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Building up from scratch around a Bianchi Frame

jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
edited November 2014 in Road buying advice
Firstly, as means of a disclaimer, i am not a 'serious' rider, never will be. Whilst i would like to up my game i have a long term irreversible knee injury which pretty much dictates what i can do. But i enjoy being out and it keeps me fit. And i am fortunate enough to live somewhere with plenty of fun countryside routes on my doorstep.

Ok, enough of that, down to business. I am shortly to take ownership of a Bianchi Intenso frame (purposely, as opposed to a pre-assembled option as i want to build it myself and take my time over it ). I appreciate it is pretty basic compared to some of the more exotic offerings, but gather that it is still a pretty capable bit of kit, and according to reviews, somewhat let down by the usual corner cutting on components when bought a a complete bike.

So really i'm after some objective opinions on what kit to build it up with. I can imagine the 'eye rolling' when i mention expensive components based on my opening statement, but whilst not having a limitless budget i would be happy to take time over building this so that i can afford the bits i want, and i suppose also would like to know if any of the kit i am thinking about is 'too good' for wasting on the frame.

I want to stick with Shimano, for no other reason than i like what i know, and have been using up until now. I hear the 'Italian bike needs Campy' thing but pretty certain i'll stay Shimano. So, my thoughts are Ultegra 6800 or Dura Ace 9000.. whilst one is over twice the price of the other, i currently use 6700 so would like a change in the looks, but apart from the cachet, am i really going to see any benefit? Also, and with the other components too, i am a bit conscious of looking like a bit of a tool with really expensive gear without the legs to back it up.

Quite happy using Deda steering and seat posts but was thinking to look a bit higher up the food chain to the M35 bar and stem, and likewise carbon seatpost.

And then there are the wheels... currently quite taken with reynolds assault SLG, and TBH not wanting to spend any more than that. want something that looks nice obviously, but again, very cautious about anything with a much deeper rim for both reasons of actual benefit and just bling. looking at the 'Saturae' UK built wheels as well, and briefly looked at some of the similar priced Mavic options.

So, am i aiming too high for the humble frame? am i aiming to high for my humble knee? and really, am i just on my way to throwing a lot of money at something that could do me proud for a heck of a lot less money?

Appreciate any thoughts, whilst most LBS are very helpful, obviously they have a vested interest in brands that they stock.
Many Thanks!


  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Well you say you are not a serious cyclist and have a knee injury which limits the ammount of pedalling you can do. Then you want serious racing wheels like assults. Save your money and just get a simple set of alloy clincher which will do you fine. Also renoylds assults are quite expensive and if you approached a wheel builder and there a number who do carbon now and you would get a wheelset that would perform the same or better for a lot less. So from two points of view the renoylds wheels are a waste of money for you actual needs.

    The groupset could be venerable 105 , ultegra is you have to but DA is really meant for racers and good ones at that. However it is nice kit which is why many have it. If I were you I would be not be spending as much as you plan to and the resulting bike will be just as enjoyable to ride. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • While I can't offer a personal view on the Intenso, by all accounts it appears to be a pretty nice frame. By the looks of it, it has a threaded bottom bracket too which makes life easier installing the bottom bracket/crank.

    As for groupsets, all the 11 speed Shimano stuff is top notch. Don't discount the idea of 105 11 speed either, while of course it's not quite as high up in the food chain as Ultegra, all you lose out in is about 300 grams, and both groupsets take exactly the same design cues from the Dura Ace 9000.

    Where Bianchi was cheap in their own builds was in choosing FSA cranks instead of Shimano (because they're cheaper, but heavier) and their 'Reparto Corse' brakes, which are probably rebranded FSA or Tektro, and again they're pretty average. Another thing is their wheels and tyres, the Fulcrum Racing Corsa wheels appear to be basically Fulcrum 7s - reliable, but a bit weighty. Same goes for the Hutchinson Equinox tyres.

    As for Deda M35 stuff, I'd probably avoid it for the gimmicky 35mm clamp - if you decided you didn't like the shape of the bars, you'd have to change both bar and stem as there's nothing else using the same diameter. I also think paying 95 quid for a stem is a ridiculous ripoff. The Deda Zero 100 range is the same shape, high quality, sticks with the standards, and is both cheaper and lighter.

    Not experienced with carbon wheels so I'm no help there. Since I imagine you're not racing I'd recommend sticking with alloy wheels if it's to be an all day endurance bike, especially as there's some incredibly nice ones out there, but I'll leave answering that to the wheel experts here.

    Not aiming too high at all, the Intenso should be a great ride. Just remember there's no point spending money for spending's sake.
  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    Thanks. Should clarify that i do get out a lot, and the reference to the knee injury was that it will stop me dramatically increasing my activity. It's more that i need extended recovery times if i push it.

    I totally get the price to performance to benefit ratio and the diminishing returns that come with that, but, and as i suspect for a lot of people, am happy to go that bit further for a bit of indulgence in something that i enjoy. I wonder for all the ultegra grosupsets out there on the road how many of the users would in any way suffer in their performance if they were using slightly cheaper products?

    I guess really i'm interested in opinions on what would be a nice build given my ability, a reasonably good budget, and a desire to have really nice, quality components that aren't excessively high performance for my requirements.

    I already use the exact Deda gear on my current ride that you mention, hence thinking of sticking with the same type of product. Totally agree the prices are almost laughable, but as i am in no rush to finish this project i'll be happy to sit and wait for promo codes/big reductions etc.

