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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 12-14-07, 08:28 AM   #1
celerystalksme
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i've come full circle. help me decide on cx bike?

hello!

i need some advice. i had a plan in mind...i had this crazy idea to get a custom titanium cyclocross bike...and have it serve as a cyclocross/utility/commuting/touring bike. it was going to run me around $5k-$7k. but...a few people have convinced me that this is a bad idea. i'd end up with a very expensive bike that isn't very good at any one thing, but is sorta good at a bunch of things.

so my new plan is to get two non-custom bikes. a cyclocross bike...and a touring bike. i figure a touring bike will serve as quite a decent commuter and utility bike.

ok...so on to my cx bike decision. first off...what is the preferred frame material for cx? steel, titanium, aluminum, carbon? or does it not matter? secondly, i was considering the pinarello cross (alloy or carbon model). is this a decent bike or would you recommend something else?

please advise! thanks!
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Old 12-14-07, 08:35 AM   #2
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are you going to be racing the cross bike?
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Old 12-14-07, 08:43 AM   #3
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are you going to be racing the cross bike?
that's the plan!
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Old 12-14-07, 08:48 AM   #4
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I would suggest just buying a sub $2000 cross bike to start off with since you havent raced before. Who knows, you may not be into it. Plus, there is lots of crashing in cross racing so replacing stuff on an expensive bike will most likely hurt more than the crash itself.

Personally, frame material hasnt made a difference to me. I raced on a heavy steel single speed bike this year and I dont think the frame limited me in anyway. Just go to your local shops and ride some bikes and see what feels the best for you. its really difficult to advise anyone towards a specific bike when they dont know anything about your riding style or comfort level.
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Old 12-14-07, 08:58 AM   #5
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I would suggest just buying a sub $2000 cross bike to start off with since you havent raced before. Who knows, you may not be into it. Plus, there is lots of crashing in cross racing so replacing stuff on an expensive bike will most likely hurt more than the crash itself.

Personally, frame material hasnt made a difference to me. I raced on a heavy steel single speed bike this year and I dont think the frame limited me in anyway. Just go to your local shops and ride some bikes and see what feels the best for you. its really difficult to advise anyone towards a specific bike when they dont know anything about your riding style or comfort level.
i'm not overly concerned about the price of the bike or the cost of replacing parts...afterall, i was on the verge of getting a $7000 bike with sram red. a pinarello alloy with ultegra will seem like a drop in the bucket by comparison! which is great cuz always prefer more affordable over less affordable.

i'm pretty sure i'll enjoy it. i enjoy road races...i enjoy duathlons/triathlons...i enjoy marathons...i enjoy rollerblading marathons...i enjoy stairclimbing. i'd be surprised if i hated cyclocross!

my riding style? i don't even know what my riding style is! how do you descibe that? as for comfort level...i'm pretty fit and very flexible...i can ride all day on my aggressive road bike or tri bike without any issues. i hear a cross bike is typically much more relaxed geometry/positioning...so i'm sure i'll be fine.

Last edited by celerystalksme; 12-14-07 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 12-14-07, 09:26 AM   #6
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the pinarellos look very nice, if i could afford one (and afford to replace any part of it should it be damaged in a crash) i'd love to own one.
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Old 12-14-07, 09:34 AM   #7
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well another way to look at it is since this will be your first experience racing cross you may want to just get an entry level bike and wait til the following season, when you have a better understanding of whats important in a cross bike, to splurge on a nice bike.

if you just go off what other people say is good for them you may end up with something you really dont like or determine you really didnt need yourself.

what are you hoping to get out of cross racing bike?
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Old 12-14-07, 09:46 AM   #8
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well another way to look at it is since this will be your first experience racing cross you may want to just get an entry level bike and wait til the following season, when you have a better understanding of whats important in a cross bike, to splurge on a nice bike.

if you just go off what other people say is good for them you may end up with something you really dont like or determine you really didnt need yourself.

what are you hoping to get out of cross racing bike?
i'm looking for a great peforming bike, appealin to my aesthetic senses, that can accomodate me as i grow into a decent cyclocross competitor. i'm a smaller guy...so weight is a concern to me, i like light weight. i'm also short...so some manufacturers may not have stock frames that fit me. that was on of the reasons i was considering going custom.
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Old 12-14-07, 10:14 AM   #9
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I'll regret feeding this thread. But anzwaz . . .

