Cycling’s old­est mar­que cre­ates a pre-1987 road bike out of the box

Cyclist - - Modern-vintage bikes Ride test -

MODEL Bianchi L’eroica FRAME AND FORK Lugged Colum­bus Zona; 1in threaded lugged steel GROUPSET Cam­pag­nolo Sil­ver Vin­tage 10spd, Bianchi alu­minium chain­set, Dia-compe brake levers and 610 cal­lipers, Dia-compe W-shift down tube shifters GEAR­ING 48/36t chain­set; 13-29t cas­sette WHEELS Am­bro­sio Ex­cel­lence rims on Bianchi wide flange hubs TYRES Vit­to­ria Zaf­firo Pro 23mm FIN­ISH­ING KIT Bianchi Clas­sic bars, Bianchi al­loy stem and seat­post, Brooks Team Pro Clas­sic sad­dle WEIGHT 9.39kg (55cm) PRICE £2,700 CON­TACT


On the one hand, the L’eroica is pretty ter­ri­ble. Brak­ing is more a prom­ise than a re­al­ity, shift­ing is like pick­ing up pen­nies with your el­bows and the sad­dle weighs the same as a side of beef. Yet that misses the point of this bike. It has been de­signed to be within the rules of L’eroica, so the Bianchi nec­es­sar­ily packs pe­riod-cor­rect fea­tures such as down tube shifters, cen­tre pull brakes and cloth bar­tape. Once I’d em­braced this, the L’eroica and I got on fa­mously. Ev­ery­thing about it felt chal­leng­ing, but with that came a won­der­fully vis­ceral feel­ing of in­volve­ment.

That said, there are two things I can’t shake. Why didn’t Bianchi spec 25mm or 28mm rub­ber given this bike is de­signed for the rough and tum­ble of L’eroica? And is a replica re­ally nec­es­sary? For this money you can buy some truly stun­ning vin­tage Bian­chis sec­ond hand, and that’s where I’d be tempted to start shop­ping.

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