MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BIANCHI 841d - INTRO

FINDING THE BIANCHI 841d

BUILDING THE BIANCHI 841d

RIDING THE BIANCHI 841d

 

BICYCLES OF ITALY

  

RIDING THE BIANCHI "REKORD 841d"

After I had looked the bicycle over and ensured that the wheels would stay on, the brakes would slow down and nothing would fall off, I installed my own pedals, lubbed the chain, pumped up the tubular tires and took off just to see how the bicycle felt.  Three hours later I returned home to a worried family and an upset wife.

I had broken my neck in two places while commuting to work in 2002 and now every time I go for a ride I am supposed to let my family know that I am going and keep my cell phone with me.  In my excitement and appreciation of the Bianchi's wonderful feel, I forgot both of these duties.  I did mention to my irate better half that the Bianchi was a wonderful bicycle and it rode really well.  She seemed uninterested at the time.

The friction shift Campagnolo transmission did its job nicely, shifting and trimming with almost no thought at all.  Shifts were smooth, positive and not once did the shifters move, allowing for an unplanned shift.

The Ofmega crank and ring set was reasonably quiet, even though the sprockets and chain needed a thorough cleaning and lubricating.  Allowing a drive set to run dirty is foolish, costly and performance prohibitive.  Splashing oil onto a chain is not the worst thing one could do but it is not necessarily a good thing to do either.  The oil is both wet and sticky.  Road grime, sand, small particles of broken glass and who knows what else will stick to the oil, forming a wonderfully effective grinding compound.  A compound that will rob power and increase sprocket and chain wear, while looking quite ugly in the process.  A dirty chain will also, sooner or later, leave its mark on your leg.  For what it is worth, I use a product called "ProLink", a reasonably dry lubricant that does an incredible job of lubricating and staying clean.  Even with a proper chain lubricant, I still clean my chains, sprockets and pulleys on a fairly regular basis.

The only two things that I did not like about the Bianchi was the choice of sew-up rims and the non-cushioned, but original, handlebar tape with the sew-up issue leading the way.

Tubulars!  I do not like the hassle and expense of running tubulars (sew-ups) for street use.  I DO like the feel of a tubular tired road bicycle and have decided to set my CCM Tour du Canada up with the Fiamme tubulars that were original issue to the bicycle.  The CCM, incidentally, is in the process of being fully restored as I prepare this website for publishing.

My experience with tubular tires, better known as "sew-ups" is very limited.  The presence of tubulars was the primary reason for selling a gorgeous early eighties Basso Gap, after only fifteen minutes of riding.  I was leery of the problems associated with "sew-ups" although my opinion has changed since I let the Basso go.

And then there was dislike number two which is really a minor concern but a concern, none-the-less.

I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both wrists, a product of thirty or so years of hard use as an Industrial Mechanic.  I do what I can to avoid surgery by taking the best care of my hands that I can these days.  With this in mind, I always try to install cushioned handlebar tape to help reduce vibration and the hand/wrist fatigue/pain that often times accompanies it.  The bar tape on the Bianchi offered no cushion value what-so-ever and it did not even improve grip characteristics properly.  Had I kept the Bianchi, the handlebars would have been re-taped with a handlebar tape that I have run across that is not vintage but looks to be.

Braking was very effective, thanks to the Modolo "Corsa" brake set.  I have been lucky enough to use Modolo brakes on several bicycles and they always work just great.  The Modolo brakes are very well made, equally attractive and work really good as far as I am concerned.

I really don't know all that much about which Modolo model is the best but the Corsas on the Bianchi were all but perfect in both form and function.  I might add that vintage Modolo hoods are among the most comfortable, best looking and most durable that I have been lucky enough to use.  The hoods on the Bianchi had stood the test of time well and were still quite useable if care was taken in their use.

The Bianchi came very close to being added to my humble collection of bicycles and I do mean close.  Purchased for next to nothing and needing no additional cash invested to put the bicycle on the road, the 841d was a near perfect choice for my Italian bike.  However, when I do choose to add a Bianchi to my collection, it will be an older model and Celeste green, that beautiful and relaxing color that only European Bianchi bicycles come in.

Today, the Bianchi 841d lives in California and shares rides with its new owner.  The fellow who bought the bicycle is very happy with it and who could blame him.  The Bianchi is something that is a cut above the average bicycle one finds these days.  Perhaps I should have kept it!

 

 

 

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