Last September Ben bought himself a Bianchi Volpe as an all-’rounder road bike. Since then he has made a few notable upgrades and changes to the bike that have given it a more personalized purpose and appearance as a light-tourer and all-weather commuter bike.
Although the 9-speed Deore rear derailleur is itself a very durable and reliable part, an XT is even smoother, lighter, and more durable. The shifter and brake cables themselves have been swapped out with stainless steel to prevent corrosion in wet and snowy conditions.
Speaking of wet weather, two basic upgrades can make a huge difference: full-coverage fenders, and kool-stop brake pads for added power. The Vittoria Randonneur tires also add a bit more stability and the best flat protection possible. The racks are also chromoly (by Tubus) rather than aluminum, which are light, strong, and re-weldable in emergency situations.
Lastly, stainless steel water bottle cages and BPA-free water bottles ad an important touch. The stainless steel cages have a little flex to them, allowing them to work with normal water bottles and slightly-oversized ones. They work really well with stainless water bottles, as well as his reusable coffee mug.