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  1. #1
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Cyclocross bikes - experience wanted.

    I started 3 weeks ago on my MTB. After 3 training races and 1 official race I see where the MTB has certain weaknesses and am looking to get a dedicated cross bike. Heavy, front suspension to mushy in grass and hard pack, etc. I have a trek 520 touring bike with a 52-42-30 crank and bar end shifters that I could put cross tires on and race.

    My question is should I quit mucking around, sell the 520 and just go ahead and buy a "real" cross bike?

    Will the bar ends be a liabilty?

    Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  2. #2
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    Race the Trek this year, and think about it over the winter.
    I'm in my first year if racing and I know the bike isn't holding me back. You'd probably be the same way on the Trek. You got drop bars, road/cross-esque geometry and room for cross tires so you're good to go.

    Those Treks are well regarded so you could probably get a nice price on it next spring and also pounce on a on-season-used cross bike from someone who upgrades every year.

  3. #3
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    I rode with barcons last year and switched mid season to STI

    world of difference...on the good side
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  4. #4
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    agree with racing what you have - plus, you'll inevitably crash. Not kill yourself crash like on the road, but tires slid out on an off camber, whoops crash.

    I'm starting to see why fancy bikes are a bit less common with the CX crowd (although they'll drop coin on wheels it seems.)
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  5. #5
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    Looks like you're between a rock (MTB) and a hard spot (520). Both are heavy and not well suited to cross. Do you ride the 520 or the MTB? If I didn't really ride one or both of those, I'd sell one/both and get a decent cross bike. Good thing about cross bikes (for me) is that it can do what both of these bikes can do. Maybe not as good as either one but good enough for me. One thing a cross bike can do much better than either one of these bikes is cross though.
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  6. #6
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    Well you're definitely running out of time to sell the Trek for top dollar this year.

    Really, vintage touring bikes from the mid-80s are very similar to cross bikes. Cantilever brakes, clearance for big tires, strong frames ready for abuse, more relaxed geometry. You can buy a better modern bike, but it's gonna cost quite a bit more. Plus you can use your tourer for other things in the off-season, given the surplus of eyelets and brazeons.

    eta:
    Quote Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
    I'm starting to see why fancy bikes are a bit less common with the CX crowd (although they'll drop coin on wheels it seems.)
    Seriously! I like vintage bikes and it seems to me that CX bikes are always much closer to vintage styles than brand new fancy carbon road racers. Love it.
    (I also don't know that I would trust a carbon bike offroad, let alone a $2000 carbon bike. Steel for me.)
    1988 Miele Azsora

  7. #7
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    Try racing the 520.

  8. #8
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I think I'll give the 520 a run just to see what it's weak points are.

    Here's a pic of the abomination dressed up for halloween. I'll post another picture when I get her in her cross dressing.

    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  9. #9
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    I ride a triple for CX - pretty much stay in the 39 ring.

    edit - I'm slow.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  10. #10
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I'm not sure on the details of a Trek 520 but I raced an old touring bike for years with a single 42 ring and a single 8-speed barcon. In fact I made it up to a cat 2 on that bike. Now I have 10 speed STI and quite frankly I don't like it better then the single barcon in friction mode. With the barcon I could charge into a corner full speed and dump the whole cassette in one shot to be in my lowest gear for a slow haul. Ten speeds in cross is kind of silly really. Most of the cogs are just used to move the chain over to the 3 or 4 cogs you will use on an entire race.

    Just my 2 cents. I think you'll be fine on an old touring bike.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    IMost of the cogs are just used to move the chain over to the 3 or 4 cogs you will use on an entire race.
    Yeah, I hate the fact that most of my cassette will not be worn by the time I have to replace it!

  12. #12
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Update.

    I picked these up at lunch.



    Maxxix Raze.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    Now I have 10 speed STI and quite frankly I don't like it better then the single barcon in friction mode. With the barcon I could charge into a corner full speed and dump the whole cassette in one shot to be in my lowest gear for a slow haul. Ten speeds in cross is kind of silly really. Most of the cogs are just used to move the chain over to the 3 or 4 cogs you will use on an entire race.
    I really like index mode on a Paul thumbie. But I spend more time on the bartops than most.

    42 x 12-27 10-speed works great. Rarely use the 12 cog but when you need it, good to have.

    Raze is a good tire choice imho.

  14. #14
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Race the 520, but when you eventually get a dedicated cross rig - like you definitely will - you'll curse yourself for not having done it sooner.

    I only say this because I have seen it happen time and time again.

  15. #15
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    Race the 520 and get a new bike next year

  16. #16
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
    Race the 520 and get a new bike next year
    This is the plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
    Race the 520, but when you eventually get a dedicated cross rig - like you definitely will - you'll curse yourself for not having done it sooner.