It's a shame you didn't do any racing this season, because almost surely it would have given you some idea of what kind of bike you'll want. It was surprising (to me) how my first CX race at the end of '06 clarified issues for me. I did four more that season, then built up my current rig this spring. If you have any chance to race this season, do it.
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Old 12-14-07, 10:32 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=flargle;5808061]I'll regret feeding this thread. But anzwaz . . .

QUOTE]

Why? Just wondering.....
The OP's positions seem justifiable to me.
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Old 12-14-07, 10:34 AM   #11
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I'll regret feeding this thread. But anzwaz . . .

It's a shame you didn't do any racing this season, because almost surely it would have given you some idea of what kind of bike you'll want. It was surprising (to me) how my first CX race at the end of '06 clarified issues for me. I did four more that season, then built up my current rig this spring. If you have any chance to race this season, do it.

season ended on 12/3...won't start up again until mid august. but the cx bikes are cheaper now, you know?
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Old 12-14-07, 10:51 AM   #12
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season ended on 12/3...won't start up again until mid august. but the cx bikes are cheaper now, you know?
Here is the perfect bike for your needs and budget, but I fear you are too hung up on weight to go for it.

Gunnar Crosshairs frame and fork in 48cm or 50cm (whichever top tube most closely matches your road bike; you get to choose the paint scheme)
Dura-Ace gruppo (standard road gearing)
Mavic Ksyrium clinchers

If the Crosshairs doesn't cost enough, then get a custom Waterford cross frame. I believe their turnaround time is reasonable.

This bike will more than meet your commuting, light touring, fire-road riding, and cross racing needs. When cross season comes, buy a tubular wheelset (for example, Mavic Reflex laced to Dura-Ace hubs) for racing, and use the Ksyriums in the pit, and you will have a fast, reliable, and light racing setup.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:24 AM   #13
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Here is the perfect bike for your needs and budget, but I fear you are too hung up on weight to go for it.

Gunnar Crosshairs frame and fork in 48cm or 50cm (whichever top tube most closely matches your road bike; you get to choose the paint scheme)
Dura-Ace gruppo (standard road gearing)
Mavic Ksyrium clinchers

If the Crosshairs doesn't cost enough, then get a custom Waterford cross frame. I believe their turnaround time is reasonable.

This bike will more than meet your commuting, light touring, fire-road riding, and cross racing needs. When cross season comes, buy a tubular wheelset (for example, Mavic Reflex laced to Dura-Ace hubs) for racing, and use the Ksyriums in the pit, and you will have a fast, reliable, and light racing setup.
again...i was told a single bike can't do all that expertly. if it could, i'd probably be ordering my custom ti bike by now...and be out $7K...
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Old 12-14-07, 11:31 AM   #14
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why the crap could a race ready cross bike NOT commute, light tour, or ride a fire road? seems like you're putting too much emphasis on the bike, and not enough on the rider.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:44 AM   #15
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why the crap could a race ready cross bike NOT commute, light tour, or ride a fire road? seems like you're putting too much emphasis on the bike, and not enough on the rider.

i suppose any bike can be a commuter. but i was told a touring bike and a cyclocross bike are very different beasts. apparently, a tourer needs front and rear racks and fenders...third water bottle mount...they are designed so as to minimie high speed wobble while loaded, which non-touring bikes suffer from...they have longer chainstays...and several other details. a cyclocross has no waterbottle mounts...isn't as slack as a touring bike...has special cable routing..and some other details i can't remember...

i don't know...i know nothing...i'm trying to find the best info, the right info for me...it's been tough. buying my first road bike and my first tt/tri bike were SO MUCH EASIER than this...odd...
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Old 12-14-07, 11:47 AM   #16
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A touring bike will make a far better tourer. How many cross bikes take front racks?

