You are here

Bianchi Reparto Corse Mega XL EV2

During a local Laser regatta I was chatting with a local sailor about cycling. During the course of the conversation two subjects were covered. He mentioned having a used Bianchi frame taking up space in his garage and I mentioned that the original Laser dolly prototype was sitting idle. A trade took place shortly thereafter and we each scurried home to covet the other guy's cast away.

Google based research revealed that some of Bianchi's EV2 frames were prone to cracking at and around the bottom bracket. This copy, a 2001 model I believe, contains foam inside the bottom of the seat tube that was supposedly the solution to those frame failures. Either way, Bianchi was clearly working at or near the fine line between safe weight reduction and structural reliability.

As the first image shows this frame had a crack about 3/4 of the way around the seat tube below the bottom water bottle mount. This crack partly lines up with the location of the original front derailleur indicating that an overtightened front derailleur clamp may have been a factor in this failure. In addition some corrosion found it's way under the paint in that area. After stripping the loose paint a plan was hatched to sleeve the weakened area using a split sleeve and the metal specific epoxy that goes by the name JB Weld.

Cracked and corroded Bianchi Mega XL EV2 frame
Bianchi Reparto Corse corrosion

From a dusty box of junk came a short bit of aluminum tubing with the correct inside diameter of 32mm. This tubing also had a 35mm outside diameter that would allow a standard 35mm clamp front derailleur to be fitted over the top of the sleeve. This tubing was split lengthwise and became a split sleeve. JB weld was applied per the directions. Simple hose clamps held it all together. The JB Weld joint was given 24 hours to cure completely.

Next the bike was assembled and a test ride took place. A few out-of-the-saddle sprints revealed that the frame wasn't as stiff as the oversize down tube might have indicated but it also indicated that the repair seemed to be adequate. Some black enamel was hastily brushed on.

Sleeved Bianchi aluminum EV2 frame
Sleeved Bianchi Reparto Corse Mega XL EV2 seat tube

This bicycle wears almost none of it's original components. I received it as a frame, fork, carbon seatpost, and Selle Italia Flite saddle and swapped on the parts I had in the Race Garage. These components are a definite downgrade from it's original high end Campy grouppo.

Shimano WH540R 16 spoke wheelset
Campagnolo Ergo Veloce 10 speed shifter/brake brifters
Deda RH2 44mm bars
Campagnolo Centaur brake calipers
Truvativ Elita triple crankset 52/42/30
Truvativ GXP bottom bracket
Shimano 105 10 speed triple front derailleur
Shimano 9 speed cassette
Shimano XT 8 speed rear derailleur

The Shimano XT 8 speed rear derailleur had no problem covering the 9 speed cassette. But getting the 10 speed ergo shifters to index correctly with the 9 speed Shimano cassette required that the lever arm length be changed. Rotating the cable under the pinch bolt accomplished this easily. The front derailleur, however, required a substantial change. Rotating the cable did not provide nearly enough change. Instead, I ended up with a longer pinch bolt and a couple washers. That allowed a large latitude of change based on where between the washers the cable was placed before being clamped in place.

Bianchi Reparto Corse Mega XL EV2

Although I've put only 100 miles on the bike at this time I'm pretty happy with how the project came out. The Deda bars and Ergo shifters were good choices and fit me well. The triple crankset was not. At the time I chose it I felt I needed a lower gear. Since then I've assembled a bike I use for the longer/steeper/slower rides that require a 30 tooth chain ring. I'll be putting a compact double on this bike sooner than later. Regardless, the bike is still a decent ride and fills its role in the Race Garage quite well.

More information at the Bianchi EV2 update page.