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  1. #1
    lactic acid intolerant
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    Specialized Langster vs Bianchi Pista

    I want to buy a fixed gear bike for my flat-ish, wide-street, 5-mile spinning rides around my personal neighborhood 'circuit' (mileage varies with time available to ride per lap...I try to do at least four laps, six tops). These two are reasonably priced off-the-shelf complete fixed gear bikes. Plus and minuses between the two? They both look the same as far as equipment content and function goes. I kinda' like the Pista's chrome frameset...I think its finish around the rear horizontal drop outs should hold up better with each subsequent wheel drop. And I kinda' like the Langster's provision for front and rear brakes (but no water-bottle boss...not a big deal, I guess, since I could always wear a small hydration pack or stop by my house on the next lap). I'll continue to use my Comp27 for the rides that take me out of my friendly neighborhood and beyond them thar hills...

    Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks!

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    IMO, unless you have weight requirements, steel beats aluminum every time. The Bianchi's chrome finish is a bonus (If the Pista had been lugged, I'd have one already). You haven't mentioned any preferences regarding geometry. That's something you might want to look into before you make a decision. If you feel you're gonna need a rear brake, the Langster may be your only option of the two. Water bottle mounts can be retrofitted by some of the frame repair shops. Look up Koolbikes on Yahoo. They can install bottle mounts either by brazing or riveting (that way, your finish doesn't incur any damage). They're in South Carolina, so disassembly and shipping will be necessary, but there's probably someone closer to you that does the same thing.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by paipo
    I want to buy a fixed gear bike for my flat-ish, wide-street, 5-mile spinning rides around my personal neighborhood 'circuit' (mileage varies with time available to ride per lap...I try to do at least four laps, six tops). These two are reasonably priced off-the-shelf complete fixed gear bikes. Plus and minuses between the two? They both look the same as far as equipment content and function goes. I kinda' like the Pista's chrome frameset...I think its finish around the rear horizontal drop outs should hold up better with each subsequent wheel drop. And I kinda' like the Langster's provision for front and rear brakes (but no water-bottle boss...not a big deal, I guess, since I could always wear a small hydration pack or stop by my house on the next lap). I'll continue to use my Comp27 for the rides that take me out of my friendly neighborhood and beyond them thar hills...

    Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks!
    I have owned both bikes and here are things which may be of interest to you:
    1) bianchi chrome finish is not what you think it is. It is sprayed on/powder coated and not chrome plated. You can look inside the seat tube, BB shell etc. and the evidence is obvious. Chrome plating is an expensive process and bianchi's painted chrome does not result in a hard surface like the chrome plating does. Consequently it is not as durable.
    2) for 2004 they changed to a internal/integrated type headset. Now you cannot change to a threaded fork and install traditional threaded headset anymore, atleast not without some fabrication.
    3) 2004 bianchi is notorious for BB creaks. Noise developes within months. Langster also has similar problems.
    4) wheelset/hubs on pista are slightly better than langster

    I recently purshased a 2003 bianchi pista frameset (from someone who bought the whole bike), after selling the lagster on ebay. Langster has an excellent frame (metallic gray finish is too good). Heck the frameset on langster is alone worth the price of the bike (I heard rumours that specialized will increase the price for 2005). However, I could not get used to the look of fat aluminum tube aesthetics of langster, even though lagster is a better deal. Both bikes have some cheap parts on them, but langster is priced a lot less. Both are good bikes (not great), and you will be happy either way after replacing couple of junk parts.

    Another area you may want tolook at is the geometry and fit. Both bikes are offered in close sizes, so the chances of you finding a good fit is just about equal in both bikes. The part of geometry that affect handling most is the head tube angle and fork rake. In my size (56-58cm) both bikes have steep head angles, however langster's fork rake is 40mm compared to bianchi's 28mm. Bianchi is a little 'quick/squirrely' that way. Large rake on langster helps in reducing the toe overlap as well, but this is a concern only if you fit small frames. Both have same BB drop. You have to look at all aspects of geometry (like seat tube angle, head tube length etc) in totalilty and determine which one suites you better.

    Finally, DO NOT buy into 'bianchi is steel, therefore it rides better' ideology. Langster is made in such a way that it rides very smooth. No difference between the two bikes when it comes to ride quality IMHO.
    Last edited by girishji; 08-14-2004 at 07:53 AM.

