biochem final: exactly like the practice finals. good thing i spent last night poring over the practice finals and their solutions. I think I ended up doing ok (by my standards, which = very well by anyone else's standards)

thinking about buying this bike. it was recommended to me by a friend... never heard of the brand, but he knows his bikes, so i trust him. or maybe this one. according to another friend, "you can't go wrong with bianchi." but the jamis comes in a female-specific frame, which is an advantage. plus it looks like it's got the horizontal brakes, which i kind of like... i think after graduation i'll go into a dealer and get fit. see what they have to say.


tessa said...

horizontal brakes?

tessa said...

mmm. i see what you mean when i read the specs. i have cross levers on my single speed and i thought they would be cooler than they were. the ergo levers ended up being more comfortable on my wrists because the flat part of the bar doesn't ride long well for me.

kat said...

yeah, whatever they're called. my current bike has them and i find myself using them, so it'd be nice... but not totes necessary.

nimble said...

if i were a girl and wanted a bianchi i would get this one. it's more expensive but it has better components. you also don't need a triple. Felt also gives you a lot of bang for buck and comes in women's sizes. Le Mond is also a good choice.

a note on women's sizes. all it means is they're readily available in really small sizes and only go up to a certain size.

tips for bike buying:
1. buy last year's, huge discounts
2. if you don't like the parts that come on it, ask if you can swap. a good shop will recalculate the price.
3. if it doesn't fit, it doesn't matter how pretty it is, don't buy it. get a proper fitting before you buy it.

kat said...

That's funny, because my friend said to stay away from LeMond (along with a list of almost every other bike company you've heard of, from trek to cannondale to marin) because they make shitty bikes that will break.
And it's not just the small size, the geometry of womens' frames are different, and sometimes they come with a female saddle though not always.
Also the bianchi link you sent didn't go to a particular bike, it just went to the main page.

waking jonas said...

i'd like to know what about the bike is supposed to "break" inexplicably. that seems rather unsupported. if he's talking about parts that's dependent on the parts and as far as frames go, aluminum is aluminum and carbon is carbon. parts are switchable and a good frame can have low-end parts and a low-end frame can have high-end parts.

nimble said...

weird, the bianchi redirected. it was a link to the Eros Donna.

Le Mond, Cannondale, and Trek are all regarded frames by people that race. what specifically about them break? if he means that aluminum frames can crack that's very true. over the course of hard riding for a few years there's definitely the possibility of cracking, especially around the seat stays and bottom bracket. a friend of mine rides aluminum bianchis, and only bianchi, and rides thousands of miles a year training and racing. every time he got a new bike it was because he ripped the stays apart. does your friend think bianchi is crap? if he's talking about components, all the bikes you're looking at have lower end Sora and Tiagra. and those will wear out faster and not work as well as 105 and above, that's just how it works.

personally i wouldn't buy any of those three just because they're big names in cycling and command a premium for the name.

yeah, the geometry is a little different to accommodate the general trend of shorter torsos on women. but don't buy a women's specific bike just because they tell you "it's for women," buy what fits. felt was a perfect choice for me as i have a longer torso proportional to my legs and they happen to make their top tubes longer proportionally to the seat tube.
you're also probably going to hate whatever saddle comes with the bike, women's or not. i don't know anyone that's thought an OEM saddle was comfortable for more than a couple miles. and like i said, a good shop will swap it out and recalculate the price accordingly.
shop around, take a few out for a ride, make sure it fits. that's more important to your enjoyment of it than anything as an improperly fit bike will only cause you pain.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah...
Felt's break also...bad.
put them on my DNB list also.
particularly their TK's,
My friend Gregg and another friend of his both had their bottom brackets fall out of their TK's. Spooky.
So stay away from felt.

I like steel and titanium, not much else, I have a Bianchi axis that I retrofitted with a centaur/veloce mix grouppo as my trasher/commuter bike, so I do know the feel of aluminum, and *I* like it for commuting, but I wouldn't expose Kat too it. It is a fast accelerator, but it's a harsh ride. (speaking of which, the saddle that comes with the axis is the exception to bad stock saddles, I have about 5,000 miles on it and it fits better than my fizik. It just fits my butt... talk about odd. Stock saddles do usually suck.)

