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  1. #1
    Commuter everichon's Avatar
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    Brevet bike compromise: help

    I am stuck between two "compromise" brevet bikes, and I would like your impressions. Aside from "best fit". I am looking at getting either:
    • a Felt Z70, aluminum frame, carbon fork, mostly 105 components and weighs less; or
    • a Surly Cross Check, which is all steel, weighs more, and has a less desireable compenent profile.

    I am irrationally phobic about carbon forks, and would prefer steel, but OTOH, I am strongly drawn to the brifters and the 105-ness of the Z70, and I think it is probably a slightly nimbler bike than the CC. Anybody ridden either of these on brevets?

  2. #2
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    I rode my 2001 CC on the DC Randonneur 2007 Brevets up to and incuding the 600K. It worked well for me. It may not have been the lightest and I may not have been the fastest but the bike held up well. It goes right along with my belief that the slower you ride the more time you get on your bike. Isn't that what we ride Brevets for?

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I picked up a Cross-Check late last year. Longest ride I've done on it so far is only 80 miles, though. That said:

    CC is very comfortable, very solid, very stable. It's excellent for rough surfaces. The crankset is quite versatile -- you can set it up as a compact double or a triple; LBS set it up for me as a a triple at no charge. Tons of room for fenders and wide tires. The components are good, and you can always upgrade them as they wear out. The bike climbs fairly well IMO.

    The only issues I've had so far are:

    - CC is a little bit slower than a true road bike -- to be specific, it seems like it's harder to go above 17-18mph on the flats, even with 25c slicks. (I don't expect this to be a problem for LD, only for fast group rides.)
    - the extra BB height feels a little odd at first.
    - sizing is weird: you should probably go for a CC that's 2cm smaller than you normally use. The higher BB throws things off.
    - not 100% thrilled with using bar-end shifters and a triple.

    I haven't quite figured out the reason for the performance difference, but my current guess is that most of it is the heavy rims.


    However, I will say that the Felt looks like a good alternative. I wouldn't sweat the carbon fork at all. I'm not a huge aluminum fan, but that may not be a problem if they constructed the tubing for comfort.

    If you are looking for speed and don't want wide tires or fenders, go with the Felt. If you expect to ride on a lot of rough or dirt roads, or use that same bike for other purposes (e.g. commuting, touring) the CC may be a better option.

  4. #4
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I'm phobic about aluminum frames, but really okay with carbon forks. I've had an aluminum frame fail on me, but no problems at all with three different carbon forks.

    My advice would be to keep looking. Lots more bikes out there than these two. I ride double centuries now, but back in my brevet days (late 80's early 90's) I rode steel/steel and it worked just fine!

    Rick / OCRR

  5. #5
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    i think a major consideration for you, considering your wet location, would be fender clearance, and then fender clearance with wider tires (28c+). does the felt offer that?

    you should also look at the Salsa Casseroll, it might be up your alley.

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I picked up a Cross-Check late last year. Longest ride I've done on it so far is only 80 miles, though. That said:

    CC is very comfortable, very solid, very stable. It's excellent for rough surfaces. The crankset is quite versatile -- you can set it up as a compact double or a triple; LBS set it up for me as a a triple at no charge. Tons of room for fenders and wide tires. The components are good, and you can always upgrade them as they wear out. The bike climbs fairly well IMO.

    The only issues I've had so far are:

    - CC is a little bit slower than a true road bike -- to be specific, it seems like it's harder to go above 17-18mph on the flats, even with 25c slicks. (I don't expect this to be a problem for LD, only for fast group rides.)
    - the extra BB height feels a little odd at first.
    - sizing is weird: you should probably go for a CC that's 2cm smaller than you normally use. The higher BB throws things off.
    - not 100% thrilled with using bar-end shifters and a triple.
    I bought a X-Check complete at the beginning of the year and I'll agree with just about everything listed above. Aside from being my distance bike, it's my commuter, so it sees every-day abuse and I can attest to its toughness. (24mi r/t commute, nothing longer than 80mi on it so far, though.)
    If you want a bike that's comfortable on rough roads and can take wide tires and fenders, the X-Check is a good choice. I haven't noticed much of a problem maintaining speed on it, but I also ride 28mm tires and I'm not topping much over a 17mph average anyhow. The stock DA-16 rims are heavier, but they're pretty strong for a 32h rim. I'm 235 pounds and ride some very choppy sections of road on a daily basis, and these wheels have held true for me.
    I've got a compact double up front, and the bar end shifters don't present any problems to me. My only issue is the stock brakes. The Tektro Oryx canti's are a bit on the weak side (if you're a big guy riding a lot of hills), so I'm replacing them.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  7. #7
    Commuter everichon's Avatar
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    I am considering the Casseroll--it's what I'd really like. It also pushes the budget envelope to the breaking point. Still might do it, though. Should last me a while.

  8. #8
    Brevet Rider BlueJay66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by everichon View Post
    I am considering the Casseroll--it's what I'd really like. It also pushes the budget envelope to the breaking point. Still might do it, though. Should last me a while.
    It's only money! Go for it!

