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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 03-23-08, 11:24 AM   #1
John Dark
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Masi vs. Surly vs. Bianchi

How do the specs on these match up, overall? Seems like each has strengths and weaknesses. If you had to rank them best to worst....

Masi Speciale CX
fd: Tiagra
rd: 105
sh: Sora STI 9 sp.
cs: SRAM PM-950 11-28
cr: TruVativ Touro Compact 50-34
bb: TruVativ Sq. taper
ch: HG73
bl: Tiagra
br: Tektro Oryx Cantilevers
bar: Ritchey 6061 31.8 mm
ped: N/A
hs: Ritchey Logic V2 threadless
st: Masi 3-D forged flip
sp: Masi Carbon 27.2
sdl: Masi SLS
rm: Ritchey Girder XC Comp
hub: Formula cassette
tyr: Ritchey Speedmax Cross Comp 32c

Surly Cross-Check
fd: Tiagra
rd: Tiagra
sh: Shimano SL-BS77 bar end
cs: Tiagra HG-50 12-25 9sp
cr: Cyclone/Andel 48-36t cross
bb: Deore LX
ch: HG72
bl: Shimano BL-R400
br: Tektro 862A cantilevers
bar: Salsa Moto Ace Bell-Lap
ped: N/A
hs: Ritchey Logic Comp
st: Kalloy
sp: Kalloy uno
sdl: Velo Endzone
rm: Shimano Deore
hub: Alex
tyr: Ritchey SpeedMax Cross 700x32

Bianchi Volpe
fd: Tiagra
rd: Deore
sh: Tiagra
cs: SRAM PG-950 11-32
cr: Sugino XD500T 48/38/28
bb: ?
ch: SRAM PC-951
bl: Tiagra
br: Cane Creek SCX-5
bar: RC Premetec 6105R alloy
ped: Wellgo WDP-823
hs: VP-A51AE
st: RC Kalloy AS-6026 Alloy
sp: RC Kalloy SP-600 alloy
sdl: Velo VL-1166
rim: WTB DX23 black
hub: Tiagra 32h
tyr: WTB AllTerrainasaurus 700x32C

Last edited by John Dark; 03-26-08 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 03-23-08, 02:34 PM   #2
shapelike
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Surly
Bianchi
Masi

Honestly, I would pay really close attention to the geometry and see which one was a better fit. After that, I'd think about which suited my needs better (bar-con shifters vs. STI, double vs. triple crankset, etc.).

While the Volpe is more of a touring bike and the Cross-Check obviously has "cross" in it's name, I've seen people touring Europe on Cross-Checks (and having a great time at it) as well as had my ass kicked by a dude on a Volpe all last CX season. They'll both work for utilitarian use.
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Old 03-23-08, 06:14 PM   #3
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Components can be changed but you cannot take four ponds off a frame.....what is the weight on the Masi?

-B
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Old 03-23-08, 07:43 PM   #4
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Don't go down that road. I really doubt any of the posted weights for these bikes will be remotely accurate. I can tell you the Surly weights aren't. You're probably looked at double-butted 4130 main tubes for these bikes and straight gauge stays. The forks will be basic. There won't be a secret 3lb frame here.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:59 PM   #5
John Dark
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Yeah, I'm aware of all the very sound, traditional advice: proper sizing, the importance of frame quality, try before you buy, etc. I'm factoring all that in. But in this post, I'm specifically focusing on comparing the component sets.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:24 PM   #6
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What do you guys think of Huffy vs. GT vs. Pacific?
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Old 03-23-08, 10:05 PM   #7
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I don't like the Sora shifters on the Masi. Crappy place to cut corners IMO.
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Old 03-23-08, 10:44 PM   #8
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any specific reason why these 3 bikes. from this list, i'd personally go with the cross check. but in this price range there are some better bikes for the money. ever take a look at the KHS cross bike? looks like a nice bike for the price.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:25 PM   #9
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I like Masi, I have one of their road bike and I am happy with it. I looked at the Speciale CX and found it really heavy, also the fork has very little space between the tire and the crown, important feature here in the NW.
If you are not stuck on steel I would also look at RedLine.
Good luck
Paolo
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Old 03-25-08, 05:34 PM   #10
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Consider the Soma Double Cross also, it's in the same vein.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by acorn_user View Post
Consider the Soma Double Cross also, it's in the same vein.
The Soma would be my first pick but it's not sold as a complete bike.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:42 AM   #12
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Put an LX RD on the Surly and it would be the best choice.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by lukewall View Post
any specific reason why these 3 bikes. from this list, i'd personally go with the cross check. but in this price range there are some better bikes for the money. ever take a look at the KHS cross bike? looks like a nice bike for the price.
Yes very specific reasons. I'm looking for a steel, do-it-all, complete bike, for under a grand. The KHS is nice but it's msrp is over $1000. Plus it's more race oriented: AL and has a carbon fork and I probably weigh too much for carbon anything. I'm too old to be racing anyway.

