Bike Dreams: Bianchi Vigorelli

2009 Bianchi Vigorelli

2009 Bianchi Vigorelli

Don’t misundertand me — the newest crop of carbon racing bikes are drool-worthy machines that showcase just what bike builders are capable of doing these days. I would love to fly down the road on a featherlight carbon frame and look back at all the suckers behind me, trying to keep up. But to be honest, I still have this secret love inside my soul for steel-framed bikes.

Like a lot of us, I grew up on a steel frame — at first atop a slick, jet black road bike from Scwhinn called the Diablo, or something ridiculous like that; and then on top of a purple (?) Trek that the salesman continually referred to a “cross” bike, and which I now believe to have been a thinly veiled gay slur. I learned my world on a steel bike, and they are damn good bikes.

The thing is, steel bikes have this kind of organic feedback that gets lost as frames become more rigid. You can feel a steel frame flex and give underneath you as you work harder — as you climb that mountain road or mash across a flat road in a ridiculous gear, you’ll feel it in the bottom bracket. It won’t be obvious, and it certainly won’t be scary or dangerous, but after enough hours in the saddle, you’ll learn that particular feeling of a steel-framed bike working with you, not in spite of you.

The new Vigorelli from Bianchi — a company that has always embodied that particular brand of Italian bike cool — combines old school steel construction with a truly old school racing aesthetic, and frankly, I want one to replace my current road ride (sorry, Cannondale). Even though Bianchi has made the concession to a carbon fork, it’s exciting to see a company building beautiful, high-quality bikes with steel.

The striped paint scheme evokes the days of Fausto Coppi and Italian cycling dominance, while the slim steel tubes set the Vigorelli apart from the rest of its oversized, uberlight peers. Leave those stiff, unyeilding frames to the pros — this bike looks made for the cyclist needing for a trusty companion on the road, capable of both exploring at leisure and attacking on cue.

(sorry for the raw screenshot)

[Bianchi bikes]


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