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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 05-14-03, 12:15 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ocean Springs, MS
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Guidance on New Bikes

Whats up folks, I am trying to raise intrest in biking versus driving on the gulf coast in mississippi and need to outfit myself with some wheels. Best to lead from the front, eh? I have been looking at the bianchi axis and konas jake the snake, and from the research I have done these both seem to be the best choices for my application (riding along narrow ass shoulders, dodging roadkill and flying beer bottles, and occasionaly getting run off the road) I need my steed to be low maintenance, ungodly strong, and quick like a fox and as far as I can tell these seem to be great choices, BUT I have never spent over 1k for a bike. I can't make a decision without expert advice and I have been duped at bike shops before so I won't stick my hand in that flame again. Can anyone tell me if one of these is better than the other and also if there are any other alternatives (ie. trustworthy second hand, maybe a honest bike shop within 100 miles or so, etc.) Initialy the ride will be 20 miles a day but it will double if all is well. 'Preciate y'all.
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Old 05-14-03, 12:43 PM   #2
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I can't tell you which is better, although I really like my Jake. For commuting though, I actually my Surly Crosscheck the best. That may be an alternative to you and slightly cheaper and very tough and durable.
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Old 05-14-03, 02:19 PM   #3
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the axis and the jake are of pretty equivalent quality. i think the kona has a better frame [easton ultralite], but the bianchi has a carbon fork, which makes the ride smoother. i prefer the kona's rear gearing [it's a roadie 12-25], but the bianchi's mtb gearing would be good for climbing walls.

the truth is that these bikes -- along with the fuji cross -- are about the best values on the market. full shimano 105 or equivalent with really good frames.

i ride and race a kona major jake frame [same as this year's jake] with campy components, and i find the bike to be both bombproof and light... and nimble; you have no idea how much fun a cross bike can be.

take both bikes for test rides and buy the one that sings to you. if they both sing, go for colour.
when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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Cycling irregularly since 2002
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Old 05-14-03, 03:07 PM   #4
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Fuji Cross looks like a great value, that's for sure.
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Old 05-15-03, 03:26 AM   #5
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Jamis Nova is another contender.
For commuting you may want a few mods to a racing CX bike. Swap the knobbly cx tyres for a tough commuting one like a 32mm Specialized Armadillo (most puncture-proof model around).
If you are riding on wet roads, consider some fenders. SKS chromoplastic are the nicest ones.
A luggage rack and small pannier or rack-top bag will carry your load.
Most modern CX frames have threaded fittings for rack and fenders, but they are missing on some pure racing machines.

Make sure you get the correct size bike.
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Old 05-15-03, 10:34 AM   #6
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Happy to see another struggling with the decision!!!! It took less time and thought to buy my last Jeep than this damn bike. I'm ending up with a Fuji and MTB chain rings. Or maybe I am - today the LBS is goin to give me the $news on the changes I've requested. Funny how a Ritchey Pro X costs $160 to buy but in exchange is worth $0. The gearing was the most difficult decision.
Neat thing - this BB stuck with me during the decision process and the information was invaluable. I had to learn all new terminology - worse than computer lingo.

When is a gear not a gear? When it's on a bike!

I was at the LBS (Local Bike Shop) tryiing to decide if spending $1200 on a bike is really the epitimy of stupidity when a guy walked up to the counter with two wheels and the ring total was $1050. I got a whole bike for that!. Right then I quit whining about the cost. It's all relative!!!!!

When you buy is the time do do any changeouts! After that $400 doesn't cover a whole lot.

I'm still muddling whether to do clipless. Even though the LBS will give me 50% off shoes, I'm still going home with cheap plastics. The seat is another quandry. All of them compromise something. I do have a Bell Gel on my MTB and the stock Fuji was much more comfortable. For me - I want a seat that isn't slick. I don't like sliding around on the seat.

I am going to get the inline Ultegra gear indicator. Starting off using STI shifters with no indicator is more than I can handle.

Good luck with your final decision - I'm finally at peace!!!!!!!!!!
BTW - chech out our birth years - My choices might not fit your chronology - 40 years diff.

Last edited by tlippy; 05-15-03 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 05-15-03, 10:45 AM   #7
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I would also suggest looking at the Fuji Cross, I own one and it is avery good bike. I find the gearing to be low enough for all of my riding. If doing alot of steep hills, lower gear would be a bit nicer I agree though. i swapped out a few parts on the bike from my last bike frame I sold.
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