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WaveHunter

Anyone ride a Bianchi road bike (or a Kaze road bike) here?

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Posted (edited)

I'm thinking of buying a BIANCHI IMPULSO road bike with a 105 group set and wonder if anyone rides one, and what their feedback might be (especially as a climbing bike).

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I ride a mountain bike right now but do a lot of road climbing here in Chiang Mai (Doi Suthep), and not so much trail riding so I'm thinking I'd like a lighter true road bike now that has Shimano 105 components, and that's not going to break the bank.

 

Another bike I'm interested in is a Thai brand that sounds pretty impressive but I can find absolutely no reviews on it at all.  It is Kaze Kansai 2.  Anybody know anything that might help me decide?

 

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Edited by WaveHunter

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I looked at lots of Thai brands, but when I bought my bike I was much heavier than the average Thai rider (105kg+) and didn't feel confident in the quality of the frame/fork. I bought a used Giant which has been one of my best buys ever. With some upgrades I now have an 8kg bike for under 15k.

 

If you think you're going to be clocking up the miles, I would go with the well known brand. But if you're <80kg and just riding occasionally, I would probably gamble on a Thai brand because they seem to be well specced for the money.

 

Some good deals pop up on Bahtsold, such as this:

 

https://www.bahtsold.com/view/bicycle-giant-trc-composite-53-cm-frame-shimano-105-354382

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, SteveK said:

I would probably gamble on a Thai brand because they seem to be well specced for the money.

Too heavy, not fun to ride. I paid 11k for my Giant, 2200Km in the last 6 months.

 

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Edited by BritManToo
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Too heavy, not fun to ride.

The Kansai 2 is just over 8kg, lighter than the Bianchi! Probably because it has a better wheelset.

 

Giants are great, I love mine and will stick with the brand in the future.

Edited by SteveK

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, WaveHunter said:

I ride a mountain bike right now but do a lot of road climbing here in Chiang Mai (Doi Suthep), and not so much trail riding so I'm thinking I'd like a lighter true road bike now that has Shimano 105 components, and that's not going to break the bank.

I have a Trek 1.1 for Doi Suthep 9 speed and a 12-36 cassette for climbing, cost 14k new weighs around 9Kg.

The important thing is the cassette. Not expensive for an 12-36 on Lazada (500bht), which will fit most road bikes.

You'll need a roadlink if you want to fit a 11-40 cassette.

 

Main problem in Thailand is buying one big enough for a white guy.

The shops will try and sell you a 52cm, frame but if you're 6ft tall you really need a 56cm. frame.

Edited by BritManToo
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Posted (edited)
On 7/21/2020 at 5:17 PM, BritManToo said:

I have a Trek 1.1 for Doi Suthep 9 speed and a 12-36 cassette for climbing, cost 14k new weighs around 9Kg.

The important thing is the cassette. Not expensive for an 12-36 on Lazada (500bht), which will fit most road bikes.

You'll need a roadlink if you want to fit a 11-40 cassette.

 

Main problem in Thailand is buying one big enough for a white guy.

The shops will try and sell you a 52cm, frame but if you're 6ft tall you really need a 56cm. frame.

Good point about swapping out rear cassette for a 11-38 or 40 using a road link for a road bike with standard gearing.  I never even heard of this before moving to Thailand LOL. 

 

On my mountain bike the gearing is fine for climbing the Doi, but on a stock road bike, it only makes sense to swap out for a bigger rear cassette if you plan to do a fair amount of climbs, and a pretty cheap solution too. 

 

Just don't forget to swap out the chain too since a slightly stretched chain that worked with your old cassette will not work well with a new one. 🙂

 

Locally, VeloCity bike shop (on Huay Kaew Rd near Maya Mall) has the cassettes and road links, and will install them for you for free if you don't have a cassette removal tool. 

 

They are a great bike shop BTW. They always seem to have whatever I'm looking for and do great repair work very inexpensively, and they know what they are doing!  Very friendly and honest!

 

Edited by WaveHunter
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

Just don't forget to swap out the chain too since a slightly stretched chain that worked with your old cassette will not work well with a new one. 🙂

All my bikes came with loose chains, the shops don't seem know how to measure them.

I've never had to replace a chain when I swapped cassettes.

 

My parts all come from China via Lazada ...... at a fraction of the Velocity price.

My last purchase ......... 11-40 9x cassette, under 500bht.

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/i1078196192-s2430212272.html

 

Edited by BritManToo

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On 7/21/2020 at 5:12 PM, SteveK said:

The Kansai 2 is just over 8kg, lighter than the Bianchi! Probably because it has a better wheelset.

 

Giants are great, I love mine and will stick with the brand in the future.

I know a lot of riders who like Giant.  I'm looking at them too.  The Kansai comes in two version; one with the lighter and better quality wheels, and one with the lower grade wheels (for a lot less).  I'm really impressed by the bike but know no one who actually rides them, and have seen no reviews (at least in English).  Also, not really sure where the bike is actually made.  I think it is made in Japan even though the main distributor is right here in Chiang Mai.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

All my bikes came with loose chains, the shops don't seem know how to measure them.

I've never had to replace a chain when I swapped cassettes.

It's not the overall chain length that is the problem, it is that the distance between links increases as the chain stretches.  That's OK with a an existing cassette since it will wear to accommodate over time as the chain stretches. 

