Marin Muirwoods vs Cannondale Quick CX 4 (2014 models)
Hey everyone. I've been looking at the Marin Muirwoods 29er and the Cannondale Quick CX 4 2014 models which just came out. I'm looking for a rugged bike that I can use for commuting around Chicago (not too far), but I also want to be able to do some adventure riding and go on some of the casual wood chip or gravel forest preserve trails that are in the Chicago suburbs. Initially I had looked at the Cannondale Quick 4, but I think the CX 4 will be better suited for adventure riding, yet not too rugged to make it impractical for 3-6 miles rides around the city. That said, the Muirwoods 29er tires probably aren't as appropriate for trails.
I went to a dealer today and was able to see a 2014 Cannondale Quick CX 4. The Cannondale site doesn't seem to have any info on the model yet, but I took pictures of the bike/specs in the catalog that my dealer had.
Also, I like the look of the Muirwoods, but it seems like the 2013 model has better specs than the 2014. The 2014 has Altus and Alivio front and rear derailleurs, and the 2013 has Acera and Deore. As far as I can tell, the front and rear derailleurs are one step up from the 2014.
So, here are my questions.
1. Can anyone confirm that the 2013 model has nicer specs all around? I like the fork on the 2014 model, but otherwise, the 2013 will be cheaper and seems to have better specs.
2. If I get the Muirwoods and want to take it on trails, would I need to replace the tires?
3. Is the Cannondale a better bike, or a better fit for the type of bike riding I described?
My budget is $600-800, and I don't want to spend much more as I want to be comfortable locking the bike up. Any information that anyone can provide would be much appreciated! Have a great rest of your weekend.
The '13 has a curved fork,which at least in theory should provide a better ride,and slightly better derailleurs. The '14 has better brakes and tires.
Given the all-steel construction and wide tires,and Shimano's use of trickle-down technology,I would think that the '14 still rides and shifts well enough that I'd rather have the hydros and Schwalbes.
C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L
Edited my reply because I just realized you were looking at the Quick CX 4, not the non-CX models. Both the muirwoods and CX are great bikes. The Muirwoods feels a lot longer than the CX and it's heavier, but it's also better spec'd.
For the muirwoods, I (personally) would favor the 2013 over the 2014 model, especially if you can get a 2013 at a discount. I'd still get the 2013 instead of the 2014 even w/o a discount, but that's just me. The muirwoods is an awesome bike, I've always been a big fan of the line. I've ridden the 2013 many times, you might be able to get away with the tires already on the bike.
The Quick CX 4 is a nice bike too, I've ridden one and was amazed at how light it felt. I also liked the geometry and the shorter top tube on the CX. I was a lot easier on my neck and shoulders.
This is going to come down to fit. Ride them both and decide. You can't go wrong with either. For me, the CX 4 was a better fit, but I prefer the color scheme and components on the muirwoods.
teicher, thanks for your reply. It turns out that I can't actually find a 2013 CX 4 in a large. Also, I can't seem to find any local stores with a 2013 20.5" Muirwoods in stock. However, I think I'll test ride a 2014 CX this weekend, and a 22.5" Muirwoods. If I like the CX better, I'll see if I can track down a 2013 CX 4 somewhere, but that might be unlikely. Otherwise, if I like the Muirwoods (despite that I would be testing out a larger size), I'll order a 20.5" from REI and have it shipped to store. At that point, I think I could test the bike and return it if there are any issues.
The longer frame and heavier weight of the Muirwoods is concerning, but if the bike feels comfortable, it might not matter. Also, Chicago is pretty flat so I don't believe the heavier bike weight will be an issue for me.
I agree that the color scheme on the Muirwoods is nicer looking than the Cannondale. I'm more of a minimalist paint job type of guy, and it's hard to find bikes with a minimalist paint job. It seems like those paint jobs are saved for much more expensive bikes. I'll have to see what the 2014 CX actually looks like assembled. I don't really like how the Cannondale has "Quick" decals all over the frame.
