Strengths: Triple crank with 11-32 cartridge gets me up hills easily and down hills fast. Frame is rugged - carries my computer and papers to work daily. Handling is quick - avoids potholes and distracted drivers with ease.
Weaknesses: Noisy front brakes, average braking power. Tiagra front derailleur less durable than 105 or Ultegra, but shifts well enough.
I love this bike! It's a 2006 Axis I bought it new in 2007. I commute 3 seasons/year 6 miles each way, and do 20-30 mile pleasure rides most weekends. The frame is equipped with attachment points for a rack (installed on day 1) that holds panniers with my computer, papers, and the frequent sack of groceries. After four years of communting the original tires wore out and i replaced them with Continental Contact Kevlar-belted tires. These roll with less resistance, and i've only had one flat in three years. Did i mention i love this bike? I smile every time i ride it.
Strengths: Great frame, not at all harsh despite being aluminum. Carbon fork helps smooth things out too, was not the norm at the time. Accelerates well, quick handling a real plus on single track. 105 shifters have been very reliable, brakes are good if not great Triple in front and wide gearing in rear mean you can climb anything. I was prepared to ditch the wheels, but they have been bulletproof - I've ridden tons of rocks and roots, only now need to true them more than 5 years later.
Weaknesses: Riding postion a little too stetched out Echo prior post on routing of rear derailleur cable, which rubs on the beautiful paint job. Front dreailleur routing is through a pulley to a bottom-pull derailleur, poor design for a bike meant to be ridden in mud. Sugino crank set is not the greatest. Rear free-hub is noisy. All minor quibles.
This review is for a 2004, with the checkered flag paint scheme (way cool), Long overdue review prompted by my purchase of a virtually new 2006 for my sister yesterday (sure hope she likes it!) Value rating a 5 for the years from '07 or so back to '04, Bianchi started dumbing down the parts spec in later years.
I bought this bike ut 5 yeasrs ago, abowhen I figured out that I could commute almost half-way to work off-road. It has not disappointed. I've been amazed at the terrain I can ride this on, including some truly nasty eastern singletrack. Its the perfect vacation bike, with a good topo map you can launch yourself on any loop without fear of what you'll encounter.
Within a few months of having bought this, my mt bike (classic Wicked Fat Chance) was gathering dust in the basement. Its not my primary road bike, but if I hadn't bought that one first it probably would have been.
Strengths: The bike is great but the motor that drives it is the real strength
Weaknesses: Brakes! They sound like a hurt animal when trying to stop.
I race a regional cx series in the fall and ride it on many 50+ mile rides during the rest of the year. I avg 22 mph on my true roadie and just under 21 on my 2009 axis. The relaxed geometry actually feels better than my roadie enabling me to go longer distances. It's also a great bike for fsr's, single and double track. If you want a bike that can do it all then this bike is for you.
Similar Products Used: Specialized cross and cannondale cross
Bike Setup: Upgrade to Ultegra front & rear + shifter, mavic krysium wheels for road rides w/ conti gators, fizik aliante saddle.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2010
Strengths: Does freaking everything. and keeps going. Looks good while doing it too. Other riders are always oooing and ahhing. "look its a bianchi" I love that Celeste Green.
Weaknesses: That darn bottom bracket squaks at me like a bird. I thought it was b/c I dished out excesive abuse, turns out lots of folks have this issue. The stock tires went flat all the time. The cables a a bit stretched so theres a delay in shifting. I also got a 57cm when I needed a 61, but thats my fault for letting a salesman make a quick sell.
I bought this bike b/c I wanted the versatility of a road bike and something I could go down trails and something I could ride in traffic. It does it all. I've bombed down trails, jumped curbs, and kept up on club rides. I do primarily road riding now (25 miles+, avg 18.5 mph) on it, and it is super stiff. Great going down hills and up. I haven't had to true the wheels yet, amazingly. Its a bit heavy and beefy, but for all it is capable of, it needs to be. After 3+ years of abuse, its still going. And I love passing guys on Looks and Cervelos on that beast. Brings joy to my heart.
Weaknesses: Front breaks squeal, particularly when wet. The stock knobby tires are not "road ready" but I just can't seem to replace them given the safety edge I need.
This is a great bike! Leaving aside its sublime beauty, it is an all around champ. As I live in Manhattan, I never know what my ride will be. Central Park? Across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey? Upstate? On road/off road? Happily, it doesn't matter. The Axis will do it all with grace, style and fun. I may even take up cyclocross racing.
Similar Products Used: My last bike was a 1985 Specialized SC with SunTour components (very old school). I was truely the first on my block to recognize the city use of a mountain bike, although by today's standards it is more of a cross-over. I still love that bike and ride it as my city beater. A classic - even with the albatross handle bars!
Bike Setup: As I ride city streets, I swapped the pedals for a Shimano SPD that has clips on one side and standard pedal cage on the other so I can bail if needed. I also added top brake levers (ala Trek)so I can ride in an upright position to keep my head above the traffic. I purchased Bianchi bottle cages and water bottles in celeste blue (what else) just to trick it out a bit (I note that Trek is using a clone color in the 2009 Tour de France). I use a Topeak MTX carrier and bag which I can remove when needed. The bike travels on a SoftRide hitch-mounted bike carrier which blows all competitors away for its utility and looks.