    I only say this because I have seen it happen time and time again.

    And after that, I will curse myself for - getting the wrong brand, the wrong frame material, the wrong size, the wrong components...

    This I have done time and time again with MTB, road and commuter.

    The hand wringing I will be doing for the next 6 months would embarass even Pcad.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  17. #17
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wanders View Post
    This is the plan.




    And after that, I will curse myself for - getting the wrong brand, the wrong frame material, the wrong size, the wrong components...

    This I have done time and time again with MTB, road and commuter.

    The hand wringing I will be doing for the next 6 months would embarass even Pcad.
    Ahh...see there's the diffference. Me I buy the bike and ride it. If it doesn't work out as well as planned then I "have to" sell it and buy a new one to work appropriately. Of course I always buy the new one first and the original one just never seems to get sold....

  18. #18
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
    Race the 520, but when you eventually get a dedicated cross rig - like you definitely will - you'll curse yourself for not having done it sooner.

    I only say this because I have seen it happen time and time again.
    If we were talking road bikes I'd agree, but for the life of me I can't see why people spend big $$ on a cross frame between the low pressure in the tires and the inevitable falls. I'm sure a CF Smidley X-eye is the best bike ever, but now I understand why the Major Jake is aluminum with 105 components.

    (and yes, someone will now chime in about deep carbon wheels, but that's a different story.)
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    You can upgrade the 520 now by purchasing STI's from Performance or Nashbar. At least for the cassette side since you will not be shifting between rings during a race. I don't know how using the bar end shifter would work when the bike is bouncing, bogged down or you are out of the saddle coming out of a slow section all the while being out of breath and about to blow.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
    If we were talking road bikes I'd agree, but for the life of me I can't see why people spend big $$ on a cross frame between the low pressure in the tires and the inevitable falls.
    Because a lot of folk actually take cross racing seriously.

  21. #21
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle View Post
    Because a lot of folk actually take cross racing seriously.
    So a Kona or Redline isn't for serious cross racers? C'mon.

    It's fine to get a sweet bike if you can afford one - who wouldn't like internal cable routing (X-Night) - but getting a top end bike doesn't make you more or less serious than you would be without it.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
    So a Kona or Redline isn't for serious cross racers? C'mon.

    It's fine to get a sweet bike if you can afford one - who wouldn't like internal cable routing (X-Night) - but getting a top end bike doesn't make you more or less serious than you would be without it.
    The thread is about a Trek 520, not a Kona or Redline. I never said Konas or Redlines aren't serious racing frames. But there's also no reason to avoid a higher-priced frame because it's "just" a cross bike.

    FWIW I personally would not use internal cable routing on a cross bike, at any price.

  23. #23
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    You can upgrade the 520 now by purchasing STI's from Performance or Nashbar. At least for the cassette side since you will not be shifting between rings during a race. I don't know how using the bar end shifter would work when the bike is bouncing, bogged down or you are out of the saddle coming out of a slow section all the while being out of breath and about to blow.
    Option 11.

    I have 2 sets of ultegra shifters (9 spd) NIB that I could use for that. I wanted to see if I like the feel of the 520 first. One of our local shops has a "loaner" program where I'll be able to test race/ride a Ridley crossbow and/or a Fuji and compare that to the Trek. They have about 20 cross bikes in stock right now. It's nice having a place locally commited to cross. (Plug for Mock Orange in Winston) I've thought about selling the shifters and the bike and putting proceeds toward the dedicated rig.

    ...descisions, decisions.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  24. #24
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    I say part out/sell the 520 and get yourself a nice cross racing bike. With the right bike, you can race the crap out of it during the season and still do some light touring/commuting/winter training, etc. the other times. It all depends on where on the cross bike spectrum you want to sit.

    In fact, I would sell the 9sp STI's as well and just buy a good complete bike and upgrade things like the brakes and wheels later on. The Fuji's are a great buy in particular.

    Oh, and my 1st 2 cross races were done on a borrowed bike with bar ends, and I did not care for them at all. While they did not affect my shifting too much, they were just in the way during the transitions.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitterken View Post
    I say part out/sell the 520 and get yourself a nice cross racing bike. With the right bike, you can race the crap out of it during the season and still do some light touring/commuting/winter training, etc. the other times. It all depends on where on the cross bike spectrum you want to sit.

    In fact, I would sell the 9sp STI's as well and just buy a good complete bike and upgrade things like the brakes and wheels later on. The Fuji's are a great buy in particular.

    Oh, and my 1st 2 cross races were done on a borrowed bike with bar ends, and I did not care for them at all. While they did not affect my shifting too much, they were just in the way during the transitions.
    This sounds like good advice
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