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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm a pretty newbie biker- looking to get my wife into it also since I love it so far. Due to budget, we went with a pretty- but older, Bianchi- we found on craigslist for $75. I'm wondering if I got my moneys worth and looking for more information on the model/ value.
Also- it has thicker tires/wheels on it. (Still road wheels I think- just thicker)
How difficult would it be to change them to the 700's like on most bikes today?

Thanks for any help!
 

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I consider a road bike that goes, stops and shifts without undo hesitation or grinding to be worth about $100, assuming nothing needs immediate replacement.

It may already have 700C wheels, or it may have 27" wheels. It depends on the vintage of the bike - it looks to me to be an age that could have either. The tires should be marked as to what size they are.

If it already has 700Cs, just get whatever tire you want and be happy. If they're 27", things get a little more complicated. 700C wheels have a bead seat diameter of 622mm. That's also pretty close to the outside diameter of the brake track - most rim sidewalls probably have a diameter of about 3mm more, since the hook has some thickness (I'm guesstimating the 3mm.) 27" rims have a bead seat diameter of 630mm. Depending on how the chainstay arch and fork crown sit relative to the dropouts, sometimes you can just adjust the brake pad on the caliper and sometimes you need the next larger size of brake.

The other issue is that bikes of that age don't usually have 130mm spacing in the rear dropouts. A modern hub won't fit without spreading them. With a steel bike, sometimes you can just cram a larger hub in there and call it good, and much of the time you can also get the frame cold set to the new width by your local shop, and maybe even have the dropout alignment adjusted. That would be the "right" way to do it. You could also just get a new hub with the same spacing that the frame has now, which would limit you to either a 5 speed freewheel if it's spaced for that now, or a 6/7 speed freewheel if that's what it presently has.

If it were my bike, I'd just get a nicer 27" tire and stick with the current wheels unless something happened to the wheel, in which case I'd reconsider doing a conversion.

How do you feel about the drivetrain? Are you going to stick with those stem-mounted shifters, or do you want to modernize it? That would be an expensive project, but make your wheel change decision for you - you'd need a new rear wheel anyway, unless you wanted to do something funky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WOW that was some good information, all of which sounded like greek to me. I'd like to change the shifters to something more modern eventually, the stem mounts look cool but feel awkward. How much are we talking to upgrade to the shifters on the handlebars?
 

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Your bike looks to be in very good condition, so I think you got your $75 worth.

Given the bikes relative age, I suggest riding it 'as is' and fixing/ replacing parts as needed. Once you start thinking about upgrades/ conversions, what started out a good deal becomes a money pit, and your return on the investment will be relatively small (in way of performance).

New tires, tubes and rim strips (and maybe brake pads) would IMO be worthwhile, as would a general lubing/ tune up - and that's the extent of the money I'd put into the bike.
 

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njbeck said:
I'd like to change the shifters to something more modern eventually, the stem mounts look cool but feel awkward. How much are we talking to upgrade to the shifters on the handlebars?
A lot more than the bike is worth, unfortunately. Shifters, rear derailleur, rear wheel, cassette. Total probably $300 or more.

I'd suggest you fix it up to ride as well as possible, and see how she likes it. She may be perfectly comfortable with the stem-mounted shifters. Don't worry about the tires, if they seem to be in good shape. Those "thicker" tires are actually more comfortable, and ride better.

Make sure the saddle suits her, and is comfortable. If not, check your local shop to see if they have some "take-offs" for cheap (saddles left over when buyers upgraded on a new bike.) You might find something inexpensive that will work for her. New high-end saddles can cost twice what you paid for the bike, and you don't want to go there.

Some questions:

-how many cogs (gears) on the back?

-are the wheels 27-inch, or 700C? It will say on the side of the tire.

Are those aluminum wheels, or chromed steel as some less-expensive bikes have? Check with a magnet if you're not sure.

Edit: second what PJ said about brake pads. New ones would be a good idea, but at least take some sandpaper to the old ones and remove the glazed surface layer.
 

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not much to add to the above, but from the bianchi logo's & lugs, looks to be mid 80's in the lower end of their line. Ride it like ya stole it (;
 

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njbeck said:
WOW that was some good information, all of which sounded like greek to me. I'd like to change the shifters to something more modern eventually, the stem mounts look cool but feel awkward. How much are we talking to upgrade to the shifters on the handlebars?
Sorry. :p

That bike is of an age that could easily have either the 700C wheels and tires you're accustomed to or a slightly different size, 27". If they're 27", trying to switch to 700C will be a lot of trouble. I don't think it would be worth it. There are some perfectly good 27" tires available too. Your LBS can you help you out.

Additionally, the way the cogs attach to the rear wheel is different from contemporary bikes, and that bike won't accept a contemporary rear hub without some tinkering. So you're stuck with the current number of gears unless you go to some trouble and expense, probably enough to buy something about three years old instead.

I think the stem position for shifters sucks. I find it incredibly awkward. Higher-end bikes of that period placed the shifters on the downtube. You can also put the shifters on the ends of the handlebars. I found that awkward, although not as much as the stem position, but some people love it. Moving your existing shifters isn't free, but it's a lot cheaper than what you'd have to do to get modern shifters on there. From the picture, it looks like that bike doesn't have the right kind of attachment for a downtube shifter, but I could be wrong.

The most important thing is making sure the bike fits your wife properly. I don't imagine she'll care much about the tires as long as they're road slicks, until she's ready to start looking at a new, or newer used, bike that's modern to begin with.
 
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