Thursday, March 7, 2019

Old Bike Article Translations #2: Bianchi Minimax Record

Proving one of three points yet again:

  1. My translation of technical Italian is lacking
  2. Romance languages are terrible for technical descriptions, often scribbling a series of random 5-syllable words to describe something like "stiff"
  3. How much detail can you really give about a great steel frame?
This article is from La Bicicletta, January 1993. My translation below the images.

Bianchi Minimax Record

di Bebo Fiacciavento / foto M. Venditi

The new Bianchi Reparto Corse is just one year old. The new structure focused on high end road and mountain bikes is the birthplace of this special model.

Bianchi, after a brief pause in its direct sponsorship of pro teams, has resumed hostilities as it restarts production of racing frames. In preparation of its return to pro racing, Bianchi has formed a new company, the Bianchi Reparto Corse Srl, with the sole focus of developing and producing the line of bikes destined to professionals and those who ride at a high level. And it does so for itself, seeing how it was aboard a celeste Bianchi that Gianni Bugno won his second world championship.

The continuity of the traditional characteristics of each piece made by the Reparto Corse are the most up to date in terms of technology, research and testing. The actual realization of the frame is instead trusted to the human element, where the experience and sensibility of an artisan cannot be substituted by a computer. It was therefore interesting - we can't forget that some of the greatest names of the sports most notably Fausto Coppi, are tied to this brand - that we accepted the task of carrying out the tests on a unique high end model that bears the logo of the crowned eagle.

Starting from the top: the color is the traditional celeste, updated with a changing pearl coat, interrupted only with simple identifying logos (starting this year even these will be painted) and chromed rear triangle and fork. They are laid out in successive layers: background primer, paint/color, pearl coat, final clear coat; each coat is baked at 140 degrees. The result is aesthetically pleasing and resistant to hits, scratches and degenerative processes, atmospherically and otherwise. The frame, before starting in the paint department, undergoes an anti-oxidation process and immersed in a chroming bath, this last piece to give even further protection to the tubing in case of the paint being removed. The frame is made, as we mentioned, with butted Columbus Minimax tubing in Nivacrom, a steel of the latest generation that has, among others, the merit of combining extreme mechanical characteristics with a high capacity to withstand the temperatures used during the welding process; in our case TIG welding in a controlled environment to avoid changes in temperature. The tubes are mitered and joined head to head and a close visual and tactile examination prove this to be very well executed. The absence of abnormalities reassures us of the continuity and homogeneity of the tubing sections. These, in particular the top and down tubes, have an elliptic section oriented in different manners. The respective planes thus have a corresponding contrasting incidence which increases the cofficient of reduction of the flex, forced oscillation and dispersion of the lines of force that propagate along the main tubes. The configuration of the down tube increases the transversal rigidity, favoring sprinting and stability.

The chain stays are have no bridge and together with its corresponding seat stays contribute to form a smaller rear triangle that is compact and rigid. The benefits of this are felt while climbing and in changes of pace, where frequent accelerations are supported by the static rear triangle. A rapid rear wheel removal is assured instead by the forged rear dropouts brazed with a vertical exit with adjusting screws for making micro adjustments to the wheel's position. The fork blades are made from Columbus EL tubing TIG welded to a reinforced steer tube and brazed dropouts. It has a uncrown profile, used more and more on various models of road bikes (the Reparto Corse was one of the first to take this path), where the length of the blades remain whole to better absorb the hits and vibrations. The time tested measurements of trail and rake assure sweet steering.

Here are the essential measurements of our Minimax: 57cm high x 56.5cm long, center to center (in reality Bianchi calls this a 59 due to the entire length of the seat tube; we prefer to adopt the other measure for consistency). The rear triangle is 40cm while the front center is 60, making a wheelbase of 99. The fork rake is 39mm; lastly the bottom bracket sits 27.5cm high. The seat tube angle is 72.5 degrees while the steerer is 72.  We find ourselves in front of a frame that as a whole is very well proportioned in its various sections, solid due to the compactness of its triangles; the impression however is one of lightweight and agility. It was without a doubt intended for racing, and the sum of the rear triangle and the angles underline the intent of the frame builder.

There is little to say about the gruppo: Campagnolo Record speaks for itself (the Reparto Corse foresees assembly with other groups from Campagnolo and Shimano); a thank-you anyway to the our Vicenza friends for the efficiency of the Ergopower system.


Producer and Distributor: Bianchi Reparto Corse Srl, 24047 Treviglio (BG), Via delle Battaglie 5
Price: L4,500,000
Available Measures: cm 49-50-51-52-53-54-55-56-57-58-59-60-61-62-63 center/end
Measure Tested: 59cm
Colors: New Bianchi Celeste pearl, Ferrari red, Metallic red, White pearl
Weight Total: 10.250 kg
  Front Wheel: 1.385 kg
  Rear Wheel: 1.950 kg
Tubing: Columbus Minimax
  Seat Tube: 570mm c/c
  Top Tube: 565mm c/c
  Seat Tube Angle: 72.5 degrees
  Head Tube Angle: 72 degrees
  Rear Triangle: 400mm
  Front Center: 600mm
  Wheelbase: 990mm
  Bottom Bracket Height: 275mm
  Fork: Columbus EL
  Rake: 39mm
  Shift Levers: Campagnolo Record Ergopower
  Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record
  Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Record
  Chain: Campagnolo Rohloff
  Crankset: Campagnolo Record, 39-53
  Crankarms: 170mm
  Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record
  Cassette: Campagnolo 8v, 12-23
  Hubs: Campagnolo Record, 32 hole
  Spokes: Aci stainless, 2mm
  Crossing: 3x
  Rims: FIR Tour 192
  Tires: Michelin Hi Lite Supercomp HD
  Brakes: Campagnolo Delta
  Pedals: Campagnolo Record QR
  Headset: Campagnolo Record
  Seatpost: Campagnolo Record
  Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
  Stem: 3T AR 84, 130mm
  Handlebar: 3T Forma SL
  Accessories: water bottle, cage

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