Strengths: Durable chromoly frame and fork. The crankwheel teeth are slightly smaller (48-38-28) than most racing bikes, but for light touring the gear ratio is appropriate. Stock tires (Panaracer Tourguard) are respectable.
Weaknesses: No fork eyelets for a front rack. There is only one eyelet available at the end of the chainstays, so if you want fenders and a rear rack, you better head over to Home Depot and buy a longer screw.
After almost 2,000 miles on the this green goblin, I have only positive things to say about this bike. I've ridden in group rides, competitive rides, and along dirt trails through the city and have never had a problem. I can't speak much to the Tiagra drivetrain as I have replaced the shifters with Dura Ace bar-end shifters out of personal preference. The bike is an excellent commuter-bike combining both durability and a quasi-racing geometry.
Bike Setup: Rear and front lights, Planet Bike fenders, Trek Interchange rear rack, Stardard B17 Brooks Saddle, Dura Ace bar-end shifters, I've tried 700x23 tires and they've worked well on good roads. For commuting purposes, I use 700x28.
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2007
Strengths: The frame offers balance between stiffness and flexibility - stable and comfortable to ride, easy to handle.
Weaknesses: Shifting is a bit clunky.
Searching for a touring bike to ride as a commuter, I was turned on to the Volpe. I've been riding the bike for about six weeks (slightly more than one month), and have between 500 and 600 miles under the tires.
So far it's been a real pleasure to ride. I love the frame geometry - I've suffered from back and knee problems in the past, but this bike fits me like a glove.
The Tiagra/Deore is . . . well, Tiagra/Deore. A tune-up after the first few hundred miles has improved shifting accuracy, but it's still a bit clunky. I may switch to a 105/XT set-up later on.
The WTB Terrainasaurs took a bit of a beating the first couple of weeks, mostly due to rider error and some street repairs in progress, but after a re-build of the rear wheel and smarter handling, they've performed well on the mix of street and bike path that makes up my 19 mi. daily commute.
And the leopard print on the saddle is dead sexy! ;-)
Strengths: Very smooth ride, and an exceptional value. The handling is nimble, but not jittery. Very stable ride
Weaknesses: The breaks definitely make some noise, particularly in wet or even humid weather. The tires that come standard are more like a cyclocross tire- fairly beefy tread for a touring bike. I'll likely swap them out for slicks. Also, the clipless pedals that come standard are pretty cheap. They do the job, but nothing to write home about. All in all, the weaknesses are relatively minor, and I would highly recommend riding this bike if you're in the market for a new touring or commuting bike.
I've put about 150 miles on this bike so far, mostly commuting, and I'm very happy with it. It absorbs the bumps well, and is very comfortable to ride.I shopped around for a long time trying to find the perfect commuting bike. Of all the bikes I tested, the Volpe was hands down the most comfortable. It was also one of the lighter bikes I rode. Even after swapping out the tires and pedals (see below), it came in several hundred dollars less than anything comparable.
Strengths: CroMoly frame is tough and takes a beating. Front and rear rack mounts are handy. The top tube is flattened at the down tube for more comfortable carrying over the shoulder. It is fairly agile and can handle a load without feeling too shakey.
Weaknesses: The stock parts are really low quality. After 3 months of commuting, I've started popping a couple of spokes a week. The bottom bracket is shot. As is the head set. I've had a lot of trouble with the front brakes squealing. I corrected this by aggressively toeing in the pads, but I get still get a great deal of (sometimes violent) vibration when I brake. I've never been able to ride without hands on bars - even out of the box.
2004 Bianchi Volpe
This is my first new bike and unfortunately it has been a disappointment. I ordered the bike in Febuary and it did not arrive until May, partly because Bianchi sent it to the wrong shop.
I rode it for 3 weeks for an average of 30 miles a day - with the longest rides clocking it at 75+ miles. Out of the box, I had a great deal of violent shuddering when braking. A little frustrated I put the bike away for 6 months and picked it up again in November when my track bike bit the dust. Three months later, I've retired this bike for good.
I suspect that the bike came with a slightly bent fork and that the shop where I bought it did not adjust the head set correctly. I had the fork checked out by several different mechanics: some said it was bent, other said it was bent but didn't that it didn't matter, other said it was not bent at all. Go figure. I suspect that it is slightly bent, but also that the geometry is slightly out of wack.
I choose this bike because it was the only new steel bike I could find for under $1500. I paid $900 for it with a professional fitting. If you are considering getting this bike, wait a little longer and save up for better one. Go custom if you can. You'll save yourself a world of frustration.
I take some responsibility for my disatisfaction. When I noticed the problems with the fork and the head, I should have brought the bike back the shop I bought it from and had it checked out. 9 months later Bianchi and the shop was unwilling to take responsibility. Who can blame them?
So I am disappointed with the bike, Bianchi, and the shop I bought it from (they are great guys, but I feel like they might have dropped the ball on this one).
Strengths: Geometry (a good mix of touring and sport)
Weaknesses: The Avid brakes are LOUD. The front squeals even under minor braking. I am going to try Kool Stop pads and toe in differently. Seems to be a problem with brake/wheel combos and not Bianchi's fault. I know they put different brakes on the 2004.
I purchased this bike for a Transcontinental tour this summer. After quite some research and a lot of confusion, I chose the Volpe. This bike is a huge improvement over my ancient Trek mtn. bike. Responsive, comfortable, and fast (in comparison). I've only had the bike for two months and about 500 miles. I'll leave an update after she gets me across the US.
My 1987 Bianchi Volpe has been my primary ride for awhile now but I'm going to get a 2nd bike so i plan on stripping, powdercoating, and rebuilding it this spring. Currently it is a mix of random parts that were put on to replace various broken or worn parts when I got it. It has bar end shifters, ... Read More »
Ordered it over a month ago and still waiting. My LBS says Bianchi is the problem and it's fairly widespread. What really sucks is that the excitement of getting a new bike has caused me to forsake my old bike, but it could be weeks before my Volpe comes in!Read More »
I just baught an older volpe, and best I can figure it is a 1987. Anyway there is no tubing sticker on the frame. There is a Tange sticker on the unicrown fork, but nuthing on the frame. Anyone know what tubing this frame is made of? Anyone else have one of these older volpes, what are your thought ... Read More »
I am looking to purchase my first steel bike and I have narrowed mt choice between the
Bianchi Vople or Masi Speciale Randonneur.
I will be using the bike for casual to moderate weekend day rides of 25- 50 miles and I will
not be loading up with panniers.
Which bike have the better ... Read More »
looking to get a second set of wheels for trails and would like to get some fat tires to handle the roots, etc.
42 would be great but could live with a 40 or maybe a 38
The chain stay looks like it can handle at least a 43 as measured with a caliper. brakes are narrower at about 39, but as lon ... Read More »