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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 04-19-07, 03:17 PM   #1
saj
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Another CX Newbie Needs Direction / Encouragement

Ok, I've been lurking here for months but this is 1st post. I've had MTB's for 20 years and now am ready to go CX (I think...) With family now there just isn't the time to go out, find trails, get lost, kill a whole day riding, so my riding has changed to....well....mostly commuting. I'd like to change that and here's what I'm planning

- Daily work commuting
- Midrange mixed surface rides (country, trail, gravel, hardpack, etc.)
- Have a multi-day ride 1x or 2x per year - nothing too aggressive just weekend getaway/camping
- Maybe keep up with Roadbike friends on weekend morning rides
- Get back into orgnaized events and enter some CX events - they might be called races, but I'll be a participant not necessarily a racer (used to do this on MTB's many many years ago)

Of course I want everything, but realize "everything" isn't a necessity. I can spend up to $1,000 (certainly don't want to if don't have to), but would go a bit higher if i could get everything I wanted (see question #1 below).


So here are the questions I could use your help with:
1) Am I looking for too much from one bike?

2) What are your top 3 bike recommendations

I'm a sorta old dog but ready for some new tricks...I think I need to give this a shot!

Thanks for listening and (hopefully) providing some direction and encouragement!

Last edited by saj; 04-19-07 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 04-19-07, 03:54 PM   #2
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1) wow. your post has reminded me of just how versatile a cyclocross bike is. I commute on mine, do weekend road rides and a few multi day rides and occasionally take it onto gravelly trails. I haven't done any cyclocross races yet. but yeah, you can do all that stuff with one bike. maybe two sets of tires but yeah one bike. I used to work as a messenger and the general consensus downtown was that if we could only have one bike

2) I haven't ridden too many cyclocross bikes, but I am in love with my Giant TCX. It's roadbike light and very fast. But the angles are a little more relaxed. I picked it up used but in great condition with ultegra shifters and derailers, fsa gossamer cranks and easton vista wheels (they'll do for now) for $800. aside from the wheels, I can't imagine how this bike could be improved. You can get in the game for probably as little as $700 for a new bike, for something like a Kona Jake. Other people like steel bikes, like the Lemond poprad or the Bianchi Volpe (maybe a touring bike?) or the surly crosscheck. the crosscheck is often slighted for being heavy and sluggish, but it's an affordable complete build and the frame is versatile with horizontal dropouts.But no one is going to be able to tell you what kind of bike you're going to like. The important thing is to ride a bunch of bikes if you can in your price range and see what you like. the important thing after that is to ride it. and stay away from the internet, where people like me spend too much time writing about bikes and pretending they know what theyre talking about and dissecting bike parts and weight and overthinking everything instead of riding.
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Old 04-19-07, 03:59 PM   #3
saj
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Thanks for the response. It certainly does seem to be the most versatile type, and can handle what I'm looking for.

What about rack mounts? I see that many CX frames exclude rack mounts, which could make the longer hauls more difficult. How much of a pain in the a** is it to set up a rack without mounts, or is it even possible? It seems insignificant, but racks are a factor.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-19-07, 04:24 PM   #4
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1) wow. your post has reminded me of just how versatile a cyclocross bike is. I commute on mine, do weekend road rides and a few multi day rides and occasionally take it onto gravelly trails. I haven't done any cyclocross races yet. but yeah, you can do all that stuff with one bike. maybe two sets of tires but yeah one bike. I used to work as a messenger and the general consensus downtown was that if we could only have one bike

2) I haven't ridden too many cyclocross bikes, but I am in love with my Giant TCX. It's roadbike light and very fast. But the angles are a little more relaxed. I picked it up used but in great condition with ultegra shifters and derailers, fsa gossamer cranks and easton vista wheels (they'll do for now) for $800. aside from the wheels, I can't imagine how this bike could be improved. You can get in the game for probably as little as $700 for a new bike, for something like a Kona Jake. Other people like steel bikes, like the Lemond poprad or the Bianchi Volpe (maybe a touring bike?) or the surly crosscheck. the crosscheck is often slighted for being heavy and sluggish, but it's an affordable complete build and the frame is versatile with horizontal dropouts.But no one is going to be able to tell you what kind of bike you're going to like. The important thing is to ride a bunch of bikes if you can in your price range and see what you like. the important thing after that is to ride it. and stay away from the internet, where people like me spend too much time writing about bikes and pretending they know what theyre talking about and dissecting bike parts and weight and overthinking everything instead of riding.
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Old 04-19-07, 05:21 PM   #5
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Hi:

I had similar needs to you and decided upon a Surly Cross Check. It can do racks, is made of steel, and can take big fat tires if you are so inclined. I also looked at Kona Jake the Snake that looks like a good set-up (I decided on steel vs aluminum and conservative colouring vs dayglo) but I don't know if it is set-up for light touring.

