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i'm in the market for a new road bike, and so far the contenders are a trek 1500 (aluminum) and the bianchi eros (steel). i'm a woman, about 5'6", so sizing is going to be key. bianchi makes a woman's frame in the eros, the donna, but not above a 51 - which will be too small. i test rode the trek in a 52, and the eros in a 53. i felt a bit stretched on the 53, but the 52 may be too small - there was no stretch on that one. i'm going to do some official measurements and calculations on that tonight, but any advice you have on sizing would be helpful. :)

my main question is about the bikes themselves - does anyone have a pro/con for either? i think i'd prefer steel but i will decide entirely based on feel (more test rides this weekend!). are the campy mirage components on the bianchi comprabable to the shimano ultegra on the trek? i've read that the ultegra is more close to the campy centuar, and mirage is a step down from that; but then again i've also found some claims that the mirage is still better than the shimano due to better durability.
 

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"stretch" can be adjusted in small amounts by a few thing, stem legnth, stack height, and possibly even seatpost height, and saddle fore/aft adjustment. Those last two need to be set for other things, but they can contribute. So, that being said, if you feel stretched out or not stretched enough, when you are at the shop, ask them about a longer/shorter stem, or taking out a spacer to lower the position of the bars (on a bike that you need more stretch), etc. A good shop will help you find your fit, even if it means you going in to the shop 2 months after you have bought the bike to swap some stuff because the more you ride (at first) the more your back and body stretch out, meaning you can tolerate more in terms of "stretch" and still be comfy (assuming you don't bike a ton currently, don't do yoga, etc...)

good luck. sorry I can't really help you about the bikes, I don't know a whole lot about the bianchi and I didn't love treks when I have ridden them. So i guess that means go bianchi, but that is a totally unsubstantiated claim.
 

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Either looks good

Either one looks pretty good at that price level, but I think I'd choose the Bianchi becaue I like steel. The frame is the same one used on a couple of higher-priced models and it gets very good reviews. I'm sure the Trek frame is good quality too, and I don't hate Aluminum. Sounds like you are planning to do some test riding so you should be able to get a feel for how each one rides. The trek does come in a WSD (Women's Specific Design) model, so you might want to look at that. Seems like a 51 or 52 would be the right size for you. As for components, it looks like the Trek is mostly 105 with Ultegra for the rear der., so I'd think the groups would be about equal. Give 'em a try -- some riders prefer the "feel" of Campy, some Shimano. Either one will work fine and hold up for a long time with normal use and a little maintenance. Good luck.
 

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my $0.02

I have a good friend who rides a 1500, and really likes it alot. I ride a 20+ year old Bianchi, with Campy components and dowtube shifters, and *love* it.

Fit is important, so you're right to test drive both as much as you can.

What is the relative weight of the two bikes? Have the bike shop weigh them both. If you thing you might race, or want to keep up with a speedy local bike group on their group rides, or have lots of uphill climbs on your rides, weight could be a factor (lighter = better). If, instead, you do lots of long rides, and don't plan to race or face tons of hills, steel is less harsh and absorbs road vibrations, bumps, better. Good luck!
 
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