Friday, March 15, 2013

Bianchi Sport SS

In the rack at Rapha
I keep getting excited and dig in on new projects forgetting to take "before" pictures. The most recent, and one of my favorites so far, has been a mid 1980's Bianchi Sport rescued from a literal rubble pile in a friend's art studio. It'd been sitting there neglected long enough for the tires to turn to crumbling dry rot that came off in chunks, many years.

Overall though, it wasn't in bad shape. Minimal surface rust and a straight frame made it a good candidate for a great daily rider that doesn't inspire panic stricken work interruptions to make sure its still there when I need to work somewhere I can't bring a bike inside. (People are just plane relentless when it comes to bicycle thievery.)
Maiden voyage to the bridge

After replacing tires, saddle, pedals, cables, chain, repacking headset and bottom bracket, scrubbing for many hours and touching up the paint, its turning out to be a great vintage bike. The 27" wheels aren't ideal but there are alloy wheels available and a solid half dozen choices for tires. Even at that, its a step up from the Schwinn Le Tour I rebuilt last year with its even more antiquated brakes and wheel set. With each of these rehabilitated bicycle projects I'm learning more and more how far the technology has come in the last thirty years or so. Wheels, saddles, gearing and all manor of alloys and frame materials have been drastically improved. That said, older bikes with steel frames, a mere ten speeds and heavy wheel sets are still some of the best riding bikes around.

I love my Globe Roll single speed but I ride every day and much of my commute is up hill. Combine the need for gears and lugs for a racks and fenders and the Bianchi ends up being a welcome addition to the stable. Now I just need to decide if the Bianchi gets the  rack and pannier treatment with lights and a full long range commuting and touring set up or if that goes to the Le Tour. At this point I really want the Bianchi to be as broadly usable as possible and having a a couple bikes to choose from to suit different needs, or even moods, can be a useful thing when you are on them seven days a week. I'm still on a quest for a decent(budget) randonneur bike but this is a lot closer than I've come so far.

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