Track Cycling

Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni Track Bike – Best Fixed-Gear Bikes – Bicycling

The Takeaway: A good track bike doesn’t go out of style, and this one boasts a great frame that is more than capable of performing well on the oval.

  • As competent on the track as it is for ripping through the city.
  • Aluminum frame feels as sharp and fast as a top-level track bike.
  • Truvativ cranks with a 130mm BCD, instead of track cranks with a standard 144 BCD, are an odd choice and will make finding replacement rings tough.

    Price: $900
    Weight: 18.8 lb. (59cm)
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    Despite its commuter disguise—toe-clip pedals, anodized rims, felt-wrapped saddle, and a hand brake—the Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni is actually a very competent and capable bike for beginner and intermediate track racers. The light aluminum frame boasts very traditional track geometry: Tight angles, a high bottom bracket, and an aggressive position make you feel like you’re riding a much more expensive and exotic frame than the 900 dollar price tag would suggest. The fork has carbon blades with aero shaping, giving a slightly edgy look to a bike that otherwise has a more traditional aesthetic. The toe clips and deep-drop sprint bar are also traditional for a track bike.

    But don’t get caught up in the race vibes with this bike. Just because it’s called the Sei Giorni, Italian for Six Days (after the famed Six Day bike races), and has the chops to jump on a short, steep track and get into the action doesn’t mean you need to be a track racer to enjoy it. The same sharp, precise handling characteristics that make this bike a great choice for learning to race on the boards also make it a great urban commuter. So whether you’re racing across town or learning to race on a banked oval, the Pista Sei Giorni is a very viable option for both pursuits.

    5 Things We Love About the Pista Sei Giorni

    A Good Track Bike Doesn’t Go Out of Style

    Road bike design has gone pretty wild in recent years, and largely the performance difference is quite noticeable compared to the bikes of even 10 years ago. But one of the beautiful things about track bikes is that, despite the extreme aerodynamics you’ll find on the top-end models, the functional difference between a round-tube aluminum bike and a fancy carbon machine is not as pronounced as it is on the road. That point is underscored, in this case, by a strong and light aluminum frame that has all of the fast-handling and quick-accelerating characteristics you could want from a track bike without the added cost of carbon. In fact, many of the best carbon track bikes are intentionally overbuilt to withstand the massive amount of power that world-class riders can throw down, which makes them surprisingly heavy. The Pista Sei Giorni comes in at just over 18 pounds with heavy clincher wheels. Throw on a set of fast carbon tubulars and you have a featherweight bike that feels shockingly good.

    A Little for the Commuter, a Little for the Racer

    Our test bike is outfitted with a blend of parts that makes it a viable pick for urban commuting and entry-level track racing. The steel handlebar, with its traditional deep-drop track bend, allows plenty of room to set up a very low, aggressive position. And since it’s made of steel, it ain’t movin’ when you stand up and sprint full gas. In keeping with old-school tradition, the saddle is also decidedly retro, wrapped in a soft fabric that can even help your jeans stick in place, which some riders might find unpleasant for racing.

    Aluminum clincher wheels laced to high-flange hubs, with 28 spokes in a cross-three pattern, make great commuter hoops, beginner race wheels, and—should your addiction progress—a solid set of training wheels. And the Vredestein Fiammante tires will serve riders well both on the street and around the banked oval. For 2019, the Pista Sei Giorni upgraded to 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro Slick tires, which are better on the track than the Fiammantes but less-suited to the pavement. For the commuter crowd, this bike also has a front rim brake, operated by a small Tektro lever on the top of the handlebar.

    Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni Details

    Material: Aluminum
    Fork: Aluminum/carbon
    Drivetrain: Fixed gear
    Cranks: Truvativ Touro 1.1
    Chainring: 48t
    Cog: 16t
    Tires: 23mm Vredestein Fiammante
    Tire clearance: 700x25mm

    Cranks come courtesy of Truvativ; however, they have a 130mm BCD spider instead of the standard 144mm BCD spider for track cranks. Outfitted with a 48t chainring and a 16t cog, the gearing may be adequate for ripping around a flat city, but if you want this bike for racing you’ll need more options. You’ll also be well-advised to change the cranks to a standard track crank to more easily find additional track chainrings. Also beware that the KMC chain’s track width is 3/32 of an inch, not the more standard ⅛ inch.

    Pista Family

    Bianchi has a few other fixed-gear bikes in the Pista family. The Pista ($800) is more tailored to the commuter crowd, with a chromoly frame, front and rear brakes, and flat pedals. If track-racing is your only intent with this bike, and you don’t need any of those commuter-oriented parts, start with the $799 Super Pista frameset (an aluminum frame with aero shaping and a carbon fork) and build it to your wishes.

    Traditional Track Geometry

    Whereas many track bikes are designed with a very short reach and low stack to give riders a good position for both time trials and mass-start races, that isn’t the case with the Pista. Our size 59cm test bike has a 75-degree seat angle and a 73-degree head angle. It also sports a 575mm level top tube and a 170mm head tube. Paired with only 58mm of bottom bracket drop, that short head tube does give riders ample room to get the handlebar very low for mass-start racing, but riders who want a bike that will work for timed events will struggle to set up a good time-trial position on this bike. It can be done, but it won’t be ideal. However, that’s a lot to ask for a bike that’s already as multipurpose as this. But if time trials aren’t on the agenda, the classic track geometry of this bike never goes out of style and will make a great bike for mass-start racing.

    Trevor Raab

    Light Like a Cervélo, Quick Like a Felt

    Having spent a good chunk of the last two decades racing track at the highest level, I grew accustomed to riding some of the best track bikes in the world—it’s been well over 10 years since I hung up my last non-carbon track bike. Much to my surprise, this bike didn’t feel slower or inferior to the bikes I’m familiar with that cost several times the 900 dollar price tag of the Pista Sei Giorni. In fact, I was blown away by how similar this bike felt. While riding around the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, PA, there were clues that I wasn’t on a fancy bike—but only subtle ones. For example, I knew I wasn’t on my beloved Cervélo T4 because the steering was much quicker on the Bianchi—the T4 has a much longer and more raked-out front end that slows things down a little. Furthermore, I was aware that I wasn’t on the Felt TK FRD because I could move the bike quicker underneath me. The Felt has amazingly precise steering, but it’s a heavy bike and you feel that when you’re out of the saddle. The Pista impressed me with a very pleasant blend of the lightweight feeling of the Cervélo and the sharp steering of the Felt, all the while costing thousands of dollars less.

    The beauty of this bike is, in part, the beauty of the simplicity of track bikes and track racing. In a sport where the equipment arms race is usually going out of control, on the track you can still buy a simple bike made from simple materials and be good to go. Sure, you may want to upgrade your ride if you want to tackle a World Cup, but this bike is more than adequate for the vast majority of racing you could reasonably encounter, especially if you are new to this great sport. So if you want to try racing the track and you need to find a bike, this one will serve you well.

    Editor’s note: Our test bike was from the 2017 model year. However, the only difference between the reviewed bike and the 2019 version is the paint (the bike is now black, instead of white) and the 23mm Vredestein Fiammante tires were changed to 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro Slicks.