Readers’ Rigs: Bianchi Oltre XR.2 Special!


We welcome back one of our most famous Readers’ Rigs alumni, George from San Diego. His new rig is an Italian stallion, Bianche Oltre XR.2 like no other with custom celeste touches throughout and a truly unique Campag/Sram E-Tap 4 speed gearing setup!

It was way back in 2012 when Readers’ Rigs had just started that I first got to know George from San Francisco. He submitted his highly unusual Fondriest as a Readers’ Rig and it certainly got Pezzers around the world talking so when he recently contacted me telling me had a new bike I was all ears.

Name: George Argiris
Location: San Diego, California
Age: 60+
Bike: Bianchi Oltre XR.2
Groupset: Sram red E-TAP
Wheels: Fulcrum Zero racing nite
Pedals: Look Keo Max 2 carbon
Saddle: China carbon knock-off
Other: TRP R970-SL magnesium
Weight: 14.6lbs (6.6kg) and with me 144.6lbs (65.6kgs)

When did you buy it?
I bought the frame in July 2018 and then built it up from there.

You first were featured on PEZ in 2012 with your highly original Fondriest – why change it?
No reason other then it’s been 9 years since I bought the Fondriest and I’m used to having two rides and a new bike a year so this one was well overdue.

arundel bike t-wrench banner

Yes folks that’s a four speed Campag rear cog setup with 13, 14, 15 & 16 toothed cogs hooked up to Sram E-Tap with celeste highlights.

What components are you running? Did you ever think to just leave the gears as standard?
No, the gearing is to intimidate the young! It’s a Sram Red E-TAP set up with 13, 14, 15 & 16 cogs.

In case you couldn’t tell from the little details all over the bike – George is an accomplished artist and loves to take his work home with him by customising his bikes.

Any problems setting up such an unusual gearing setup?
No, because you can micro adjust each individual cog with e-tap, it makes it easy to align so different spacing isn’t a concern between Campy and Sram.

Now if I were using a complete cog set that would probably be a different story since Campy cog spacing on some cassettes increases as you climb up the cassette. I had to modify the derailleur limit screw to stop the chain from shifting onto the spacers (stopping at the 16t) so I’m running 13-16, 39/52. Crazy? Yes, but not so crazy. Do you really use all your gears? So why not demoralize other riders as you pass them on a tough climb!

It keeps me strong but I have no bail out gear on 10% and up. After having straight blocks for the last 38 years I really can’t ‘spin’ up a hill even if I tried.

xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
Good question, I don’t know. Let’s just say that I have 39 years of many miles in the legs.

What do you love about this bike?
It came about as just another unnecessary need to build and have another bike. It was also fun to do the ‘Celeste’ details on the components.

George’s Bianchi with another of his money pits….. a 57 Chevrolet Belair. 4 speed too George??

Favorite riding area?
Still the hills of San Diego.

Favorite riding experience on your bike?
The experience is always the same………pure enjoyment!

George with his Italian moneypit infront of somebody else’s Italian moneypit with green highlights!

Future upgrades?
No need for future upgrades on this one….

Last words?
I think for me as for all diehard cyclists the need to continue buying, riding, suffering and being on the brink of divorce for doing so is just the way we cope and distract ourselves from the every day grind!

Thanks to George for sharing his truly unique ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well, how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to [email protected] and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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