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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m looking to purchase my first road bike; I’ve been into mountain biking and would like a change-up. I don’t plan on racing but it’s not out of the question; I love the speed. I’m mostly thinking of a bike to go riding with the local cycling club. My budget is $1300 and the only brands available in my area are Trek, Lemond, Giant, Cannondale, and Bianchi. I rode the following:

Trek 1500
Lemond Tourmalet
Cannondale R700 and R800
Fuji Roubaix
Bianchi Veloce

Of the bikes listed, I liked the Cannondale, Fuji, and Bianchi the best. The closest Felt dealer is 3 hrs away; I’m in the middle of nowhere. The Cannondale/Giant dealer was charging msrp or more for their bikes and have heard they do a poor job assembling and tuning the bikes. I heard about the BD Motobecane Le Champ SL bike so I drove an hour away to test the Fuji, which I liked. I thought I would get the Motobecane bike until I rode the Bianchi today. The dealer was really small and had the 2005 Veloce discounted to $1250. He only had a 55cm built which was too small. (I had been fitted as a 56cm on the other brands.) I believe I need a 57cm which he had unbuilt in a box. I test rode the 55 and I liked the ride of the steel frame but couldn’t entirely get the right feel because it was too small. Also I wanted a double and all Bianchi dealer had was triples, but I assume that it’s not too difficult to convert at a later date.

I’m having trouble deciding between the Motobecane and the Bianchi. Assuming the 57cm fits, which bike do you recommend?

Thanks,
Ray
 

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go w/ motobecane...

I purchased the Moto Le Champ SL recently and really like it. I had an old steel Giant road bike before and the difference is unbelievable. I had my LBS do the final assembly and tuning to make sure things were done well. I've only ridden about 100 miles, but so far it's been fantastic, especially for the money. BikesDirect provided good service and answered the questions I had. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The reason I endup testing the Fuji Roubaix SL is because I heard they had the same frame geometry as the Motobecane, and I was fitted on that frame. I'm not certain about the Bianchi frame because he hadn't built up the 57cm frame and I couldn't ride it.
 

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Bianchi Veloce

My prejudices:

Every Bianchi I've ever ridden, from the cruiser bikes to the all-out racers, has been exceptionally well sorted out, and a true competitor in its price class. Whether they're built in Taiwan or Italy, there's a sense to the bikes that they come from a company that has been designing bicycles for a long time, and that they know what works and what doesn't.

Plus, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good the Campagnolo Veloce groupset works. Reliable, smooth, unobtrusive, pretty. Shockingly fine bearings. I had a Veloce Triple on my Rivendell Rambouillet, and I have to say it was my favorite part of that bicycle.
 

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They are different

Steel and campy vs aluminum and shimano

I imagine they are both good bikes, but they are likely to be very different from each other, so which one is best for you is likely to be highly subjective.

I have the MB leChamp SL I've been riding it for about eight months, and it has been a fantastic ride, completely trouble free for me. And its true, the Fuji Team SL is identical to the leChamp SL, except for the shape of the frame tubing, so if you get the MB, you will be getting the same bike.

The components on the Bianchi are also likely to be solid, but the bike will be a little heavier, if that makes any difference to you. And although Bianchi has a great heritage, it's bikes can also sometimes be problematic, based on reviews on this site.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bertrand said:
Steel and campy vs aluminum and shimano

I imagine they are both good bikes, but they are likely to be very different from each other, so which one is best for you is likely to be highly subjective.

I have the MB leChamp SL I've been riding it for about eight months, and it has been a fantastic ride, completely trouble free for me. And its true, the Fuji Team SL is identical to the leChamp SL, except for the shape of the frame tubing, so if you get the MB, you will be getting the same bike.

The components on the Bianchi are also likely to be solid, but the bike will be a little heavier, if that makes any difference to you. And although Bianchi has a great heritage, it's bikes can also sometimes be problematic, based on reviews on this site.
I guess you're right that they really are two different kinds of bikes and can't really be compared (apples and oranges) and I need to decide how I'm going to be riding it. Can the Bianchi Veloce be competative in races if I decide to start racing?
 

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I vote for the Bianchi and the LBS...

Nothing aginst Bikes Direct, but unless you do your own wrenching there is no substitute for your LBS.

