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Vintage Bianchi
#1
After many years off the bike, any bike, I'm back and having a blast. At the moment, I'm riding an inexpensive no-name mountain bike with road tires, but I have a Bianchi Randonneur that I bought new in the early 80s that's been in storage for more years than I care to admit. It's been in a bike box and sheltered, so it's in good shape, but obviously needs a total overhaul before I ride it.

I have two questions:

1. Are bike components consistent enough that if my Bianchi needs parts, I can find the rights ones?

2. Is it even remotely possible to get specs for a bike this old?

Thanks,
Patty
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#2
Quote:Are bike components consistent enough that if my Bianchi needs parts, I can find the rights ones?

Yes, you should be able to find all the parts you need!

Quote:Is it even remotely possible to get specs for a bike this old?

Do you have any photos you can upload here? That would help us figure it out Smile
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#3
Quote:Do you have any photos you can upload here? That would help us figure it out Smile

No, but now you've given me an excuse to get the bike out and take a couple of pictures of it. Smile I think it's beautiful, and I loved riding it. It's sad that it's been penned up for so long. Believe it or not, the original tires and tubes hold air, but I wouldn't trust them to ride.

Patty
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#4
(02-02-2010, 12:34 AM)BikeCrazyAgain Wrote:  Believe it or not, the original tires and tubes hold air, but I wouldn't trust them to ride.

Yeah, if I were you I would visually inspect both the tires and the tubes, and then replace them if they don't look pristine. It really is amazing in a way how tires and tubes can rot if you just leave them sit long enough. They may seem fine, but won't hold pressure (air or weight) and will crack like a balloon.

Or just replace them, period.
Why is it that they make adult bikes that'll generally work for 5'9" or above, yet when you pedal these same bikes they only work for someone who is 5'4" or so?
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#5
I hope your Bianchi is in Celeste. Do yourself a favor and don't ride a modern road bike! I rode my son's 19 pound alumimum/Carbon road bike and the difference between that and my 70's vintage Reynolds531/Velox bike is remarkable. Ultegra shifters with a 10-speed cassette is a real spoiler! I hope your Bianchi is recent enough to have 700c rims--else tires will be hard to find.
...j
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#6
Right tool for the right job...if I was racing, I'd want a 19 pound carbon bike. For riding around in town, respectfully, I'll take a Bianchi Randonneur any day. And you can get good 27" tires at any bike shop. The only thing you can't get in 27" is super high end race tires. Again, right tool for the job. You'll be able to get any part you need for this bike without a problem.

One side note, there was a recall on a small number of these bikes due to a bad fork. You should check to make sure yours isn't one of them and contact Bianchi if it is. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml90/90138.html
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#7
(02-03-2010, 01:47 AM)j beede Wrote:  I hope your Bianchi is in Celeste.
...j

It's not celeste, but it's the most beautiful blue. I unpacked it last night, and was not too happy to find scratches on the frame. Still, it's been in storage since 1988 (no, that's not a typo) and it looks great, so I can't complain.

Patty
(02-03-2010, 08:41 PM)DaveM Wrote:  Right tool for the right job...if I was racing, I'd want a 19 pound carbon bike. For riding around in town, respectfully, I'll take a Bianchi Randonneur any day. And you can get good 27" tires at any bike shop. The only thing you can't get in 27" is super high end race tires. Again, right tool for the job. You'll be able to get any part you need for this bike without a problem.

One side note, there was a recall on a small number of these bikes due to a bad fork. You should check to make sure yours isn't one of them and contact Bianchi if it is. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml90/90138.html

I checked the recall and mine is one of the good ones, so no worries there.

I'm pretty sure that my bike has 27" wheels. What I do know is that even though I bought the smallest frame available, it's still a bit too tall for me. I can't stand flat-footed over it. But even though it's been a long time, I remember what a lovely ride it is, and I can't wait to get it back out there. Of course, after 22 years in a box, it needs everything overhauled.

Patty
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#8
Do you mean stand flat footed while in the saddle? Or do you talk about the ... clearance between the top tube and yourself? If it is the first: you're not supposed to. The saddle should be high enough that your legs are almost stretched at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If it is the second: Yes, the frame might be a bit tall...
Replace:
- brake pads!
- cables and housing (well, closely inspect them)
- tyres / tubes

Bearings, chain, sprockets and the rest depend on how much it has been ridden before it went in the storage, so check:
- chain wear (sprockets, chain rings)
- bearing noises / play (head set, bottom bracket, hubs)
- every bolt should be tight. Should be checked every now and then, though I tend to forget...

Give it a tune up and enjoy! The randonneur bikes are nice to ride, they are a bit more relaxed than modern racing bikes.
(Everything mentioned above can be found on the repair guide. Still, don't hesitate to ask when running into problems)
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#9
Grease actually does degrade over time, even if it's not being used. So at some point you probably should get all the bearings repacked. But a little riding on them won't hurt anything so don't feel like you have to get a ton of work done before you start riding. Just check out the safety stuff (brakes, tires) and get out there asap.
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#10
(02-04-2010, 07:12 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  Do you mean stand flat footed while in the saddle? Or do you talk about the ... clearance between the top tube and yourself?

