Weaknesses: Brake adjustments are slow and tedious. Would definitely reccomend replacing if possible.
Great bike. I created this review to ask if anyone out knows what kind of chainrings are a good brand to replace the originals on the bike. I couldn't find a brand, size, or type on the originals and was hoping someone on this forum would have a recommendation.
Strengths: Versatile, indestructable, good value. Forgiving ride on almost all conditions. Triple chainrings have great spread of gears. Mine came stock with SPD pedals -- nice!
Weaknesses: Tiagra group a little sluggish for strong riders, overly cushy saddle chafes the crotchal region, stock tires prone to flats. Add barrel adjusters to brakes on your first cable change. Flexy stock bars heavy, narrow, deep, and not ergo, but this is fixed on newer models.
My 2000 Volpe just rolled over 6000 miles after a little more than 2 years. I can't recommend this bike enough for commuting, light trail riding, and touring. I can spend 9 hours in the saddle and get on the next day for more. It's a little heavy but rugged and versatile. After about 3000 miles I upgraded the Tiagra comp to 105 which was a huge improvement, and have upgraded the saddle, tires and bars as well. Note that this was after 1000s of miles of abuse. Within the last 2000 miles the paint has really suffered, but I'd rather repaint this bike than buy another. About the only thing it's NOT good for is racing, paced club rides and so forth but as a day-to-day or winter bike it's fantastic. I'd also recommend it as a first bike for any use.
Bike Setup: Stock frame/fork/wheels/pedals/brakes. Conti top touring tires, fizik aliante saddle, salsa short-n-shallow bars; fenders/racks/panniers
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2003
Strengths: Really versatile; can do it all. Great frame geometry, comfortable without being sluggish. Kind of a rarity in this age: a road bike which can do anything, in pretty much any weather. A poor man's Rivendell.
Weaknesses: Stock setup leaves a little bit to be desired. Wheelset not up to snuff (I popped a few spokes before switching over to my new wheels), Tiagra shifters are pretty clunky, especially in front. No barrel adjuster for the rear brake. OEM saddle is a joke. Other than that...
This is an update to my previous review. I've since upgraded the wheelset (Ultegra/Open Pro I built myself), shift levers (to 105), saddle (to a Brooks B17) and added PlanetBike Freddy Fenders.
This bike is a real chameleon. It can do pretty much anything: commuting, club rides, touring, trail riding. I have it set up more for road riding and commuting; it's a great, reliable, comfortable platform for anything you want to do with it. It may not be the lightest bike in the world, but it's totally durable and dependable.
I swapped the wheels and tires back to the OEMs (Tiagra/T221 with 11-32 gearing and the WTB cyclocross tires) for some trail riding. In stock form this thing was PERFECT on the carriage roads in Acadia Nat'l Park. Couldn't ask for better.
You can really pile on the miles on this thing. It's rock solid, totally durable and dependible.
Similar Products Used: Miyata touring bike, old crappy Raleigh 10-speeds. I test rode a lot of bikes before I chose this one (Specialized Allez, Trek 520, Lemond Tourmelet, Bianchi Eros and Campione); I'm totally happy with
Bike Setup: 105 headset and shifters, Ultegra/Open Pro wheelset (11-25 gearing), Specialized Turbo Armadillos, Brooks B17.
Thinking of going to bar-cons at some point. I'm beginning to think index shifting is for the birds...
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2003
Strengths: Good frame, good wheels, and a fairly sensible design for a tourer.
Weaknesses: Some cheap components. Chain came apart at 1400 miles. No brake adjusters. Hideous color scheme (burgundy with a Bianchi green saddle and pale green decals that look like they ought to glow in the dark but don't? What were they thinking?)
This is a really nice bike. A little heavy, but a forgiving steel frame, mostly good stuff where it counts, and easy gearing. I don't know why Bianchi has tried to sell this thing a some sort of hybrid. It's a good touring bike.
I rode a very similar Trek 520 for a while, and like it much more. The Trek has a much lower bottom bracket, so you really can't use traditional toe clips, and the STI shifters are way better than the bar-end shifters on the Trek.
I've put 1600 miles on the Volpe, mostly commuting. The wheels have proven to be exceptional, still true even when taken over nasty potholed roads and railroad tracks. The finish seems to be prone to chipping, but otherwise it has held up well.
Bike Setup: Mostly stock. Ancient SR pedals from my last bike, Conti road tires replace originals.
a Recreational Rider
from Durham, NC
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2002
Strengths: Good out-of-the-box gear range for touring, perfect crank arm size, comfy steel frame
Weaknesses: Saddle, tires, lack of barrel adjuster for rear break - I had these changed immediately. Top tube is short and can cause toe clip overlap, but generous tire clearance for fenders to protect tootsies. I would find bar end shifting preferable to cheezy Tiagra STI.
I've really enjoyed this bike, but would've preferred bar end shifting instead of STI (my next project). The Tiagra shifting is not nearly so smooth as the 105 on my road bike and the shift levers are just plain wimpy. On the other hand, the gear inch range on this bike is perfect for touring/hill climbing right off the rack as are the 165 mm cranks for my size where lotsa manufacturers attempt to kill my knees with 170s.