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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 05-09-08, 08:23 AM   #1
andychang
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New CX purchase: 2008 Redline Conquest Pro

I must first apologize in advance for the length of this post. However, it is a Friday morning, and I am not quite in "work mode" just yet. Also bear in mind that since I am a complete and utter newbie in the CX world (never having even completed a race) some of the statements I post may only be regurgitations of what I have read or heard. I know it is also very naive, but my perceptions (all positive) of the sport are based on videos such as "Transition 2: Cross the Pond" and clips of CrossVegas I have found on youtube.

After months of deliberation, research, and reading what other in the cyclocross community have had to say about various bikes, I finally decided yesterday evening on a 2008 Redline Conquest Pro. As I am a shorter rider with a longer torso than legs, finding a stock bike that fits me is a bit of a challenge. Out of all the brands that I have come across, I can comfortably ride a Specialized XS (incidentally my Tarmac Pro is XS), but sometimes I still wish I had a few extra millimeters of S.O. My ever-prevalent 'hobby' of finding a stock dream cycle ended with the Wilier-(Triestina USA) Cento. Beautiful frame, short and compact...but also very very very pricey.

Although I do have the luxury of working part time in a cycling shop just to keep my sanity intact after day-in day-out interactions with socially awkward PhD's, MD's, and other members of higher academia - access to wholesale or employee pricing does not benefit me if the bikes don't fit correctly. Murphy's law of cycling, I suppose. In the case of the aforementioned Wilier Cento, the limiting factor would be the atrociously numbing price tag. To put things in perspective, the S-Works TriCross Module at retail is cheaper than the Cento frameset at employee pricing.

My apologies for the slight digression. The list of stock CX bikes I could potentially ride was quickly whittled down: Specialized Tricross Expert (too tall and long); Giant TCX (very hard to find); LeMond Poprad (too tall and long); Wilier Mortirolo Cross (too tall and long, and carbon); Kuota Kross (too tall and long)...you're starting to get the idea. I even went onto bikesdirect.com to see if perhaps the Motobecanes would fit me. No dice.

The eventual frontrunners for "tiny-assed cyclocross bike/frame" were the Surly Cross Check, the Salsa Cycles Chili Con Crosso, and the Redline Conquest Pro and Team.

Surly: Although I do like steel and the smallest frame would have been fine, it's very rare to get a bike build even from QBP that would be cheaper than a prebuilt bike with similar specs. Also, members of the cycling community seemed to agree that the Surly would be first and foremost a better commuter/all arounder with racing as less of a forte due to potential weight issues. Tumbling across a hurdle carrying a 22+ pound bike would quite comical for other racers to watch, I'm sure - but not so good for me.

Salsa Chili Con Crosso: Probably was my front runner for a little while. I liked the frame styling, I liked the matching Alpha Q fork. I think in the end it came down to pricing. The frameset was just a little more than I wanted to spend, at least for my first CX bike. On a side note, I also read that some people were having prominent fatigue issues after just a few minor crashes, but of course I am not sure how accurate these reports are. I'm also sure that any frame I would have purchased would have suffered a few crashes.

Redline Conquest Team: After I found out that it sold out in 3 weeks after its release, it was quite obvious that I would not be getting this bike.

Redline Conquest Pro: ended up being my choice. It was the best bang for the buck, and with a few exceptions, a very well spec'ed bike: http://www.redlinebicycles.com/adult...08_RL_SPEC.pdf

I have heard tell of this particular Ritchey wheelset failing after 1300 - 1500 miles, so perhaps I will ride the wheels into the ground and then replace them when the time comes. Also, for my non-racing rides, I would use a pair of 700*25 tires for comfort and speed.

I hope I made a reasonable purchase for my first cyclocross bike. When fall/winter come, I suspect that one of two things will happen. 1)I will love the sport and maybe make an upgrade on the frame next year or 2)Absolutely hate it, but still have a very capable winter commuter for Chicago. Hopefully it'll be the former more than the latter. I read a quote somewhere that I enjoyed great about CX that basically went, "You get to run, you get to ride, you get to get dirty, and after 5 minutes, no one knows who's in first place anymore." All things I enjoy!
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Old 05-09-08, 09:06 AM   #2
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i'm in the same boat as you...i'm 5'5" with around a 28.5" inseam (barefoot with feet around 3-4 inches apart). i BARELY have barefoot standover clearance on my '07 specialized roubaix (XS, 49cm). we're talking like 1mm clearance!!!!!

so like you, my search for a cx bike has been frustrating and exhausting!!!!!

in my internet search so far, the only frame that i'm POSITIVE will fit is the bianchi axis...

