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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 04-09-08, 06:50 PM   #1
unwieldy
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Specialized Tricross vs. Bianchi Vorpe

I'm looking to get back into biking and I've decided on a cyclocross bike because I want close to road bike speed and performance while at the same time being able to ride on potentially hazardous dirt roads as well as riding in inclement weather and possibly winter. So cyclocross seems to fit the bill. I don't plan on racing, however I would like the ability to throw some 25c slicks on and do some century-ish charity rides comfortably.

So all things considered, should I lean more towards a Specialized Tricross or a Bianchi Vorpe? I've been shopping around and these seem the best in my price point (<$1k). I've also considered Redline Conquest and Surly Crosscheck, but those seem more expensive and possibly more race-oriented(?)

So given that I prefer "roadsy" to "racy", what bike should I be considering under $1k? Also, please no internet deals, I am buying from LBS. I am going to test ride both of these bikes on Saturday but I want an impression from others with experience before I go in.

Thanks.
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Old 04-10-08, 07:53 AM   #2
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Hello.

Both are nice bikes -- I spent a long time looking at the Volpe, but not as long looking at the tricross.

The Volpe is a triple and (if I remember correctly) has an MTB rear hib and derailleur (so 135 spacong). That means that if you want to put in a road hub as an upgrade, you'll have to pinch the frame. It's also a sort of hybrid (small "h") between a cross bike and a touring bike, having longer wheelbase etc. It's a nice ride -- a little heavy, a little slower and very stable.

I don't know much about the specialized, other than that they are an acquired taste asthetically, and they had some fork issues in the past that I think have gone away. They have a reputation for being a little more "do everything" than a pure cross bike.

I just picked up a Kona Jake for my Dad (about $800). It's a nice ride -- a little more cross-y, easily upgradable for speed, etc. Well worth a look in this category.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:04 AM   #3
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You can't go wrong either way. Ride them both and pick the one that fits your body better.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:28 AM   #4
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I'm looking to get back into biking and I've decided on a cyclocross bike because I want close to road bike speed and performance while at the same time being able to ride on potentially hazardous dirt roads as well as riding in inclement weather and possibly winter. So cyclocross seems to fit the bill. I don't plan on racing, however I would like the ability to throw some 25c slicks on and do some century-ish charity rides comfortably.
Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but the above quote caught my eye. My wife and I recently got into cycling and bought Tricross Comps because of the "do it all" concept. We ride a mix of roads and MUPS and are not even in te ball park of racing. We are starting to do longer rides 40-50 miles and will join some tours later this year. I can eventually see doing a century or two. Neither of us have ridden on road tires for more than 25 years. Does swapping out a 25c for the standard 32 make a big difference on long road trips? Even more basic, can you throw the 25 on the same wheel as the 32?
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Old 04-10-08, 09:04 AM   #5
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Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but the above quote caught my eye. My wife and I recently got into cycling and bought Tricross Comps because of the "do it all" concept. We ride a mix of roads and MUPS and are not even in te ball park of racing. We are starting to do longer rides 40-50 miles and will join some tours later this year. I can eventually see doing a century or two. Neither of us have ridden on road tires for more than 25 years. Does swapping out a 25c for the standard 32 make a big difference on long road trips? Even more basic, can you throw the 25 on the same wheel as the 32?
You can put 32s on your wheels. And yes, a 32c tire will add comfort to your rides.
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Old 04-10-08, 10:50 AM   #6
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I have about 4 sets of tires for my cross bike one is a 25c road slick, one really my off-road only set with bigger knobbies, then cross between the two. The speed difference between these tires is not that much but the bigger knobbies on longer (60+) rides on road does seem to make my hands itch. The real difference I notice is cornering. As far as if it will fit your rim, I emailed the rim manufacture to get an accurate number, the smallest my coss bike wheels will take 25c though yours maybe different. My buddy has a 2006 Tri-Cross comp he has 28c on the stock wheels (roval paves, sweet looking wheels btw) though I don't know if thatís the thinnest you can safely ride. You might want to email Specialized.
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Old 04-10-08, 01:33 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure the only tricross model that is cheaper than the crosscheck is the singlespeed model. Unless the crosscheck is built up with nicer parts than stock--one of the shops around here sells them complete with a full 105 drivetrain.

Any of those choices are good. The triple on the volpe or one of the tricross models might be good for a beginner. Ride them, then make up your mind. I have to second the Jake being a good value, but go for the 08 model. The previous years had not as nice drivetrain components for only 50 dollars less. Even brand new an 08 Jake should be around 850 dollars, which is a pretty nice deal, It's a great all-rounder with the triple, but shares some racey aspects with the higher end konas. I've even seen a woman out here blow away the field riding a somewhat upgraded jake, though it may have been her pit bike.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:38 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure the only tricross model that is cheaper than the crosscheck is the singlespeed model. Unless the crosscheck is built up with nicer parts than stock--one of the shops around here sells them complete with a full 105 drivetrain.
Wow, I completely overlooked the fact that the lowest end Tricross was a singlespeed. So that bike is eliminated from my list; thanks for bringing that to my attention! Some more bad news is that the only Bianchi dealer listed in my area no longer carries Bianchi. Nor is there a Kona dealer in my area.

