Bianchi Denali 2003 Hardtail

4.5/5 (8 Reviews)
MSRP : $1149.99

Product Description

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Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hombre3000 a Cross Country Rider from Palo Alto, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: July 5, 2009

Strengths:    Handling. I built this frame up as a singlespeed and it handles incredibly well. With an 80mm stem and a normal seatpost, my 19.5" frame feels great. Without a rear cable/housing, it weighs 25.88 lbs, and definitely rides that way!

Weaknesses:    Some decals, like the "Zero Flex" stays, are under the clear coat. The cable guides are sort of a mystery, as they're too big for any normal cable.

Bottom Line:   
I bought the frame for $200. Bottom line is that it's a sweet deal for a high-quality Italian-built steel frame. It even has an integrated seat collar. It builds to a decently light bike without incredible parts and seems to be a great hardtail frame for anyone looking to ride trails, streets, or singlespeed (which covers both, I suppose).

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $890.00

Purchased At:   craigslist

Similar Products Used:   '97 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper, '09 Santa Cruz Chameleon

Bike Setup:   19.5" frame, singlespeed with Surly Singleator, Recon XC 80/100mm, LX M580 cranks, DT/Specialized/Shimano/?? wheelset (mismatched and destickered), EA50 low-rise bars with RaceFace Evolve AM 80mm stem, Ritchey post, Gusset spacer kit, Avid BB7/FR-5, ODI Ruffian, Kona Jack Primo, Cane Creek S-6

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dale a Cross Country Rider from Steamboat Springs CO

Date Reviewed: June 26, 2006

Strengths:    smoooth ride, nice components for the money

Weaknesses:    WTB pedals

Bottom Line:   
The steel frame really does smooth out trail chatter and so far the components have worked well. The frame handles precisely and loves speed. Not for DH or freeriding but an excellent XC rig.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Giant Rainier, GF Tassajara

Bike Setup:   stock except for ODI rogue grips and Shimano m540 pedals

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alan Close a Weekend Warrior from Grand Rapids, MI USA

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2005

Strengths:    Quick geometry. Well thought out construction. Great component group for the MSRP. Smooth handling, this thing loves climbing! Drop your shoulder and hammer through corners that would buck an aluminum hardtail.

Weaknesses:    Bianchi is a road bike company at heart, and it shows in the measurements. I'm riding the 17.5" frame, and at 5'10" the top tube feels a little long. Great for climbing, but a little hesitant when you're trying to stomp it through tight fast stuff.

Bottom Line:   
Ever ridden a horse that sees the barn and bolts for it? That's what riding this thing is like all the time. It just wants to GO. After spending 8 years on an aluminum hardtail the differences are overwhelmingly obvious to me. Less chatter, more smooth. If you are a nervous or twitchy rider, you might feel a little laziness in the material, but you should probably just drink less coffee and try it again. My personal setup lends to a nigh-invoulnerable feeling in the ride. A little more travel and bigger knobs make for a great trail (not race) bike. And really... for what I paid for it, do you think I'm honestly going to complain?

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Favorite Trail:   Fort Custer, Battle Creek, MI

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $420.00

Purchased At:   Auction

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale F800, Trek 1000

Bike Setup:   Swapped the 85mm 'Zoke for a 115mm EXR. Swapped stock front tire for an INTENSE CC 2.25. Chopped 1" off the bars and threw on SNAFU freestyle grips and end plugs. SNAFU RULES!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matt a Weekend Warrior from Eugene

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2004

Strengths:    Dedacciai tubing is quite a bit better than any other tubing thats going to come on a bike this level. The wheelset and brakes are great. and they didnt cheap out on the shifters, which on most bikes this price are deore level.

Weaknesses:    The fork is a little heavy, but its definately better than the comparable manitou or rock shox.

Bottom Line:   
Anyone looking for a hardtail should look for steel, it rides so much better than Al and if you can find a decent tubeset isn't much, if any heavier. The bike is a bianchi too, the oldest bike company around. They've been around 119 years, have more racing wins than any other company, and built the first mountain bike (1915). If you can't tell, I work at a bikeshop that sells them, but these bikes are definately sweet. It's the first bike I've had where I don't feel that the company cheaped out somewhere to sell it at a decent price. Plus, the color is rad.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1050.00

Purchased At:   Wheel Works

Similar Products Used:   97' Turner Burner, 99' Fisher Marlin, 96' Raleigh M7000, 98' Klien Mantra Race

Bike Setup:   Stock, i just narrowed the bars a bit and put on different grips.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Roger Paschall a Cross Country Rider from Greenbrier, AR USA

Date Reviewed: July 4, 2003

Strengths:    Great ride: easy to handle on rough singletrac, yet holds its own on on the fire road climbs/descents
Spec/value: LX, Deore, and Truvativ do the job while Avid Mechanicals slow you down when you have to...BTW, the WTB saddle awesome.
Excellent color--looks like it
belongs on the trail.

Weaknesses:    none yet.

