italian bikes in Italy?

#1
buy a bike in San Francisco/Bay Area vs. buy a bike in Italy.

all other things being equal, what would you do?
perhaps this is a strange place to ask such a question, but you guys are my experts of choice... so, here it is anyways.

Bizarre and awesome circumstances have led to me having 3 weeks and a new boyfriend in Tuscany. The world is weird, and good.

Naturally, cycling must happen for at least half the time or until the poor/lucky boy tempts me off my bike with copious amounts of wine.

anyways. I can either rent a bike or buy a new one (the old one, a 2002 Bianchi Brava, has been ready to retire to a less ambitious rider for some time now, plus it is not logistically located in a way that I can really take it to Italy). OR, I can rent a bike in Florence ( http://www.florencebybike.it/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=42&Itemid=67 )

I'm leaning toward buying rather than putting money towards renting a bike I can't keep. I'm planning on getting a professional bike fit in the Bay Area and then....?

Air France/KML says checking a bike is free if properly reserved/packaged/I don't check too much other stuff.

I'm inclined buy in the Bay Area because I don't speak Italian and with a budget of say... $1500-2000 (whole bike) I'm guessing the advantages of buying an Italian bike in Italy may be out of my price range anyway. And then there's the pain in the ass paperwork of customs stuff bringing it back to the states for a month or so before coming back to Japan in November.
(sweet sweet Tokyo, how I miss you)

then again, perhaps buying an Italian bike in Italy is much cheaper? I know people who do such things regarding BMW cars and nonsense.

thoughts? experience? suggestions?

and finally, though I am not necessarily decided on an Italian bike, my Bianchi was an excellent bike to start out on and did remarkable well considering how poorly I took care of it before I knew what I was doing. I've heard from a few places (including here) that Italian geometry is often good for female riders, though, of course, a bike fit will be more informative than anything else. so, an Italian bike may be the way to go again.
and as for style of bike, I'd say racing multi day brevets combines most of the aspects I'm looking for.

opinions?

thanks!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
Ok in my travels I have found that unless you are lucky with the exchange rates that bikes tend to work out the same no matter where in the world you buy them..... Taiwan being the exception.

The reason for this is that 90% of bikes are made in Taiwan and then shipped out to the rest of the world. The prices are then set to cover the cost of the build, mark up and finaly transportation costs. In Taiwan however you can go directly to the factory and purchase bikes, surrounding bike stores have amazing savings and if your happy to buy non-branded products (OEM) then carbon parts are so cheap they will blow your mind (I picked up 2 carbon water bottle cages for $1 USD thats for the pair!)

My recommendation would be to buy in the US, that way you actually have a bike. There would be nothing worse than getting to Italia and finding that you can't get the bike or have thebudget for what you want.
 

lylen

Speeding Up
Apr 30, 2008
57
0
26
Tokyo
#3
There are some great small builders in the bay area that can fit you AND can make a sweet steel frame. A couple off the top of my head are Cysip and Steelman. There are quite a few. I don't know if you mean the total cost of the bike or the frame. I think a custom steel frame can run around 1000 bills American, if that's in your neighborhood then I recommend that over bianchi (btw, I own two bianchi's so no prejudice here). Just that you mentioned pro fitting so why not kill two birds with one stone and get a custom frame?