I'd go with a Major Jake. Awesome frame that will readily accept upgrades, but the components are sensible and won't cost a ton to replace in a crash.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:55 AM   #17
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A touring bike will make a far better tourer. How many cross bikes take front racks?

I'd go with a Major Jake. Awesome frame that will readily accept upgrades, but the components are sensible and won't cost a ton to replace in a crash.
i have a dumb question about these kona bikes. i just went to their site and checked out the jake, jake the snake, and major jake. why does the kona site say the cheaper jake the snake is more competition ready than the major jake?

also...do you think the kona major rake is a better choice than a pinarello or ridley bike? thanks!
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Old 12-14-07, 11:55 AM   #18
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i don't know...i know nothing...i'm trying to find the best info, the right info for me...it's been tough. buying my first road bike and my first tt/tri bike were SO MUCH EASIER than this...odd...
Odd? I think if you had been looking for a tt/tri/utility/commuting/touring bike it would have been pretty complicated too.
Are you planning on credit card touring or hauling everything you own touring? People tour with trailers all the time although some think it is unreasonable. I just got my wife a cross bike and she has a yak(bob) trailer which she uses for utility/touring and an easily removable rack for commuting unless she is planning on hauling alot of stuff to work which is where the trailer comes in..
A rack and small panniers should be more then enough to commute with and maybe even just a trunk bag if you can commute light (leave boots/shower kit at work)

Then you can just change to some nice race wheels/tires and remove the rack and you are race ready?
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Old 12-14-07, 11:55 AM   #19
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seriously, unless you are an elite rider any old cross bike at the local shop is going to be fine as long as it fits right.
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Old 12-14-07, 11:57 AM   #20
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The reason it is so difficult is because you have not raced cyclocross, nor commuted, nor toured. If you had done one or more of these things, you would have some basis for judging the advice that you are being given. Putting together a multi-purpose bike requires certain trade-offs, but you don't have the personal experience to inform which trade-offs you are willing to make.

In other words, you haven't earned your custom ti bike. Not yet.
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Old 12-14-07, 12:01 PM   #21
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a surly cross check would probably serve you very well. Ive often seen people racing those frames, commuting on them and touring with them.
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Old 12-14-07, 01:12 PM   #22
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again...i was told a single bike can't do all that expertly. if it could, i'd probably be ordering my custom ti bike by now...
..............................
i suppose any bike can be a commuter. but i was told a touring bike and a cyclocross bike are very different beasts. apparently, a tourer needs front and rear racks and fenders...third water bottle mount...they are designed so as to minimie high speed wobble while loaded, which non-touring bikes suffer from...they have longer chainstays...and several other details. a cyclocross has no waterbottle mounts...isn't as slack as a touring bike...has special cable routing..and some other details i can't remember...

i don't know...i know nothing...i'm trying to find the best info, the right info for me...it's been tough. buying my first road bike and my first tt/tri bike were SO MUCH EASIER than this...odd...
My Fuji Cross has two water bottle mounts and rear rack mounting holes. It is a CX bike. It would make a great commuter bike due to it's being lighter than a typical hybrid and still being able to mount some wider tires. For me, it's a wonderful road bike when I put 200x23 or 25 tires on it. I racked up over 2500 road miles this year including several 60+ mile rides and a century. For touring, I would think that it could be limited in hills and mountains due to a double ring instead of a triple with a granny gear. But switching to a compact crank & mountain RD/cassette could compensate for that for off-season touring. I've never loaded it up so I can't comment about the stability-at-speed issue you mentioned. My bike does have the cables going along the top tube instead of the down tube, but I don't see how that would be any detriment to touring.

My point is that if you're buying a CX bike, by all means get a CX bike and don't worry about how it might perform for other uses. But once you have it, don't be surprised to find that it can do those other things quite well.

