Just as everyone deserves to eat out at a fancy restaurant every now and then, so does the OTSG and it’s Readers deserve to ogle a fancy bike every now and then. Here is that opportunity. This is David K’s 1988 Bianchi Super Leggera. Chow down, because it’s Applebee’s and Mickey D’s for the rest of the week!
From: David in Bedford Falls, CA
This has become my favorite bike after finding it on CraigsList two years ago. It’s 1988 Bianchi Super Leggera from the “peak steel” era, when decades of racing tradition were still reflected in proven geometries and beautiful lugged frames, while new innovations were rapidly appearing in form and function of components. Fausto Coppi himself would instantly recognize the traditional Bianchi Celeste color. The first generation Campagnolo Chorus components are a beautiful example of Italian art in gleaming alloy, which bridge both old and new functions. The elegant monoplanar brakes come with levers that can be set in either traditional or aero configuration. The Syncro downtube gear shifters can also be set in either traditional (friction) or new-fangled (indexed) mode. The rear derailleur is the first ever by Campagnolo to offer a B angle adjustment screw and a slant parallelogram. The parallelogram itself is adjustable: nearly vertical for a more traditional straight block freewheel (like older Campy derailleurs); or slant parallelogram mode for use with wide-range freewheels, (which maintains a better chain gap, like Suntour derailleurs). The redesigned crankset avoids the stress risers and cracks often seen in older styles, and makes it possible to mount a 39 tooth chainwheel. The versatile rear derailleur handles rear cogs as large as 34 teeth, which provides gearing low enough that I am willing to take the bike anywhere, even over sustained climbs with 15-20% gradients. I think this 1988 bike represents a chameleon of old and new functions that reflects a transitional time in the industry. However, the Bianchi also shifts better, brakes better, and rides better than any other bike I have owned from the classic era. It positively prances when you climb aboard, and has stimulated me to add thousands of new miles to my riding each year.