Monday, December 6, 2010

Bianchi Volpe

2011 Bianchi Volpe. Image by Bianchi USA.
The 2011 Bianchi Volpe, MSRP $1099.

In 1997, Sheldon Brown was so taken by the Volpe that he devoted a web page to it. “I don’t know anything in the price range that can touch it,” he wrote. Years later, he labeled the page “obsolete,” explaining that “nowadays there are many more nice touring bikes available from a variety of manufacturers.”

The Volpe may no longer be unique, but count it as a positive development that it has survived at a time when there has been doubt about the future of Bianchi steel.

The Volpe has been categorized as a touring and a cyclocross bike, but the reason it’s a bike for the rest of us is because of its quality build and versatility, the latter due to its geometry and the double eyelets for fenders and front and rear racks.

Here are the 2011 specs:

SIZES 46-49-51-53-55-57-59-61-63
FRAME Bianchi Cr-Mo, TIG weld
FORK 1-1/8” CrMo
HEADSET 1 1/8" threadless
CRANKSET Sugino XD 500T SQ, 48/38/28
BRAKES Cane Creek SCX-5
REAR HUB Shimano FH-4500
FRONT HUB Shimano HB-4500
TIRE WTB All Terrainasaurus
STEM Kalloy alloy
BAR TAPE Crok Tape
SEATPOST Kalloy SP-600
SADDLE Velo VL-1166

If you have a Volpe from any year, please leave some feedback.

UPDATE: Urban Velo had a review on 2/6/12.


holly said...

I have a 2006 Volpe and I love it so much that I wish I had two!

Apertome said...

I have an '09 imola, one of their steel road bikes, and love it. I can only assume the Volpe is just as awesome, only more versatile!

Adam W said...

I have a 2007 Volpe that I have used for everything from club rides to commuting to cyclocross to light trail riding. It is a very versitile bike that can handle just about anything. It has a few downfalls (fork chatter, its a bit heavy, the stock components are not ideal for my use) but with new wheels and some cockpit adjustments, I think it's infinately rideable.

Joseph E said...

Lovely Bicycle wrote about Bianchi bikes today, including a new steel frame in classic celeste blue/green with chrome lugs, the Tipo Corsa (pictures at Bike Reviews). No word on the price.

Anonymous said...

I still ride a 1987 Volpe, with Suntour cyclone 7000 rear and front derailleur. the frame is strong, my only complain is the Suzue hubs, the cones are prone to pitting

Jeff said...


Velouria said...

I want them to bring back the original sage green colour with the red lettering! Please?

Paul said...

I still have a 91 project 7 that I can't bring myself to part with. It's been 20 years and I still love this bike (I just took it for a 50km populaire a few weeks ago)

It was ahead of it's time.....

Eric N. said...

I have a 1998 Volpe, it gets ridden 75-100 miles weekly in Central Indiana. Sun, snow, rain, whatever, it takes it well.

BirdsEyeView said...

Anyone on here know someone interested in selling a Bianchi Volpe 58cm? I'm on the hunt and any help is much appreciated!!

Cecilie said...

I just got a 1998 Volpe for commuting in Philadelphia and I am loving it so far! I can't wait to do some touring on it.

Selahkayaker said...

I found a very slightly used 2009 Volpe on Craiglist a couple months ago and since then have but over 1000 miles on it. Short "Credit card tours" and recreational go anywhere rides make this my most versatile bike. I set it up with fenders, rack and put my brooks saddle and parsela tour guard tires on it and it is a sweet ride. Nothing rides like steel. This year I plan more extended touring with it- not fully loaded but credit card style. I love the bike.

Steve Barner said...

My Volpe is one of the last with the 1" steerer, I believe 2005. I bought it as a frameset and built it up with a mix-match of mid-range parts. It's a bit on the heavy side, but it's a great bike for winter commuting, with plenty of clearance for 35c studded tires and fenders. I have it setup as an 8-spd w/bar-ends, which keeps the cost of cassettes and chains down. It has a triple chainring (my commute has very steep hills) and a SRAM dynohub for lighting. My commute is around 37 miles, round trip, and includes 9 miles of dirt road. The Volpe is great when things get messy, with snow or mud, though I'll select a lighter bike whenever conditions allow. My longest ride on it was a 260-mile 24-hour ride, and it worked fine.

Anonymous said...

I ride a 2002ish volley,bought it new 10 years ago. Fantastic bike.

Don said...

I have a 1991 Bianchi Advantage, one of that generation of "Cross-Terrain" bikes before the Advantage became an alu comfort bike. I can't see the difference between my old Advantage and the Volpe in terms of geometry. It is what a lot of the new breed of steel cross bikes aspire to, and in those days the Advantage was tossed into the market as an entry-level hedged bet. Lugged cromoly with a unicrown fork, cable stops on the top tube. It had the last year of the Sugino/Suntour cranks, also classics. Simple pleasures.

scorch said...

I just got a 2012 Volpe and love the bike. It is my road/commuter bike to supplement my mtb. So far, it is great. It is well designed, feels awesome on the road, turns very well, and I've hit about 60km/h on it without losing control.

My only gripe is the front brake making the fork chatter on steep descents.

Overall, I love it and would buy one again.

Anonymous said...

I love the Volpe! I bought my first in 1991, which I now use only at events (read as Burning Man -- yes, I need a Volpe even there), and my second I bought in 1999, which is still great for around-the-city travel, even after riding down the majority of the West Coast.

Corey K said...

Bought a NOS 2012 Volpe this last summer from a friend who ran a bike shop for decades. It is a tad weighty, but so am I. The down sides are well known and relatively minor, and it is quite a bit more responsive than the equivalent Surly or Trek offering.

There is something to be said for a bike model that has lasted in a product lineup for 29 years.

Charles Planck said...

I read that 1997 article and bought a '98 Volpe directly from Sheldon that I still ride. Mine is on 38mm tires at 60lbs. Super comfortable and a great bike for exploring.