 

The problem is with a new cassette, the chain can start skipping in gear changes because the sprockets aren't aligning precisely with the chain links, which is a real pain in the b*tt, particularly if you are trying to change gears under load (like when climbing).

 

If your chain is just too long, it's an easy fix, using your chain tool and just removing a link or two.

Edited by WaveHunter
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Either bike with a Shimano 105 groupset is probably okay. Good information already. As well as weight considerations, I'd probably add that for climbing you may wish to go for a compact crankset [50/34]. Not all Shimano 105 is equal: some bikes on special still come with older 5800 series rather than the newer 7000. As well, check that the rear deraileur is GS [medium cage] spec to handle a wider gear range. Shimano say the GS5800 will work to 32 teeth and the GS7000 to 34. But practically that can be pushed further with a longer B-screw, or as noted earlier, a roadlink extension. I wouldn't get tooo bogged down pushing the envelope: 34/32 is overkill for Doi Suthep.

I think the Kaze comes with Tektro rim brakes - okay, but not as good as 105. I personally wouldn't buy either of these bikes though, as my preference would be for disc brakes.

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On 7/21/2020 at 6:12 PM, SteveK said:

The Kansai 2 is just over 8kg, lighter than the Bianchi! Probably because it has a better wheelset.

 

Giants are great, I love mine and will stick with the brand in the future.

If your bike is too heavy, move weight from your belly to your thighs.  A lighter bike will make you less fit.

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18 hours ago, bobfish said:

Either bike with a Shimano 105 groupset is probably okay. Good information already. As well as weight considerations, I'd probably add that for climbing you may wish to go for a compact crankset [50/34]. Not all Shimano 105 is equal: some bikes on special still come with older 5800 series rather than the newer 7000. As well, check that the rear deraileur is GS [medium cage] spec to handle a wider gear range. Shimano say the GS5800 will work to 32 teeth and the GS7000 to 34. But practically that can be pushed further with a longer B-screw, or as noted earlier, a roadlink extension. I wouldn't get tooo bogged down pushing the envelope: 34/32 is overkill for Doi Suthep.

I think the Kaze comes with Tektro rim brakes - okay, but not as good as 105. I personally wouldn't buy either of these bikes though, as my preference would be for disc brakes.

All great points you made except for 34 being overkill, and about disc brakes.  Yes , I'm looking specifically for the 7000 series Shimano GroupSet. I'd prefer Shimano brakes, but Tektro brakes seem to have a pretty good reputation.  And yes, a compact crank for sure.

 

I disagree about the 34/32 being overkill since I prefer a climbing cadence of around 80-90 rpm; I can't do that comfortably in a steep climb with 34 in the back.  38 or 40 works perfect for me when I've tried other people's road bikes on Doi climbs.  Anything less and I'm just grinding (which I hate).  As for disc brakes, I can understand why a lot of people like them (i.e.: rainy days), but a lot of the climbers I know seem to prefer caliper brakes for a number of practical reasons, and frankly I can do without the (exorbitant) added cost of them.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/22/2020 at 5:21 PM, BritManToo said:

All my bikes came with loose chains, the shops don't seem know how to measure them.

I've never had to replace a chain when I swapped cassettes.

 

My parts all come from China via Lazada ...... at a fraction of the Velocity price.

My last purchase ......... 11-40 9x cassette, under 500bht.

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/i1078196192-s2430212272.html

 

Velocity's prices are pretty reasonable I think, and as I said, if you don't have the proper tools, Velocity will install for free.  I've bought some bike stuff on Lazada and not been too impressed with quality/price, though some vendors are decent.  And finally, I just like supporting local businesses, especially after what they've gone through with Covid-19 lockdown.

 

If I buy Chinese, I prefer to use AliExpress.  First of all, all pages are in English (including buyer's feedback which I think is real important). The buyer feedback pages are in-depth including pictures.  Sellers have way better product descriptions and pictures.  Search terms and filters work really well (on Lazada, they suck).  Prices are almost always far better than on Lazada, and shipping is usually remarkably fast (even during Covid-19), and often free.  AliExpress comes very close to Amazon in terms of how their platform works.  It's actually quite impressive IMO. 

 

My main gripe on Lazada in general is that Google can not translate Lazada pages, and sometimes that can be a huge pain.  Also a lot of "local" Lazada vendors are sort of sneaky in that they take your order and then have it drop shipped from China.  I'm actually waiting for an order purchased from a "local" Lazada seller 3 weeks ago who probably did that but denies it.  3 weeks and counting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?....yeah right, LOL.

 

Edited by WaveHunter

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Yes, you should just buy what you prefer. 

I own bikes with/without compact gearing. And bikes with/without disc brakes. Hence I have my own personal preference based on my experience. When I first got into road riding [in my 50's!] I too was a bit confronted by the gearing. There are certainly climbs near you that I'd like something easier than 34/32, or even [1:1] 34/34 ['The Giant' springs to mind]. But I've found it is worth persevering with the gearing as you do adapt. As they say, "It never gets easier, just faster". I've got a very lightweight frame [rim braked!] laying about that I'm considering building into a climbing bike. I'll probably go for a 1x crank - but that's another story.

Enjoy whatever you decide.

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39 minutes ago, WaveHunter said:

My main gripe on Lazada in general is that Google can not translate Lazada pages, and sometimes that can be a huge pain.

Highlight the section you can't read, right click, and select 'Translate' from the popup menu that appears.

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