Sounds like you are on the same journey I was in picking a bike and looking for the same things. I'll just throw 2 more models at you that you might consider. Raleigh Misceo 2.0/3.0 and the bike I ended up buying, the Kona Dew Plus. Both are good for commuting and riding trails and have the mimimal color schemes we both like.
The quick cx 4 logos were the loudest of the bunch to me too, but when you see one in person they appear more like stripes and are not quite as crazy.
As for the weight, you will notice the difference between the muirwoods and the quick when you pick them up. It honestly felt like a 4-5 lb difference between the two, but I didn't have a scale to verify. It probably won't be a big deal when you are riding around, but it was welcome to me since I was coming from a 30lb bike and the idea of a lighter model appealed to me. You can feel it when you test ride, it feels much lighter than it looks. The large diameter tubing makes you think it's going to really bulky and heavy, but it's nothing like that.
You'll know what I'm talking about when you ride them.
Did you get a 2013 Kona Dew Plus? I like the 2014 Dew Plus in root-beer brown, but it looks like Kona downgraded the rear derailleur from Deore to Alivio. It's annoying that both Marin and Kona downgraded from Deore on their 2014 models. I'll check with some dealers in the area and see if any have 2013 or 2014 models in-stock.
As for the 2013 CX 4, I saw a size medium in-person, but I definitely need a large and I can't find one anywhere in Chicago. I don't love the matte grey paint job/decals, but I could live with it. Also, I know what you mean about the frame thickness and light weight. I'm kind of looking for my new and second bike to be kind of like a Jeep Wrangler, and the CX 4 seems like a good fit. Not the most efficient bike but very reasonable for most things except extreme or niche activities (racing, mountain biking, long commutes).
I think for now, I'll see if I can find a Dew Plus at a local dealer. I'll also check out the 2014 CX 4 once it's built up at my LBS. If the CX 4 seems nice, maybe I'll get it. Otherwise, I can get the 2013 Muirwoods on sale at REI for $600, and I have $250 in giftcards to REI. It seems that the Muirwoods has the nicest components, steel frame, a pleasant paint job, and most people seem to like the bike (although it doesn't seem like there are a lot of owners out there compared to bikes from other major brands). If the one compromise with the Muirwoods is the weight, I might just deal with it. dynaryder mentioned that the 2014 Muirwoods has nicer tires and breaks, so I might consider that too. However, I don't know when REI will stock the 2014, and I assume it will be sold at full MSRP.
I got the 2013 Dew Plus. I'd be fine with the 2014 too, if they were available when I bought mine.
I wouldn't worry about the Deore/Alivio downgrade. The new Alivio is definitely redesigned and not at all like the old Alivio, which looked more like the Atlus. I think the reason why Marin and Kona made the change is that the Deore looks to be a 10 spd now, while the new Alivio is 8/9.
The muirwoods for $350 out of pocket would sure be a good deal, as long as it fits.
Hello. If you want to ride off road, the Muirwoods would be my recommendation due to its fork and geometry. Straight alloy forks would be my last choice for anything but smooth road riding and the Muirwoods has a very off road geometry.
As for sizing, the Muirwoods have very long top tubes. I'm 5-10 and ride a 17.5", which has a 590mm top tube
Mine weighs about 27 lbs with a few component changes. It rides very well, except for hairpins and switchbacks - which is not a weight issue. I weigh 138lbs and don't have an issue with climbing past some roadies on their 17lbers.
DorkDisk, thanks for your reply. It's interesting to hear that you are 5-10" and ride a 17.5". I'm 6" tall with most of my height in my legs (I also have long arms), and I assumed I needed a 20.5". If it turns out that I need a 19", I won't be able to order the bike online and have it shipped to my local REI, but I can find one at a store that is 85 miles away. The REI person I spoke with in an online chat said that REI stores can't transfer merchandise between stores. Maybe I'll call a store and verify that that's the case. Also, I'll double check the Muirwoods measurements again and see which size seems more appropriate. I usually ride a 56cm road bike.
