The L’Eroica bike completed:

Original Bianchi 1983 catalog photo

Excerpt from 1983 Bianchi catalog:  “Sleek Italian styling and proven European components make this an excellent choice. Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleurs, double butted Columbus frame, TTT stem and handlebars, Ofmega Competition hubs, headset, crankset, pedals and seatpost, Mavic G-40 rims and Clement 100 psi skinwall tires complete this thoroughbred Italian.”

This was a low miles one owner bike when I picked it up in the summer of 2011. It was in original condition and pretty well cared for overall but was not rideable. It had rusty cables and dry bearings but was otherwise in pretty good shape! It was in for a complete rebuild anyway so these were minor issues. I would need to change a few things but I wanted to have a period correct bike, so in the end I would use most of the original parts but not all. Here is the final spec of the build.

  • Campagnolo Nuovo Record derraileurs front and rear
  • Campagnolo Record downtube shifters
  • Ofmega Crankset and bottom bracket (Italian NR look-alike)
  • Ofmega Headset
  • Ofmega seatpost
  • 3T stem and handlebars
  • Modolo Corsa brakeset
  • Campagnolo Record hubs
  • DT stainless double butted spokes
  • Velo Orange rims (Mavic clone)
  • Regina 6 speed freewheel, 12 – 26
  • Ofmega pedals with Christophe toeclips
  • Brooks B-17 saddle (electric blue)
  • Mopha tool roll

The original Mavic rims were changed to achieve the polished silver look that I prefer. I changed to Campagnolo Record hubs because I found a hairline crack in the bearing shell on the original Victory hubs. Luckily I had a spare set of Campagnolo hubs laying around! I ride Brooks saddles on all of my bikes so that was a must. The B-17 has a classic look and is pretty comfortable. Of course new cables, bar tape and toe straps were in order as well. With all of that the bike looks pretty fresh but is still vintage in character. It is not really a collectible model so I can use it hard and not be too concerned about abusing it but it still looks the part.

One thing I really like is the Mopha tool roll which attaches under the seat with a toe clip strap. It is made of oiled canvas and is very weather resistant. You can fit loads of stuff in it and things are much more accessible than in a seat bag. This one contains a spare tube, CO2 inflator with 2 cartridges, tire levers, patch kit, multi tool, 6, 8 and 10 mm wrenches, duct tape, spare master link and cables. You can take it off, open it up and lay it out in under 10 seconds!

Okay, the tweaking is mostly done and I’ve been riding this bike a bit when weather permits. I’ve probably done about 200 miles on it so far. I like the ride but it is different than some of my other bikes. It is amazing how much difference 1 cm in top tube length can make. This Bianchi has a 57 cm top tube length compared to the 58 cm of most of my other bikes. It is a little shorter coupled, and has a little racier geometry (steeper angles).  The steep frame angles make this bike quick handling if a little twitchy but the larger 28c tires seem to add some stability back. These tires also give the bike a very comfortable ride! I’ve been riding on rough road surfaces to simulate conditions I will face at L’Eroica and it seems to handle that very well.

The finished bike is now L’Eroica ready! Click on the pics below for a closer look at the details. It will face many more shakedown rides and events this coming year because I will need to get more saddle time on this bike.  I will also need to test some of the vintage clothing and gear that will be used at the big event such as leather gloves, shoes and helmet (yes thats right). All equipment and clothing must be period correct for L’Eroica. Watch for future posts on the L’Eroica equipment that I will be using. You will either be amazed or shocked!!!

Previous posts on this topic:

Dreaming of L’Eroica

The L’Eroica bike

Progress on the Bianchi

Building a worthy set of wheels

The Bianchi enters the home stretch

The finish of the build, the beginning of the adventure!

Vintage cycling gear

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