if you don't mind me asking...what's your inseam?
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Old 05-09-08, 01:21 PM   #3
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what perfect timing for me thank you for the post. I'm also in chicago and looking to get my first cyclocross bike... and I'm 5'5, 28.5" or 29" inseam (depends on how snug you want to get ) Where did you get the Redline? I was going to try and find a Kona Jake or something comparable.
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Old 05-09-08, 01:31 PM   #4
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what perfect timing for me thank you for the post. I'm also in chicago and looking to get my first cyclocross bike... and I'm 5'5, 28.5" or 29" inseam (depends on how snug you want to get ) Where did you get the Redline? I was going to try and find a Kona Jake or something comparable.
i'm 5'5" with a 28.5" inseam (barefoot with feet about 4 inches apart). i'm intereste to find out if the redline actually fits because according to redlines website the 44cm conquest has a 736mm (which 29" inseam).

as for the jake...i think the standover was even higher on their smallest frame...29.5".

the only frame i've found that i KNOW will leave me a bit of clearance once i have shoes is the bianchi axis...
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Old 05-09-08, 05:46 PM   #5
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You should worry more about whether the frame will give you that top tube reach that you need. In a crash, you're not likely going to be straddling your bike so stand-over clearance is not as critical as proper fit. If you have a longish torso and choose a bike based on stand-over, the top tube is going to have you cramped. Additionally, if you choose a frame small enough to have a decent amount of stand-over for your inseam, the main triangle might be too small to shoulder carry easily.

I'm 5'5" with a 29.5" inseam and ride a 52cm top tube. In the Redline, I'd ride the 48cm. My current bike is a 50cm with a 52cm top tube. Stand-over is nearly nil but that hasn't been a problem in any of the races I've been in.
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Old 05-10-08, 07:42 AM   #6
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You should worry more about whether the frame will give you that top tube reach that you need. In a crash, you're not likely going to be straddling your bike so stand-over clearance is not as critical as proper fit. If you have a longish torso and choose a bike based on stand-over, the top tube is going to have you cramped. Additionally, if you choose a frame small enough to have a decent amount of stand-over for your inseam, the main triangle might be too small to shoulder carry easily.

I'm 5'5" with a 29.5" inseam and ride a 52cm top tube. In the Redline, I'd ride the 48cm. My current bike is a 50cm with a 52cm top tube. Stand-over is nearly nil but that hasn't been a problem in any of the races I've been in.
i also ride around 52cm top tube. the top tube length is easy to find...usually, the smallest size cx bike has a top tube length in the ball park...sometimes it's exact, if not it's within 3cm...which is fine because you can tweak your reach a bit with your stem length.

but standover is harder to change. i guess one could get shoes with a taller sole or skinnier tires...but it's just harder overall to do. also, a LOT of people use their cx bike for more than cx racing...so it is convenient for many people to be able to stand over their bike.
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Old 05-10-08, 06:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
i also ride around 52cm top tube. the top tube length is easy to find...usually, the smallest size cx bike has a top tube length in the ball park...sometimes it's exact, if not it's within 3cm...which is fine because you can tweak your reach a bit with your stem length.

but standover is harder to change. i guess one could get shoes with a taller sole or skinnier tires...but it's just harder overall to do. also,
a LOT of people use their cx bike for more than cx racing...so it is convenient for many people to be able to stand over their bike.
Most people have less of a need for stand-over clearance than they think.
  • When mounting _usually_ the bike leaned to one side, one pedal in the forward position, one foot on the ground and one foot on the forward pedal.
  • Same position as above when waiting for a light change.
  • Dismounts you could do some many different ways, but usually it involves unclipping one pedal, slowing to a near complete stop, unclipping the other pedal, placing one foot on the ground, leaning the bike over, and swinging your leg over.

I guess if you sit on your top tube while taking a break, some stand-over clearance is necessary.
What other situations would you NEED stand-over clearance?
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Old 05-10-08, 07:27 PM   #8
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Most people have less of a need for stand-over clearance than they think.
  • When mounting _usually_ the bike leaned to one side, one pedal in the forward position, one foot on the ground and one foot on the forward pedal.
  • Same position as above when waiting for a light change.
  • Dismounts you could do some many different ways, but usually it involves unclipping one pedal, slowing to a near complete stop, unclipping the other pedal, placing one foot on the ground, leaning the bike over, and swinging your leg over.

I guess if you sit on your top tube while taking a break, some stand-over clearance is necessary.
What other situations would you NEED stand-over clearance?
i see your point...

so what's the point of standover height? i just read a article about bike fitting that stated standover height really isn't important for roadbikes. course, he did say "ROADBIKES"...instead of just BIKES. when is standover height an issue then?
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Old 05-10-08, 10:09 PM   #9
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Standover Height

I will offer my limited experience and knowledge to this issue. Depending on what type of geometry a road bike has (traditional, traditional/italian, compact, etc. etc.) standover height will be partly determined by the length of the seat tube, the angle of the virtual versus actual top tube, and the resulting "hypotenuse" of the downtube. In order to obtain an aggressive or plush feel, manufacturers must optimize the fit of the bike against the dimensions of the main triangle. For example, if somehow a bike had a 42 c-t seat tube with a 61 c-c virtual due to some type of severe case of "long torso and tiny assed legs", it would be a very awkward looking (and probably slower handling) bike.