I also bought mine at REI. They tried to get me on a 19" because the stock seatpost wasn't long enough but I checked the geometry chart and 590mm is what most of my mountain bikes use so I just bought a longer seatpost. My cycling inseam is 34" so I also have long legs for my height
I'm usually between sizes and always opt for the smaller frame for nimbleness, shorter head tube, and slightly lower weight.
I think I'll drive to an REI that's about 20 miles away and check out their 17" Muirwoods. If that's a little too small, I'll order the 19" at an REI that's 100 miles away. If the 19" seems too small, which seems unlikely, I'll order the 20.5 and have it shipped to the REI close to me.
The only other thing to think about is whether I should consider getting the 2014. As dynaryder mentioned, the 2014 has better breaks and tires, and it has an integrated headset and a straight fork. I'm not sure if the fork or headset will really make a difference. All the other changes to the 2014 seem negligible, or lower spec in the case of the derailleurs. I'm guessing the 2014 would cost me an extra $100-150, and I'm not sure when REI will get 2014 models.
DorkDisk, have you made any modifications to your Muirwoods? I've heard of some people cutting down the handlebars (which I'll probably do as Chicago has busy streets). I've also heard that Novelas are bad breaks, and it's possible I'd upgrade my breaks whether I get a 2013 or 2014. Also, did you put a rack on your Muirwoods?
Thanks to everyone for all of your replies thus far.
The 17" will most definitely be too small. Also, the seatpost will not be long enough for you to even try it.
I cut 2" off either end of the bars before I even took it out of the shop. The hard cheapo grips were replaced instantly for proper Kraton grips
Then I swapped the seatpost for a longer one and added my favorite saddle, although the stock seat is quite comfy
Of course, the pedals had to go for XT SPDs
I then swapped out the crankset because I detest 48/38/28 rings. I put in a 46/36 Shimano CX50 for better gearing and lower q-factor.
The Tektro Novelas were the next to go in favor of Deore hydros. I like 1.5 finger levers and the stopping power is much better
That's pretty much it. None of the changes were for lower weight but for personal preference and functionality. The next item I will change are the wheels for something lighter but these will do until something breaks on themhdr_1375241782800.jpg
I just called REI and ordered the 19" Muirwoods. If the 19" is too small, I can order the 20.5 online, or if I don't like bike/ride, I can always return the bike.
I'm hoping that the REI I'm going to will cut the bars down for me. They have a service and repair center so hopefully there won't be a problem. I keep hearing how crazy wide the handlebars are and I'm curious to see them for myself.
I'm going to hold off on swapping any components out, but I will get some sweet new grips and a 29er disc-compatible cage.
DorkDisk, do you think the Muirwoods frame itself is well made and designed? It sounds like you find it to be a good base. I had originally wanted to get a USA made frame and build out a commuter/armageddon bike from scratch, but it's too expensive, and the Muirwoods seems more reasonable. I guess I could slowly invest in better components and can migrate the components to a future bike if or when the time comes.
Also, how is the paint-job on the Muirwoods? I used to have an orange Salsa La Cruz and I swear that the lightest tap would chip the paint. On the other hand, I used to have a 2001 LeMond Zurich, and other than scuffs to the gloss, the paint was super durable.
I'll definitely check-in once I get the bike! Thanks again.
I do believe the frame is well designed. It has a few nice touches like a gusset, machined headtube, teardrop profile main tubes, and curved stays. The seatpost slides freely and stays put with little torque; the BB threads are clean. I do have a dropout fetish, however and the plain ones on the 13 model don't excite me. The main tubes are double butted but in the end we are looking at a midprice steel bike, and the weight is evident when you pick it up. Welds are utilitarian and will not win any awards at the welder's convention.
I like high end steel because you can build lightweight bikes with a lively ride, but the prices are high now, and its not the best material for an urban bike (dings). There are few mid-price steel bikes these days, and this is one of the few urban/hybrids being made. Jamis makes a few steel models also and I almost went that route but the Marin attracted me because of its MTB profile, and I'm more of a mtber than a roadie
As for the paint, its not glossy or flashy. It's matte, and the decals are on top of the paint and are replacable. This doesn't bother me. It doesn't seem very fragile to me.