I have a Bianchi Campione (which was the same steel frameset as the Veloce) that I upgraded to 9 speed Veloce as my rain bike. Beautiful ride. I have had many other bikes come and go, but the Bianchi has stayed. I pretty much am all Campy now, and while I love the higher end Campy, Veloce is a great gruppo. Shifts great, feels great, and will last for years.

The other advantage of the LBS is you get to ride what you want to buy. Unless you have several bikes around (like me), or don't worry about trying something and then parting it out or selling it later (like me), go with the LBS.

Don't worry. You will have buyers remorse either way and will likely end up with more bikes than you will every need! (like me). Sorry. Didn't mean for this to become a therapy session!
 

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Bianchi

I'm with Mapei on this one. I have owned two bianchis and although the first one (Viggorelli)developed a crack on the seat collar, Bianchi made good and sent me a replacement frame pronto. I think it was just a fluke or maybe I had overthigtened the seat collar. Whatever they did me right. I am still enjoying the replacement frame (Imola) and have put 4500 miles on it so far.

No reason to believe you wont get the same enjoyment from a Bianchi, and the same service should you need it.

Good Luck, Jaime
 

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Bianchi

Either bike could be used as a crit bike or as a century bike depending on fit, tires, etc. Both bikes would most likely last a life time if you choose to keep them that long.

The Bianchi however is more likely to be a bike that you will want to keep for a lifetime (even if ends up being one of many) and it will also be a conversation starter at almost every group ride.

I have known people with fairly equivalent models within each brand and in all cases the Bianchi stays for the long haul and the Moto goes. Not because it a bad bike but just because it seems to lack soul.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now the Bianchi is equipped with Veloce components. From the searching I've done, the Ultegra components are about equal to the chorus or centaur, which would lead me to conclude that the Ultegra is better than the Veloce. Is this reason enough to not get the Bianchi and get the Moto; for the better components?
 

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deerfeedrb said:
Now the Bianchi is equipped with Veloce components. From the searching I've done, the Ultegra components are about equal to the chorus or centaur, which would lead me to conclude that the Ultegra is better than the Veloce. Is this reason enough to not get the Bianchi and get the Moto; for the better components?
Absolutely not! Assuming you are correct and Ultegra is better than Veloce it's not by much and not worth making the decision based on that. For that matter I would not make the choice based upon the groupo even if it were 105 9 speed vs Ultegra 10. It just is not the big of a deal for 99.9999% of the riders out there.

If you are concerned about resale than Campy will hold value better than Shimano and the Bianchi would out sell the Moto by a few hunderd used. As far as resale goes the Moto frame has almost no value.

Give us some more details about you (weight, etc) and your riding hope to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Lifelover said:
Give us some more details about you (weight, etc) and your riding hope to do.
Well I'm about 5'10.5" with a 32.5" insteam, about 160lbs. I hope to do some medium distance club riding. I'd eventually like to do a century, and if i'm good enough wouldn't mind doing some racing. Since this is my first road bike, I can't comment to much on how I will actually end up riding it.

When I went and tested the Trek, Cannondale, and Fuji, they said I could ride either a 56cm or 58cm. The 56cm felt better to me as the 58 felt like I was too stretched out. When I rode the Bianchi, they only had a 55cm built (small shop, owner was the only employee) so that is what I rode. I took it out, and it definitely felt too small, I felt like I was steering to close to my chest. He shifted the seat all the way back as far as it would go, and that made the steering much better, but when I was down in the drops, I felt that I was a too cramped, my knees were at my elbows. I thought that maybe the 57cm would be the right size. I didn't want to make him build the bike for me to test ride until I was more certain I wanted a Bianchi. (He was pretty busy when I was there and was behind on repairs/service for other customers.) From looking at the geometries of the bikes online, it looked as though the 57cm Bianchi was similar in size to the 56cm bikes that I had tested. So would you recommend the 57cm, will that help with the feeling cramped issue?
 

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deerfeedrb said:
Well I'm about 5'10.5" with a 32.5" insteam, about 160lbs. I hope to do some medium distance club riding. I'd eventually like to do a century, and if i'm good enough wouldn't mind doing some racing. Since this is my first road bike, I can't comment to much on how I will actually end up riding it.

