Bianchi San Jose or Kona Paddy Wagon for commute?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bianchi San Jose or Kona Paddy Wagon for commute?

    What's your opinion? Commute is 15 miles each way, two mellow hills, and is mostly rural.

    I was pretty set on the Kona Paddy Wagon, but the guy at the LBS says, BY FAR, the better commuter is the Bianchi San Jose, as it's more upright and more comfortable.

    Help!

  2. #2
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    I like the San Jose a lot. It takes wider tires than the Kona so you can take it on trails more comfortably. It also has rack mounts and a longer chainstay, so it's more versatile. That being said, I think you should ride them and decide which is more comfortable for you. If you don't want racks or fatter tires, you may like the Kona better.

  3. #3
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    I suppose you need to ask yourself what you need to carry, and how you want to carry it. 25lbs in a backpack has a tendency to suck. 7 in a messenger bag not so much. Also, how wide are the tires you plan to run. Is this an all weather commuter, or just sunny days. What is the fender clearance on the Paddy Wagon? How do you intend to use the bike other than commuting? Is it going to double as a railtrail or monstercross bike, or skid around the city like a hipster? And comfort is definatly key. Ride them both and see which you would like better. And not just around the parking lot, if possible. Talk to the LBS and try to do a ride similar to your commute, with your gear.

    If it were me, it could go one of two ways: The san jose with 42's and Midges (my not so secret lust for the fixed MonsterCross) and a second set of wheels for the 28's, or the Paddy Wagon with 28's and fenders, which really sounds like how I would prefer to spend 15 miles on pavement.

    YMMV

    -Rob.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. I know nothing about bikes.

    28's????

    "25lbs in a backpack has a tendency to suck. 7 in a messenger bag not so much."

    How about 5 lbs in a backpack

    Also, how wide are the tires you plan to run.

    I have no idea. Are the stock tires no good?

    Is this an all weather commuter, or just sunny days.

    Mostly fair weather, as it only rains a few days a year here (CA, central coast).

    What is the fender clearance on the Paddy Wagon?

    Don't know, but from what I've read, it takes fenders fine.

    How do you intend to use the bike other than commuting? Is it going to double as a railtrail or monstercross bike, or skid around the city like a hipster?

    Pretty much just commuting. I have enough other hobbies. Was planning on running it with a freewheel, though I like that on the Kona, riding fixed is at least an OPTION.

    And comfort is definatly key. Ride them both and see which you would like better. And not just around the parking lot, if possible.

    I rode them both around an 8 block square. The Kona was definitely stiffer, though not sure that the tires don't have something to do with that.

    Either way, I was hoping to change out the drop bars for flat or riser or something more upright.

    Thanks very much for the help.

  5. #5
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    How about 5 lbs in a backpack

    Sure, that would work fine. I suppose I was asking if you were going to be hauling enough to justfy a rack. Doable on the Kona, easier on the San Jose


    I have no idea. Are the stock tires no good?


    Don't know about the stock tires, but for 15 miles of rural roads, you might consider something around 28mm, and probably punture resistant tires or tire liners




    Mostly fair weather, as it only rains a few days a year here (CA, central coast).

    So fenders aren't a necestity. Again, do-able on the Kona, easier on the Bianchi


    Either way, I was hoping to change out the drop bars for flat or riser or something more upright

    Talk to the LBS when you buy the bike. They might comp it and keep the parts or give you a discount.

    Also, you might want to check the Commuter Board on the Dirt Rag forums, or the same on Bike Forums.

    Either way, riding to work is such a great thing, it may be the highlight of your day. You get to ride your bike to and from work

    -Rob.

  6. #6
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    The tires on the Kona are Continental Ultrasport 700 x 28c.

    And on the San Jose: WTB All Terrainasaurus 700x32C

    Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
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    You can set up a San Jose fixed. I think the 08 even come with a fixed ger on one side of the hub. There's a long thread on the SJ in this forum.

  8. #8
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    My friend has a Paddy Wagon. It's built with proper track geometry. Not road. He told me anything more than a couple of hours on it and it's pretty uncomfortable.

  9. #9
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    My LBS has both of them and they're about the same price.

    My commute is mostly straight road and highway and fenders and offroad don't matter too much to me.

    Arethe geometry and stiffness THAT different?

  10. #10
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    I'd go with the San Jose because: 1.)Road geometry definitely more comfortable. Track geometry squirrellier (read more nimble and responsive-could be better for avoiding pedestrians, pigeons, and potholes at high speed. 2.)I'm sure you can put at least 700x35 tires on it, which IMO are the best 'general purpose' size tires to go with. Plush on pavement, (even bad pavement), and you don't have to freak if you decide to take some dirt on 'em. 28's, you CAN ride dirt roads, but you've gotta slow down and really concentrate. I'm just partial to the San Jose...find myself wishing I'd gotten one.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rice
    the guy at the LBS says, BY FAR, the better commuter is the Bianchi San Jose, as it's more upright and more comfortable.
    "by far" - they're pretty comprable bikes, so this seems like an overstatement. Does he sell the Bianchi and not the Kona?

    Also, I took a look at the top tube length and seat tube angles of each 58cm and the are EXACTLY the same (58.1/72.5) on the two bikes, so I don't why he thinks the Bianchi is more upright - maybe the Bianchi's headtube is a little taller? If that's an issue, just put the spacers underneath the stem on the Kona - that should make it plenty upright unless your legs are especially long. A non-setback seatpost can also shrink the cockpit length and make you more upright.

