MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

BIANCHI VOLPE - INTRO

FINDING THE VOLPE

RIDING THE VOLPE

 

BICYCLES OF JAPAN

  

RIDING THE BIANCHI VOLPE

I guess that I knew the Volpe would, eventually, prove to be too small for me to ride comfortably, for any length of time.  As I age, I loose flexibility and that is an issue with my poorly treated neck, which I broke riding to work one morning.  Another story, to be sure, but not for now...

Anyway, thanks to breaking my neck, the forced extra tilt back of my head, when riding my customary 54cm, is becoming increasingly uncomfortable.  With that in mind, I shifted my ride focus to 56cm, and even 57, now and again.  My comfort factor shot up on longer rides.

The Volpe and I were to make several longer rides, to and from my summer cottage, as the Summer wore on, then into the eventual colourful splendour that butterflies North-western Ontario, every year.  I love the colors.   The secondary highways, surrounding Thunder Bay, and criss-crossing the Canadian Shield landscape, are truly beautiful rides to make.  The wild life sightings are frequent, and even dramatic, from time to time.  I have coasted up, close enough to a deer, to actually smell the animal, and slammed the brakes, on with panic stricken might, hoping to avoid a collision with a black bear one day, as I passed by our local Landfill Site.

But, for the most part, the highways are smooth, little used and a treat to navigate, when nowhere my the destination, and the passing of thought filled riding time, my companion.

The Bianchi proved to be a really great riding bicycle.  Not exceptional, in the handling and responsive sense, but rock solid and hill challenging, in the get from here to there, with no nonsense, sense.  This bike was made for rougher roads, hills and longer hauls.  It was fun and often seemed near effortless to ride.

The Suntour Cyclone transmission, actuated with the famed Suntour Power Barcons, was a genuine treat to use.  The gorgeous Sakae SX triple crank set, showed little wear and delivered power to the six cog, wide range freewheel, offering a more than ample gear set, the equal of any hill I attempted on the bicycle that summer.  Even the climb back from Pass Lake, which I can never make on a road bike, until the Bianchi showed up.

The Shimano cantilevered brake callipers proved to be excellent stoppers, when compared to most other vintage road bicycles, I was familiar with.  And why shouldn't they be?  The cantilever design is far superior to either the center or side pulls, more commonly found on older road bicycles.

Complimenting the callipers, the Shimano levers were attractive, reasonably comfortable and in great shape.  So, too, were the near untouched by time and abuse brake hoods.  All in all, a very attractive set of levers, that had, somehow, managed to escape the road rash, that frequently presents itself on these highly exposed components.

A Bianchi saddle perched atop an SR indexed alloy seat post, offered positive hold, and ease of installation/adjustment.  An alloy, Custom steering stem supported a very clean set of Sakae CT bars, the first I had ever run across.  Perhaps they are good handlebars, perhaps not.  I honestly know nothing about the quality of these old controls.  I do know that I am not fussy on the pantograph's design, though.

Suze low flange hubs were laced to Araya 700c non-eyeletted rims.  I was surprised to see the absence of eyelets, but took it in stride.  I would have expected to see a higher quality rim set on this lovely old bicycle.

About the only thing I really did not like, when considering the pros and cons of the Volpe, was the original owner's choice of tires.  They were 700cx32 with a very aggressive tread.  The tread might be a help in non-pavement condition, but not the best on smooth, hard roads.

However, the Bianchi Volpe and I. shared many paved and gravel roads. together for a couple of months that one summer.  Towards Fall, I finally admitted that the bicycle needed to be bigger, and, with that in mind, I cleaned the bike up, checked it over and presented it for auction on Ebay.  A fellow in Spain purchased the bicycle, where I sent it, via Surface Post, and it lives today.

 

 

 

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