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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.

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Old 08-31-05, 12:27 AM   #1
rlotz
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I have the option to buy a 2005 Jake the Snake for about $20 more than the 2006 Bianchi Volpe out now. The normal retail for the JTS is $1100. I'm leaning heavily toward the JTS (I've only got a 24 hour hold on it) but am still wavering. Both bikes cash in at around $800, a fairly large chunk of change for me to drop right now. I'm looking for single bike to do everything, daily commute, longer weekend rides, and possibly (if I can get fit enough) a future cross race (for fun). I live in Seattle, so there

It seems the major differences between the JTS and the Volpe are that the JTS has an Aluminum frame and only two front chain rings, but better components (shimano 105). The Volpe is a steel frame and has three front chain rings but Shimano Tiagra and Deore components. I'm not sure how much the third front chain ring will matter during commuting/riding, I imagine it might help on some of Seattle's larger hills.

I've ridden the Jake the Snake a bit (gonna take it on a longer ride tomorrow) and enjoyed it. I haven't taken the Volpe out as the LBS that has them in stock didn't have one built in my size yet.

Should I jump on the JTS now? I figure if the worst case happens and I decide I need a third chain ring for larger commuting loads and big hills I could change out the front rings and derailer. And If I somehow manage to crack the aluminum frame in a few years I could always rebuild on a steel frame and reuse most of the components (I think?).

This is my first serious bike purchase, I'm just looking for some more experienced input before I go dropping a lot of money (for me). I'm not dead set on the Volpe if the JTS is not the way to go, but my budget does top out at about $800 pre-tax. The Surley cross-check is also appealing...

thanks!

Last edited by rlotz; 08-31-05 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 08-31-05, 05:56 AM   #2
arctic hawk
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I would go with the Kona JtS, if it was up to me. A bunch of fellows on our CX team own them & really like their bikes. By far, the best bang for the buck!
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Old 08-31-05, 06:54 AM   #3
islenska
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get the surly. more options, cheaper. cant go wrong. the jts is made for racing, so it might be more than you need right now. plus, if you want to, you can always race the surly.
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Old 08-31-05, 07:46 AM   #4
jpearl
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If your choice is only between the JTS and the Volpe, disregard the components for a second and just think about the frame which is the core of the bicycle. For the mix of riding you describe, I'd take an aluminum frame over a steel frame. I personally wouldn't want to take the risk of rust, especially on a cross/commuting/road bike that might see rain, snow, mud, water, and dirt.

As for the components, granny rings (tiny third chainrings up front) are for grannys and masochist MTBs who like to ride up grades that I usually use my rock climbing gear for. Tiny gears don't help you climb better, good form and a good body help you climb better. And besides, the more you ride, the more you'll favor higher gears anyway.

I'd say, personally, choose the JTS over the Volpe, and give the Surly serious consideration if you can find it. Otherwise, jump on the JTS and consider purchasing an extra pair of wheels to use on the road.
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Old 08-31-05, 09:45 AM   #5
rlotz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpearl
I'd say, personally, choose the JTS over the Volpe, and give the Surly serious consideration if you can find it. Otherwise, jump on the JTS and consider purchasing an extra pair of wheels to use on the road.
So now it seems like its down to a Surly or JTS. I'll have to do more hunting for a Surly, so far I haven't found anyone that has one in stock. Unfortunately going with the Surly would probably mean I could only afford Tiagra components instead of the 105s.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:04 PM   #6
jpearl
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The difference between Tiagra and 105 is nominal, and you wouldn't notice it at all. My Cannondale Cyclocross has a mix of Tiagra, 105, Truvative, and other stuff. It could be Dura-Ace and I would barely notice the difference. The frame is the most important component, and the JTS has a nice frame and mix of parts to get started.

Remember, Kona is a big player in the Cyclocross game. One of thier sponsered riders, Ryan Trembon (spelled a little wrong on the last name I think), is one of the top riders in the country. The Kona guys get lots of good feedback from thier pro riders as to what to put into the bike, and bikes like the JTS are well recieved by the CX crowd.

Now go get the JTS already. You'll have crazy amounts of fun with it. Eventually you'll play with the parts and start buying lighter and better components as your riding improves.
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