Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Revived and Refreshed: The Return of the Bianchi Brava

As recently mentioned, Sam's Bianchi Brava has made it back into the house after receiving some pampering at JD's Cycle Shack. Since I haven't said much about his bike, I thought it would be nice to get a little glimpse into this bicycle and how it is ridden by its owner. Following is our impromptu interview, which I prefaced only with, "So, are you ready for a mini-interview about the Bianchi?"
Bianchi Brava pre-powder coating. The pictures don't actually show how bad the rust was - trust me, it was bad.
G.E.: Why did you buy the Bianchi Brava, especially knowing it was so rusty?
Sam: Size and price. Primarily because it was the right size. That is always the first consideration for me because it's difficult to find a bike that fits right, especially for a shorter guy. (G.E. would like to say, this is not only a problem for short guys, but for short gals as well)
Pre-powder coating of Bianchi Brava
G.E.: What year was the Bianchi made and what size is it? Also, what intrigued you (besides its size and price) before you were able to ride it?
Sam:  2007 and 49cm. Basically, the name, Bianchi, even though it's made in China, not Italy.
Newly powder coated Bianchi frame
G.E. What's wrong with Chinese bikes?
Sam: Nothing. Sam likes Chinese... bikes and food. But, you get what you pay for. There's a difference between a box store Chinese bike and one that is made properly.

G.E. Uh, it says on the frame that it was made in Taiwan.
Sam: Whatever. Taiwan. China. It's still not made in Italy.

G.E.: {changing subject - even though I desperately want to point out that China and Taiwan are different countries} What do you like best about the Bianchi?
Sam: Its weight.... and it's steel.
G.E.: What have you changed from the original version of the Bianchi?
Sam: It has a different carbon fork (Easton), a Tiagra crankset, a new chain, new tires, bottle cages, and a Chris King headset.
G.E.: You changed quite a bit on this bike, virtually everything but the frame, brakes, shifters and pedals. Was it worth it?
Sam: That remains to be seen, but, I think so, yes. Most of the changes were done after the paint job, so I haven't had an opportunity to really ride it much yet.

G.E.: Why did you choose a similar Bianchi color, but not replace the Bianchi stickers?
Sam: Mm.. just don't like the way the Bianchi stickers looked, and there are other items that say Bianchi on the bike, so I didn't feel the need to replace the decals.

G.E.: And what about the color?
Sam: I just like the color. I like it on a bunch of different things. Initially, I was trying to replicate the color, but I actually like this better than the original.
G.E.: Is there anything else on it you'd like to change?
Sam: The wheels.

G.E.: What kind of wheels would you get?
Sam: Probably Ultegra based, Ultegra hubs with Mavic rims... I mean, you know me, whatever the deal is.
G.E.: Have any other bikes you've ridden compared to the Bianchi?
Sam: Yes. {long pause} Oh, you want to know what bike? The Kline Quantum. It was carbon and a little lighter. Not much though, and I didn't ride it nearly as much as the Bianchi, but it was the "other one."

G.E. If given the choice would you want to trade for that bike?
Sam: No. I like the steel frame better.

G.E.: Anything else you'd like to add about the Bianchi or bicycles in general?
Sam: Uh, Nib-high rules. (followed by) It's an inside joke. No, I don't think there is anything else.
From my personal observations, I have to say that Sam really seems to enjoy this bike, even before it was powder coated and had the new parts. JD's did a fabulous job with the paint, and while Sam was quite impatient with the nearly three week turnover time, I thought it was perfectly reasonable for a good powder coating. For anyone in the Denver area looking for a good place to powder coat a bike, I would definitely recommend JD's. The bike looks so much better than it did, but beyond looking better, it will last longer because the rust was removed from the prior owner leaving it (apparently) sitting outdoors in rain/snow/etc. I've honestly never seen a bike in such condition that wasn't decades old.

I will also add that the Bianchi is pretty fast. Now, I don't know if I'm the best judge of this quality in a bike since I am a slower rider by nature, but every time we're both on a road bike, Sam easily takes off and leaves me in the dust without much effort. I am also glad that he decided to go with a used bike that wasn't being treated properly, and take the time to get it looking decent again. If anyone has specific questions, please feel free to ask, and I'm sure he'll chime in with answers in the comments.


  1. Very nice looking build. I'm wondering what saddle is that?

  2. CJ, The saddle is actually the original, a "Bianchi Velo", it may simply be a "velo" brand, with the Bianchi name on it. It's actually very comfortable, which scares me, because it's wearing out!

  3. Thanks. I thought it looked both nice and comfy.


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