In the spring I took my son’s Bianchi Ibex to The Bike Stop in Arlington, Massachusetts, for a major rebuild. The bike is about 25 years old and Eric used it heavily when he was in high school. It has a steel frame assembled using lugs, a feature that is difficult to find today except on high end bicycles. It was an older mountain bike in concept including the stock wheels and off-road tires, but with many frame characteristics of a modern hybrid. It didn’t have any suspension springs or shocks to complicate the rebuild. We were able to reuse the fork as well as the frame.
Eric was planning to ride from Buffalo to Albany with me on the 2016 Cycle the Erie Canal tour that is run yearly by Parks and Trails New York. I took the responsibility for getting the rebuild done. I initially took the bike to a local shop and the owner of the shop characterized my requirements as a “repair”. I felt that he didn’t understand the job and walked away. The Bike Stop is a shop that I pass regularly on my training rides along the Minuteman Bikeway through Arlington. I stopped there and met Louis. I described the project and Louis recognized it as a rebuild.
The next step was to bring the bike to the shop. Louis was very knowledgeable concerning the available components so that I didn’t need to do extensive research to make the upgrade happen. We discussed each component so that I understood what I was getting.
The key in the conversion was to change the crankset and cassette so the range of gears would be appropriate for the road rather than single track and off-road. The brakes as well as front and rear derailleurs were replaced in the process. New rims with 26 x 35 tires were installed and I added Shimano clipless pedals. We kept the old handlebars and added extensions for touring.
Some of the parts were in stock and others needed to be ordered. I entrusted the rebuild to Louis and he completed it in a little more than a week. It was so well done that no adjustments were needed even after many miles of riding.
It was an expensive rebuild at $615 including labor. You can argue that we could have bought a new bike for that kind of money. I’m convinced that we did the right thing especially because of the build quality of the frame and its nostalgic value. The rebuilt frame also performs like a new bike. Eric trained on the bike for the Erie ride. He didn’t have any problems with it on the 400 mile ride from Buffalo to Albany. He was burning up the trail and keeping pace with some of the faster riders. The experience reintroduced him to cycling and he has been using the bike regularly since our tour together. Our compliments to Louis, who looked at the frame and knew what to do.