Is there a good web app for me to calculate my sizes and determine what size of frame I need, or should I spend the $50-100 to get myself professionally sized at a bike shop? What is everyone's experience with this?

I'm asking this because if I do drive to another city or state to test ride one of these bikes, I will need to know my size to make sure the bike shop has one in stock or can order one. I'm going to test-ride a Redline Conquest and Surly Crosscheck this weekend at LBS. I'd still like to consider the Kona Jake and the Bianchi Volpe as I've heard good things about them both, but there's nowhere near me to try them out.
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Old 04-10-08, 10:59 PM   #9
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I've owned the Volpe and own the Tricross. I liked the Volpe, but it was quite heavy. It wore me out on longer rides. The Tricross is excellent for long rides. I've done many centuries on it and use it for commuting as well. It's got the same rack and fender mounts. I got mine (2006 comp) last year off Craigslist for $900. Bought a second wheelset (Mavic OpenPro) for my cyclocross tires to ride on the rail beds and light trails. I love this bike!
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Old 04-10-08, 11:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but the above quote caught my eye. My wife and I recently got into cycling and bought Tricross Comps because of the "do it all" concept. We ride a mix of roads and MUPS and are not even in te ball park of racing. We are starting to do longer rides 40-50 miles and will join some tours later this year. I can eventually see doing a century or two. Neither of us have ridden on road tires for more than 25 years. Does swapping out a 25c for the standard 32 make a big difference on long road trips? Even more basic, can you throw the 25 on the same wheel as the 32?
On my Tricross, I've installed 40's on mine and it fit fine.
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Old 04-10-08, 11:26 PM   #11
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Wow, I completely overlooked the fact that the lowest end Tricross was a singlespeed. So that bike is eliminated from my list; thanks for bringing that to my attention!
The Tricross Sport is retailing around $1150. I bet you could get it for $1000 pretty easily. Personally, I think that's a much better bike than the Cross Check or the Volpe. I'm sure I'll get flamed for that, because people are religious about Cross Checks on BF. Both are good bikes, but I do seriously think the Tricross is a better bike.
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Old 04-11-08, 06:48 AM   #12
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The Tricross Sport is retailing around $1150. I bet you could get it for $1000 pretty easily. Personally, I think that's a much better bike than the Cross Check or the Volpe. I'm sure I'll get flamed for that, because people are religious about Cross Checks on BF. Both are good bikes, but I do seriously think the Tricross is a better bike.
The only LBS that carries Specialized in my city retails at MSRP only, which means the Tricross Sport is $1300. I really need to stay in the $1k range (else put my marriage in peril ). I've been watching Craigslist but not a single CX bike has been posted in the past month.
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Old 04-11-08, 12:32 PM   #13
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I'm going to test-ride a Redline Conquest and Surly Crosscheck this weekend at LBS. I'd still like to consider the Kona Jake and the Bianchi Volpe as I've heard good things about them both, but there's nowhere near me to try them out.
I've been doing similar research for a sub-$1000 general use cross bike. In addition to the ones you've listed already, my finalists are: Soma Double Cross (frameset only but the shop could build it up for you), Pake C'Mute (almost identical to the Soma but with cheaper steel), and the Masi Speciale CX (complete bike).

I wouldn't agree that the Surly is especially race-oriented. That description fits the Redline more.
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Old 04-11-08, 02:58 PM   #14
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I've been doing similar research for a sub-$1000 general use cross bike. In addition to the ones you've listed already, my finalists are: Soma Double Cross (frameset only but the shop could build it up for you), Pake C'Mute (almost identical to the Soma but with cheaper steel), and the Masi Speciale CX (complete bike).
Wow, the Masi Speciale CX is looking sweet! That one has made it to my list, which now contains:

Bianchi Volpe
Surly Crosscheck
Masi Speciale CX

The closest Bianchi and Masi dealers are in OKC, which is 150 miles away from me. There is supposedly a Surly dealer here in Wichita but I'll find out if that's true tomorrow when I go check it out.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 04-15-08, 11:56 AM   #15
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I went through a similar short list a few weeks ago. I had it down to the Redline Conquest, Surly Crosscheck, and the Bianci Volpe. In the end I took the Volpe home since they had one left in last year's colors for $150 less.

