New life for old bicycles

Building a better Bianchi


As mentioned previously, I no sooner got the Quattro roadworthy and not even fully sorted before I started to wonder if it was the right bike for me. On the plus side, I loved the way it looked, but I'm just not a sporty enough rider for it.

So my attention turned back to the other Bianchi frame in the workshop, the (most likely) Campione D'Italia. The frames looked so similar, I had my doubts I'd see much difference, but when I measured them, I noticed a few things that made it seem worth trying out:

  1. The wheelbase was almost 2cm longer (100 vs 98 on the Quattro).
  2. The seat tube was 2 degrees more slack (76 degrees vs 78 on the Quattro).
  3. The top tube is a bit longer, so maybe it would feel less aggressive.

So I decided to go ahead and build it up, using the period-correct parts on hand, with a few upgrades for my preferences.

First up, I scored a set of 165mm Shimano 600 cranks from the local craigslist. Shimano 600 is a favorite among vintage groupsets. It's a good value, still looks lovely, and works very, very well. For a height-challenged individual like myself, finding a set of 165mm cranks in excellent condition constitutes a real score.

A new Shimano Italian-threaded bottom bracket was fitted to mate the cranks up, and it was a total bear to get in until someone suggested being sure the threads were clear on the frame. They looked clean, but clearly some invisible corrosion had built up because after wire brushing them the bracket went in smoothly.

To combat the high gearing of the Quattro, I switched to a 39-tooth Sugino inner ring and kept the 52-tooth Ofmega outer ring from the Quattro. I also have a new freewheel on the way, but I'll have to report back when it gets here.

The other big upgrade was a set of Continental Grand Prix Classic tires. I'm really excited about trying these out. They look fantastic, that's for sure. And they seem to be very, very high quality, as one would expect from Continental.

Other than that, most everything was a straightforward lift-and-shift from the Quattro. Easy.

So did it work? Well, it's been too wet to get a good ride in, but from short jaunts it appears that it worked amazingly well. This feels far more secure and solid than before. We'll see, but I'm optimistic.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. This does not cost you anything, nor does it affect our opinion of the products.

See all the Bianchi Campione D'Italia posts.

Tags: bianchi