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  1. #1
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    bike suggestions and weight ?'s

    So I've started racing cross with my mt. bike and I think I have the bug bad enough that I'm considering a true cross bike. I've been doing some research and am looking mostly at at the Bianchi axis, Jake the Snake, and Lemond Poprad. I like the component set on the axis the best but it is the most expensive. I would probably feel the need to change the most on the Jake but it seems to be a favorite among cross racers around here so I figure it must be good. The poprad is well equipped and less expensive but it's steel and I figure it is probably heavy. My excuse for being a weight weenie is that I'm short (5'7") and I have to lift the bike a lot higher than you tall guys to get over the barriers. I really need to go and ride each one of them and decide which one is most comfortable but I'd like to have an idea of what each one weighs to see where my money is going. I'm riding a pretty well equipped bridgestone MB-1 that is less than 23lbs and I'd hate to drop $1000+ on a bike that's a bigger tank than what I have. So have any of you weighed your bikes? Do you have any other suggestions that'll help this decision?

  2. #2
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    i ride a 52 cm major jake, with campy centaur, carbon fork, and a whole lot of other light stuff that weighs in at 19.5 lbs with pedals.

    the jake is poopular among racers because, compared to the poprad and the axis [well, the 2004 axis, anyway] it is the only real race machine. the axis has a triple chainring [a big mistake in a muddy cross race] and three bottle mounts that mark it as a sport tourer more than a true cross rig, while the poprad is a sora-equipped bike that on;y looks like a cross bike.

    for the price, the jake is the best cross bike you can get on this side of the pond -- well, that and the fuji cross. in my mind, the only thing that really has to be changed is the fork.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  3. #3
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    The 2000 Jake was almost as heavy as my Mtn. bike!The 2003 should be lighter but it's gotta be over 20 pounds.I'd buy the Kona and upgrade a couple of parts.The Kona is probably the best racing frame.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipedio
    the axis has a triple chainring [a big mistake in a muddy cross race] and three bottle mounts that mark it as a sport tourer more than a true cross rig, while the poprad is a sora-equipped bike that on;y looks like a cross bike.

    for the price, the jake is the best cross bike you can get on this side of the pond -- well, that and the fuji cross. in my mind, the only thing that really has to be changed is the fork.

    The axis in my lbs and on the bianchi website has a double chainring. Maybe last years models??? I agree that I wouldn't want a triple. I've even been considering going to a single up front since I lost my chain in my first race.
    And the new poprad is fully 105 equipped. I'd say it's better epuipped than the Jake. I'm just concerned that it's probably real heavy.
    How about the Fuji cross? I don't know much about that one and haven't seen many of them out there.

  5. #5
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    a buddy of mine races the fuji cross. he loves it. it's an exceptional race bike. in fact, i've been seeing a lot of fujis around the races this year, more than konas, actually. a lot of ridleys too.

    if the axis has a double, it's a 2003 or earlier...
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  6. #6
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    I have a 2001 Poprad (mostly 105) that weighs in at 18.5 lbs. With skinny road tires it's just as nice as nearly every other bike I see on our club and charity rides, and the ride is smooth, I mean really smooth. I just pop on my set of Specialized Cross-X tires and I can go anywhere offroad that I want to so long as I don't go over big roots and such. I wouldn't say the Poprad is the pretender that another poster implied. I have beaten the living crap out of mine and it just keeps on ticking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BikerRyan's Avatar
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    Check out the K2 Ememy. It is in the same pricerange and might be spec'd a little better than those mentioned. It even has an ISIS crankset and BB.

    -Ryan
    Your bike mechanic is wise beyond your wildest dreams.

    If you can't be good at one sport then you can be okay at three.

