Author Topic: Volpe vs. ??  (Read 34807 times)

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Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Volpe vs. ??
« on: February 27, 2007, 10:56:42 am »
I bought a Bianchi Volpe last summer and I love it! It is the most comfortable bike I have ever owned or ridden. It has verything I want, does everything I need. Since this bike is so good, I am wondering why would somebody spend 2, 3 or 4 times as much for a bike with pretty much the same construction and componentry? What makes a Gordon better than a Bianchi or a Americano better than a Trek 520 or a Koga-Myata over a Novara Safari? Nothing against anything else, really. I am thinking about the economics as opposed to the "ego-nomics" (Sort of like Chevrolet vs. Cadillac) Is there really that much of a difference in construction or durability to justify the big price tag?

Just curious,
Hans

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Offline Sailariel

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 04:18:40 pm »
I think the bottomn line is that you are happy with the bike. Appearantly you have a good fit and the bike feels like well broken in pair of jeans. Met a fellow last fall who rode his Volpe from Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME. with no problem. Just proves what I have always maintained--get a good frame that fits--the rest is all bolt on. I ride an ancient Miyata and there is no sweeter ride for me. The Volpe is an excellent bike.


Offline Seel

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2007, 06:31:01 am »
I've been riding my Volpe for 3 years now. I researched and researched touring bikes before I purchased it. My decision points were: Fit, components, comfort, economics.

My test ride was about 25 miles over flat to somewhat hilly terrain and I knew in the first 5 miles that I really didn't need to look any further; so I just enjoyed the remainder of the ride.

I've done several centuries, TOSRV, GOBA, and a 4 day camping trip with my grandson; I still love the bike. Up to this point the only change I've made was a saddle - now I sit on a Brooks B-17.

I'm taking a 9 day trip this summer (Dayton, OH to Sunset Beach, NC) and in preparation I am changing the components. Changing the crankset to a MTN (lower gearing), switching to an 11-34 cassette, Barcons, brake levers, and Velocity Dyad 40 spoke rims. These changes are due to changes in my body (a bit heaverier now) and I will be pulling a trailer.

The changes are also in anticipation of my 2008 Lewis and Clark journey.

IMHO the Volpe is the best buy for the $.




Offline biker_james

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 09:13:17 am »
I have a Cannondale T800, boght 7 years ago. I love it-it does everything I need. I love to look at the magazines and buyers guide, and think about some custom made Titanium whatever, but in reality I can't imagine anything that they could do that my Cannondale doesn't. Yeah, I think the ego thing is a big part of bike buying for most people. I even met one fellow that looked at our bikes with envy-he'd bought a custom made Marinoni through his friends shop, had it made for carrying a heavy load when touring, and he hated it as the frame was too flexy. He actually admitted he wished he'd bought a Cannondale. I"m sure he could have saved a lot on his purchase too.


cyclesafe

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Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2007, 11:29:18 am »
Just as the BMW owner can't justify the higher cost of his ride, the Americano owner can't either.  But I'm not sure if the Volpe owner will experience the adulation of those international fashion models we find encamped in forestry service campgrounds and RV parks.....  


Offline DaveB

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 11:58:57 am »
About the only "justification" for a more expensive boutique bike, assuming you don't require custom geometry to get a good fit, is pride of ownership and personal satisfaction.  It's not likely to be enough of a superior product to really warrant the extra cost.  

That said, even the most expensive touring bikes are financially small change compared to many other products.  The cost of depreciation the first hour you own almost any new car dwarfs the total cost of nearly any bike.   The cost difference between a modest home theater and a top-of-the-line system will pay for any bike you want.

Bicycles are one product you can indulge all of your fantasies with out risking financial ruin.      


Offline RussellSeaton

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2007, 01:36:19 pm »
As the owner of bicycles that span the range from very high end to fairly pedestrian, I can say I like/enjoy the higher end bikes more than the lower bikes.  All of my bikes perform perfectly well and ride pretty much the same.  So for actual physical objective measurable differences, there aren't really any.  But I still like the nicer bikes more and get more joy out of riding them.

Waterford 1200 Reynolds 753 lugged with Campagnolo Chorus.  Beautiful bike and a pleasure to ride.  Wonderful handling.  My very favorite bike.  Comfortable on sub 200 mile rides.

Litespeed Tuscany with mix of Record/Chorus/Centaur/Veloce/Mirage/Race Face components.  Have not really fallen for this bike yet.  Used it on Triple Bypass ride.  Plan to ride it in the Rockies this summer.  Planned 2007 brevet bike.  Comfortable on 200km rides.  Hopefully it will grow on me.  But if I had it to do over again, I might pass on it.  Brushed titanium isn't too awful a color I guess.

Nashbar aluminum frame with Campagnolo Centaur components.  Looks awful.  I hate gray color.  Cheap.  Yeah.  My bad weather, work horse bike.  Don't care if I scuff it which is an advantage at times.  It works.  Handling not as nice in corners as the Waterford, but then what bike is.  I've ridden this bike more than any of the others in the past 2 years.  2006 brevet bike.  Including a 1200km.  The bike does not add any joy to the ride.  Utilitarian bike.  It works.  Looking to find a nicer, higher end aluminum frame (cheap) to replace it because I want a nice frame to hang my nice Centaur components from.

