Bike Setup: 2002 Boron XL stock with 10sp Centaur and Bianchi Wheel set and 10spd ErgoBrain.
from Reno, Nevada
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2003
Strengths: Light, FAST, comfort (get a gel seat though), and just a fun bike to go fast on. It can really climb well and can be pushed hard without the worry of breaking anything. I love the paint job and the color: Celeste, a Bianchi trademark. I just think Bianchi has a ton of great mystic and I'm proud to be riding one of these.
Weaknesses: That carbon fork. I bought my bike in June 2002, and the frame was already about a year old, so it must be a 2001-2002. When I'm speeding downhill at about 30+, and I'm taking turns, it starts to wobble up front which translates to the rest of the bike. I've had the shop look at it. My headset's fine, so I figure it's gotta be the fork. I spoke to some other riders who have later models and they said that Bianchi changed the angle/bolstered the thickness of the fork. Next year I plan on having another fork installed.
A comfortable, lightweight racing bike that gets better each time I ride it. I race Sprint Tri's so speed and quickness are important, but when I take longer rides I'm never "hurting" from the bike - just the workout! The better rider I become the better the bike becomes. I plan on upgrading the components as they wear-out and/or when I save up the money.
Strengths: The XL Boron is strong, light, responsive, fast, smooth, comforable, and beautifully finished. The stock components are not top class, but close. I'd prefer Record or Chorus, but who wouldn't? Campy's Daytona (Centaur) range is comparable to Shimano's Ultegra group.
Weaknesses: The stock Selle Italia Octavia saddle is not perineum friendly.
The Bianchi XL Boron (2001) is a great bike. And I got a great deal on E-bay, paying half the retail price for a brand-new bike.
Even at full price, it is one of the very best steel bike you can buy for the money. I have had the bike for just a few weeks, but over the first 100 miles or so, it's gotten better and better.
The best thing about this bike is its combination of lightness and strength. Bianchi's proprietary boron tubing is similar in weight to Foco and EOM 16.5. The XL Boron frame weighs in at 2.8 lbs. But, unlike some other super-lightweight steel frames, it is not restricted to use by lightweight riders. I am 6'2" and weigh 210 lbs, and the frame (as well as the virtually bullet-proof Bianchi Levitation wheelset) are sturdy and stable under me.
Bike Setup: XL Boron frame (2.8 lbs)
Carbon fork with Cro-Mo steerer
Campy Daytona (now Centaur) comp. group
Cane Creek Headset
Salsa Pro Road Stem
Selle Italia MaxFlite TransAm Gel Flow
Speedplay X2 pedals
a Road Racer
from Manndeville, LA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 4, 2003
Strengths: * Very Smooth Ride
* Very Light for a steel frame
* Very Inexpensive vs. other Comparable Steel Frames
* Durable and reliable
* Great paint finish- no labels,painted lettering and clearcoated
* Versitile frame geometry- Rides Crits to Centuries equally well.
* Great Handling- uphill or downhill at 40+mph.
* Quality workmanship
Weaknesses: VERY FEW:
* 1" Headtube & Full Carbon Fork- a little flex in headtube area when out of saddle sprinting.
2003 frame now 1 1/8 inch should solve
* Odd sized seatpost- 26.8mm
This review is for the 2000 model Bianchi XL Boron. It was the last year for the flat horizontal tob tube frameset.
I have been extremely pleased with frameset and bike setup after 8,000 miles of riding over the past 2 years. I am a 6'1" 160 lb. rider and the 59cm frame fits me well and is quite comfortable.
My previous bike was a Bianchi Campione which was a lugged steel frame. I was very pleased with it but wanted something lighter and flashier. The XL Boron has exceeded all my expectations for a great all around mid to upper level road bike.
I like to do many weekend rides of 50-60mi+ over sometimes rough roads. I feel little or no soreness due to the ride when finished.
When I purchased my first road bike 4 years ago I test rode many bikes, all aluminum frames. I was quickly disappointed in the ride quality of all of them. To me ride quality is very important na I believe is to anyone who considers themself a serious racer or even recreational cyclist that rides 50-100 mile rides or races. If you only ride 20-40 miles an aluminum frameset might be ok. I think the high-end aluminum framesets with carbon seat-stays now ride pretty smooth, but you must be willing to spend a lot of $$$'s. I firmly believe that their is not a better well rounded performing road bike setup out their for the money spent.
I bike performs well climbing 12% grades in and out of the saddle and is an extremly stable and confident decender 40+mph. I carves 90 degree criterium turns at 25+mph without hesitation and inspires confidence in your bike handling skills. You will never be suprised taking tight turns at high speed.
The smoothness of ride reduces overall fatigue and soreness as well as allows for you to better focus on proper pedaling form throughout your whole ride.
In summary, if you want a great quality road ride for the money you will not be dissappointed. This bike is a high-performance machine that is nearly as low weight as the lightest carbon fiber or aluminum framset with a definitively smoother and more comfortable ride.
The Bianchi Italian craftsmanship, quality, design, and combined value are unsurpassed in vast array of road bike choices.