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  1. #1
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    Newbie - what bike to buy?

    Hello, I was wondering if I could get suggestions as to what would be a good bike to buy, here is what I am looking for. I want a bike that I can take off road and hop up curbs with, go on gravel, dirt, etc. - but I also want it to be comfortable and perform well on the road as well. I think in the long run, most of my riding will be on a road or a paved trail. Perhaps I'm asking for a bike that doesn't exist?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    -James

  2. #2
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    Your ideal bike does exist. Check out some of the cyclocross bikes out there. What's your budget? I was in the same shoes as you just two months ago. But these bikes are out of my budget. I got a hybrid instead.

  3. #3
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    Hmmm what is a "cyclocross"? I haven't heard of that.... I was just reading some other posts and was directed to a site called "bikesrnottoys.com" Pretty good site so far. They have a nice table that lists different types of bikes and what they are used for. As you mentioned, it appears that a "hybrid" bike would suit my purposes pretty good.

    Perhaps if I was more specific as to what I would use it for people would be able to help me better. I am going to be going to college next fall and I was thinking of having a bike to get around campus on. So I would be riding on paved trails, dirt trails, etc., and having to hop off curbs and go down (2 or 3) stairs.

    My girlfriend's Dad is a pretty avid bike rider. He rides a recumbant (he and his wife even bought a tandem recumbant! nice bike!). I want to be able to go on rides with him as well, but he goes on some pretty long rides, so I want a bike that will work well for that too (25-50 miles).

    To answer your question about my price range, I am expecting to spend around $500.

    What hybrid bike did you purchase?

    Thanks,

    James

  4. #4
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    A cyclo cross bike is just about perfect for you application.
    Cyclo cross is the traditional sport of off-road racing, before mountain bikes came along. Its making a resurgence in the US and there are some great bikes around.
    They look a bit like road racing bikes at first, but are much more practical. They have wider tyres, and most models have the threaded eyelets you need for attatching a luggage rack and fenders.
    CX bikes are so much more fun than hybrids, light, tough and agile. If you put some thinner tyres on you can go pretty fast, but for everyday riding, some touring tyres will do the job.

    See Jamis Nova and Kona Jake-The-Snake, but there are plenty tof others to chose from.

  5. #5
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    Both of the above mentioned bikes are over $700. I got the Specialized Sirrus for $450.

    This is what I mean when I said I was in your shoes just 2 months ago.

    Need help buying my first bike!

  6. #6
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    Does the Sirrus suffer from toe-clip overlap with the front wheel ? A recent Cycle Tourist Club review highlighted this bug in the geometry. It was generally too cramped and short for the sporty handling and gearing.
    Sometimes test bikes are early production runs and manufacturers change the geometry to correct faults like this.

    The flat-bar/drop bar thing is not the problem, but you do need practical features, the right gearing, and a frame which is strong enough without weighing too much.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by MichaelW
    Does the Sirrus suffer from toe-clip overlap with the front wheel
    I’m not exactly sure what your meant by using that term…but I noticed that on slow turns, when my cranks are parallel to the ground, if I turn the wheels, the wheels will come in contact with my shoes! It gets annoying, but bearable since I do not make those types of turns regularly. Could it be the positioning of my clipless shoes? I think they’re positioned correctly. The balls of my feet are on the center of the pedal. Any suggestions? I know there are a few others on this forum who ride the Sirrus. Let’s see if they can shed some light on this matter.

  8. #8
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    That interference is called toe-clip overlap. It is cause by a frame which is too short. Designers like short frames because the specs sound more aggressive, sporty and marketable compared to a long wheelbase touring style bike.
    For fast racing its not a problem, since you can't turn the bars that far at high speed. For slow riding, eg manourvreing through traffic, dodging pedestrians, track stands at junctions etc, it can result in a spill as someone reported last week. You may be able to prevent it most of the time, but even experienced riders like myself sometimes ground the pedals on a hump or corner when we have too many other things to think about. Toe clip overlap is just one more safety factor to think about when you really need to concentrate on the traffic.
    IMHO this is a serious flaw in a bike which is designed for city riding and in the UK/EU would be illegal to sell.

  9. #9
    Senior Member KnightWhoSaysNi's Avatar
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    The manual for my new bike gave a warning about overlap, so it seems to be OK to sell tham that way. It happens on both my trek racer and dawes galaxy tourer

    However I would not accept it on any bike that goes off-road.