There are a lot of good options out there but I have been really happy with the Surly so far.
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Old 04-20-07, 06:53 AM   #6
saj
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Thanks. I'm very intrigued with the JTS...anyone know if it can take racks?
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Old 04-20-07, 08:24 AM   #7
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saj,

where are you at? You might want to look around at local message boards and ask at local bike shops. folks sometimes hold informal cross sessions.
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Old 04-20-07, 09:06 AM   #8
saj
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In the Chicagoland area and "yes" there are quite a few informal events, which I'm really interested in participating.

I'd like to make sure the bike I get can handle racks for commuting / light touring / etc. Does anyone know if the Kona JTS can handle racks?
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Old 04-20-07, 10:10 AM   #9
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saj--

I know there is currently some good times casual 'cross racing in Chicago parks going on courtesy of BF and ex-DCers cardstock and chimblysweep. They seem like nice people, so you might want to try getting in touch with them via PM or whatever.

I'm sure you can email/call kona or call a shop that sells them and they will tell you right off if the jake has eyelets to accomodate racks.

Or, you could search BF.

here's a thread that appears to suggest that the Jake in fact, does accomodate racks:
voila
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Old 04-20-07, 11:44 AM   #10
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My '06 Kona JTS has mounts for a rear rack. I got it at Bikeline in Naperville, so it's a bit out of the way if you live in the city. I don't commute on this bike, I use it for road rides, MUP, and some singletrack. It's a fun bike to ride overall, with a decent component spec and inline brake levers. This is my first bike with drop bars and having these extra brake levers has really helped me feel more comfortable with the bike.
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Old 04-20-07, 04:13 PM   #11
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i would choose a redline conquest

i ride a 07 redline conquest which can be found for less than 900.00 complete with clipless pedals , redline is one of the long standing & backing cross bike builders , they have rack mounts as well , do a search here in the forums and you will see they are one of the most recomended , thanks and good luck
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Old 04-20-07, 05:50 PM   #12
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I have a crosscheck and love it I do for its rediculous versatility and tank like construction and incognito-ness. It has horizontal dropouts so it can accept singlespeed/fixed/internal gear hub configurations (i believe the Volpe does too). Also 2 rack eyelets per dropout. With light (wheels and) tires you could definitelly hang with the roadies too. It is likely more suited to trailriding and touring than the Jake or Conquest but less suited to racing cross or fast road riding.
I'd get the Surly though if i could only have one bike, it's just so freaking versatile. The fact that you can fit 45-48mm tires on it make it more versatile than the Volpe, IMO. Worse comes to worse (or best): you love cross racing or road racing and you buy another more specialized bike in a year or two.
Either way you really cant lose.
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Old 04-22-07, 08:40 AM   #13
saj
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So I test rode the Redline Conquest Pro, wow great bike. Since I'm coming from always riding a mtb, I was surprised at how fast this bike was. The guy at the LBS was willing to come down in price to $1300 ($300) discount. I'd still like ride a couple more, Kona JTS and maybe another.

Any thoughts on whether this is good price?
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Old 05-26-07, 06:04 AM   #14
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I did it! ...and a pedal question

Ok, finally pulled the trigger and am now the proud owner of the Redline Conquest Pro that I've had my eye on for so long now! Having come from MTB's for the last 20 years, this bike seems so darn fast, and is!

Only had a hour or so to tool around with the it yesterday afternoon, but loved it. I am heading to Wisconsin for the weekend and you know it will be with me. Sorta broke the bank a bit yesterday as I also picked up a Cannondale Road Warrior 500 for the wife.

One question about "toe clip overlap"...is this normal? Something I've never experienced with an MTB, but am guessing it is just something to work around. I took the clips off and am just going with platfroms for now until I get new pedals next week.

Since I ride much around town for errands, work, kids, etc. I'm going with the Shimano "multi-purpose" pedal - PDM-324. Any thoughts on these? Don't know if "best of both worlds" with these is too good to be true...

saj
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Old 05-26-07, 07:31 AM   #15
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324s are nice pedals. I use mine with some Lake MX101s and a pair of sandals for puttering around. The only thing you need to get used to is giving them a quick little kick to flip the pedal over to the right side when necessary (the sandals don't feel so good with the SPD clip digging into the bottom of em).
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Old 05-29-07, 06:13 PM   #16
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If you have a bike smaller than about a 55cm you will have some toe overlap. You get used to it quickly, but it can be a pain on really tight singletrack.
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