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  1. #1
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    Question How many people have only one bike, and race it? (wear & tear question)

    I've been scoping out the Mid-Atlantic race calendar and am planning to give cross racing a shot this year, but here's my thing. I only have one suitable bike- a Kona Jake (also have a pig-heavy SS MTB). I use this bike to commute to work 4+ days a week, then road and trail rides & errands on the weekends. As such, I don't consider it a toy/leisure equipment- it's more like half-toy, half-transport.

    I'm curious as to what kind of wear and tear I can expect cx races to put on my bike, and some suggestions. If I could scare up the cash, I'd love to get an SS like a San Jose, Tricross, IRO, etc. but I doubt that's happening this fall. (I’m in the middle of trying to move, which would put me 10 miles from work rather than 6.5, yet another reason to need to keep my bike in good condition.)

    Should I just accept that racing might cost me some cash and get a 2nd wheelset? Buy an old beater road bike and try to convert it a little bit to race on, etc.? Learn to true my own wheels and plan on spending my Sunday nights doing that?

    Curious to hear people's thoughts.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    broken brake levers
    out of true wheels
    torn saddles
    bent derailers
    or perhaps nothing beyond some extra cleaning.

    Race the bike you have and set aside the money you would spend on a beater to replace stuff.

  3. #3
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    You will certainly experience more drivetrain wear than road riding with the sand and mud a season will put the bike through. So far as other abusive aspects, you could go the season without so much as truing a wheel, you could crash your frame out on you first warm up lap (doubtful, but . . . ). When racing, I tend to get pretty excited and not even remember what all the bike has been through until I notice a new scratch or a loose pedal body while going through a begining of the week cleaning. You have a bike that is intended to be treated rough, so it will take a fair bit of abuse. Your chain, chainrings, cassette, and brake pads will certainly show some extra wear and tear.

  4. #4
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    if you break a brake lever on a jake, don't replace it with the same lever (sora). replace it with a non shifting lever and bar ends. you will save a lot of money in the long run. replacing STI brake levers is expensive. if you're going to do it, upgrade to 105 if you can. but I still recommend going with bar ends

  5. #5
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    If it were me, I'd find a cheap, mid 80s steel roadie, and use that for the commute. It won't be as much of a thief magnet as your Jake, and it will provide good reliable transportation. It will probably have horizontal dropouts, thus offering options such as fixed gear or singlespeed. There will probably be enough clearance in the calipers/frame that you can run 35mm knobbies, and make it your "pit bike" if you get that far. If it gets stolen or bashed up, you won't care, because you only have $150 into it. Feel free to race your Jake with abandon, knowing that your trusty Nishiki/Raleigh/Centurion/Peugeot/etc. is ready to take you to work on Monday.

    That's what I would do.

  6. #6
    uberNEWB dzinehaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinb
    If it were me, I'd find a cheap, mid 80s steel roadie, and use that for the commute. It won't be as much of a thief magnet as your Jake, and it will provide good reliable transportation. It will probably have horizontal dropouts, thus offering options such as fixed gear or singlespeed. There will probably be enough clearance in the calipers/frame that you can run 35mm knobbies, and make it your "pit bike" if you get that far. If it gets stolen or bashed up, you won't care, because you only have $150 into it. Feel free to race your Jake with abandon, knowing that your trusty Nishiki/Raleigh/Centurion/Peugeot/etc. is ready to take you to work on Monday.

    That's what I would do.
    I second that
    Be Happy, Live Life, Be Strong ~j.michaud / dzinehaus

  7. #7
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    As others have said cross is hard on your cycling equipment. If you depend on your bike for commuting you may want to have a few hundred dollars kept on the side in case you brake things in a race.

    You should still race though

  8. #8
    So I says to Mable I says somnambulant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dzinehaus View Post
    I second that
    Thirded.
    -Milpool

  9. #9
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    I raced on my commuter last season. It's a bit of a hassle changing tires and such before Monday, but no biggie.

    Bring your MTB as your pit bike.

  10. #10
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    the beauty of a singlespeed is that there's not too much to break.

    I can't say I have a strong opinion on whether or not you should race it or buy a beater...

    BUT, I can say that if you break your shifters unless you want to spend a lot on an upgraded set of shifters, switch to bar ends. you will save a lot of money and get something more durable (but a little less sexy).

  11. #11
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    I race my commuter bike but switch out the wheels for racing (entirely separate wheelset so don't have to change tires). Yes to the drivetrain wear and tear. But I also use my commute as cx practice by riding on grassy median strips and through grass in the parks. I used to practice dismounts at stop lights but that was a little too geeky.

  12. #12
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    Mud destroys your drivetrain. CX is up there with DH racing as a bike killer.

  13. #13
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    I'm buying a deicated race/fun bike primarily because of this. I can barely afford it, but oh well. When all your miles go on one bike--and some of those miles are cross--things can wear down really quickly. On a budget I think going cheapish on the divetrain is a good call. Maybe a little higher end on the shifters unless you crash a lot, as those aren't (usually) in direct contact with the dirt

    As it is now, if I break something critical in a cross race or on a trail, I might have some problems getting to work the next day. Not good.

  14. #14
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    I'll be racing on my only full size bike. I'd ideally have a spare set of wheels to swap between road/cross but right now I only have one set. I hose of the sand pretty well if I'm doing a longer road ride, but I have quite a few folders to use instead. Ironically they are better for my commute for luggage/comfort/lighting/practicality etc.

  15. #15
    4 letter tirade
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    so just my 2 cents at seasons end....

    I have a race specific bike. Only one, so without a pit bike. I raced 17 times this season. I need to replace these things for next season. Tires, Bar Tape, Cables, Saddle, Brake Pads and the hoods on my shifters.

    that is it. Even if I had a second bike, the list would probably be the same, except for each bike.

  16. #16
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    i did 11 races, and commuted on the same bike during that time. i had to replace 4 pairs of brake pads, one cassette, rebuild a campagnolo veloce derailleur, and i might have to replace my rear rim.

  17. #17
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    This season, six races on my 2005 Cannondale CX (sans disk). At three of the races, I had pit wheels. Like many, if not most, of the amateur and erswhile weekend warriors, I do not have a pit bike. A safe thing to do in this situation is to race a rock-solid, slightly heavier and much stronger race rig which is less likely to fail that some uber-light techno-freak carbon wonderbike with all the feathery bells and whistles. When the worst thing you need to worry about is a mere flat tire and not something more catastrophic like a snapped carbon seatpost, then you've set your one and only CX race bike up the right way.
    "Trails are for cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes only. Hiking and Horse Back riding is strictly prohibited. Horses will be confiscated and shot."

    Visit my blog: The Complete Jewish Cyclist (http://www.thecompletejewishcyclist.blogspot.com/)

  18. #18
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    1 bike here as well, aside from race duties during cyclocross & duathlon season, it is my commuter bike as well in the snow & guck in winter. I seem to need a new cassette every year but since I am changining the casette, might as well get a new chain too.
    Like some others pointed out, bar-cons are bomb proof! I would like to add that my Ultegra RD is likewise just as tough.
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