Bottom Line:   
I've put about 500mi on the bike so far. I look forward to riding it more than I have any other bike and I always wish I had more time whenever the ride is coming to an end. With several epics, xc races, and general training rides under its belt, this bike handles it all well. The fit is great: I'm short-legged with a slightly long torso, so the generous standover and longish cockpit is great(I'm 5'7.5 and went with the 15.5"). Weight doesn't seem to be an issue with this bike, at least not yet for me. If I get more serious about racing, then I may opt to upgrade some stuff to bring the weight down (but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon). I can tell on the climbs especially, that it is lighter than the Specialized Epic Disk I sold to buy this bike and half the price! Summing it up: This bike is a great value and with the UST wheelset added, rides better than another other hardtail I've owned. If you're considering going from ht to fs, try this steel framed bike and tubeless--they're a great combination. OR just buy this bike "as is" and ride the heck out of it! I'm giving 5 chilis because it simply is an outstanding value even without the uprgrades I had done...and 4 chili's overall since I can't comment on the stock wheels/tires/fork/pedals/bar.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Syllamo Trail

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1050.00

Purchased At:   Parkside Cycle

Similar Products Used:   D-back Sorrento, Trek 820 (my first 2 mtb's), C-dale F600,
Specialized Rockhopper, Specialized Epic Disk. I put lots of miles on those bikes and test rode many others before buying this one.

Bike Setup:   Switched to flat bar, , 120mm stem, MX Comp w/ETA (I wanted the ETA feature which is great on the climbs and flats...the bike came with the MX Pro, Mavic UST X3.1's w/IRC Seracs (had to go tubeless for traction/comfort issues), Time Aluims. These changes added another $300 or so.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Chad Miller a Cross Country Rider from Hollywood, CA

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2003

Strengths:    Terrific value for the money. Negotiate with seller because Bianchi doesn't seem to push their products at all. Also very aesthetically pleasing with intelligent componets that don't bust budget or compromise quality for serious xc bikers.

Weaknesses:    HUGE WEAKNESS: Despite two complaints to Bianchi USA and assurances that someone who explain this defect no one has responded to me about the idiotically placed cable router on the top tube. If this sounds like a petty complaint, it is not because the cable router is braised onto the frame and is placed conspiciously in a location where any good rider interested in pushing their abilities would be likely to knock their knee against repeatedly. I had to wrap it in electrical tape because I would return from rides buised and bleeding from this metal cable router digging into my knee on tight single track climbs and decents.

Bottom Line:   
Minus the serious defect of the oddly placed top-tube cable router, Bianchi's 2003 Denali is a good value, an excellent frame, smart componetry that lacks flash but works fine. What Bianchi needs is a more effective product rep in the USA because the store I purchased this through said their bikes just don't sell, which is both a shame and also understandable given their inability to respond to my repeated complaint that this bike has a defect likely to injure riders even when properly used. A plastic mid-cable router would have sufficed, saved the company money and avoided rider injuries. I'll be checking into the feasibility of removing this cable-router at my own expense because the rest of the bike is sweeeet.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ricon-Red Box-Mt. Wilson

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Similar Products Used:   Kona Explosif ('94), Trek 7000 ('90), Bridgestone MB-3 ('90), Surley Cross-check ('02).

Bike Setup:   Factory package, no upgrades needed immediately.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ted a Cross Country Rider from Lenexa, Ks.

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2003

Strengths:    The STEEL frame is sweet! Decent stock components.

Weaknesses:    Slightly heavy

Bottom Line:   
This bike is perfect for XC riding. I have put approx. 400 miles on it, and it is holding up perfect. I did not like the WTB pedals, I could not get them adjusted where I wanted them. I plan on upgrading the components as they wear out. The Avid discs took me a little while to get use to, so far I'm pretty happy with them. If your looking for a sweet steel frame-this is it. I know I can get it lighter once I upgrade the wheels and drive train. The color does grow on you.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Similar Products Used:   Specialized m2, Surly, Gunnar.

Bike Setup:   I have left mine stock, except for the pedals -I switched them out for some Ritchey's.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bradley a Cross Country Rider from Aurora, IL

Date Reviewed: April 18, 2003

Strengths:    Stiff yet nible steel frame for XC riding (mine is the 19.5" frame). The stock Avid mechanical disks & 'Zocchi MX Pro fork are great for technical riding (minimal brake fade & decent shock travel - 80mm). The WBT 250 pedals are also a great addition.

Weaknesses:    Curb weight higher than some of the full race inspired setups. Competition level riders may opt for the Super Grizzly, which ships with full XTR & a scandium based frame.

The choice of the Poacher Green paint is odd, but it grows on you.

Bottom Line:   
The stock Denali is a solid choice for folks searching for an alternative to the mainstream hardtail offerings. Build-quality in the unit I received is first rate. The Titec & VP components shipped with the unit are rock solid as well(Hell Bent XC Bar + Lil'Al, & VP/CaneCreek headset).

I opted to upgrade the driveline knowing that this will be my XC mainstay for a long while. As an added note, the XTR/SRAM combo is a rather sweet pair. Overall shifting is smooth even under less than ideal conditions. The '03-XTR Crank drove up the project costs substantially but was well worth the money.

I've owned the setup for ~1 month (~80 miles thus far). Without question the nicest XC rig I've owned to date.

(*) Price I paid excludes the driveline mods (see: comments in `Bike Setup`).

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Mill Race Cyclery - Geneva, IL

Similar Products Used:   GT Zaskar PRO, Surly, Specialized

Bike Setup:   Driveline components are upgraded from stock. '03-XTR Crank (175mm), XTR front derailleur, SRAM 9.0 shifters + SRAM X.0 rear derailleur, XTR Cassette, SRAM PC-99 Chain

Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

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