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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a touring bike that will also spend time as a commuter. I originally wanted to do something with a three-speed internal hub, but I would probably have to build something from the frame up to get the set-up I want. Then I found the Castro Valley from Bianchi: http://www.bianchiusa.com/06_castro_valley.html#. I don't have much touring experience and was wondering what changes or other bikes some vets could recommend. What worries me are the wheels; 32 spokes and none too beefy.
 

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Older Trek frame

If you can find one of the older Trek frames from about 1985 or so you can build it up the way you want for touring. I built up a 1985 Trek 620/720. I had it powder coated orange and used Phil Wood hubs and Chris King HS and Brooks saddle and other items I like. These bikes can use wider tires and still have fenders and racks. Sometimes you can find them on e-bay. Perfect for touring and everything besides racing. If you want to see a picture I can put one on later.
 

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capnmoney said:
I'm looking for a touring bike that will also spend time as a commuter. I originally wanted to do something with a three-speed internal hub, but I would probably have to build something from the frame up to get the set-up I want. Then I found the Castro Valley from Bianchi: http://www.bianchiusa.com/06_castro_valley.html#. I don't have much touring experience and was wondering what changes or other bikes some vets could recommend. What worries me are the wheels; 32 spokes and none too beefy.
looks like a pretty bike - but 50x42 - 11-26 for touring looks too tight IMO

have you had a look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker?

BTW 3 speed internal hubs won't give you enough gears for touring
 

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you will need a front der for touring, unless you are going to holland or something.

i suggest you check out the surly crosscheck (i have one and it's great) or long haul trucker. most bike shops sell them and will build it up for you exactly how you want it.

the castro valley is a great commuter, though. if you are set on bianchi, check out the volpe.
 

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Volpe

Bianchi's Volpe would give you some nice 36 spoke wheels and perfect gearing for touring. You wouldn't get the dyno hub or lights but you could add those later if you wanted. It's interesting that you mention a 3-speed hub. I don't think it would give you enough gear range for anything except flatland. Even then a strong headwind would probably have you cursing a storm. I hear that the Nexus 8 speed hub is a winner though. Check this out http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/bianchi-sanjos8/index.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the responses. The reason why this bike appeals to me is that I've been riding fixed gears and singlespeeds exclusively for the last 3 years. I wanted something simple without a lot of gear options because that's what I'm used to and what I like. 3 speeds is definitly too few the more I think about it. If I go with the Castro Valley I want to put a 36t or 38t chainring on it this will give me a low gear in the mid-thirties and a high gear in the high-nineties (I'm too lazy to consult a gear chart). I've heard tourists like a granny gear of 20", but with my singlespeeding history I feel comfortable climbing in high gears. I want to build a touring bike that is assimple as possible. I looked at the Crosscheck, but I heard that they no longer put rack mounts on them. The Long Haul Trucker is out because it has vertical drop outs and if this bike becomes a dedicated commuter it will definitly have an internal or fixed hub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thbirks said:
Bianchi's Volpe would give you some nice 36 spoke wheels and perfect gearing for touring. You wouldn't get the dyno hub or lights but you could add those later if you wanted. It's interesting that you mention a 3-speed hub. I don't think it would give you enough gear range for anything except flatland. Even then a strong headwind would probably have you cursing a storm. I hear that the Nexus 8 speed hub is a winner though. Check this out http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/bianchi-sanjos8/index.html
This is exactly the kind of bike I had in mind. Too bad they don't sell them mail order! Sure, I could build my own wheel, but by the time I've done that I've already spent more than it would cost to get the Castro and I'm out one gear.
 

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My initial reaction to the San Jose with the Nexus hub was, "Dang. I gotta get myself back East and have Sheldon sell me one o' those!", but by the time Harris has upgraded the bike, it costs about what a Castro Valley does, and you still don't have the fenders or dynamo hub/light. The frame color is a bit easier to take than the CV's, and there is that certain intangible cool factor. I think I'll wait until used San Joses start turning up, build the wheel myself, and get the thing for about half of what Harris is charging.

I hope Shimano managed to lighten that hub, too, because the only Nexus wheel I've encountered (a 7sp item) weighed over a pound more than the equivalent combination of a conventional wheel, cassette, derailleur and shifter.
 

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Gears taste good

I like singlespeeds and fixed gears. There's nothing better than a straight chainline but I love gears for touring. I ran a CrossCheck with a 11-32 cassette and 48/36 chainrings on a cross-country tour. I carried about 25lbs of gear and wished I had a granny gear. I'm not sure what kind of touring you're looking to do but when you're riding day after day on a heavy bike it starts to wear you down. It doesn't complicate much to have a front der. and a couple chainrings. In close to 5k miles of touring I had no issues with the drivetrain. On the other hand there's folks who ride across the country on fixed gears and even unicycles. So who am I to question?

Bianchi makes some unique bikes. The Castro Valley is neat but the 1x9 gearing does nothing for me. The fenders are rather crappy but at least they're there. What i'd like to see is a bike combining the Nexus8 hub and the Nexus dyno hub on the Volpe-type frame. Now that would be unique. Oh yeah I don't think they made the Nexus 8 hub any lighter (about 3.8lbs) just more efficient
 

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capnmoney said:
looked at the Crosscheck, but I heard that they no longer put rack mounts on them. .
I don't know where you heard that but i'd ask Surly. Their site definitely shows and lists rear rack mounts
 
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