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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 09-06-02, 07:55 AM   #1
khuon
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CX bike suggestions

I live in the PacNW but once a month for about a week, I find myself in Ann Arbor, MI since I work for UMich (from remote). I at first was thinking about getting a bike case and just fly my bike every month (my employer has agreed to reimburse me for the baggage handling fee) but statistically speaking this increases the chance my bike would get lost or damaged. My other option would be to buy a bike and just keep it around in Ann Arbor at the office. I've lived in MI before and grew up in the midwest. I know what the roads are like around here... especially after the winters. Since I would probably also be using this bike for commuting as well as "stress management" and boredom relief year round, I was thinking of getting a cyclocross bike (I already have a MTB and RB at home).

I'm 5'5" (5'5-1/2" during high tide) and I ride a 48cm RB although it's an Aegis Aro Svelte and typically people ride a smaller Aro Svelte frame than they would a frame from other manufacturers. Also, the Aegis is closer to 49cm I think. I haven't seen any CX bikes smaller than 50cm. Could I get away with riding a 50? I'm also looking for a bike with at least Tiagra (I don't like Sora shifters) and if at all possible a carbon fork but would like to stay under the USD$1000 mark... I know that's asking a lot.

Also, Ann Arbor is fairly flat. I have a 12-27 and a 39/53 double on my RB to tackle the Seattle hills but I'd imagine that I could get away with a 12-21 for this bike. Or would people suggest I stick with a common set of gears to make things similar? I am currently thinking about new closeout or previous year's bikes but I'm not ruling out used. Any suggestions on brands/models?
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Old 09-06-02, 04:08 PM   #2
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Check out the LBS around Ann Arbor. Two Wheel on Packard has a few cross bikes, but they are all above about $ 1000. The more common cross bikes are probably the Kona Jake the Snake, Trek X01, Jamis Nova, Bianchi Axis, and Fuji Cross. You should be able to get Tiagra or better on all these bikes. Unfortunately, nobody around here carries Kona, as I think their bike is the best bang for the buck.

FWIW, I think a cross bike is a good idea for one bike to have here. You can ride through the winter if you want, it's better for commuting, you can ride trails, and anytime you want you can put road tires on it and it behaves just like a road bike!!
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Old 09-07-02, 07:02 PM   #3
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check the FS forum...someone's selling a LItespeed Blue Ridge framset that might be your size.
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Old 09-08-02, 12:09 AM   #4
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Originally posted by Guillermo
Check out the LBS around Ann Arbor. Two Wheel on Packard has a few cross bikes, but they are all above about $ 1000.
I swung by there Friday on my way to the airport. I remember when that place was occupied by a pet store. |8^)

I told the salesperson (owner?) my story and he said that the only thing he had in that price range was a LeMond "Poprock". Unfortunately, the LeMond was in the other store. He did point me to a Gunnar he had sitting on a stand. It was a 46cm... a little small but he welcomed me to test ride it anyways. It was also a little over my budget ($1700) but he said that he could downgrade the components from 105 to Tiagra and bring it in around $1200. The Gunnar rode very nice. I like steel and was glad for the steel frame and fork. I did have a slight issue with the rear canti brake arms rubbing on my calves when I went out of the saddle. I don't recall ever having this problem with cantis before but that last bike I had cantis on was my old hardtail MTB. I do get some brake noodle rub from my V-brakes on my current MTB though but it's a full suspension design with a single-pivot swingarm that's down pretty low.
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Old 09-08-02, 07:19 AM   #5
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I did see a LeMond Poprad at the other store that might be your size. I don't think it's spec'd very well, but if the frame is that same 853 then who cares!
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Old 09-08-02, 12:08 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Guillermo
I did see a LeMond Poprad at the other store that might be your size. I don't think it's spec'd very well, but if the frame is that same 853 then who cares!
Yeah... he said it had Sora. I'm not fond of that at all. I asked him to price out an upgrade to Tiagra. He said it by the time things were all said and done, it would cost pretty close to the Gunnar. Given that the Gunnar has a better fork and better cranks, I'd probably go with the Gunnar but then again I haven't test ridden the LeMond yet.
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Old 09-12-02, 10:28 AM   #7
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I haven't seen any CX bikes smaller than 50cm.
I just found out that the Redline Conquest is available in 48cm. As Redline is a Seattle company I'm sure you could find one. Plus, you could get a much better grupo for the money. Personally, I love Gunnar but you could always upgrade the frame later. I've a Conquest Pro and it rocks. After having quite a few AL mt bikes and recently purchasing a steel Rocky Mountain, I swore to never again ride AL. I bought the conquest because it was such a good deal and the smooth ride has amazed me. Just thought I'd chime in, there is nothing worse than having a bike that doesn't fit quite right.
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Old 09-12-02, 05:29 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, the Kona Jake the Snake comes in a 49 cm, and it has a sloping top-tube, so you'll have more standover. The rule of thumb for cross bikes, at least ones to be used off-road, is to get a size smaller than your road bike. Having said that, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Your overally height is not as important in this metric as your inseam length.

The Kona frame is very, very nice. It's a little more compliant than the Redline and it has a racier geometry than the Bianchi.

I ride a greatly modded 2001 Kona Major Jake. I love it.
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Old 09-13-02, 08:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rotifer
As Redline is a Seattle company I'm sure you could find one.
Although I live in Seattle and do have a LBS/FBS (favourite bike shop), I'll be using the bike in Ann Arbor, MI almost exclusively so I'd prefer to source the bike locally there (hope that made sense) not only because I don't want to fly the bike after purchasing it but also to establish a remote LBS relationship. However, if I can't find anything in A^2, I'll resort to shipping a bike from Seattle.
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Old 09-13-02, 09:43 AM   #10
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I just had a bike shipped FedEx from the Midwest, it only took 3 days. I understand wanting to establish a LBS relationship there.
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