When I went and tested the Trek, Cannondale, and Fuji, they said I could ride either a 56cm or 58cm. The 56cm felt better to me as the 58 felt like I was too stretched out. When I rode the Bianchi, they only had a 55cm built (small shop, owner was the only employee) so that is what I rode. I took it out, and it definitely felt too small, I felt like I was steering to close to my chest. He shifted the seat all the way back as far as it would go, and that made the steering much better, but when I was down in the drops, I felt that I was a too cramped, my knees were at my elbows. I thought that maybe the 57cm would be the right size. I didn't want to make him build the bike for me to test ride until I was more certain I wanted a Bianchi. (He was pretty busy when I was there and was behind on repairs/service for other customers.) From looking at the geometries of the bikes online, it looked as though the 57cm Bianchi was similar in size to the 56cm bikes that I had tested. So would you recommend the 57cm, will that help with the feeling cramped issue?
I would not pretend to be able to advise on what size bike you should ride.

Be honest with the guy at the LBS and see if he will assemble the 57 for you to ride. He has to assemble it to sell it weather you or someone else buys it. I would be amazed if he gave you any grief about it.

Having a back log of work maybe a pretty good indication that he runs a good shop.

Again either bike in the right size will be great for you. Since you are not that heavy the wheels on the Moto will work for you and they are fairly high end. Allot of folks would choose that bike because of the wheels.

I don't think the wheels will make that much of a difference day in and day out and they are not as durable as some others.

End in the end it could come down to who and what kind of business you want to support. BD is an internet only business that won't even provide a phone number, can't help size/fit you in person and will never service your bike.

It sounds like the other guy is your classic, struggling small business owner. Struggling not because his product is lacking or because his price is not competitive but most likely because whenever someone he sold a bike to in the past walks in the store he stops working on bikes (thus making money) to chat.

Personally, I would pay him a fair amount more for the same product. You not giving him money you are paying for a service that BD will never be able to give.

If you do go with BD give the LBS a call and see if he is interested in assembly and fit. Both should cost $100 to $200 but it will be money well spent.

Good Luck either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Lifelover said:
It sounds like the other guy is your classic, struggling small business owner. Struggling not because his product is lacking or because his price is not competitive but most likely because whenever someone he sold a bike to in the past walks in the store he stops working on bikes (thus making money) to chat.

Personally, I would pay him a fair amount more for the same product. You not giving him money you are paying for a service that BD will never be able to give.

Haha, he was definitely struggling and if you guys saw this guy's shop you would understand why. It looked like a dump, I'm surprised he could find anything. Reminded me of a wharehouse, ceiling falling down, floor covered in leaves and trash, could barely walk into the store, everything piled with used bikes and there was one small area cleared where he could build and work on bikes. Then he had a home made rack where he had the new Bianchi hanging. It appeared to be the only new bike there.

He didn't stop work to talk, talked while he worked. Wasn't all that friendly but seemed to know his stuff.

I will ask him to build up the 57cm Bianchi and I'll see what he says.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I found a shop recommended by a member where I can get a 2006 Veloce for the same price the local guy was offering the 2005. Problem is that I would have to get the 2006 shipped to me but I assume I can pay a local shop for service. The thing I'm most worried about is if the local Bianchi dealer won't build the 57cm unless I commit to a purchase. I don't really want to make him build it especially if I end up buying it through another shop. Therefore I don't have a way to verify the size. Next closest Bianchi dealer is 2 hrs away. I may give them a call, see if they have a 57cm I can try.
 

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i would go the bianchi.. an italian steel bike is something you'll keep even if you end up going for something in the "race plastic" category later. Right now i have a lightish alu campy /chorus/record/centaur bike, and i'm looking for a nice italian steel frame to rock on weekend centuries... As mentioned, they're different bikes, each has its place... but i feel steel is nicer to stack on the kms. I would rock veloce in an instant, quality gruppo for sure !
 

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I was in the same spot as you are a few months back, and looked at most of the same bikes. I also watched the classifieds both on this site and the local bike shops. Found a Scott team with 210 miles on the included computer for 1200.00. It looks and rides like new. Just a thought.
 

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deerfeedrb, I'd be interested in knowing where I could get a 2006 Veloce for $1250. Even if you need to send it as a PM, I would appreciate it. I haven't found anything approaching that price in my area. Thanks.
 
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