Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-26-05, 11:34 AM   #1
kully
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
hi all-

have been looking through this forum and finding lots of great information; but was hoping to get some more specific advice. here's some background:

-i live in the seattle area and am looking to buy a bike that i'll primarily use for commuting to/from work. i will occasionally also use it for errands, short fun rides, etc. i may go off-road very occasionally. but i will NEVER use it for racing or any kind of competitive activity.

-my commute will be about a 7-mile ride on regular roads (paved, bumpy, potholes, ruts, etc) that are fairly hilly. the hills are a bit of a struggle for me right now, given my (lack of) conditioning, but i'm assuming that'll improve over time.

-my main requirements (i think) are (1) very comfortable ride (over bumps, etc), (2) easy to ride up/down hills, (3) good braking in rainy weather, (4) ability to put fenders and a rack for panniers.

-i went to a couple of local stores and asked for advice. one recommended a cyclocross bike (the lemond poprad, in particular) and the other recommended a flat-handlebar bike (like the kona dr. dew).

-i've spent just a bit of time trying drop-down handlebar bikes and flat handlebar bikes and think i have a preference for the drop-down ones mostly because it seems like having more hand positions would be helpful. but if i'm overlooking something that makes the flat-bar bikes better for commuting on hilly roads, i'd love to hear it.

-if i get a dropdown handlebar bike, i definitely want to have brakes on the top part of the drop-down handlebars, in addition to the drop-down part.

-the poprad seemed pretty nice, but the easiest gear didn't seem easy enough for a couple of the steeper hills (again, probably due to my conditioning).

-i also tried the fuji cross pro at an out-of-town store when i was travelling and liked a lot about it...but only rode it for a few minutes.

-i saw in the most recent publication of bicycling magazine that they named the schwinn dbx one of the top bikes for 2005, though i can't really tell why it's any better than other cyclocross bikes.

okay, so now my questions:

-should i care about disc brakes vs. pull brakes? some bike stores seem to say that disc brakes are better for rainy weather, but others say that mechanical disc brakes aren't much better than pull brakes and only hydraulic disc brakes make a significant difference.

-what would be a good bike for me, given the purposes described above? some of the ones discussed on this forum that sound interesting are: lemond poprad, kona jake the snake, fuji cross pro, soma double cross, surly cross check.

thanks in advance!

Last edited by kully; 04-26-05 at 11:51 AM.
kully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 11:42 AM   #2
markhr
POWERCRANK addict
 
markhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Acton, West London, UK
Bikes:
Posts: 3,783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/05/C...ge/5xr1red.jpg
__________________
shameless POWERCRANK plug
Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!
markhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 02:16 PM   #3
kully
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thanks for the suggestion. it looks like the cannondale has an aluminum frame (can't tell what the fork is). from what i'd read in other posts, it sounds like a steel frame provides a more comfortable ride, whereas an aluminum frame provides a more sporty ride, no? if so, wouldn't a steel frame be better for my uses than an aluminum frame?

kully
kully is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 02:55 PM   #4
markhr
POWERCRANK addict
 
markhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Acton, West London, UK
Bikes:
Posts: 3,783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I live in sunny, sunny london so rust(salt on the roads in winter) is a consideration for me. Yes, steel is a more comfortable(flexy) ride than Al.
__________________
shameless POWERCRANK plug
Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!
markhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 03:49 PM   #5
climbo
Member
 
climbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Australia
Bikes: a few
Posts: 2,404
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Lemond Poprad for a complete bike, steel frame, good value. Get top mount brake levers put on it and you're good to go. The canti brakes on a cross bike work good enough. Disc brakes are not necessary for our commuting needs. Once you get used to drop down bars, you'll like them, they are great for hills and commuting with extra hand positions etc. Gearing you can change out when you buy the bike, most cross bikes come with about the same gearing to start with. Also, the Jamis range has a cross bike, the Nova, very good commuter, steel frame, should last a long time. Basically you should go with something you can test ride it, like it and get what you want out of it, like having the shop add cross brakes leves and maybe change the rear sproclkets out for a lower gear.
climbo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 04:30 PM   #6
rnagaoka
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Bikes: 1984 Raleigh Kodiak Touring, 1992 Scott MTB, 2004 Fuji Touring
Posts: 275
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kully
-my main requirements (i think) are (1) very comfortable ride (over bumps, etc), (2) easy to ride up/down hills, (3) good braking in rainy weather, (4) ability to put fenders and a rack for panniers.

