Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - Specialized vs. Giant
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07-25-10, 06:44 PM
Question for you guys.
I am between the Giant TCX 2 and the Specialized TriCross Sport.
They are both near the same price point and availability in my area (Chicago) isn't a problem.
I will be using this as my "fitness" bike and basically for working out and even some leisure rides with my wife and/or friends.
07-25-10, 06:51 PM
I don't think either would be best for "fitness" or ride/friend rides. I think you would be better off with a flat bar road bike, such as the Specialized Sirrus or the Giant Rapid. The nobby tires and road-ish geometry of a cross bike would put you in a much more aggressive position than you may want. Are you looking to take this bike off off road? Or just on some dirt paths? A flat bar road bike would give you enough tire width to do packed dirt paths with no roots.
07-25-10, 07:01 PM
I'll be on road and on gravel. I would be on some soft trails (mulched) but that's the most extreme. That's why I more or less decided on these types
07-25-10, 07:19 PM
I have a Rapid 3 and it is perfect for ripping around town and getting some exercise.
07-25-10, 08:12 PM
In general I like the way Giant specs their bikes better than Specialized.
ok, heres a serious response from someone who just went through all of this, looking at all the cyclocross bikes available in my area (Montreal, Canada) so I can give you some pts that were important to me.
first of all, Giant has Sora shifters, Tricross Sport has Tiagra ones--I got to test drive a Sora equipped bike and found them to be of less quality in terms of "tactileness", really meaning that in my opinion, Tiagra shifted nicer and I really preferred teh Tiagra twin paddle thingees, one for up, other for down, just feel better than Sora.
I was replacing an old touring bike I have toured on in the past, then used for basically everything then and since, commuting, fun riding with firends etc, I always have a rack on, and one saddle bag/pannier, or two if I am getting more stuff from a store etc---I mention this beause it was important to me to find a bike that would have enough chain stay length NOT to have rear pannier/back of heel problems-heel hitting front of panniers.
also looked for bikes that would have rack and/or fender brackets- so for the dimensions and this, the tricross had these and is essentialy hthe same dimensions as my old bike.
gearing- the giants and others are with doubles chainrings, I know I wanted a triple (with a granny gear) as I ride hilly stuff often plus when you have weight in rear bags, you want lower gearing. As I said, I have toured a lot fully loaded, in mountains and hilly areas, so I know what is realistic for my gearing needs, and the tricross has a triple AND a larger wide ranger rear cassette of gears at the back (11-32)
for me it was a no brainer, its lighter than my old bike, it handles a little quicker, I can use it for fitness, I can slap touring panniers on it front and back--front fork has brackets on it or a front rack, so I could tour on it, yes probably not like on a full on touring bike, but very capable.
I got one, am very happy with it. Sure its not super light, the 54cm top tube one like I have weighs 25 lbs, throw on a rack, fenders and it will be 27-28, but thats fine with me, I dont ride with friends who ride fast on light road bikes, so its not an issue
like all cyclocross bikes, they are rugged, so make a good commuter. Road drop bars are great for more hand positions, so whether a short ride or a 100km day, you will be more comfortable than straight bars, period.
I switched right away the 32 cross tires for 28 road tires and I am faster on this than on my steel touring bike, probably cuz its lighter, has 9 gears instead of my old 7, so closer gearing jumps. So I am happy.
If you go slower most of the time and want to go on dirt tracks a lot, keep 32 cross tires on, they will work fine on pavement and dirt roads, and there are tons of choices of these types of tires.
First day after i bought it, I went on a two day family bike "trip" with my son and another family, teenagers. Did 50km per day, paved roads, some gravel, and even with 28 road tires, it was fine on gravel (as I have done for years)
seems your needs are similiar to mine, so take opinions here with a grain of salt if from riders who really prefer light road bikes, nothing against that, but I like the robustness, jack of all (ok, most) trades aspects of cross bikes--but especially mine for the gearing and bike pannier/touring ability too. Plus its way faster than my mtn bike with slicks that Ive been commuting and city bashing with for years, plus more of a "road bike" feel than my touring bike.
test drive bikes if you can , its the best way to see how youfeel . Or at least get a tactile feel for how a given gear shifting level of components are, and hopefully compare to higher lower levels.
and to top it off, I like how it looks in black silver....
voila, a biased answer, but I did back up my views with facts and as I said, I believe a pt of view similiar to yours as to needs.
oh, brakes are not as strong as I thought, but I going to try things to improve them. And I have ridden it up and down steep hills, it is nice and stable going rather quickly (45mph) so I was happy with that too, in general, it does not steer as fast as a road bike, but for my type of riding that is fine. I have firends who bought a Giant TCR, flatbar bike which is I believe a road bike frame with flat bars, and it steers rather fast, thats fine but a more relaxed steering bike is more comfortable over a long distance, jsut because its less "nervous" up front, over potholes or whatever. Again, depends on what you like.