  8. #8
    Member shinomaster's Avatar
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    dude...get a FUJI a lot of places have them on sale now for $800. Way better parts and frame then most of the cheesy offerings from the big companies. Carbon fork 3lb frame. 105 parts.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shinomaster
    dude...get a FUJI a lot of places have them on sale now for $800. Way better parts and frame then most of the cheesy offerings from the big companies. Carbon fork 3lb frame. 105 parts.
    I'm definately interested in the fuji. It seems to be the best bang for the buck on paper but I can't find one in my size that I can ride. I need a 49 or 50. Does anybody in the Portland area carry fuji besides Performance?

  10. #10
    Member shinomaster's Avatar
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    Ummm.... Bike and hike sell Fuji track bikes but they don't have cross bikes in stock. They could probably order one for you though..
    My friend owns a shop in Boston MA quadcycles.com and he is selling his fuji cross bikes for under $800.00 Call Rustem, he is a nice guy. Check the FUJI web page to see what frame will fit you best. Measure the standover height. The fuji frames are not as high as some other brands.

    I hope this helps!

  11. #11
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    OK, this weekend I went on a quest to find a proper cross bike. Heres what I rode: Jake the Snake, Redline Conquest, and Fuji Cross.

    Here's what I found (your results may vary): I rode the Jake and the Conquest back to back so I'll start there. The Jake seemed to fit me well and I was comfortable hopping on from a running start. The triangle was a little smallish so it would take some practice to shoulder it smoothly. I was in a comfortable position while riding and it didn't really feel squirelly until I was really hammering the pedals and trying to steer at the same time.

    Next up, the Redline: This bike has less relaxed geometry and therefore a little larger triangle to make shouldering easier. When I tried to mount from a running start I almost wrecked and bought myself a new bike. The whole bike sits up a lot higher than the Jake. My saddle was adjusted just a hair too high as well which made that transition difficult. Once I got going, watch out. This bike felt very responsive and happy at higher speeds. I was bunny hopping curbs within seconds of getting on this ride. This bike felt more comfortable at ten tenths than the Jake. When I used the brakes over some broken concrete the fork chattered badly enough that I stopped to see if the headset was coming loose. It wasn't and the guy at the shop said that was characteristic of some aluminum and carbon forks. It was a little uncomfortable but probably liveable. The brakes were miserable BTW, even worse than the other two bikes. I also noticed a little more tension in my lower back probably due to the seat being up quite a bit over the bars, a mixture of adjustment and geometry.

    Later that day I got on the Fuji: I easily mounted this bike from a run. Shouldering was difficult but only because the shop left a silly water bottle cage in the way. The bike felt sporty and STIFF! I stopped and let some air out of the tires which helped but it still seemed to be the stiffest of the day. It handled well both at slow speeds and fast but on the bumpy stuff it was a little bit of a handful because of how stiff it rode. I was comfortable bunny hopping curbs and descending behind the saddle. I rode this bike in a totally different area so it's difficult to make a direct comparison to the other bikes but I would say it felt a little less racy than the redline but a little more so than the Jake.

    Weights: I weighed the Redline and Jake back to Back along with my Bridgestone on the same scale all without pedals. I weighed the Fuji at a different shop with my Time alium pedals.
    Jake the Snake: ~21.75lbs
    Redline Conquest:~20.5lbs
    Bridgestone MB-1:~22.5
    Fuji Cross:~21lbs

    Conclusion: I would give the nudge to the Redline for best racing feel and performance but it also has the least comfortable long term riding position and the other two bikes blow it away with component selection. I would race and commute on any of the bikes, so for me it will probably come down to price between the three.

    I hope I didn't bore anyone with a novel and I hope this was helpful to other people looking for bikes in this price range.

  12. #12
    Member shinomaster's Avatar
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    where did you test ride the fuji at? just curious...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shinomaster
    where did you test ride the fuji at? just curious...

    Performance in Beavertron had one 52cm left from last year. I thought I needed a smaller frame but it was a good fit.

  14. #14
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    Just Upgrade The MB-1!

