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  1. #1
    MSR
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    greetings. i've been lurking, searching archives, and soaking up as much information as possible, but some questions remain. i'm currently in the market for a cyclocross bike, and i believe i have narrowed it down to two choices.

    i would like to compete in cyclocross events, but am not highly competitive so no need for something pro/race level. i also need a bike to use for the MS150, and other charity rides, with just a tire swap. additionally, my wife and i like to ride trails in state parks on weekends.

    my choices are between a kona JTS at $990, or a bianchi axis at $1200, both '06 models. i'd appreciate any and all input. i'm not averse to upgrading components as they wear, so i'd tend to favor a quality frame that lasts over component level for the initial purchase.

    my second question is regarding bars. i can't quite figure out if it's possible to use flat handlebars with cyclocross bikes, assuming no change in components other than the bar, brake levers, and shifters. my goal is to use a flatbar for the weekend trail rides, and the supplied bars for everything else. is this feasible? if so, what specific brake levers and shifters can make this work? do i need new cables as well? roughly how long and how much work is it to swap bars, levers/shifters, and cables?

    thanks very much.

    -michael
    Last edited by MSR; 12-13-05 at 07:32 PM. Reason: spelling errors

  2. #2
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    swapping bars and shifters and cables more than say, once at the beginning of cross season, and once at the end sounds like a lot of effort (read pain in the ass). i'd say stick with one set up. you can race flatbars in most races as long as they have no bar ends and you can use drops off road(if it gets too squirrley for drops you're probably pushing a cx bike close to it's limits anyway.)
    between the kona and bianchi i'd go with what fits best. i have an axis and love it but i bet i'd love a jts too. both alu frames and cf forks. can't go too wrong with either. if you are going to do lots of offroad riding the triple of the axis may come in handy.

  3. #3
    MSR
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    thanks for the input.

    unfortunately, i don't have the opportunity to try the JTS, so i can't compare the feel/fit of the 2.

    i noticed the bianchi appears to have v-brakes, not cantis, and also appears to have mountain bike crank, derailleurs, etc. does this make it easier to convert to a flat bar? if so, then the extra initial cost of the bike might be worth it.

    -michael

  4. #4
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    you might want to look at the Trek xo1. My 2006 came in at about 1000

  5. #5
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    Bruce Gordon has a brake/shift cable coupler that he claims allows you to change bars in 3 minutes without adjusting anything. i've never used it or heard of anyone who has, but it might be worth a look.
    http://www.bgcycles.com/access.html

  6. #6
    crushing all limitations
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    Two suggestions:
    If you get a cross bike,keep the drop bars! Riding on some light off road stuff with 'em isn't bad once you get used to it, and 'cross bikes usually come with wider bars than road bikes. If you're planning to ride anything that's so gnarly that it requires a flat bar to stay in control, the skinny 'cross tires probably won't be able to handle it anyway.

    or, if you must ride with flat bars, there are plenty of "flat bar road bikes" out there (and no, I'm not talking about a hybrid or a comfort bike) with V-brakes designed for commuters and those who generally prefer a more upright riding position. If you got one of these and some extra 'cross tires it would still suit all of your needs and might even save you a few bucks vs. a genuine 'cross bike. The Jamis Coda is a great example. Its steel frame can really take a beating!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I agree that trying to swap bars back and forth isn't worth it. Besides, if you ride your cyclocross bike on trails with the drop bars, it will make your handling skills better when you race. Otherwise you are effectively riding two different handling bikes. The gearing on the Axis makes it a better all around choice. The Bianchi website shows cantilevers on the 2006 Axis. The only way to run V-brakes on drop bars is to use a special device to pull more cable (one brand is called a "travel agent") or to run bar end shifters and Diacompe 287-V levers. I've heard that the travel agent is not so good. V-brakes with bar end shifters is exactly what I run on my Surly. I love that set up but it is a little harder to shift when bouncing around than STI levers. If the Axis you are looking at does indeed have V-brakes, it is probably one of the two set ups I just described.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    By the way, what makes you think you need flat bars anyway? I've ridden my cyclocross bike on hard core mountain bike trails and it isn't that difficult. I recommend getting a pair of Salsa cross levers for the tops of the handlebars - that way you can still hit the brakes when riding the tops of the bars.