-if i get a dropdown handlebar bike, i definitely want to have brakes on the top part of the drop-down handlebars, in addition to the drop-down part.

-the poprad seemed pretty nice, but the easiest gear didn't seem easy enough for a couple of the steeper hills (again, probably due to my conditioning).
kully...as an option, have you considered a touring bike? (Not to dismiss the cyclocross bike fans, but check out the touring bike section) Seems that it would fit your requirements nicely. Low gearing, braze-ons (and clearance) for racks and fenders, long stays for no heel strike (important), usually steel framed, comfortable stretched out ride. As mentioned, add some levers for the top bar and you're set.

Cons might be a few pounds heavier, less responsive (and less cachet? )

Surly LHT, Jamis Aurora, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, REI Randonee, Cannondale T800 (aluminum frame, though) come to mind in your price range.
rnagaoka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-05, 06:56 PM   #7
MrEWorm
Senior Member
 
MrEWorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Aurora, IL
Bikes:
Posts: 265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Surly CrossCheck
MrEWorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-05, 01:09 AM   #8
stric
Senior Member
 
stric's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check out Kona Jake and Jake the Snake. both are great cyclocross bikes but even better for commuting and general use. They come with the mounts so you can add fenders and other commuting-related accessories. The cost is unde $1000 (jake the Snake is a bit more expensive model since it's meant for racing).
Check them ot www.konaword.com.
stric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-05, 04:35 PM   #9
Nightshade
Humvee of bikes =Worksman
 
Nightshade's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 5,363
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The answer to this question is that you DON'T need to spend anywhere
near $1500 on a bike to do the utility duties you describe. In fact you
should NOT spend that kind of money on any bike unless you're into
racing.

All that said there are two very good options that you should consider
very carefully before you spend any money. One is buy an older steel
framed road bike and either ride it as is if it's in really good shape ( read
less than $200) or buy a mid-range bike from a name maker that has a
steel frame (good luck on that one). Whatever you do AVOID aluminum
framed bikes if you want a good dependable fine riding bike. Now many
will claim that aluminum is Ok, but ask yourself why aluminum has to
add front (and or rear) shocks to get the same sweet ride a steel frame
gives naturally.

An older road steel road frame can be several bikes with minor modifcations
of the components with no major frame changes. The great part is a road
bike set up YOUR way is one sweet ride for everything.

Last edited by Nightshade; 05-04-05 at 04:48 PM.
Nightshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-05, 09:24 PM   #10
inja
Senior Member
 
inja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: takoma Park - PG co., MD
Bikes: Felt F55, Leader bike Road, Trek 2100(composite), Haro MTB, Cannondale m800, Devinci mtb.
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check out the FELT bikes!
They are REALLY decently priced for the components sets AND LOTS-o-CARBON!!!
http://www.feltracing.com/2005_bikes/2005_f65.html
inja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-05, 09:26 PM   #11
inja
Senior Member
 
inja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: takoma Park - PG co., MD
Bikes: Felt F55, Leader bike Road, Trek 2100(composite), Haro MTB, Cannondale m800, Devinci mtb.
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oops - Look at this one...
http://www.feltracing.com/2005_bikes/2005_f1x.html
inja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-05, 09:40 PM   #12
d-klumpp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Bikes:
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Disc brakes are awesome in wet weather. I've ridden my MTB through the worst rain storms that Chicago offers, and I have complete confidence in discs -- confidence that I never really had with V brakes in heavy rain.

In fact, I now consider discs essential for my urban riding (fast starts and very fast stops), and it's hard to imagine buying a bike without discs. I've been riding my new Jamis Coda Elite for 4 weeks now, and the Avid BBR brakes were one of the keys to my purchase decision. When I decided to switch to a hybrid after commuting on mtbs for 5 years, I really only considered the few bikes that offered dual discs:

Specialized Crossroads XC Pro
Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra (ugly to me)
Jamis Coda Elita (best components)
Kona Dr. Dew (ugly to me)

In addition the performance, the maintenance on discs is zero. I just replaced my pads on my MTB Avid brake (front only) for the first time after nearly three years. In the meantime, I've replaced my V brake pads (rear on MTB) numerous times and find regular adjustment essential for just-OK performance. The discs are always performing perfectly.

The only minor problem with the brakes is noise from road salt film or other dirt. The film is cleared after a couple hard brakings but is embarassingly loud when it does start (but it only happens a few times a year).

Anyway, I've rambled enough.

Good luck,

Dave
d-klumpp is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:50 PM.