    If there are any links to handbuilt wheel producers that anyone has, that would be greatly appreciated. I'd kind of figured the Reynolds Assault as a midrange performance wheel based on price point, didn't realise it was that serious as you can get up to pretty dizzy numbers when looking for carbon wheels. Happy with the good quality alu clinchers i currently use, but again, just wanted to treat myself a bit.

    the 6800 group does look to offer everything anyone might need though.

  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    sorry, re 105, my current bike came with a mix of 105/Ultegra and over time i replaced the 105 parts ( which found a new home with my wife ) and, whether or not it is purely psychosomatic, i did feel that it was a worthwhile upgrade. Shifting under resistance seemed better, which felt like it put less strain on my knee ( cartilage problem basically ).

    Love my current ride, which has Cero AR30 wheels which are great ( relatively cheap, light and fast ), and it is not going anywhere, the new build is for a bit of variety, and i deserve it :wink:
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Shifting improved when shimano went over to the new polymer coated cables. Old 6700 and old 5700 shifted about as well as each other after a couple of years, never been entirely happy with it when setting it up as it never felt like new without changing major components. The 5800 and 6800 groupsets are much better for shifting, we'll see in a couple of years of hard use if the shifting holds up. If you want indulanges wheels. Contact one of the many wheelbuilders in the country and have a custom set made up. Buying of the self mean you have something that many other have hardly indlugding yourself, just lightening your wallet.

    You may want to try Campagnolo Chorus. NEarly Dura Ace money but Campagnolo drivetrains are very slick and stay that way for a very long time. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    jlowdo wrote:
    If there are any links to handbuilt wheel producers that anyone has, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Malcolm is too modest to blow his own trumpet it seems, so I'll do it for him :)

    The poster on this thread known as thecycleclinic IS a wheelbuilder.

    You could try him. Also, for balance Ugosantalucia who is a mod here builds wheels too (in London), and you could always add Paul Hewitt of Hewitts Cycles (Lancashire I think), or "Big Al" at Wheelcraft in Scotland (the Campsie Fells north of Glasgow)

    The the latter offers somewhat idiosyncratic service, notwithstanding the quality of his work. I've used both thecycleclinic and Wheelcraft for wheel builds, and have ridden wheels built by Hewitts. Personally I'd go back to thecycleclinic if I wanted another set of wheels, good service and easy to deal with.
  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    Many thanks for the heads up. i did actually catch the URL in the bottom of cycling clinic post and have been perusing the website. It is certainly worthy of serious consideration.

  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    Sorry, switched off when you said you'd stick with Shimano. ;)
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    Thanks! before i started the thread i promised myself a beer for every time someone dissed Shimano

    so i'll be off to the pub then :wink:
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    jlowdo wrote:
    Thanks! before i started the thread i promised myself a beer for every time someone dissed Shimano

    so i'll be off to the pub then :wink:

    Get me pint in, I have a Bianchi with Ultegra. :D
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • cattytowncattytown Posts: 647
    Building your bike part of the fun is choosing components - I am not going to say don't go shimano, but at least try tp get yor hands on shifters from Campagnolo and SRAM before you buy. The main things to consider are the shape of the hoods as well as the shifting. Doing that by getting round dealers is also a chance to try the shape of different bars - no need to limit yourself to deda. Different bars have different shapes - some love 3T ergonovas, I don't get on with the shape. I like the Syntace Racelite CDR shape - try as many as you can to see what actually feels good to you.

    As for the high end groupset? If you like it, it's your money and your bike. If buying DA makes you feel good, or makes you more likely to ride then it's your call.

    BTW I concur with others n handbuilt wheels. Main thing for me is that they are more likely to be repairable.

    Giant Defy 2
    Large bloke getting smaller :-)
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    But deda bars are perfect maybe the OP knows that. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • GGBikerGGBiker Posts: 450
    I would go for 3T components, look classy IMO compared to deda or fsa.
  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    Well, I have gone through a couple of Deda solutions and really get on with them, i really don't see the need ( in my experience ) to change. I have the 35 on my current ride but most likely will just go superleggera.. maybe 3t would work, but i don't want to 'showroom' and then buy on the internet for much cheaper... i like the drop and it works for me. And i don't want any 'red'..

    however, and i did say i was staying shimano, and i already bought a 9000 BB to replace the FSA so i could sell the OEM group on eBay, but that Campy Chorus does look DAMNED sexy... i ran it past the Mrs and she said ' that looks awesome' compared to the Mehhh i got from the DA or Ultegra... I did a recky today around the local LBS's and they said they can service Campy, so, i am thinking maybe give it a go...

    So, after a lot of internetting, i get the impression the chorus is AS GOOD as record, just a bit heavier. no mechanical differences really? is that the case?

    I guess i leave the wheels until i have sorted this dilemma... but from a 'looks' perspective chorus trounces Shimano offerings...
  • jlowdojlowdo Posts: 48
    just to clarify, i bought the tiara build as it was exactly the same price as just buying the frames... how does that happen???
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Component manufacturer (shimano) supplying group sets at virtually giveaway prices to manufacturers so we'll all buy their replacement parts/ upgrades as and when they wear out.

    Similar to printers and ink cartridges.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • Chris87Chris87 Posts: 224
    Everyone I've spoken to that has ridden the new 105 says its indistinguishable from Ultegra, its a massive leap from last years 105 and considering how cheap you can pick it up its a no brainer.

    Plus the money you save on the groupset could be put towards a nicer wheelset

    though if money isn't much of an option really a frame like that should be treated to campy...

    Just my "ten penneth"
  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221
    Re the Deda 35 stuff - Ribble do the OEM versions a lot cheaper than the boxed stuff: ... edahbss738

    They've got a good price on the alloy version of the bars too.

    Oh, and get a beer in, the Chorus group is lovely.
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