what was that? is that all there is? who is this? this is it.

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Brian's Bianchi before bro

August 23, 2020

This is Brian’s Bianchi Sport SX with an understated Miami Vice color scheme made in Japan. The other Thursday he pulled it out of the crawl space at his house and asked if I could work on it and I said yes I could. Then another other Thursday he dropped it off in my garage and my mind went immediately to thumb shifters and big tires. 

Yesterday I dug into it and ditched the whole cockpit, the saddle, the pedals, the chainrings and all the cables and housing. I put on a pair of el diablos and dug out some 700 x 32 touring tires. I got as far as putting the front wheel back in with a big tire and it wouldn’t even fit under the fork uninflated. So I backed off that tire plan and stuck with the skinny tires and left the lone little rear fender alone because it’s there. I also replaced the jerry-rigged quick release with a legit seatpost binder bolt. 

If I hadn’t just recently worked on a Benotto for a friend I would've had plenty of parts on hand to complete this little transformation and his bike would look more like this bike. I gave some thought to buying a few parts at Bike Works (thumb shifters, platform pedals, chain and this and that) but because of a little global pandemic one can no longer stroll in and rummage through milkcrates full of awesome used parts. And there is not enough time in the world to create an on-line store that could replicate that experience. 

I tossed the 52 - 42 biopace chainrings and put on a 41t Rocket ring which is designed to dance on a 110 as well as a 130 bcd. Whatever it takes, it’ll take. 

In a dream world where the price was no object I would’ve changed the cranks and put on a moderate triple set up and changed the cassette to a weekend warrior gear range. Setting off a sequence of events involving a mtb rear derailleur and different front derailleur as well with some serious swing. If I went down that road I’d replace the chain and the bottom bracket as well. Not because I give a shit about Q factor, I would just need the cranks to clear the chainstays.  

But I’m not in that dream world. When the big tire swap fell though I decided to challenge myself to complete this job without leaving the garage. A complete ISRU (in situ resource utilization) only using parts on hand and spending zero dollars. No on-line order forms, no QR codes, no credit cards, no contactless delivery or appointments for pick up, no 14 day waiting period, no bullshit. 

I took off the el diablos and put the rear downtube shifter back on. It's a less than ideal set up but this retrofit shifted to a KISS-ISRU. This old school reach down makes the rider take shifting seriously and each of those seven cogs will be appreciated. Or not. Maybe he’ll just leave it in one gear 99% of the time. I visualize Brian cruising around on this thing keeping up with his kids in a more comfortable riding position and spending zero dollars on the deal. Maybe just a few beers. 

I would like to draw your attention of course to the Profile Design cupholder as well as the Ritchey Force stem shimmed out with a Rainier tall can around an Albatross knock-off handlebar. I left just a sliver of red & white visible next to the 26.0 clamp diameter to let you know that I know that you know that I shimmed it with a beer can. Brian likes beer. 


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Alistair. said...

Nice conversion as usual Mark. I'm sure the owner of this bike is going to enjoy riding it. These old lugged steel narrow 700c bikes are also great candidates for 650b conversions too, it's one way of being able to fit wider rubber on this kind of frame. A 650b conversion is more work, and more money of course, but it's a nice option to have when the right bike comes along.

Posted August 23, 2020 07:58 PM | Reply to this comment

pilder said...

that would be sweet. wider wide tires and plenty of clearance for fenders even. in a dream world I'd have a friend that could slap on some disk brake mounts and a set of 650b wheels (please don't say 27.5) just sitting around collecting dust. but in my garage the leap from 622 to 584 bsd is insurmountable.

Posted August 24, 2020 05:57 AM | Reply to this comment

pilder said...

PS in my garage the leap from 630 bsd (yes please it's OK to say 27 inch) to 622 is doable. Been there done that. Riding it this morning in fact. With some long-reach dual pivot brakes those millimeters are sucked up just fine. My old lady is still rolling 630bsds on her Bianchi. word

Posted August 24, 2020 07:24 AM | Reply to this comment

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