While comments so far have been helpful, I am still not quite getting the feedback on the components I am looking for. Ignoring the frames that they are on, can people chime in with how they would rank the components alone, taken as a whole? I'm trying to get a sense of how they rank in relation to each other.

To me (my very uninformed opinion) it looks like this:
Surly - has the best: headset, bar, hubs. has the worst: brakes
Masi - best: rd, chain. worst: shifters, crankset
Bianchi - best: crankset, gearing, brakes. worst: bar, headset
They appear to all have generic junk for: stem, seatpost and saddle
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Old 03-26-08, 03:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_S View Post
I don't like the Sora shifters on the Masi. Crappy place to cut corners IMO.
Odd- don't know where that spec list is coming from because we use the Tiagra shifter. I'll have to get the website corrected.

All three are decent bikes for the money. I have my bias... but we all do.
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Old 07-01-08, 03:20 PM   #15
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Odd- don't know where that spec list is coming from because we use the Tiagra shifter. I'll have to get the website corrected.
The website still lists the shifters as being Sora... Can anyone who has one confirm either way?

Thanks!

From http://www.masibikes.com/cycles/speciale_cx.php

Derailleur Shifter Shimano Sora STI 9 speed
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Old 07-01-08, 03:46 PM   #16
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Masi
Cross Check
Volpe
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Old 07-01-08, 03:51 PM   #17
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The website still lists the shifters as being Sora... Can anyone who has one confirm either way?

Thanks!

From http://www.masibikes.com/cycles/speciale_cx.php

Derailleur Shifter Shimano Sora STI 9 speed

Saw a Masi in the shop the other day. 99% positive it was Tiagra shifters... I would've noticed (with disdain) Sora. I remember noticing (with disdain) the carbon seatpost... seemed out of place on the bike.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:17 PM   #18
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Saw a Masi in the shop the other day. 99% positive it was Tiagra shifters... I would've noticed (with disdain) Sora. I remember noticing (with disdain) the carbon seatpost... seemed out of place on the bike.
Looking at a speciale CX right now, you can change that 99% to 100% on the Tiagra shifters.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:24 PM   #19
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Awesome! Thanks guys!

timcook, how do you like the Masi? I've been debating for a couple weeks and I'm about to pull the trigger on picking one up. The one thing I'm wondering about is with all the hills in my area if I should change the cassette or add a granny gear. I heard on the cross check it isn't that hard to convert from a double to triple. Could I do the same on a Masi?

Thanks!
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Old 07-01-08, 04:34 PM   #20
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It may be a bit harder to add a triple on the Masi... I don't know if the Tiagra shifters support that, so you might need a new left STI lever specific to triple, along with the appropriate FD and crankset. That said, the 34-28 you can get with the compact double is a mighty low gear, and for $50 bucks, you can buy a SRAM 11-32 or 11-34 cassette and long cage rear derailleur that will get you even lower. You can climb walls with a 1:1 low ratio on a cross bike.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:51 PM   #21
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Unfortunately the "Newbie" under my username doesn't just apply to my forum status. The Masi actually belongs to my wife. She and I got our first cross bikes (and first decent bikes) a couple weeks ago, so I'm kind of learning as I go. I ended up with a Poprad, but had she not liked the Masi so much it's likely I would have gone with it.