Redline Conquest Tour frame with mix of parts taken from an old Trek 520 and newer ones.  Works.  Bought frame/fork sort of cheap.  Better fit than the too small Trek 520.  Always thought of the Trek 520 as a utility truck.  It carried the gear and worked.  For a touring bike that is enough.  Redline is a better fitting utility truck.

For loaded touring, utility trumps all else.  Enough that aesthetics or brand can and are irrelevant.  I don't want to worry about a nice high dollar touring bike.  I want a utility bike that can get scratched and I don't care.  But for recreational, pleasure riding, then a bike that adds more than just function is important.  I consider it worth paying for that extra pleasure the bike itself provides on top of the joy of riding.


Offline TCS

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2007, 02:39:15 pm »
...and what makes a Volpe worth twice as much as a Trek 7300FX?

I rode and toured on my Trek 750 MultiTrac for ten years (until it was recently stolen) and never understood what more a 520 purchaser got for twice as much.

TCS

"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2007, 04:15:49 pm »
Well, there's the chromoly frame (with variable shaped tubing) to start with, drop handlebars, suspension seatpost, WTB AllTerrainasaurus tires, longer chainstay, Tiagra 9-speed shifters, 27 speed gearing, Cane Creek canti brakes with STI levers, front rack mounts, and did I mention the chromoly frame?

Don't get me wrong, I like Treks. My wife rides a 7300, and both my MTB and my "cop" bike are Treks. I just don't think, for a dedicated loaded touring bike, you can beat the Volpe. I looked at the Trek 520, and because of some minor gearing differences and the STI shifters, as opposed to the Trek's bar-end shifters, (plus I like the color of the Bianchi) made the choice for me.

The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline Sailariel

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2007, 04:58:22 pm »
Russell, Our local bike shop just started selling the Waterford and Gunnar line of bikes. As you have gathered, I like steel. I did get to test ride a Gunnar and was impressed with its surefootedness. I could let go of the handlebars and go "no hands" indefinitely. My Fuji is too twitchey for that. Does Waterford make a frame that is not a compact like a racer but is also not an all out touring machine. I am looking for a frame that would be good for centuries, charity rides, and club rides, and not be as twitchey as the Fuji. I am also not too happy with the way aluminum rides.


cyclesafe

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Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2007, 05:23:42 pm »
Check out the Nor'Wester...

http://www.co-motion.com/norwester.html


Offline RussellSeaton

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 08:48:11 pm »
Waterford makes quite a broad range of bikes.  I think all of them in good looking horizontal top tube format.  At least the good looking lugged models.  Go over to the Waterford website and look at their models.  RS or something are the sport touring, longer wheelbase, rack brazeons, but still sporty type frames.  Choices of high priced tig welded, lugged, or low priced tig welded.  33, 22, 11 nomenclature for the models.

My Waterford 1200 is an older model of the 2200 model.  Lugged.  Steel fork.  Racing model.  Handling is wonderful.  Neutral would be the word.  Not sure what the sport touring models would improve upon other than brazeons for a rear rack.  Could not make the bike more stable.  I've used it on 200k, 300k, and a double century.  Supposedly the handling is not good on racing bikes over that type of distance.  At least that is what I have heard.

Gunnar is the lower priced tig welded frames made by Waterford.  I know someone with one and he likes it.  Never ridden one.  Saw the welds on one and was not impressed.  I like lugs on a steel bike.  And a steel fork with a real crown.

I think for an off the rack steel lugged bike you cannot go wrong with a Waterford.  Not saying there are not better values out there.  Given the current pricing on the lugged models, I might look awhile.  Its a nice bike and I'm glad I own one.  And enjoy riding it.

I mention off the rack because I am not sure I would go with a factory bike for custom geometry.  Waterford is small, but still a factory.  Just like Serotta, Seven, Independence Fabrication, etc.  If going custom geometry I'd go with a one man type shop.  But if the off the rack models fit, then no reason to go custom.


Offline Sailariel

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2007, 01:19:15 pm »
Russell, Thank you for your insight. Right now I am not in a particular hurry to grt a new bike. For long distance comfort I always have the Univega and Miyata. For fast short club rides, the Fuji is OK, albeit not the most comfortable. When I saw your thread mention Waterford, I had to jump in and ask for your opinion. A Waterford frame is one of the ones I am considering. I have also considered Gunnar and Ionic. What I really need is a frame and fork. I have all the rest--currently on the Fuji.


Offline daleb

Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2007, 01:24:50 am »
I have a Volpe from about 1993.  Wanting something a little different in 2000, I picked up a T800, and kept the Volpe.  They have both been very good bikes for me for long day rides, short tours, and some trails.  Recently a "go faster" Trek was added to the team, and I still kept the Volpe.  I might have had an offer for it, but like the idea of having at least one good steel frame on an all-around bike.


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Volpe vs. ??
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2007, 09:54:06 am »
My bike shop owner told me the same thing about my "cop bike" (1998 Trek Police MTB) with the chromoly steel frame.  Basically, "they don't make tham that way any more, so as long as the frame is strong, keep it." That was one of the attractions of the Volpe, although I also considered the Trek 520 and the Novara Randonee, which both are steel-framed tourers.

I still use the cop bike for First Responder event patrols, such as the Twin Cities Marathon and the MN Ironman Ride, where I carry a bunch of medical gear on the back, but I have an aluminum Trek 4600 for trail and park patrol. (I'm a park ranger in addition to being an NMBP volunteer.) I may ride the Volpe on the Ironman Ride this year.

Ride safe,
Hans

The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson