Bike Setup: changed to Easton carbon fiber seatpost and monkeylite handlebars(narrowed), changed pedels to old alloy suntour roadracing platforms with powerstraps
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2003
Strengths: STEEL FRAME, the paint (if you like the blue green they call "celeste"), Xt pods, Lx bottom pull front, and Xt rear with Xt cassete, and most importantly, the Fork!!!
Weaknesses: Hutchinson Python Tubeless, not only are these tires super slippery on anything but hard packed dirt, mut they loose lots of air in just a few hours. Pedals suck, replace ASAP
I got a great deal on this bike, but am still surprised that I got some of the nicer components like pods, etc, mixed with the so-so brakes and crappy tires. The bike climbs great especially with new tires, and on flat hills the lockout on the X-fly fork locks on the down postion, brilliant. The brakes are fidgety, unless you really know how to adjust them perfectly. I am extremely satisfied with this bike, it has exceeded my expectations, especially for $800, it isn't the lightest, but I would prefer it's great ride on single track and climbing ability over anything aluminum in the same price range.... If you see one on closeout and you want steel, look no further.
Frame design -- not really a weakness, but is a "Mega-Pro" shaped downtube really any better than just plain round?
That paint job
Either you appreciate fine steel hardtails or you don't. Those that don't aren't likely to be reading these reviews anyway (and wouldn't be persuaded if they did).
But for those who do, the 2001/2002 Grizzly is IMHO the best overall production hardtail available today. A Rocky Mountain Blizzard looks just as appealing, if you can still find one, but the common street price isn't close. The Jamis Dragon is dull in comparison, and still more pricey. KHS? a mid-range frame. Others? unfortunately, very few out there. The Big Bike Brands have all gone to aluminum.
Parts? XT shifters/levers and XT cassette too (where Bianchi could have easily cheated with something much cheaper) are highlights. So are the tires and, with some reservations, the wheelset. 20 spokes seems about 12 too few, yet my set has held true beautifully (after the initial struggle to get them true). The hubs have proved smoother and more durable for me than Shimano hubs. Weight is suprisingly reasonable.
Cockpit stuff is ok with the exception of the seatpost -- a clamp design that needs to be redesigned.
Fork is very solid, especially for the 2002 model year. But the headset is crappier than crap.
Bottom Line: Get one at a big discount and upgrade the few lame parts as you go along. You will have gotten a great deal, a sweet sweet ride. And maybe one of the last bike of its kind. Steel -- let along premium steel -- is even rarer in 2003. Buy this bike now or go custom later!
A little of problems at the begining with the tubeless, but happy overall with the bike, has a lot of little small details that makes it a good bike, an example would be that it is ready for a rack, 3 bottlesof H2O and disc brakes. People think that it is an Italian bike, but that is not true, it is made in Taiwan; That is good because Bianchi USA had more money to spend on better components for the bike, like the suspension and the concept of tubeless; Also the factory in Taiwan most manufacture frames for many other companies with really high standards of quality. The bikes is a good overall bike and I will recomend it, mainly because it is a STEEL FRAME, excellent suspension and ok wheels. Nothing feels better than a steel bike on a singletrack or fireroad. If you someone can tell me how can I make it lighter, I will apprecciate because it is on the very very heavy side. My bike is a 21.5 inch and works good for me, I am 6.1 with very long legs.
Similar Products Used: Voodoo wanga grizzly 97, cannondale killer V
Bike Setup: Thomson stem and seat post, egg beaters pedals, IRD handlebar, king chris headset
from Winston-Salem, NC
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2002
Strengths: The steel frame, the fork, tubeless tires, great color. Climbs like a mountain goat. Unique.
Weaknesses: Pedals could be better. Tires can loose air quickly.
I love this bike, it flies through the XC and climbs like nothing I've ridden before. I wanted another steel frame so it seriously limited my choices. I have not regretted going with the Bianchi. The Celeste paint makes the bike stand out in a crowd, it looks great and gets lots of compliments. I bought this bike through Supergo (mail order) and had it assembled at my bike shop, I have definitely spent some time getting everything adjusted perfectly, though it has been worth the savings. This is my first new bike in 7 years and it has been worth the wait.
Similar Products Used: Jamis, Trek, Specialized, Klein, Gary Fisher, Cannondale.
Bike Setup: Replaced stem with a longer Titec.
from SF, CA
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2002
Strengths: Great steel frame, great fork. Rare third water bottle mount and rack mounts for those overnight rides.
Great value and one of the only production steel bikes still being built. The Grizzly delivers a great frame and fork and those are the two most important parts of the bike. The celeste paint is a love/hate thing. Bianchi nicely complemented (or limited, depending on your view) the amount of celest with a sparkly navy blue front. The Marz fork isn't the lightest but being a cyclocross racer I really like the lock-out feature while climbing. Marz smartly sets it so their lock out occurs when the fork is compressed which helps to keep the wheel planted on steep climbs. Much smarter than the fully extended lock out on RockShox. The fork has also been very low maintenance.
Besides the great frame and fork you get a solid and reliable drivetrain and a great set of wheels. I'll admit I'm not a big fan of tubeless tires. The extra weight and hassle isn't worth it for the kind of riding I do and the terrain I encounter. For other people and conditions they're great. As it is, the stock Hutchinson tires work great and the Mavic hubs are smooth and low maintenance.
The pedals had to go. Not a big deal, pedals are right up there with saddles as one of those things that tend to be very individual. The WTB saddle on the Bianchi is a nice touch. Nice and comfy, much nicer than the crappy saddles they stick on their road bikes. The Titec bar was wider than what I'm used to so I swapped it out for an old Titec titanium bar that was laying around the shop.
It's not the lightest bike by any stretch of the imagination. However it offers a reassuring sense of solidity and stability missing from most lightweight aluminum bikes. I was able to drop the weight down by tossing on some lighter wheels (XTR hubs, Mavic rims, Revo spokes) and bars. Still, this will never be a 21 pound bike. Mine is down to 23 pounds though the lighter wheels and smooth, stable ride make it feel lighter than many 21 pound race bikes.
Any production bike is an exercise in compromise. Corners have to be cut somewhere to make the bike meet a certain price point while still leaving enough of a margin so that the shop selling it can stay afloat (not as easy as it sounds) Bianchi smartly chose to go cheap with the pedals and brakes. These are both easily and cheaply replaced and unlike bottom brackets - which require rarely used, specialized tools - it's something the average shadetree mechanic can do with just a couple of common tools.
Similar Products Used: Lots. Bridgestone, Bontrager, Klein, Trek, Yeti, Ibis, Fisher, etc., etc.
Bike Setup: Replaced bars with Titec titanium, pedals with ATAC.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 21, 2002
Strengths: the superfly ride
Weaknesses: pedals,grips and headset are junk
this is the best all around bike i have ever ridden, you get what you pay for but sometimes you get alittle more. the supple yet precise handling that has made bianchi legendary is here in spades, even if the bike is from taiwan. the marzocchi fork complements the frame perfectly, with its somewhat hefty 3.8 lb weight, and delicious ride. my bike weighs 24 lbs, but with lightweight tires and headset could easily be 23. the pythons are 750 g but once again would not sacrifice that ride and dependability for a few ounces.
Bike Setup: bontrager race lites,eggbeaters,salsa grips, xt cranks and bb
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder and Gunnison Colorado
Date Reviewed: May 7, 2002
Strengths: Great machine! The bike rides and tracks very well....super components (after upgrade of brakes to XT)....FORK was the big reason for going with this bike and I am glad I did....after years of fighting Rock Shox, I am super satisfied with the ride of the frame and fork.
Weaknesses: The Hutchinson Python Tires.....now I know why they are called "Airless Tires".....they do not seem to hold air very well at all....I'll update with Conti's and see if this UST stuff is worth the hype.
Well, this is the first 'showroom' floor MTB that I have purchased in 10 + years of riding....and the bike is great! Love the Marz fork and frame geometry...it tracks well....I get the idea with teh UST stuff, now, I need to find out the best tires for the job.
I am giving 5 for the Value and 4 for the Overall due to the UST stuff just not working right out of the box.
Purchased At: Rock and Roll Sports, Gunnision, CO 970-641-9150
Similar Products Used: Salsa, Yeti, hardtail and freeride.
Bike Setup: Stock ++ XT Front D. XT Brakes/Levers and will need to upgrade the tires ASAP.
a Cross Country Rider
from Northern Delaware, Home of Great Riding!
Date Reviewed: March 27, 2002
Strengths: Tubeless, Fancy Fork, Beautiful Bianchi Team colors, traditional steel frame
Weaknesses: Those Italians wouldn't let their bikes show any weakness, would they? As I have experienced with both of my other Bianchi's, they got a little cheap on the headset, and brakes and pedals, but can't complain. Each of these components perform adequately, and have not failed me.
The bottom line is that the Italians know how to do it right! Bianchi has created a bike that rides great, looks great and is affordable. The super fancy Marzocchi X-fly fork has crazy amounts of adjustability, steers precicely and is buttery smooth. Its rare to see a fork that retails for over $600 on a $1600 bike. The tubeless wheelset only adds to the bikes character and supreme handling. Anyone who talks bad about tubless wheels either hasn't tried them and used them to their full potential, or is only regergetating the worthless filth they read in a magazine. A solid XT groupo (there's a word the american bike industry fears). Bianchi did not go cheap and try to sneak in a cheap cassette or bottom bracket. XT shifters, derrailleurs, cassette, and truvative isis drive bottom bracket and stylo cranks. I have been thoroughly impressed with what Bianchi has to offer. Their whole line is value-packed. This bike is not the lightest thing around, but the ride is better than anything I've ever ridden. So what's the weight?? 24.5 pounds in the 19.5" size. Lighter bikes break and handle poorly.
Be prepared, several of you will likely hate the way I built this but one of the beauties of things is interpretation. I took a straight forward approach to this which was to utilize the same general build that I have done on lots of the bikes I have. This makes it easy to swap around parts and al ... Read More »
I just bought this frame and fork from a guy and am waiting for it to be shipped. Frame looks to be in amazing condition and the fork is said to be in good working order as well but I will judge that when I get it.
That said, what options are there for a more ... Read More »
Just purchased an 86 frame/fork with a really, [I]REALLY[/I] stuck seat post [I][I]and[/I][/I] stem. I tried everything to try and release them. A few very large persuaders were used like long tubes (for the stem) and a hammer.
Are there any methods for removing these parts without damaging the f ... Read More »
I have been working on this bike for my father in law for about a year while visiting them on weekends and other family trips. He received the bike as some sort of award a long time ago, but always preferred riding his old 10-speed. So the bike was nearly new when I got to it, just really-really dus ... Read More »