I've been really pleased with the bike, and it felt like a better fit than the Conquest. It felt pretty comparable, ride-wise to the Surly, so it came down to price as the tie-breaker between it and the Volpe.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:34 PM   #16
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Nice choices. The Volpe is more of a commuter bike than a real cross bike. She is heavy. If you don't mind the weight and you can get it cheaper than anything else then you should go for it. I tuned and rode a new '07 Volpe for my neighbor, I found it sluggish and heavy. My late 80's Volpe was a little lighter and felt a little better. You may want to look into a Soma Double Crosser also. I like the one I rode for three years.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:56 PM   #17
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Nice choices. The Volpe is more of a commuter bike than a real cross bike. She is heavy. If you don't mind the weight and you can get it cheaper than anything else then you should go for it. I tuned and rode a new '07 Volpe for my neighbor, I found it sluggish and heavy. My late 80's Volpe was a little lighter and felt a little better. You may want to look into a Soma Double Crosser also. I like the one I rode for three years.
Would the Surly Crosscheck be significantly lighter than the Volpe?

I'm actually not looking for a "real cross bike"; I will spend a good amount of my time on flat pavement, and the remainder on dirt/gravel roads. I have no intention of racing.

I looked into the Soma Double Cross and it looks like it's just sold as a frame. I don't know if an LBS here could get ahold of one.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:29 PM   #18
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I've had a crosscheck for almost ten years and love it. I've had a lot of bikes come, and go BUT the Surly is still with me.

Now she shares my love with a custom Steelman, so I doubt she'll ever be alone again.
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Old 04-16-08, 10:22 AM   #19
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I have a Tricross single speed. It's a great all around bike and a good value. The cheapest Tricross with multiple gears is $500 more. Someday I may build a new rear wheel for it around an internal geared hub. Not all IGH's will fit in the 120mm (track) rear spacing, but some do fit.

Only issue I see with my bike is that the rear eyelets for mounting a rack are close to the track fork ends. Close enough for my Blackburn Expedition rack to interfere with the axle nuts in a certain axle position. If you pick your chainrings and cogs carefully, you can avoid the position with the interference.

You might want to consider the Lemond Poprad.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:47 PM   #20
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You might want to consider the Lemond Poprad.
It looks like a really sweet bike, but it is at $1650 MSRP significantly out of my price range ($1K). Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Old 04-16-08, 05:08 PM   #21
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It looks like a really sweet bike, but it is at $1650 MSRP significantly out of my price range ($1K). Thanks for the suggestion though.
I was going down this thread and someone finally suggested a Poprad. Don't give up on the idea completely. Look for a price drop real soon... You might be surprised how cheap they become when Trek discontinues the product line.

I also suggest looking into the Kona Jake as well.
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Old 05-16-08, 10:01 AM   #22
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FWIW I have a Surly Cross Check I might be selling to get a Pake C'Muter

My reason is fit. The geometry on the Pake is much friendlier for my dimensions, and has everything I want, AND lowrider braze-ones to make it a nice, light tourer.

It's actually lighter than the Crosscheck, too, and Bikemania has 'em cheap, cheap right now ($244 shipped frame only to me, so I can get the Soma fork with Braze ons).

If I could pick any frame outta the bunch it would be the Masi Speciale CX. I think it looks the nicest with the best geometry for me (long legs, short arms). The Surly is the worst fit of them all, but IMHO might be the nicest one of them all, with well thought out design elements.
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Old 05-17-08, 09:46 PM   #23
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"I want close to road bike speed and performance while at the same time being able to ride on potentially hazardous dirt roads as well as riding in inclement weather and possibly winter."

I bought a Tricross sport 07 model this spring and really like it. It's a great all round bike.

However, I kept my old hybrid to use as a winter "beater" because salt and such on the roads can do serious wear and tear on bikes and don't want to mess up my treasured Tricross.

In the early spring though, I did go for a spin on the Tricross when some paths still had patches of snow covered areas. What I found was that the Tricross felt tremendously unstable in crusty snow of even a couple of inches. I have ridden in the winter a fair bit with various bikes but never found one to be that unstable in similar conditions.

The Tricross has a relatively short wheel base and so is very maneuverable and hence great as a city commuter for avoiding potholes etc. but feel that this shorter wheel base may be suspect at contributing to it's instability in snowy conditions. I measured the difference in the wheelbase between my Tricross and my hybrid and found the Tricross to be about 3/4" shorter. Is that difference significant - I don't know.

Again, I don't plan on riding my Tricross in winter (or at least not in snowy conditions) but just giving you heads-up with a potential hazard, since you mentioned you may use it for winter riding.

Anyone else have similar experience?

Leo
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Old 05-17-08, 11:48 PM   #24
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The other thing that accounts for the squirliness in bad weather is the high bottom bracket. This is a cross bike after all and that's one of the characteristics of a cross bike. Want something that would be all the things above and stable in snow, get a touring bike. It's got the long wheel base and a lower bottom bracket.
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Old 05-19-08, 01:05 PM   #25
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To original poster's question. All of your candidates would make good cross bikes. I test rode the Bianchi and wasn't impressed with the feel or comfort. The Redline and Surly have good reputations too. But I prefer the lightness of an aluminum frame. My recommendation would be the Tricross without question. It's got the comfort, performance, and agility I found on no other cross bike. And you're right, for cross bikes at that price point, the Tricross is more cycling for it's own pleasure rather than racing or trying to prove a point.

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