  9. #9
    MSR
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    i guess i'm intimidated by the thought of trail riding with drop bars, but you're all making me feel better about it. i'll try it and see, so the flat bar isn't a prerequisite. again, thanks for the input. (btw, that bruce gordon device looks pretty cool.)

    i do see bianchi lists cantis on the website. now i'm doubting if i remembered what i saw on the bike correctly.

    -michael

  10. #10
    +++++++++++++++ xccx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSR
    i guess i'm intimidated by the thought of trail riding with drop bars, but you're all making me feel better about it. i'll try it and see, so the flat bar isn't a prerequisite. again, thanks for the input. (btw, that bruce gordon device looks pretty cool.)

    i do see bianchi lists cantis on the website. now i'm doubting if i remembered what i saw on the bike correctly.

    -michael
    you will be fine with drops on trails. i bet you will get used to in in less than 1 hr. plus, you can get top-mount brakes if you want (if the bikes dont come with them already), and those will help with your confidence.

    i was intimidated at first too, because i came into cross from an mtb background. but now i use my cross bikes for all but the most hairy mtb rides. i often race xc mtb on my cross bikes, and i'm at the point now where i like drops better. you can get some ergo bars like the salsa bell laps which are perhaps more suited to rough/trail riding than regular drops (it's a matter of preference though), or, you could look into "dirt drops" like the on-one midge bar, which is a super shallow drop style bar with a flare. these are sweet and they give you good leverage and a good hand/braking position in the drops (they are meant for cross/trail riding).

  11. #11
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    Its always a difficult decision to decide between bikes. I'm looking at the JTS and the specialized tricross sport. Both good (lower end price) bikes, with $100.00 of each other. The JTS has always had good reviews. I'm trying out the tricross this weekend. Just came out for 2006. It comes with a carbon fork, and looks good (black vs orange, if color is an issue!).

  12. #12
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    i used my axis for a week in sedona in az. in the springtime. mostly singletrack stuff and rocky fireroads, but i find drops no prob. i set my shifters a bit higher on the bars for more upright control and leverage lifting the front wheel. run as low a tire pressure as you can get away with and you'll be surprised at what you can get up and down. you can also throw on some in-line levers and basically have a flat bar set up anyway.
    good luck with your purchase.

  13. #13
    MSR
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    i guess there's nothing wrong with either choice, so it's down to personal preference vs price vs logistics. thanks everyone for all the input.

    -michael

  14. #14
    Senior Member greybeard87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSR
    i guess i'm intimidated by the thought of trail riding with drop bars, but you're all making me feel better about it. i'll try it and see, so the flat bar isn't a prerequisite. again, thanks for the input. (btw, that bruce gordon device looks pretty cool.)

    -michael
    Once you get used to them drop bars are really fun on the trails. Plus the mountainbikers will stare at you in disbelief.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Peace and Bike Grease

  15. #15
    Senior Member Iffacus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greybeard87
    Once you get used to them drop bars are really fun on the trails. Plus the mountainbikers will stare at you in disbelief.

    Especially those on full on Downhill machines when you ask them to get out of the way as you blow through them on a fireroad descent
    Prerace, I use a misplaced faith in my innate ability, with a dose of needless optimism. For recovery, I use self-delusional techniques.

  16. #16
    NC CXR
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    BIANCHI AXIS Hands down.. I had one I rode the Bridge to Bridge with it and raced Cross and....... Raced a MTB race or two and it was all good. Bianchi Axis is speced with Shimano Cantis, a ****gino triple -- ditch that POS right away and Ultegra/105 components. Good stuff except the crank.

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