easy enough.  7 or 8 may be difficult to find.  Maybe new cassette for $30 from Nashbar and new chain for $20.  Without really replacing anything that does not need replacing, you are at $200-300.  And you doing all the mechanical work yourself.  Not paying a shop to do the work.  If you have to pay a shop, add another $100 labor.  Is it worth it?  Nashbar has a touring bike for $650 before discount codes.  Bikes Direct has a touring bike for about the same.  Probably a few others out there.  These bikes are better equipped than the Bianchi will ever be.  Fixing, upgrading old bikes usually does not make economic sense.  Unless you get the parts used or super cheap, do your own mechanic work, and only fix it to a working level, nothing extra.  Now i am not saying you should not fix the Bianchi and ride it and enjoy it.  Just keep in mind you are sort of, kind of wasting money and throwing it down a hole.  No reason not to do this, but realize you are doing it.

Offline phish814

Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 09:59:08 am »
I guess my question really revolves around how suitable the frame is for loaded touring.  I work as a full time bike mechanic so I will be doing all the work myself and can source the parts cheaply.  My dream is to buy a LHT or Rivendell frame and build it up from scratch(or even get into custom frame building) but as of now my budget is too tight.  So would this frame work as a cheap and viable alternative to a LHT while funds are developed for the "real" bike, or is it really just not a good enough bike to justify putting a couple hundred in parts on it. (these part, besides the fork, would eventually transfer to a new bike down the road anyways so it would be building towards that too).

Patrick

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 12:54:16 pm »
IIRC the Volpe was listed in Adventure Cycling's touring bike buyer's guide for several years.  I've never seen one (that I know of), but it had decent geometry (chainstay length, for instance).  Since it was advertised as a touring bike, I'd have some hope that the tubing was now ultra-light, and therefore the bike would be sturdy enough to handle a decent load without wobbling or shimmy.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 01:15:48 pm »
I owned one, and can talk about its touring properties. 

At your weight, I don't think you will have any problems touring on a Volpe.  If you weighed more, then I would be cautious as the bike has a Reynolds 520 frame, and 520 is not a particularly stiff alloy.  The bike came with OK components, and we all replace chains, chain rings, and cassettes, so don't let that turn you off.

The Volpe would be  a superb commuter bike, and you don't need front panniers for that.  But if you want to get a pannier ready fork, I might suggest getting one from Surly.  I believe that the LHT fork can be had after market.  Soma (somafab.com) might also sell an appropriate aftermarket fork.

You can make this bike work for you if you want to put the labor and parts into it.
Danno

Offline indyfabz

Re: Is a '99 Bianchi Volpe worth rebuilding?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 01:53:18 pm »
FWIW, in '99 I crossed the country with a group of people, one of whom was riding a Volpe that looked like it had a few years on it. No problems with front and rear panniers, albeit her load was probably on the lighter side adjusted for weight deflation. I'd estimate she was about 5' 6". Don't know what she weighed, but she played hockey and had incredibly muscular thighs that I was a bit jealous of.