  4. #4
    lactic acid intolerant
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    ...wow...great things to know and thank you for taking the time to explain these things to me...I didn't know...I highly doubt that I'll ever ride in a velodrome (tho' I'd like to learn how to one of these days as a recreational rider if the 'drome venues even off such things to non-racing recreational enthusiasts)...and as I've stated before, my fixed riding will be done primarily on the road right outside my door on relatively flat and wide residential streets around my 'personal 5-mile circuit' x-times per spinning session...I'll probably never venture beyond my circuit on my fixie (at least not in the near future anyway)...my current roadbike is a 58cm RoubaixComp27 w/25mm tires...I'm 6'-0"/235lbs w/32"ish inseam...and my body weight is slowly but surely dropping ...I'll probably hover at 200lbs when its all said and done ;) ...I guess I'd like to say that my requirements for a STREET fixie would be:

    1) Steel frameset for 'compliance' w/more 'sporting street' geometry for more relaxed ergonomics than outright track geometry ie. lively sport-type handling to keep it fast, quick, and entertaining, but not a limo tourer
    2) Front and preferably rear brake provisions, too
    3) 2ea. Water bottle boss provisions
    4) 25mm~28mm wide tires
    5) Minimal overlap between shoes and front tire
    6) Higher BB/shorter crankarms for street cornering clearance
    7) HORIZONTAL rear drop-outs so that I can experiment w/different sprockets and not have to cut or have different chains for various sprocket/chainring combos
    8) Drop-style handlebar

    Looks like I may be heading into the realm of the mid to high end framesets w/build kits...for my first fixie? YIKES!...my gut feeling is that I know I'll end up liking fixed riding, so I might as well get what I can comfortably afford, but most of all get it RIGHT for my desired application no matter how little or much I end up spending...I'm the type of person who likes to measure twice or more then cut only once, so I tend not to be shy about spending 'appropriately' to do it right the first time...I might end up spending at least twice as much as the off-the-shelf Pista (where my initail purchase thoughts were heading and what I still might end up getting if I can find one in my size)...I know Harris Cyclery offers their Pista set up for the road w/front brakes and dummy lever...I wonder if tapping the seat stay bridge for rear brakes is possible without compromising its integrity and strength on the Pista? (I know, I know...I sound like a chicken shiatsu whining for a rear brake, but I'd like to have that option 'just in case', so indulge me, ok? )

    So...what are the other options besides the Pista and the Langster out there and whom amongst you are riding them on the street? And what's the bottom line on these semi-custom or custom fixies? I think I want to stay with real steel if given the choice...let's say that my budget is on the short side of $1000.

    (Sorry for the long post..I'm just trying to be thorough...and thanks for your help!)

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    steel frames....

    Take a look at the Soma Rush, it is steel, and has mounts for one water bottle and front and rear brakes...frame and fork is about $450. Built one myself this summer and am very happy with it, but have about $1000 into it so far (partly due to $$$ new parts like a Phil rear hub, Sugino 75 crankset, and Record HS), even though I already had some of the parts canibalized from my retired bikes...would have been about $1300 otherwise....though you could build one for about $1000 total w/ some bargain hunting. Cornering clearance is good even w/ 170mm crank arms, no pedal strikes so far, and it works fine at the velodrome too FWIW.



    (snip)..So...what are the other options besides the Pista and the Langster out there and whom amongst you are riding them on the street? And what's the bottom line on these semi-custom or custom fixies? I think I want to stay with real steel if given the choice...let's say that my budget is on the short side of $1000.

    (Sorry for the long post..I'm just trying to be thorough...and thanks for your help!)[/QUOTE]

  6. #6
    Dead Mileage
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    Actually, there are usually several ready made 'street fixes' on ebay, if you can bear having an old used bike...

    http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...sort=3&rows=50
    and...
    http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...sort=3&rows=50

    ...altho these are usually straightup conversions, i.e. redished freewheel hub with a BB lockring, NOT actual track hubs. But if your going to use the brakes, and not skidding or backpeddling really hard, they're perfect for cheap fixes. And you can always get a track hub later if you really like being fixed.

    (I really like how one guy sells conversions, then does a seperate auction for the geared bits!)

  7. #7
    Cyclocross is Seasonal?
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    Check out the steamroller

    I really dig the surly steamroller. Frame is around $380... can be gotten cheaper used.

    One set of water bottle bolts, but any shop worth its salt can tap another set if you desire.

    It's road geometry, steel, and drilled for front and rear brakes, but there aren't cable stops for the rear brake so you'll need to get clip-on stops.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    You know, I just bought a Langster, and it has two sets of water bottle bosses.

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