As far as Trek and their ilk, I know a local frame builder who used to make some of the "Trek" frames that were used in the tour de france/olympics/pbp/et.al. Despite what Lance says, his "madone" was not a trek. The deal is... a custom maker makes a frame for a racer, they re-label it for the sponsor and then non-pro's buy the bikes and think their great. I just don't get why someone would go an by a BMC time machine when they could get a custom Linskey with a full record grouppo for half the price. The minute you crack $2.5k you should start looking full custom. You can get a cheap rodriguez for $2100.

All things said, I really used to like Lemonds, Gregg made a bike in the late 90's that was a full campy race bike for $999 just so anyone could get into a full campy race bike for under $1k. I met the guy and rode with him in the 80's, he's a great guy. But I don't think he has quite the handle on his company that he used to. And he has started to behave a little wierd with the Landis thing...

Now, speaking of Lemond I would recommend the poprad to her, but that is out of the price range. All the same that is more of a cross bike than a commuter, I think the volpe would be a better deal. I really love the volpe, I wish they made a veloce version.

Again, the Eros is a really nice bike, but it has low spoke count wheels and I have a real problem with any bike (and really any bike manufacturer that sells a bike) with low spoke count wheels. If you have pro sponsorship and the majority of your riding is over 25 mph, you need them, otherwise, you are just buying something that is flimsy and gaining no aerodynamic advantage. Sorry but that's the facts. I've got some campy protons and some ventos and my 32 spoke record/openpro wheels are far more responsive and faster. Further, my power output to speed ratio are better on the high spoke count wheels on varied terrain. Most importantly... more spokes == stronger wheels.

The better shifters don't balance out the problem of getting a new wheelset, especially since mirage shifters have a plastic mechanism inside that makes them almost as crappy as 105 components. (imho mirage is sorta the midpoint between 105 and durace')

I actually like the way the jamis is set up... and the cool thing is... when the sora shifters fall apart, she will be able to change over to a veloce or chorus shifter and her technique won't have to be modified. That is the cool thing about sora... the hand motions are campyesque. You can install a widget that allows campy shifters to work with shimano derailleurs (or you can just get better derailleurs).

As for campagnolo... I can't afford to use anything else. Campy components can be rebuilt over and over again. I have three rebuilds on '99 chorus shifters. They last twice as long as shimano and they are $50 to be made good as new. Unfortunately no one equips bikes with campy at the low end, a crime because it makes lower end bikes disposable.

Hence why I would stress to Kat that the frame is the most important. And... I would not get a joe racer bike, I would go for a cross bike. Ideally if she could afford a crosscheck that would be cool, as it is such a great commuter but I know people who use it for racing both cyclocross and the seward park crits.

So from there you have to extrapolate to what is the next most affordable... which case I would look for a steel frame city bike... so that leaves us with the Volpe, the Jamis sattelite or spending more and getting the Surly crosscheck. Hmmm...actually, I hadn't thought of the Kona Sutra... that's kinda cool as far as frames go.

Now all that being said, I concur with nimble in that...

A. you need to have a fitting done first. Find someone who will do it before you order your bike.

B. what fits... works. A fit is the second e most important aspect of your bike (the first being technique.)

C. Last years bike is always the best deal... and after you get fit, we can do a city wide search for good deals...

D. Also...yeah, if you can stay away from big brands you should... I just have a softspot for Bianchi because I hated them for decades then I bought one. That and I have never met a person who owned a volpe that wasn't obsessed about how wonderful their bike is. Not sure I would like one... but for people who just want a bike that will handle everything the city can throw at them... seems like a good bet...

E. you will only know what is right by test riding, and test ridding a lot...

F. I don't think you will crack an aluminum frame, however, they dent easily. I'm thinking of coating the axis in tooldip or a truck bedliner.