  9. #9
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Honestly, if you're a light rider the CC is way overbuilt for what you want to do with it. I have a cross check I plan to do fully loaded touring with, but I tip the scales between 150-155 and less in the spring and summer.

    If you're talking strictly brevet's on decent pavement and light touring, a road bike will be great as long as it can fit full fenders (eyelets front and rear).

    Now if you want to hit some fire trails and do some extended tours with the same bike, than the cross check is your best bet.

    It doesn't look like the felt can take fenders, so as a courtesy to other riders, your back and your feet I would avoid it and pick something that does.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Madsnail's Avatar
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    Any idea how much a complete Cross Check with fenders weighs?

  11. #11
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I'm looking at a Gunnar Sport. It has a lower bb, long wheelbase and dropouts for a rack and fenders. It seems like a nice frame for a long ride.

  12. #12
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madsnail View Post
    Any idea how much a complete Cross Check with fenders weighs?
    When I built mine up I think it was about 27 lbs with fenders. As a comparison, the bike in my signature tips the scales at about 22 with fenders.
    Last edited by Hocam; 03-01-08 at 04:40 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member john hawrylak's Avatar
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    A check on the specs indicate Bottom Brackets Drops of
    Surly Cross Check 66 mm
    Salsa Casserole, 76 mm

    I think the Casserole with the standard Bottom Bracket Drop is the better choice for normal road riding. The Cross Check is more for cross country, and the short BB drop provides extra ground clearance, which is not needed for long distance road. Note, a Waterford Road Sport (for long distance) has a 80 mm BB drop.

  14. #14
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madsnail View Post
    Any idea how much a complete Cross Check with fenders weighs?
    It's a tank when compared to just about any road bike. With fenders and racks mine tops 30 pounds (it's a 61cm frame, though.)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by everichon View Post
    I am stuck between two "compromise" brevet bikes, and I would like your impressions. Aside from "best fit". I am looking at getting either:
    • a Felt Z70, aluminum frame, carbon fork, mostly 105 components and weighs less; or
    • a Surly Cross Check, which is all steel, weighs more, and has a less desireable compenent profile.

    I am irrationally phobic about carbon forks, and would prefer steel, but OTOH, I am strongly drawn to the brifters and the 105-ness of the Z70, and I think it is probably a slightly nimbler bike than the CC. Anybody ridden either of these on brevets?
    My personal feeling is that a light carbon or aluminum/carbon cyclocross bike with road gearing is the best bet. Room for fenders and wider tires, off road capable. Should be a little more durable than a road bike.

    If you want to do some medium weight touring go with a cross check but for purely brevets you want a light responsive good riding bike thats close to a road bike in feel.

  16. #16
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    I rode a Gunnar Sport on PBP. It really has a marvelous ride. I carried a Carradice saddlebag and a modestly loaded (7 pound or so) handlebar bag. I did upgrade to the Waterford fork, since I think that a straight-blade fork transfers more road shock than a traditional curved-radius fork. I put a third set of water-bottle bosses on and got S&S couplers installed. My only criticism is that the paint seems more fragile than I think it should be. Others have voiced the same criticism. I've heard that Gunnar has modified their painting procedures though.

  17. #17
    Steel Frame BrooklynRider's Avatar
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    Bianchi Volpe is a very nice ride as well. All Steel. Lightish for touring steel and not expensive compared to a Trek 520. Has double braze-ons on the chain-stay and braze-ons on the cro-mo fork. Tiagra brifters and Deore 9-speed rear. Only problem with Tiagra Shifters, IME, is the gear cables interfere with larger bar bags.

    http://www.bianchiusa.com/05_volpe.html

    If you plan to ride mostly road, you could switch the tires for a 28 rear and 25 front. 32 on the front will not go 35mph well in a turn (downhill)!

    If I were going to do tours again, I'd buy one tomorrow and swap a number of things off (Brooks saddle, tires, etc.), and of course, add fenders. It also has the fuel bottle braze-ons for white gas.

    If you have no desire to tour, the sport bike option, including the Felt you mention might be the better way to go. However, on long rides like brevets, a rack may prove very useful. I'm not a fan of seatpost racks, personally.
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; 03-01-08 at 04:37 PM.

  18. #18
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    volpe... interesting.

  19. #19
    Commuter everichon's Avatar
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    I just bought a built-up new Surly Pacer, on ebay, from a bike store I used to frequent when I lived in Milwaukee. I am fully in official-Red-Ryder-carbine-action-two-hundred-shot-range-model-air-*****-with-a-compass-in-the-stock giddy mode. Thank you all for your counsel, and I will follow up with a ride report or two!

  20. #20
    Commuter everichon's Avatar
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    Also: Volpe had been on my short list for a while--the two test rides I did left me noncommittal. Not a bad bike, in any case. I think with some simple mods it would be fine for distance stuff.

  21. #21
    Steel Frame BrooklynRider's Avatar
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    The Volpe is really a tourer, so if you're interested in brevets like Paris-Brest-Paris then of course on a Volpe you'll likely fail the 90 hour requirement!

    Depends on how much you got, and what kind of Brevets you intend to do!

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