2009 Bianchi Dolomiti: Retro Attack!


I recently snuck into Bianchi USA’s headquarters and talked to company president Rod Jewett about their new 2009 line-up and trends in the industry. One standout in the new line-up is a limited edition, lugged steel bike to be known as the Dolomite (though this pre-production example was labelled “Stelvio”). The pre-production example that I saw had chromed lugs and 1950s/60s style logos. Strangely, the bike had a carbon fork, but Jewett hinted that they might be able to offer US buyers a chromed steel fork. Of course, the bike is painted in Bianchi’s glorious sea-foam green hue, better known as celeste.

If any big bike company could mount a full-on retro attack, it would be the company with 124 years of tradition.

Dolomite%20top.jpg Old style downtube decal.

Dolomite%2002.jpg Left:Chromed seat lug. Production bikes will have seat stays mounted higher on the seat tube. Made in Taiwan.

Dolomite%2004.jpg Middle:Chromed head lugs? Check.

Dolomite%2006.jpg Bottom:Nice eyelet on the drop outs.

UPDATE 2008.07.29

09_Dolomiti.jpgBianchi USA managed to get me a sneak jpg from the 2009 catalog. Apparently, it is “Dolomiti” instead of “Dolomite”. Strangely enough, Bianchi’s Japanese division did have a model called the “Dolomite” a few years ago, but it was a hybrid city bike.

Notice how the seat stays hit the seat tube right below the seat lug in a more traditional position, unlike the pre-production example.

The 2009 Dolomiti will have Campagnolo Veloce 10sp, featuring the newly reshaped Ergopower hoods. I get the feeling that a lot of people are on the fence about the levers’ new aesthetics, but I can say that I really like the feel of the levers.


did it look like classic road geometry, Mark?

I just saw the specs from a contact there; it will be called the Dolomiti. Campy Veloce, classic geometry.

Too bad they can’t make THIS bike again:

60s Bianchi Competizione

Now that would be something.


You’ve got to wonder what purpose the eyelet on the rear dropout will serve with clearances apparently so tight. Doesn’t look like you can fit a fender in there. And without eyelets on the fork, there’s even less point. Even assuming you can fit a fender on the rear, are you just going to ride around with one? Maybe a future steel fork will come with eyelets (and more clearance).

The shape of the new Ergo levers is utterly barbaric. Out with the new and in with the old! (As in Ergo from 2006.)

I LIKE this bike. A LOT! If I had the money for an extra bike just for show, I’d certainly buy it, and keep it nice. I can see collector value in this one…
Appreciation for the art of bike making is really the only reason to buy this one, isn’t it? Have you seen the Colnago Master X? Every bit as lovely to look at. I’m sure both will inspire envy in any other rider who sees it!

Any chance you asked about another single speed disk CX bike like the Roger?  Surprised that it was a one season offer.

A pity the seat post and crankset aren’t chromed as well…

collectable?  please.  i bet the frame is made in taiwan.  bianchi keeps losing their roots and then someone like kona comes out with a type of bike that bianchi stopped making decades ago.  i’m talking about the kona kapu (classic geometry, chromed lugs, but long reach brakes for fatter tire clearance…  a truely versatile road machine).  look at the kapu and you’ll see that this new bianchi is probably made in the same taiwanese factory. 
i doubt bianchi will expand their steel line in road bikes.  atleast they are pushing the san jose. that’s the only glimmer of light left.

@ ccrider

If I recall correctly, Bianchi already lost their roots and has been bringing them back ever since. Kona’s are made in China, just like everyone else—that’s the world economy and not really a quality issue any longer. I’ve seen some terribly welded frames from all manufactures, including breaking carbon frames from the best of them (and there’s only so many factories that make those . . .). Mark’s Ti Bianchi is made in Italy I believe. Also, thank Taiwan for bringing the market long-tails—considering the jig sizes, they wouldn’t be affordable for a bigger audience.

Your comments do raise the issue of the Independent Bike Dealers and frame builders and from what we’re hearing they’re doing very well. I race on the [Hotspur](/tag/hotspur) and that attracts lots of attention, I think mostly because it doesn’t look like all the other bikes lined up at the start line. If we had big-magazine-type budget, I’d get 5 carbon frames, strip the decals and the paint and ask our readers to tell us who they are. Point is, in that sought-after disposable income market, buyers often want a unique bike. Given a choice and especially on a shop floor, Neo Retro is probably going to sell well. It’s also smartly (don’t know if they smartly did that, or it just happened) going to appeal to someone upgrading their 70s bike that the brought our of retirement when gas was at $4.00.

Of course, they are frame builders making their living on retro bikes.

Any word on suggested or possible retail prices for these steel beauties?  Frames only, or do they only come as complete bikes?

As much as I covet a carbon wonderbike, I would GLADLY jump at a modern steel Bianchi to keep my ‘83 bike company!!!

This frame appears to be the EXACT same frame as the Kona Kapu. Funny how when Kona came out with the bike 2 years ago hardly anyone noticed but when you paint the bike celeste and slap a Bianchi sticker on it people suddenly go ga-ga. I’ve ridden the Kapu and it is a nice bike. No, it’s not something you’re going to easily put fenders on but so what. It’s designed in the vein of a tradition racing bike - not a sport touring bike. Whining because it can’t take fenders is like saying a Ferrari is a bad car because you can’t use it to haul sheets of plywood.

As for Asian quality, I worked in shops long enough to know that I’d much rather have a Taiwanese Bianchi than an Italian made Colnago!! You buy a Colnago for looks and prestige, not for quality (and I say that as a Colnago owner!)

Bring up “shims” and that’ll touch a nerve in the bike industry . . . .

Yea, Kona Kapu was my first thought when I saw this bike. Seems I’m not the only one.

Kona Kapu…hmm, that DOES look just like the frame shown above!  And you’re right—although the Kapu is a fine-looking machine (in “Hugger Orange”, even), slap some celeste paint and retro decals on the exact same bike and everyone drools…

Italian bikes were never known for their finish work—the paint, lug shaping and other finish details were pretty shoddy.  I guess the idea was that you’d be riding so fast that no one would notice the bubbly, smeary paint job!

I was interested… But then I saw where it was made.  I’m not bashing the break away chinese province for quality at all.  In fact I bought a Giant 10 years ago as a cheap alternate that I could take to Europe or the coffee shop without caring if it was swiped or broken in transit.  AT THE TIME they were a deal!  Now they cost the same as REAL bikes made in the US or Europe.  I’ll have to pass on this one and look to e-bay to satisfy my desire for a “Real Bianchi”  Funny thing about Kona though… I see they are sourcing some of their road bikes from Italy.  I guess to get a Bianchi, you have to buy a Kona???

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