07-26-10, 08:50 AM
I too just went through this decision process as my old mountain bike was stolen and I have an old Cannondale R-800 that just isn't good for versitility of terrain. I live in Chicago and test rode the Specialized Tricross and the Giant. I even looked at a Surly or two, but didn't like the bar-end shifters on the drops. For me, it was about versitility, comfort, and the best group set for the money I was laying down. I chose the Tricross Comp over the Sport and the Giant, but I liked the Sport over the Giant as well.
I found the shifters, Tiagra, much better to work with than the Sora. I don't like the "release button" or whatever its called on the Sora. You can throw racks and fenders on the Tricross and the ride is more relaxed than a traditional road bike.
If you are looking in the city of Chicago, I went to most of the shops around and received the best assistance and available bikes to test ride at Johnny Sprockets on Broadway and Wellington. They, as a shop, are into CX a decent bit. Other shops carry the Cyclocross bikes, but JS had more in stock and were very helpful. I even had a few shops direct me towards road bikes and away from cx bikes after I had told them that I wanted a cx bike for their versitility. Basically, they wanted to move some of their old road bikes as 2011s were coming in and they told me that "you don't want a cross bike, its really only for racing cross". Um, thanks, but I will buy the type of bike that I want, not what you want to sell me.
For a bit of "piece of mind", I don't think you will be disappointed in either of the two bikes that you are looking at. I thought the brakes on the Tricross worked pretty well for what its worth. Test ride them both and you will know which feels better. And if they feel the same, take the one with the nicer components at the same price or the cheaper one if built to the same spec.
I found the shifters, Tiagra, much better to work with than the Sora. I don't like the "release button" or whatever its called on the Sora.
yes, thats exactly it, I knew right away that that I didnt like that release button thingee and that it would bug me to no end, at that point I hadnt ridden or seen the tricross sport, but I knew I would want to spend the extra money for a bike with the next step up from Sora.
Oh, here in Canada, they sell a "Tricross triple", same frame, gearing, but with shimano 2300 or something derailleurs, lower down than Tiagra, Ididnt drive it but at that point I knew I liked the Tiagra as I had test driven the "Sport" by then.
the Comp is a very nice bike, probably quite a bit lighter than the Sport, better components, but for me it was quite a bit too much than I wanted to spend, somewhere over $2K I think (plus, it has a double crank, so not as low gearing) the Sport here in Montreal is $1400, the tricross triple lower model is about $1050. For me the $350 extra was worth it for the better IMO shifters and the higher up derailleurs.
I am sure the prices in the states are less than these Montreal prices.
The $1050 model is probably fine for someone who doesnt ride a lot. In fact, if my wife had not gotten a new flatbar road bike last year, I would have convinced her to get this $1K model, just for the drop bars being kinder on her hands and wrists on longer rides (which she doesnt do that much though, but I would have liked to convince her that dropbars are not automatically uncomfortable--a long held believe by many people, not just her, probably due to riding a bike that has too far a reach for them...)
oh, and msujack, very good points on how employees at a bike store can try to steer you to something else, very much to keep in mind and to try to see and visit different stores and as many as you can, plus use the internet to help get an idea of what you really need--this is the reason I am typing all this stuff, to pay back some of the helpful info I have gleaned from the web during my search.
07-26-10, 12:08 PM
Thanks for this discussion guys. Great feedback...
07-27-10, 11:36 PM
I got my GIANT TCX 1 for $1450 CDN down from $1600 as the new models are coming soonish.
I shopped around and the spec is pretty darn good. Full SRAM Rival group (which I love more than Shimano and Campy now), carbon fork, decent cx/commuting wheels, great tires (kenda small block 8 kevlar bead). The GIANT branded stem, bar and carbon seatpost are pretty nice quality and quite light.
The bike was 19.5 lbs as measured in the shop. If you love the sport and get serious dropping 2-3 lbs will be easy (mostly in the wheels).
I've got a few hundred km on mine and I could not be happier.
Last year I had the TCX 2 and really liked it but its weight became an issue as I got fitter (it weighed almost as mush as my MTB at the time). It was not worth upgrading the parts once I outgrew the Sora/Tiagra parts so I sold it and got this one. I should have bought the TCX 1 last year - the shop told me I would outgrow the TCX 2 and they were right.
I bought last year's bike as a commuter, but soon got the itch to race. My needs are probably different than yours. If you can get used to a road bike like position, cx bikes are a blast to ride.
07-29-10, 05:54 PM
I'm in Canada, and I have the base model Tricross Triple with 2300 groupset. I absolutely love it and use it more as a road bike than I do as a crossbike. I have 30mm aero rims and 23c tires on it and its very fast, with no problems keeping up with the true roadbikes.
The 2300 groupset is fine when well tuned and adjusted. I've had absolutely no problems with it. Yes, the Tiagra "paddle" system is more convenient than Sora/2300 thumbshifters....but its an insignificant fault compared to the rest of the bike.
I changed the rear cassette from a 13-26 to a 12-25 and it suits me perfect.
Here it is in road trim:
07-29-10, 09:49 PM
I replaced my second road bike with a tricross sport and I LOVE it. It's much more comfortable for daily riding. I ended up swapping out basically the entire gruppo, but the stock stuff isn't bad at all. The larger cassette is great for city trekking.
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