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Hey all, I have a few questions regarding components for a bike I’m building up from an old Bianchi touring frameset I bought on eBay.

First, I suppose, a bit of history:
I hadn’t really ridden in years, not since I had a crappy Mongoose in 5th grade, probably. Then, mid last year I decided to start riding again, as I had just moved to San Francisco and was living with a couple avid bike riders (one rides a fixie, the other an old Raleigh 12 speed). I stole my Dad’s old Nishiki touring bike, swapped out the drops for a pair of MTB bars, and away I went. Within 2 months, the bike was stolen from my house during a party a (different) roommate threw. He gave me some money, since they were his friends, but it wasn’t really enough to buy anything that would work all that well. So, instead, I used the cash to buy a nice frame, and built the bike up from parts we had lying around the house, using the rest of the money to buy that which we didn’t already have. Which is the bike I’m riding now.

As I said, it’s a Bianchi touring frame (I believe from the mid 80s) with cantilever brake mounts and braze-ons for downtube shifters. I would like to switch out a lot of the crappy parts I have on it now, and put together something a little more worthy of the frame. I still don’t have a lot of money to spend, but as it is now it’s practically unrideable. Which is where I turn to you. Here’s what I’m thinking, and I want to know if there’s anything I’m missing, what people think about these components, etc:

Crank: I’m planning on keeping the crank I’ve got on it right now, which I pulled from a Schwinn MTB we had lying around. It’s a double, and I don’t see any great need to replace it.

Rest of Drivetrain: So, I’m a little concerned, considering it’s an older frame and has 126mm spacing, that I won’t be able to get anything larger than an 8 speed. I know 8 and 9 speeds have the same spacing, and that 126mm can be easily cold set to take 130mm, but I’m concerned about the smallest cog hitting the frame by the dropouts. I want STI shifting, but as far as I can tell, the Sora is the only group that will allow me to use an 8 speed and it seems like most people aren’t too keen on that set. Any advice? Also, regarding derailers, do I need to replace the rear immediately to get the indexed shifting to work? Or should the old long cage I pulled off of that same Schwinn MTB work until I can better afford to upgrade?

Wheels: I live fairly close to the Performance store in SF, and was thinking about picking up the Performance Forte Gemini wheelset. The reviews I’ve read seem generally favorable, and the price is right.

Brakes: I’m planning on sticking with canti brakes since the mounts are already there. Any reason not to?

This is really long, so I’ll stop now. Thanks for any help.
 
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