And since you seem to be willing to spend up to $7000, I like the idea suggested above to buy an inexpensive bike (used?) to start with and use that to learn the fundamentals of the sport. Then next year go out and spend the big bucks on THE bike for you.
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Old 12-14-07, 03:07 PM   #23
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I have a very nice Surly cross check (2K invested), and an Ultegra equipted Ridley, Supercross (2.5-3K). Now, you have 1K left over to buy a BAD@SS race wheel set, and a grand to pay for races, gear, travel, and broken parts. Have a great 08 season
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Old 12-14-07, 03:14 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=telebianchi;5809305]My Fuji Cross has two water bottle mounts and rear rack mounting holes. It is a CX bike. It would make a great commuter bike due to it's being lighter than a typical hybrid and still being able to mount some wider tires. For me, it's a wonderful road bike when I put 200x23 or 25 tires on it. I racked up over 2500 road miles this year including several 60+ mile rides and a century. For touring, I would think that it could be limited in hills and mountains due to a double ring instead of a triple with a granny gear. But switching to a compact crank & mountain RD/cassette could compensate for that for off-season touring. I've never loaded it up so I can't comment about the stability-at-speed issue you mentioned. My bike does have the cables going along the top tube instead of the down tube, but I don't see how that would be any detriment to touring.

My point is that if you're buying a CX bike, by all means get a CX bike and don't worry about how it might perform for other uses. But once you have it, don't be surprised to find that it can do those other things quite well.

QUOTE]

This is great advice. I can relate to the OP because I have been searching for my "do-it-all" bike for years. I even had friends say the same thing to me regarding buying a bike that does nothing particularly well.

I ended up getting a steal on a used Major Jake and am loving it more and more. It truly is a do-it-all machine. It is set up with Dura Ace and is only a pound or so heavier than my 17 lb road racer. I love to ride my roadie for competitive (drooling on your stem) road rides, but for commuting, centuries, fun rides, adventure riding and all others, the Kona is great.

I have a lot of bikes (one for just about every purpose) and that has actually been a challenge in trying to buy and love a do-it-all bike. In fact, I am just starting to love my Kona Major Jake despite it's wonderful attributes because I had a bike that had a slight edge in every given category except for cross racing and the do-it-all category. It was only after I lent out my single speed and commuter that I ride my Kona enough to grow to love it.

If you are like me, I would follow the above poster's advice and buy the cross bike first to see if it can do all of the other tasks to your liking. Then (and this is the hard part) put away or loan out all your other bikes for a few months until you have enough miles on the cross bike to have built a relationship with it and truly have given it a fair shot. At that point, you might find yourself very happy with your new purchase.

Also, since $ does not seem to be a big issue, make sure you get the right frame material in the cross bike. I am partial to slender steal tubing and I think that has made it difficult for me to bond with my Kona. Then again, if $ is not a big deal, simply sell the frame if you don't like it and get another.

There are some cross bikes that are more well rounded than others, but like others have said, that comes with trade-offs. If you lay awake at night dreaming of winning a worlds cyclocross event, then you really should get a hardcore racer. But if you really just like to go out and mix it up with the fast guys, you will be just fine on the more rounded bikes like the Lemond Poprad or Surly Crosscheck. Heck, there are or have been pros that ride both of those frames, so they can't be that slow and they give you more versatility in the long run.

Also, don't be too hung up on attachment points for fenders and racks. P-clips can go a long ways and I am currently running full fenders attached by nothing but zip ties (I actually prefer it to hardware). Instead, consider if the frame has clearance to allow such things.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 12-14-07 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 12-15-07, 09:40 AM   #25
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alright...i'm sick of trying to make decisions...here are my next three purchases...

CX: Pinarello Alloy Cross (unless the geometry is just too wrong for me via the fitter)
Tour/Commute: Surly Long Haul Trucker (good enough, i don't NEED the Bruce Gordon, Rivendell, or Waterford...but still tempting)
MTB: Titus Moto Lite OR Titus Racer X

done...combined with the bikes i have, hopefully that'll be all i'll need for YEARS! well...unless the money spending bug hits me...
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