Sunday, June 01, 2008

The New Commuter


I picked this bike along the side of the road after it wouldn't sell at a tag sale, for $10. Can you believe it? It's a Bianchi Classica. It was made in Japan and from what I can tell from reading the Vintage Bicycle Genealogy website this bike was made in the early 80s.

In fact the post by Rob describes everything to the T:

Tubing decal: "Hi-Mn" "High Manganese Steel" "P.G." "Oji Original Frame Tubes"

Brakes: basic Dia Compe sidepulls
Crank: SR Custom with SR SP-150 pedals
Derailleurs: SunTour Blueline (These were marketed for a several years in the early 80's)
Bars: Win Winpista
Stem: SR

My frame is red with block letters, "BIANCHI", in gold on each side of the downtube. There is a Piaggio decal on the seat tube (Piaggio took over Bianchi, I think, in 1980 or 81.
From what I can tell by looking at various websites, the methodology in determining the frame size is to measure the C-T length, C being the the center of the bottom bracket and T being the top of the Seat Tube. Thus the length of the seat tube on this bike is 23 inches which equates to 58 cm. I looked at Barney the Purple Cannondale and it's C-T length is 24 inches which makes it a 60 cm frame, and my old Fuji from college, measures 25 inches or 63 cm.

According to Sheldon Brown's Website bike was measured with the following, simple method:
You would stand over the frame of a bike, and if there was an inch or two between the top of the top tube and your tender parts, that was the right size. Bikes commonly came in frame sizes two inches apart, so there was not much question whether the 21" or the 23" was the "right" size.
Granted at this point, I am not sure what is the ideal size of road bike for me. If I use the Lemond formula to calculate my bike fit .67 x inseam length, my inseam being 33 inches or 84 cm, means that the frame I should be riding is a 57 cm frame. This seems kind of small. According to The Colorado Cyclist, How to Fit your Custom Bicyle, they recommend the following way to a fit:
Larger riders (6'0" and up) may find that this formula puts them on a too small, and uncomfortable, road frame. A taller cyclist who wants a more comfortable frame may be better off selecting a frame 27-28cm less than inseam length, C-T.
However, using this metric, I still come up with a 57 cm. On paper it looks like this is right frame, however, since I am over 6 feet tall, I find at least on my mountain bikes that I need to be on a large frame because I have a long upper body and thus like to stretch out over the frame. That is why I was never comfortable on my Giant because it wasn't big enough for me.

Sounds like, however, that adjustments can be made with stems and seat hight to make the bike fit better. The stem on this bike is pretty high, about an inch higher than the Cannondale and I haven't touched the seat. The guy that I got it from was probably an inch or two taller than myself.

Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it before I stripped it down but it had drop bars, cheap handlebar tape - I guess they didn't have cork back then. There were gears of course and old tires. I stripped off the shifters, rear and front deraileurs, took off the brakes, bars, and wheels. I took off the 52t big ring and left the 42t ring up front.

I put on bullhorn bars, Cane Creek 200TT Aero Levers, and a 700c wheelset. Actually not a wheelset persay, rather I had the rear wheel, which is an Alexrim with a no name flip flop hub sporting a 16t fixed gear and 16t freewheel. I put the Candies that I had on my Fixation on this bike and put the acids on the Fixation.

The front wheel came from a trade for a pair of Crank Brother's Candies. The hoop is a FIR with a Shimano Ultegra hub. I wanted 700c because I had some Kenda 700c Cycle Cross tires that I had I had experimented with while trying to turn my Fixation into a commuter.

Hope to get out on this weekend to see how she rides. Feels nice up and down the drive way, but the true test will be a longer on the road.

Bike weighs 23 pounds 6 oz.




1 comment:

Peter said...

Now that s a sweet ride. Tire are 700x38?40?42? They look fat. Good idea with front and rear brakes as those tires get very heavey when they get spinning fast. Enjoy and let me know how the first long ride feels.

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