Randonee or Volpe?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by jl_longstaff, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. jl_longstaff

    jl_longstaff New Member

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    I'm interested in these two touring bikes for commuting and randoneuring. The Novara Randonee weighs 29lbs and comes with a rack, the Bianchi Volpe weighs 27 lbs and no rack. I don't know if the weight of the Randonee includes the rack or not. The Novara can be had for $760 but I'd have to drive 192 miles to a REI store. The Bianchi retails for $899 but I only have to go 38 miles to a LBS. I don't know what it can be had for. Which of these two would you buy? Why?
     
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  2. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    They seem nearly identical to me. The Novara has a slightly longer wheelbase...not sure if that's a big deal. There are minor things like the Bianchi coming w/ SPD clipless pedals (vs. platforms), a slighter higher minimum gearing (28x32 vs. 26x34!!).

    Given that, if you think you can get the Bianchi for below list, consider going w/ the closer LBS, whom you could visit for tune-ups and other follow-up. Head over and try both the bike and the shop service out, if you don't already know the LBS.

    Full disclosure: I immensely enjoy riding my '02 Volpe around town (instead of owning a car) and generally prefer to support small, local businesses that give me better, friendlier service...oh, and I think Bianchi is kinda cooler, even though Bianchis at this level are Taiwanese-made, not Italian. :) Too bad the Volpe hasn't come in celeste lately...

    Either way, I think you'll really enjoy the bike. Let us know what you decide!
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. If all the components are perceived-to-be equal, I'd go for the Bianchi BECAUSE it has a steel frame ... and, steel is my preference for a bicycle frame material.
     
  4. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    Well, that's the thing...both bikes have steel frames and forks. The Novara is 520. The Bianchi was 520 (at least back in '02), but the '07 model web page doesn't say.

    http://www.bianchiusa.com/07_volpe.html

    (wow, heinous stock saddle on that thing...)

    Hmm, I would check whether the rims are equally well-reputed. (Mavic A319S on the Novara, WTB DX23 on the Bianchi) Wheels are annoying and expensive to replace.

    Re geometry, check on the Randonee's chainstay length...make sure it's at least 42 cm or so to prevent your heels from kicking your panniers off the rack and into the street, ugh! The '07 Volpe has 42.5 cm chainstays. (Yeah, you can compensate for short chainstays w/ long racks and a good, adjustable pannier mounting system, but I don't like to bother...)

    Oh, one more thing: In case you think you might go single-speed or fixed-gear, the Volpe has near-horizontal rear dropouts (open forward). I'm toying with the idea of converting my '02.
     
  5. jl_longstaff

    jl_longstaff New Member

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    Much thanks for your replies. I've made up my mind, I'm going to buy the Volpe and can pick it up a week from this Saturday...my how time goes slowly, anticipation!
     
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