Standover height can be useful if you want to take advantage of new seatpost technologies. It's been found through independent testing that the length of crank arm that an individual uses has very nominal effects on the efficiency of power transfer from your legs. In other words, the human leg would never create enough revolution-al force to warrant an extension of even 2.5mm per crank arm. Of course, we know that some people will always swear by a certain length for their own personal reasons.

However, more SO combined with 167.5mm cranks or even 165.0 cranks WILL allow you to use newer seatposts that boast the best in technology. If the bottom bracket remains stationary, leg extension static with the only variable being crank arm length, shorter cranks would yield a higher seating position than longer cranks would. A shorter c-t measurement (or in our case more SO height) will also yield the same result.

As a side note: When I built up my Tarmac Pro, it was quickly evident that I would not be able to fully appreciate the S-Works carbon seatpost with Zertz inserts because honest to goodness, the actual insert was BARELY above the collar level. I opted instead for just a nicer aluminum seatpost. Had I had more S.O, it's possible I would have been able to use the S-works post.

I guess that if you were REALLY cramped in the inseam and you were barreling along at 25mph and all of a sudden fell RIGHT onto the top tube that could be not as optimal for the family jewels. Although, I do suspect that even if you had 1 - 2 inches of SO and you were involved in the same nut-cracking accident, unless you fell off and your shoes had super powers and somehow you did not skid, crash, etc. - the boys would be equally as injured.

On my Gary Fisher Piranha, I opted to get the XS frame at 13" rather than the small at 15" which I could have ridden. I think when riding on the trails I just feel more comfortable and somehow more "in control" if I have a smaller frame. Most of my mountain accidents have come primarily on slower technical portions rather than blistering fast open ones, so when I know that I am losing control doing a log roll or windy singletrack, I can quickly unclip, have that extra clearance, and save myself from falling on logs, jagged rocks, heaps of dirt, etc.

As for cyclocross? No clue yet. I believe that all of your comments have merit. When I am doing training rides on the Conquest Pro, I will put 700*25cc's on. Also, I HIGHLY suspect (and I think I am right by looking at pictures of the smaller models) is that Redline does the SO measurement based on the "average", or midpoint of the top tube to the ground. Because it is listed at 44 by 51, I think that delta(L) between the virtual and actual top tube lengths would require an aggressively sloped top tube; it's possible that the SO height adjacent to the seat tube would be less than the 736mm that's listed on the website. I'll be able to know for sure next week when the bike arrives.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:16 AM   #10
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Enjoy the ride. I had a Redline Team scandium and loved it until a car hit me and bent it.
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Old 05-12-08, 08:37 AM   #11
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I really enjoyed reading this thread. Its good to know I'm not the only one with a long torso here..heh..

I'm 5'6'' and I'm riding a Felt F1X at 54/55 TT. Its a tad big but still manageable.

I used to ride the Trek XO-1 at 54 and that was just right although I wanted to upgrade on the parts package. That bike was pretty solid too.

So for the 2008 season I will be riding the F1X through the Chicrosscup season.

Selling Plug:
I am selling the Trek XO-1 with new parts (from the F1X) if anyone is on the market ($700 OBO). I can hook up the specs if you are interested.

I am also from Chicago too...
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Old 05-12-08, 09:27 AM   #12
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ha

awesome, i'll be the cat 5 racer tripping over hurdles.
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Old 05-16-08, 10:48 AM   #13
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time for an update!! how is the fitment compared to the other bikes?
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Old 05-16-08, 12:08 PM   #14
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fit of conquest pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by black_box View Post
time for an update!! how is the fitment compared to the other bikes?
definitely feels shorter than my tarmac pro, which is fine. snug at the ol' family jewels with the stock hutchinson tires, but not overly uncomfortable. (i rarely stand with the bike straight up anyways, so it's not an issue). the compact gearing confuses me right now, but i'll get over it i'm sure.

my little lemmings (aka sweatshop cousins) in taiwan did a pretty terrible job of the pre-assembly. if you get one, have your bike shop do a pro-build on it. more $$$, but worth it. all sorts of things were weird...shifting cables were all frayed and kinked out of the box, the cable housing was too long, there was no barrel adjuster for the rear brake cable, they used some really cheap and disgusting grease in the bottom bracket, one of the cups was slightly cross threaded. doesn't matter really to me though, i got to learn how to take apart a new bike and put it partly back together. the benefits of working in a bike shop, i guess.

here's a link to some pictures...

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...68e&id=2403743
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Old 07-27-08, 11:17 AM   #15
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That's one sweet ride, I think I may grab a frame and fork and build one up. I want to stay fit during the winter so I may drop into few races. I'll be swapping all the parts from 55cm Lemond Reno that's too big.

Thanks for the post
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