I do disagree on nimbles point 2 as far as having the shop change out parts. I generally buy something with what it has and wait till it wears out. As bike shops never give you the fair return. Tiagra stuff actually lasts fairly well... sora less so... but you can just upgrade to italian components. But if the shop will give you a good deal... go for it. I find that the best deal is to buy the bike with crappy components and upgrade as they brake. Disperses the financial hardship.

Sorry I hate aluminum and carbon... if I was in the pro-peleton I would love them, but being poor and riding about 700 miles a month I need stuff that lasts and is comfortable, hence steel, Ti and campy. No modulus of fatigue and components that can be repaired.

That said... once you are fitted, you *can* just cruise craigslist... I have a Linskey era litespeed with an '07 chorus grouppo and the total cost was $2300, courtesy of craigslist and Licketons bike parts.

anyway... I've rambled enough... can you tell I haven't been ablle to ride for 4 days Kat?

enough of that...

most important...

sign up now:


nimble said...

i can respect that. i gotta say, this

"every other bike company you've heard of, from trek to cannondale to marin) because they make shitty bikes that will break."

makes you sound like an ignorant hipster doofus. glad to see you're not :) i was concerned that someone that didn't know what they were talking about what giving kat bad advice.

i can understand preferring steel/ti over alu/cf. all the cannondales i've seen around here that have been around since the 80s are all steel. and you don't see people fawning over aluminum colnagos from the 80s. i just don't want to give the impression that bianchi's are the end all; their steel frames are put together in taiwan just like everyone else's. i have a steel bianchi and i love it. it's a nice ride and a hot looking bike.

i'm not even touching campy vs shimano lol. i've seen some very nice vintage dura-ace setups as well as record, so someone out there knows how to take care of equipment properly. i'm riding full ultegra right now and i like it, but i would very much like to put together a campy setup someday. but for what i wanted in my most recent bike, stiff, agressive, and light, an alu/cf mix suited me just fine. alu is not a comfortable ride. but i like it for now; certainly when i'm older a more comfortable ride will be more important and i won't be riding an alu bike. and yeah, felt did have some manufacturing problems where people were reporting the seat stay was cracking on low mileage but that seems to have been fixed in the last 3 years. my cousin races felts and has worked at a shop that deals them for 2 years and hasn't seen any issues.

i only partly agree with your thoughts on price. not everyone needs a LOOK or a BMC but they aren't any better or worse than buying custom at that price level either. they certainly won't last as long as a nice custom ti frame but they also won't fall apart in 3 years like some people think. personally, i'd love to have a LOOK 595 in Credit Agricole white. i'd probably never buy one though. talking to a friend at work after getting a custom Serotta got me interested in custom ti.

oh, and in reference to part swapping, i was mostly talking about saddles, bars, easily switchable things. it would be silly to swap out drive train components because why not just look at a different bike at that point.

i've been thinking about hitting the seward park crits but not before i get a few group rides in. might not be a good idea to dive right in and be a danger to the pack. you know of any groups/clubs around here that are open to riders looking to get racing?


kat said...

haha, damn. this is the biggest shitstorm ever on my blog.

and no, see, john knows his shit. i'm the stupid hipster who knows nothing. ;)

one of these days i might have to put the two of you in a room and jabber at each other endlessly. that would be entertaining.

waking jonas said...

honestly, i sincerely doubt you are going to wear out your frame that fast. the only reason i like aluminum is because it makes my bike light and i can carry it when i need to. i bought my lemond fully knowing that the parts were low-end and that aluminum has a shorter life span than steel.

but i also knew how much i actually ride. since i'm unable to commute to work i spend most of my time doing long rides on the weekends. ipso facto, it will probably take me longer to wear out my bike than say john or jared.

so really, if you like the jamis, and you like the brakes then get the jamis. if you're not so into that then the bianchi is really nice too. if you feel good on it and it fits, then it will probably work out fine for you if you are sure to take care of it and protect it from getting lifted there in the u dist. :)

nimble said...