    Seriously, we researched some of the bikes you mention, and here's what we've learned (although we haven't ridden them):

    o Bianchi Axis - nice frame/fork, weighs 21 lbs in a 49cm, shifters are
    105 and wheels are Alex 320s which are fine, however the rest of
    the component mix is poor (i.e. the cranks, BB, cassette/chain,
    seatpost, seat, bars/stem). Also note that the 2003 and 2004 both
    have identical Sugino triple cranks, but on the 2003 the small ring is
    left off (so it looks like a double). These cranks are also fairly
    cheap and reportedly flex a lot. Otherwise the Axis is supposed to be
    a great bike. The frame has curved seat stays which help absorb
    shock in the rear. And the carbon fork does the same for the front.

    BTW, the frame build quality seems better than on competing bikes
    (check out the welds, paint, etc).

    We recently purchased one and are replacing the brakes calipers,
    bars/stem, seat/post, cranks, cassette, pedals. But it would
    probably to okay to ride stock until those parts wear out.

    o Jake the Snake - Good mix of components, good price point, but
    stiff (aluminum?) fork, nice Easton frame tubing but rough/unfinished
    welds give it a cheap look. Comes with real cross cranks, bonus!

    o Fuji Cross - Great component mix (at least on paper). Don't know
    much about the frame/fork.

  15. #15
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    BTW, I love my MB-1!!!

    Don't think I'll ever part with it.

  16. #16
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    I rode a lemond propad that had been built up just from the frame. the guy had an alpha q fork and a single-chainring dura-ace setup, bontrager wheels, ( I don't remember which ones, race light maybe?) and carbon bars. I will attest to that bike's lightness, probably 17lbs.

    It was too small for me, so I couldn't really get an impression of how it rode, but I thought I would share that little tidbit before you eliminated steel completely.

  17. #17
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    the kona has a steel fork. it's a heavy fork, but not uncomfortable and, all things considered, i wouldn't worry too much about frame/fork stifness. when you ride 35 mm tires, you don't really pick up a lot of road buzz.

    the kona's frame might have un-filed welds, but it's an easton ultralite frame, with a nicely bi-ovalized topo tube, while the bianchi is pretty generic 7005. and keep in mind that the bianchi simply isn't set up as a cyclo-crosser.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  18. #18
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipedio
    the kona's frame might have un-filed welds, but it's an easton ultralite frame, with a nicely bi-ovalized topo tube, while the bianchi is pretty generic 7005. and keep in mind that the bianchi simply isn't set up as a cyclo-crosser.
    Not sure which Bianchi you're referring to but the Axis has been Easton Ultralite since 2001 and starting with the 2003 model, it added a CNC machined drive-side chainstay yoke, curved seat stays, and flattened top tube where it joins with the seat tube to make shouldering more comfortable. The only thing that makes it "not cyclo-cross" is the water bottle bosses and rack eyelets.

    The 2003 Bianchi Cross-Concept is Double-butted Scandium while the 2004 is Scandium with a Carbon rear triangle.
    Both the Axis and Cross-Concept frames are purpose built cross frames.

    The Kona are nice bikes too and at the $749 and $1099 list for Jake and Jake the Snake, they're pretty good deals too ...and they definitely have better cranks and BBs than the Axis and possibly the Cross-Concept.

  19. #19
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    One more thing to add... there's a TON of Bianchi's at the local cross races here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was at the race at Coyote Point and I'd say 1 out of 5 bikes were Bianchis. If uniqueness is important, it doesn't fit the bill here.

    Dessert1st, did you race at Coyote Point?

  20. #20
    Member shinomaster's Avatar
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    the 04 fuji is even better, Ultega rear derailleur, Tektro lil" levers 105 group nice crank, carbon fork, tricked out frame, which is very light, and decent wheels, ritckey parts. I think it is the best bike for the price. My brother and I both have one. I saw a few pro racers at the Cross nationals in Portland riding these bikes( with parts upgrades)

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