It's a very versatile and robust frame with a smooth ride worthy of a few upgrades.
I ordered the 19" at an REI in Wisconsin and I'll test it out tomorrow.
Also, I just randomly checked the REI website and noticed that the price of the Muirwoods dropped from $599 to $523.88. I called a Chicago-area REI (they only had a 22") to see if retail stores dropped prices and they did. Not only that, but apparently in the last two days a 20.5" was sent to the REI 20 miles North of Chicago. If the 19" doesn't work out, I can go pick up a 20.5" instead of having to order one online. Between that news and the price drop, I'm very excited.
Unfortunately, for anyone that might be interested in a Muirwoods, REI disabled the "Find in store" option on the site. 20.5" is the only size available online, but I was able to use the site to try to track down different sizes.
I ended picked up the Muirwoods 19" and so far the bike is working out well. Depending on which point I stand over the top tube, I have anywhere between 2 or 3 inches of space. I read that that is an acceptable amount of room for bikes that are occasionally taken off road. I have the seat raised to the 8 position on the seat post. The employee at REI was concerned that because we raised the seat a decent amount, maybe the handlebars were too low. He was supporting my idea of checking out the 20.5" at another REI, but I didn't end up doing that. I don't feel like I'm locking my arms, although if the handlebars were to be a centimeter closer it might be nice. I figure that can be done via a set of handlebars such as the Sala Pro Moto 2 riser. If I ride the bike a few weeks and feel like I bought the wrong size, I'll return to REI.
As for the rest of the bike, I had to stop at the Chicago REI to have disc break grinding and front derailleur chain rub looked at. Both issues were taken care of. I also had the mechanic cut off 1.25" off of each side of the handlebars. To my surprise, he did it by hand. Also, I was charged $12. I'll probably end up taking off another half inch on my own. I realize that I probably don't want to make the handlebars too narrow, but when I was riding in the streets of Chicago, I did feel like my wingspan had me a tad uncomfortable. My bar width is 25" down from 27.5". I put on some Oury locking grips on which are working out well.
So far the bike seems to ride well and the shifting is very crisp. I've only taken the bike out for around 10 miles of riding. I'm surprised how nice the welds on the frame are compared to some Cannondale Quicks that I've seen. It's not the weld job of a high end bike, but it's still much smoother than what I've seen elsewhere for $500-700 bikes.
I plan on changing out the tires with a wider road efficient knobby tire at some point in the next couple of weeks. I think that will make the bike even more comfortable and make the bike look a little cooler. Speaking of tires, I was surprised that REI used Schrader valve tubes instead of Presta. I'm not sure if they picked the tubes or if that' s what Marin includes. I'll probably change tubes when I go to change tires. Also, I have to say that as much as I like minimalist paint jobs and stealth bikes, I wouldn't mind some color on the Muirwoods. Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind if the frame had a solid color instead of charcoal, but still maintained the same clean graphic design.
In the time since taking the Muirwoods home, I did more bike research (maybe too late). I discovered the Surly Ogre and for a while I was really wondering if I should have gotten that bike. However, after rationalizing that I'm not actually going to go bikepacking anytime soon, and that the Surly is probably minimally three times what I paid for my Muirwoods (and I'd prefer to build it up custom), I decided that I should keep the Muirwoods and enjoy it. It seems to be a great bike, especially at $523. I can upgrade some components to make the bike better, and to add some color, then I can take my aftermarket components to a new bike when the time comes. I would hope that a year from now I could still get $250 for the bike.
I'll take some pictures of my setup once I receive my Axiom Journey rack in a few days. I guess there won't be much to see as the bike is pretty much stock.
Thanks again to everyone that contributed to this thread. Hopefully the thread will stay alive and provide information on the newer models of the Muirwoods.
I can say its a good bike! As I suspected, the stock stem is a pita. Its too low to be of practical value. A stem riser is a must with the Marin Muirwoods. It rides better with the stem at or slightly above saddle height.
I replaced the stock flat bars with cruiser bars. They seem to suit better the urban nature of the bike.