see, i'd like that. the only guys i know that ride are all way older than me and have families, or are friends that live in other cities. so our riding schedules don't match up at all.

i'd really like to start racing so i need some more people to train with so i can get comfortable riding in a pack. so the more people i know the better.

also, i dunno what your plans are after graduation, but if you stick around i would highly suggest getting a membership at Wright Brothers in Fremont. not sure how well john is stocked tool-wise but for proper bike maintenance sometimes you need a tool you just can't justify buying. but $15 gets you a lifetime membership to use their shop. it also buys you the privilege of having Charles yell at you when you do things wrong :)

waking jonas said...

note: charles is scary

Anonymous said...

Hey... I'm old and I like the aluminum frame on my axis... might do the flying wheels century on it.
but, I have a preference for hyper responsive frames.

Anyway... yeah... most bike companies nowadays really make bikes that are designed to be disposable. Even campy's upper component lines are too light. No one needs that. ( campy worshipping note: They do say in their catalog that record is designed for the professional (read --sponsored--) rider. The problem is that no one equips bikes with their centaur line, which smokes dura ace, is cheaper, and will last forever..and ever... especially the 07 shifters...)

Regarding the BMC versus custom... that's not durability as an issue, I just think that your bike fit is going to be so much nicer on a custom frame that you should go with that. I am sure that Landis's 'time machine' in the tdf last year was very carefully fit to his body and more importantly they customized the frame to his riding style after having an engineer look at his bodies motion dynamics.

I like how R&E fits people, Smiley puts a person on a measuring bike and looks at their pedaling form (and I expect he corrects peoples bad form). That is what makes the difference. I argue this with my office mate, but I think the frame geometry is the single most important factor in a bike. That *is* whay you need to ride a lot of bikes, because one of them by chance will have the best energy transference.

regarding price, I think the BMC is like $10k... and for half that you can get a lynskey top of the line custom... that was sorta the point... in that the lynskey full custom is going to give you everything the BMC does, and it is probably made just a hair better.
So the key point is... you can get a Davidson, Rodriguez, Obrien, or Lyonsport custom made to you by someone you meet and talk to and explain exactly how you ride, for less than these "ultrabikes". I really like knowing the person who made my frame. Not only that... but custom makers should be supported... handmade bikes really do behave differently... and it is good for the economy... it's just a winwinwin situation.

I think a big problem is that people want a 14 lb bike over a 16 lb bike and they are willing to sacrifice fit for that. I've been lucky enough to have searched through many used frames and have found bikes that fit within custom measurements.

We basically agree... fit is everything... I think the key point is a good steel frame will be more comfortable. Unless of course Kat decides she wants to start racing cyclocross in the fall, in which case she should get one of the '06 Axis that they have at second ascent right now! (I think it it beats out the redline and the poprad due to cable routing). But considering how easily she breaks body parts, CX may not be the ideal hobby 8-P

So anyway...

The point is... find the practical, indestructible bike that fits you and you will keep it and love it forever...

we should get like 4 people together and set aside a day to take Kat out for bike fitting and go shop to shop and freak out the shop owners with the dialog.

and yes, Charles can be wierd. I haven't been there in... 5 years!
Kat, you should stop by there and ask him his opinions on what to by... then go out to west seattle and talk to Aaron Goss and Val Kleitz. You think we are opinionated! heheheh.

p.s. I tend to ride alone just cause of locale and schedule, but as soon as my lungs heal I would be game to ride. I am going to try to race this year, I haven''t been racing in a -long- time. If my lungs heal I am going to shoot for the volunteer park crit in august.

oh... speaking of opinionated...

I also don't like compact frame geometries and compact drivetrains. I tried that theory with a klein I had and none of it paid off. So I stand on the side of "compact is a trend designed to save manufacturers money" in that debate. With the one caveat that for Cyclocross racing a compact frame geometry is useful due to how the top tube tends to ram you in the crotch when you wreck. So anything to keep the top tube from the nether regions! [8-( ow.