Anyway, as such, I'm not sure about how easy it would be to swap out the cassette. We have moderate hills here and it hasn't been a problem for her so far with the stock double, though. From riding it at the lbs while we were shopping around, and riding hers around for fun after she got it, I really liked it. We went over a decent stretch of gravel roads recently and were both happy with how smooth a ride the steel gave (we had previously done the ride on Al clunker bikes).

I wish I could be a bigger help, but by the time I'm familiar with stuff enough to make more technical comments I'm sure you'll have already decided on what you want to do. Though I'm happy to update on it down the road if anyone has questions (no promises I can answer them though).
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Old 07-01-08, 10:21 PM   #22
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I think all three are cool. None strikes me as significantly "better" than the other, it's more about what features you like.

Personally, I love the look of the old Volpe frame in puke green with dayglo decals.

Also, I know road triples aren't very hip, but I think that's a feature that really adds to the versatility of a bike with minimal weight penalty. You may rarely use the granny ring, but when you do, you'll be glad you have it.
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Old 07-02-08, 01:39 PM   #23
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Puke green. Luv it!
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Old 11-11-08, 05:50 PM   #24
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I just test rode both the Masi CX and Bianchi Volpe this weekend, a great bikeshop had them both in my size and they were both delightful bikes. Both were 08 models. They are both of a much higher caliber than any bike I've ever owned, so I found them both to be smooth, solid, and comfortable rides. In fact I would love to be an owner of either.

However, I preferred the Bianchi because it fit me better, the road triple I found to be more intuitive to shift than the Masi's compact double (I could keep the Volpe in the middle chainring for 90% of my ride presenting slightly less hassle than shifting the Masi), and just the 'je ne sais quoi' rush that the Volpe gave me -- it just fit me like a glove a little better and gave me more of a thrill. Fit and personal preference will rule my eventual decision, but I am hoping to test ride a Surly LHT, Raleigh Sojourn, Fuji Touring, and Jamis Aurora as well.

My comparison, being a bit of a newb : the Volpe was a bit zippier than the Masi. The tires aren't as knobby on the Volpe as the fat knobbys on the Masi. But on a bike this nice switching tires to suit your personal taste is to be expected and worth it. The Masi might be better suited for cyclocross or extended off-roading, and the fit felt like it would handle a bumpy dirt road a hair better but you can't go riding in the mud on a test ride, so who knows?

They are both very comparable. The brakes are identical, I believe, as are the shifters and derailleurs. The minor differences would be that the Masi has front-rack braze-ons, the Volpe doesn't, the Masi has slightly less room for fenders (but probably enough clearance to not be a nuisance). The Masi has an unbelievably gorgeous 'classic' paint job and the Volpe is either more modern, postmodern, or subdued, depending on the year. The price difference was negligible (The Volpe was $20 more, I think?). It really came down to fit, feel, and personal preference.

They both seemed to be built like tanks, were surprisingly light and nimble, and well-built. The bike shop spoke highly of both companies' customer service but gave a slight edge to Masi's service because of lifetime warranty on their frames and super-prompt responses from their reps whenever parts are needed or issues arise. But they weren't badmouthing Bianchi, either.

Really the biggest difference for me was the road triple vs. the compact double. I found the road triple to be more intuitive and easier to manage the shifting, plus the granny gear may be useful when loaded down. I also liked not having to worry about "extreme gearing" while on the middle ring.

I haven't ridden a Surly LHT or Crosscheck, so I can't compare. However, I wouldn't be interested in the bar-end shifters on the Long Haul Trucker after trying out STI shifters. The guy at the bikeshop called them "the best thing since sliced bread" and I'd have to agree! I'm sure there are plenty of devotees of bar-end shifting, but I'll save experimenting with those til a later date. Cheers.
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Old 11-11-08, 07:12 PM   #25
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Buy this: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/cyclo.htm

Then, buy a Surly frame, or even the Soma you like.

Swap parts, and sell the Windsor frame. A little more work, but you'll have the best components and the frame you like.
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