I mean the lack of clearance over the top tube. Smile Made for a few fast stops that we more interesting than I care to remember. Smile
(02-04-2010, 08:25 PM)DaveM Wrote:  Grease actually does degrade over time, even if it's not being used. So at some point you probably should get all the bearings repacked. But a little riding on them won't hurt anything so don't feel like you have to get a ton of work done before you start riding. Just check out the safety stuff (brakes, tires) and get out there asap.

I'd love to do that, but I'm a bit hesitant. It definitely needs the chain cleaned, etc., etc., but after 20 years, I wonder if the grease in the bearings hasn't solidified a bit. I took it outside today to take a picture or two, and it rolls nicely, no apparent binding, etc., so maybe a spin around the neighborhood wouldn't hurt. Of course, it has the original 1983 tires and tubes on it, and while they look good and, oddly enough, hold air (though I didn't pump them up all the way), I don't think I'd trust them.

Patty
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#11
Quote:Is it even remotely possible to get specs for a bike this old?
Quote:Do you have any photos you can upload here? That would help us figure it out Smile

Photo attached! (I hope)
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#12
Patty,
Hello and nice bike!! Just remember to inspect the brake pads as well.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#13
(02-05-2010, 01:49 AM)Bill Wrote:  Patty,
Hello and nice bike!! Just remember to inspect the brake pads as well.

Thanks, Bill. My plan is to give it a complete going-over before I take it out, so yes, brake pads are on the list. The ones on the bike are the originals, so while they're not terribly worn (most of my riding was on country roads with little or no traffic and few stops), they are old and I think they may be brittle and hard. The front brakes are way out of adjustment, too, but the whole bike needs attention before I ride it.
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#14
Sweet bike!
Overhauling a hub is not difficult, the tutorial on this site is good. It can be a bit messy, though, use enough rags and degreaser.
What type of brakes are those? They look like early Cantis (a bit more modern than my Mafac centerpulls...). The brake cables are a bit too long and in my opinion at least the cable for the front brake should be routed behind the handlebar. (sorry, nitpicking)

Tyres: There are many options, depends quite a bit on the surface you ride on. In general: when you mostly ride on roads, get slick road tyres but with some kind of protective guard. I have a set of Schwalbe Blizzards, they are cheap, last long and are quite sturdy. There are many cuts and nicks in them but I never had a puncture. When riding a lot off road, take the bike to a bike shop and look what the frame and fork can accommodate. I have (on my off-road bike) Schwalbe Cx-Pro, they run quite well (even on roads) and are the widest I can fit in the frame (30mm wide). In the front I run a Schwalbe Marathon Winter at the moment (35mm), but it is a narrow fit. They will look weird on your bike, though....
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#15
I love vintage bikes.Smile
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#16
(02-05-2010, 07:59 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  Sweet bike!

What type of brakes are those? They look like early Cantis (a bit more modern than my Mafac centerpulls...). The brake cables are a bit too long and in my opinion at least the cable for the front brake should be routed behind the handlebar. (sorry, nitpicking)

They are cantilevers, as you can see. As for "early," I wouldn't know. I bought the bike in 1982 or 83. Is that early? Smile It's interesting, because I don't think I've seen cantilever brakes on new bikes, not that I've looked. I like them because they're compact and work very well. Well, at least when they're adjusted properly. Mine, of course, are not, at least not yet. :-)
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#17
The reason you don't see canti's on new bikes is because they are utterly and completely obsolete. The only reason to keep them is to maintain the originality of the bike, or you are nostalgic about them.

Of course, they're used on cyclocross bikes all the time, but again, I chock that up to nostalgia.

As for working very well, they do offer a level of modulation that isn't QUITE there with v-brakes, and no where close on disc brakes. Of course, if you have a carbon fork, the flexing of the fork can cause HUGE issues with canti's.
Dedicated scholar of bicycles
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#18
(02-06-2010, 07:29 PM)jr14 Wrote:  The reason you don't see canti's on new bikes is because they are utterly and completely obsolete.

Well, that certainly clears THAT up! Smile

I'm keeping them because I like the bike as is. I briefly wondered if it would be possible to change the shifters to the integrated kind that I see on new road bikes, but hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I guess that puts me in the nostalgia category. Smile
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#19
(02-06-2010, 07:29 PM)jr14 Wrote:  The only reason to keep them is to maintain the originality of the bike, or you are nostalgic about them.

Or because they work fine.
Frankly, by your criteria, the entire bike is "obsolete" and might as well be thrown out or riden only for nostalgia. I have to disagree completely. These are great bikes, well worthy of being riden based on their performance alone and not just because they are vintage. I don't mean to get combative, I just get a bit huffy when people insist that something old is useless or that tiny incremental improvements in perceived performance mean that anything of an earlier design has been rendered unridable. Let's see which lasts longer, this bike or some 14 lb. carbon racer where the frame begins to delaminate after a couple years, the brakes and shifters need replacement after a couple specs of dust get in them, and a critical part shatters because someone tightened a bolt without using an aerospace grade torque wrench.
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#20
Regarding integrated shifters... that's one of the things I was referring to when I suggested not test riding a modern bike. Even diehard velo-types must admit that integrated shifting is faster, safer, and better in nearly every way--except $$$. I think you could probably spend somewhere between $900-1000 on a set of new 105 shifters, derailleurs, 700c wheelset, 10-speed crankset, chain and cassette to convert to 9-speed or 10-speed integrated shifters. That's if you do the work. Anyone know of a cheaper way?
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