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  1. #1
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    Question 2012 Imola - No Longer Reynolds 631

    Greetings all, I'm new here (and new to the venerated world of Bianchi!). I'm on the cusp of buying a new 2012 Bianchi Imola (or possibly Vigorelli) and very excited.

    I was wondering if anyone with experience riding the Reynolds 631 Vigorelli/Imola frames (or anyone, really) could comment on Bianchi's 'generic' chromoly steel.

    A bit of background -- I've been riding my carbon Trek Madone for about five years, but it's now stuck at home with my folks, and I'm in a new city where I'd like a bike I can use for urban/commuter purposes as well as longer rides on the weekends. I thought the Imola fit the bill perfectly. It's already a bit more than I intended to spend, but because of the Reynolds issue, I'm wondering if it would be wiser to upgrade to the Vigorelli.

    (The Bianchi website is a bit confusing - it says the Imola has "the same frame and fork as the Vigorelli." The Vigorelli is still 631, but the Imola is actually Bianchi's own chromoly. The archived Imola pages specify 631; the 2012 page does not.)

    As for other differences, they are principally (1) the groupset (Tiagra on Imola, Sram Apex on Vigorelli) and (2) color (blue on Imola, celeste on Vigorelli). As for the groupset, I test rode the Imola and found the Tiagra to work surprisingly well. As for color, the Imola blue is really gorgeous. This may be heresy, but I've never been a huge fan of celeste -- although celeste may be an asset if I need to sell the bike in the next couple years (not unlikely).

    So, basically I'm just curious whether anyone has any strong opinions regarding the degree of superiority of a Reynolds 631 Vigorelli frame vs. a Bianchi chromoly Imola.

    Any advice is much appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I recently test-rode both the Imola and Vigorelli, though these were 2011, not 2012, versions. I loved them both and on the basis of two short rides, couldn't find a whole lot of difference between the two outside of the obvious (triple crank vs. double). The bike shop told me the 2011 Imola was Bianchi ChroMo rather than Reynolds. I don't know if this was correct -- though it is true of the 2012 -- but regardless, I couldn't tell the difference. Just picking them up, I couldn't tell the Imola was heavier, though I assume it is. I did like the Vigorelli's handlebar design a little better due the more ergonomic shape when riding up high.

    I had been leaning toward the Imola because it was closer to my intended budget, but a more experienced bike-riding friend persuaded me it was worth the extra money to get the Vigorelli, largely on the basis of the superior components (105 for the 2011, SRAM Apex for the 2012). So I bought a 2012 -- I really like the fact that the SRAM goes to 32 for climbing -- and it should be in sometime this week.

    Still, I think they're both great bikes.

  3. #3
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    Sweet, congrats on the purchase!

    I was under the impression that the 2011 Imola (celeste color) was 631, so if that's correct you were indeed riding the same frame between the Imola and the Vigorelli. I could be wrong. Anyway, I've officially ordered my 2012 Imola and I'm super-psyched and am officially in that brutal forever waiting period. I'm not especially concerned about the possible difference in ride quality (631 vs Bianchi chromoly) since i'm relatively new to steel anyway and probably wouldn't notice much. Any weigh difference will be pretty well muted anyway by the 15-pound U-lock I'll have to carry around.

    Next step: parting ways with the madone. Debating whether to cannibalize the ultegra to put on the bianchi and selling the madone as a frameset.

  4. #4
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    An interesting tidbit I learned from the bike shop regarding steel frames -- yes, they're made in Taiwan, a fact that many people often see as an indication of perhaps dubious quality.

    But the vast majority of the enormous bike-manufacturing infrastructure in Taiwan is dedicated to aluminum and carbon fiber frames. There are only a few factories with the skill and expertise to product steel frames, which means that if you buy a Taiwanese-made steel frame, you can be fairly confident it's coming from one of the very best framemakers over there.

    Of course, this rationale could be just a bill of goods from a good salesman, but it makes some sense to me.

  5. #5
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    As you already know, according to the Bianchi website...the Vigorelli and the Imola have the same frame and fork.

    Imola | Bianchi USA

    The Brava is almost certainly 631 as well. The price difference between the Vigorelli, the Imola and the Brava is only a few hundred dollars between each model. And for that you get drastically different components....so the frames are almost certainly identical.

    ***They've only changed the description under 'frame material' so that the R-631 seems to be a bit more exclusive and not so obviously associated with the 'budget' models like the Imola and the Brava. This is precisely done to make you think its worth spending more for the Vigorelli
    Last edited by M-theory; 03-29-2012 at 01:03 AM.

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