  10. #10
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Another vote for a cyclocross bike here. I love mine and ride it everywhere. I wouldn't take it on really technical terrain, but on hardpack and fire roads, nothing can beat it. A 'cross bike will be lighter and more nimble than almost any comparably-priced MTB. So it doesn't have suspension... We don't need no steenkin' suspension.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  11. #11
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    I won't argue against cyclocross bikes, but a hardtail MTB with slick or semi-slick tyres is a perfectly good option, particularly if fitted with a rack.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member lin_kieu's Avatar
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    I have a hard tail MTB, love it and ride it everywhere. That's my problem though, I have to ride it everywhere. I love riding on the road, and even though I've fitted my bike with semi-slick tires, and tried shaving weight off eevry way I can, it still doesn't feel as light and fast on the road as my friends road bike.
    Like most people, I bought a MTB because I had pictures off tearing down off road paths and thought the sturdier construction was great. Then I began riding on the roads with a friend and found out how sluggish it is on pavement. About that time I found cyclocross bikes, and was amazed there was such a bike as this. It looks like a road bike, but has thicker tubing and wider, knobby tires to take the punishment from off road. What I love about them though is the fact that you can put slick tires on them and you've got a pretty decent road bike. You won't be winning any road races or breaking new speed records, but it's a hell of a lot faster than a MTB on the road, and as far as I can tell, just as good on the trails I use my MTB on.
    I've got half the money I need to buy the one I want. Just need to save the next half. I am accepting donations.
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


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  13. #13
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    I was checking out Specialized's website and I found a section of bikes they call "Crossroads", are these what you call Cyclocross?

    Here is a link to the site:

    http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkFami...fan=Crossroads

    Can anyone else recommend a good cyclocross bike that is in the $500 range?

    Thanks,

    James

  14. #14
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    No, a Crossroads is a hybrid, if you want to see a cyclecross bike check out Independent Fabrications website, or Kona's they both have sweet rides!

    I would suggest, since it sounds like you're college bound. Get a mountain bike with slicks. You can get some as narrow as 1.0 inch w/p.s.i. ratings close to 100. Granted it won't be as fast or as light as a true road bike, but you'll ride in a more upright position and you always have the option to put the knobbies back on and hit the trails!

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  15. #15
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    I vote for a mountain style bike. I say mountain style because there are mountain hybrids just like there are road hybrids. I have a Trek Navigator 300 which is a mountain type hybrid with an 8 speed cassette on a triple chainring. It's also known as a comfort bike meaning it's got a cushy saddle, an adjustable upright riding position, a suspension seat post and an RST front fork suspension and 26" semi-slicks. I've ridden trails, sand, roads, rail trails, down curbs. I use it as a commuter and a rain bike and replaced the stock saddle with a lighter sportier touring saddle. For distances of around 20 miles and under, this is a very comfortable and practical bike which can handle a load with provisions for front and rear panniers. It's an ideal all around bike for getting around campus and it glides on the roads. It can be had for around $400. Giant has their version and Specialized theirs.

    My reasoning is that you mentioned you would be curb hopping and riding down stairs. That's mountain bike terrain. The smaller 26" wheels give you a lower center of gravity which translates into stability. On the downside, it is slower than a cyclocross or a road style hybrid and is not suitable for long distance touring.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  16. #16
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    Hmmm... sounds like I'm stuck somewhere in the middle.

    I do want to be able to ride long distances.... As I'm sure most of you know, up here in Washington State they have something called the STP, the Seattle to Portland. This is around 180-200 miles that is typically run over two days. Would a mountain bike with slicks be able to take this??? Probably not? What about a hybrid? That would probably be able to do it, wouldn't it???

    -James

  17. #17
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    The question is could your legs take it. A road style hybrid or cyclocross would be a better choice for long distance riding although there are mountain bike riders here on the forms who have toured with their mountain and mountain hybrid bikes long distances. It's more of a workout for your legs, that's for sure and definitely not as fast as a road bike but the gearing is appropriate for just about any type of terrain. Naturally slicks will roll faster and better on paved surfaces than knobbies. A road hybrid will do nicely off road but not for anything as aggressive as hopping curbs or riding down stairs. The cyclocross may not be a good choice for that kind of off road riding either but I honestly have little knowledge of these bikes.

    It sounds like you either have to get a road bike AND a mountain bike or decide just how aggressive you want your off road experience to be.
    Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...

  18. #18
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    This is a cyclocross bike. A gorgeous one by the way. I think Bianchi has a less expensive version (Velop???)

    Bianchi Axis -- It's Here!!!!!!!!!!!!

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