    The lbs employee may think the Bianchi is more comfortable b/c its got bigger (32mm) tires. This will also make it slower, and if you want, is easily changed.

    Anyhow, yeah, try to test ride both. If you can't decide, I'd suggest buying at the bike shop you want to patronize and develop your relationship there. You can't go too wrong w/the Bianchi, and its pretty smooth looking and has a lot of status at a low price, so it looks like an easy choice. Good resale, too.

    Btw, I looked at both of these and ended up with an On-One il pompino from an on-line dealer b/c it was spec'd like I wanted (On-One Midge bars!), it was on clearance, and I dug the paint. Otherwise, I would have probably gone with the Bianchi I test rode.

  12. #12
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    Thanks.

    Problem is, I DID ride both and I still can't decide. San Jose was a bit more upright (pos rise stem?) and a bit more "cushy" (frame flex? bigger tires?).

    Both bikes are sold at my local shop.

    I'm 6'4" but have relatively short legs.

    Aagghhh. Can't decide.

  13. #13
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    Since it sounds like you are relatively new to biking, I'd say go with comfort, which would be the San Jose.

  14. #14
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    Thanks.

    Problem is, I DID ride both and I still can't decide. San Jose was a bit more upright (pos rise stem?) and a bit more "cushy" (frame flex? bigger tires?).

    Both bikes are sold at my local shop.

    I'm 6'4" but have relatively short legs.

    Aagghhh. Can't decide.

  15. #15
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    You're 6'4"? Think I'd definitely go with the 61cm San Jose.

  16. #16
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    6'4", but only a 32" inseam. I don't think I could even stand over the 61cm.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rice
    6'4", but only a 32" inseam. I don't think I could even stand over the 61cm.
    Agreed. I'm 6'3" with a 37" inseam. I bought a 61cm San Jose, and it was too big. Buddy convinced them to give us a deal on two, the 58cm was out of stock. I transferred parts from the San Jose to the Cross Check.

    I've ridden both bikes you are looking at and feel the San Jose is the best choice for what you are planning to do.

    You going to ride Hwy 1 in, or So. Bay Blvd to Turri Road, and LOVR?
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  18. #18
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    If you're going to put mtb bars on it, make sure the stock brakes will be compatible. You don't wanna end up having to replace that stuff. If they aren't compatable, maybe your shop might credit the stock parts toward the new ones. Also, if you put on a mtb bar, its bound to shrink your cockpit length considerably - your grips will be even or behind the front of the stem instead of well in front of it as they would be if your hands are on the hoods. Big difference, and since you're long waisted, this may be a disaster. If its mainly a commuter, I'd think twice before going with mtb bars. I think On-One's Midge bars a nice compromise - wide, shallow drops, the drops have sweep, and they're compatible with road brakes.

    Geometry/comfort - I think the Bianchi's comfort is a result of the fatter (and lower psi) tires. But also its got longer chainstays, a slacker headtube angle, and more fork offset - all of which makes for a longer wheelbase and more of the "limo effect" - you feel the bumps less. All of that will also make for more of a stable cruiser bike than the PW, while the PW will be nimbler, faster, and more responsive - a sporty race-car type ride ("track" geometry). It might feel more nervous to begin with, but once you get accustomed to it and learn to control it, it can ultimately be more satisfying. If that doesn't sound like you, and most your miles will be straight, go with the Bianchi.

    Disclaimer - I haven't ridden the Kona, just going by the geometry numbers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rice
    6'4", but only a 32" inseam. I don't think I could even stand over the 61cm.
    Wow. Is that your pants inseam or your true bike inseam (floor to crotch)?

    Maybe look for a bike with a slightly angled top tube for more clearance, like the Kona PW, Redline 925, On-One il pompino, etc. Some of these bikes are advertised as having "compact geometry" and are normally ordered 3cm smaller. For example, the Redline 925's largest size is advertised as a 56cm, but it fits like 59 or 60 once you jack up the seatpost. Its got a nice long top-tube, too, which might suit you since your torso is especially long. Cool bars, paint, etc. But Redline dealers were hard for me to find, especially for floor models.

  20. #20
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    I know you were only looking at the San Jose and PW, but here's another one - compact geometry and really sharp looking. The 57cm looks like it might work.
    http://www.salsacycles.com/casserollCompSS08.html

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus
    Agreed. I'm 6'3" with a 37" inseam. I bought a 61cm San Jose, and it was too big. Buddy convinced them to give us a deal on two, the 58cm was out of stock. I transferred parts from the San Jose to the Cross Check.

    I've ridden both bikes you are looking at and feel the San Jose is the best choice for what you are planning to do.

    You going to ride Hwy 1 in, or So. Bay Blvd to Turri Road, and LOVR?
    Thanks.

    Will ride Hwy 1, as I work right off of Santa Rosa.. I can make it from my house to San Luisito Creek Road before I have to ride the 1. Shouldn't be too bad.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1
    Wow. Is that your pants inseam or your true bike inseam (floor to crotch)?
    Pants inseam.

    My LBS didn't have a 61 to try.

    Brakes for flat/riser bars are hard to get that will work with the caliper brakes, I hear. Not even sure if the stock stem on either the PW or SJ will work with flat/risers.

    I just don't want drops.

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