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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 03-15-09, 10:59 AM   #1
B-Line
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First cross bike: Jake the snake or surly cross check?

Hello,

I am looking to buy my first cross bike. I currently only own a big downhill bike (04 specialized big hit pro), and am looking to buy something a bit more versatile... which has lead me to cyclocross bikes. I am tall and skinny (6 feet tall and ~135lb), however I am pretty tough on stuff. I will be looking to do some light cross-country trails as well as rip on the local trail system. I have done a lot of research which has lead me to two bikes carried at my local bike shop that are within my price range. The surly cross-check and kona jake the snake. I have some concerns with both bikes.

I am concerned about the durability of the aksium wheels and carbon fork on the Kona. I am not going to be doing really aggressive trails, but how much can a cross bike take? I have also found a 08 jake the snake in a 58. The price is great, but I fear that it is too big, what do you think? I think that I may be better on a 56. Here is a link to the jake the snake:
http://www.konaworld.com/09_jakethesnake_c.cfm

The Surly is a bit more money (about $50 more) , but the part spec appears considerably lower. I also don't know about the bar end shifters, I will have to try them out. I am also a bit concerned about not having a replaceable R/D hanger (I have went through 3 on my downhill bike, though I use that for a different style of riding all together). From what I have read so far the steel frame should give a better ride, and be more durable as long as it doesn't rust). There seem to be a lot of cross-check fans on the boards here. Here is a link to the cross-check:
http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck.html

I also have some questions on sizing. As I mentioned I am 6' tall and I have a 34" inseam. What size of frame would you suggest?

I will be going to the shop to test ride both, but wanted to get some feedback and background beforehand. Any info is greatly appreciated

Thanks
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Old 03-16-09, 04:09 AM   #2
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If you held a gun to my head then then the Kona but who the heck wants rim brakes?

drop bar, discbrake, 700c, off the peg

trek portland - http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...land/portland/

cannondale cross xr7 - http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/c...del-8XR7C.html

Brodie Ronin '09 - http://www.brodiebikes.com/2009/bikes/ronin.php
Brodie Ronin '08 - http://www.brodiebikes.com/2008/2008_bikes/ronin.php

rocky mountain solo cxd - http://www.bikes.com/main+en+01_102+...tml?BIKE=606#2

kona sutra - http://www.konaworld.com/08_sutra_w.htm
Kona Sutra - http://www.konaworld.com/09_sutra_en.cfm
Kona Dew Drop - http://www.konaworld.com/09_dewdrop_en.cfm

Orbea Diem Drop Disc (2009) - http://www.orbea.com/en-gb/productos...icicletas.aspx (see road bikes > fitness > diem drop disc)

focus cross disc - http://www.focusbikesuk.com/focuscyc...cross_disc.php
focus mares disc 2009 - http://www.focusbikesuk.com/focuscyc...mares_disc.php

Devinci Caribou2 (2009) - http://www.devinci.com/11628_an.html

Raleigh USA Sojourn (2009) - http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/sojourn/
Rei Novara buzz road bike (2009) - http://www.rei.com/product/779985

rotwild rs1cx - http://www.rotwild.de/en/ (street bikes section)

Fixie Inc. Pureblood - http://www.cycles-for-heroes.com/bik...oss/pure-blood
fixie inc. pureblood - http://www.cycles-for-heroes.com/200...pureblood.html

Salsa la Cruz - http://www.salsacycles.com/laCruzComp08.html
Salsa Fargo - http://www.salsacycles.com/fargoComp09.html

Opus Sentiero - http://opusbike.com/site_route.php?lang=en (see 2009 bikes > road > cyclocross)

Genesis Croix de Fer - http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/series/croix_de_fer

BikesDirect Motobecane Fantom Cross Outlaw - http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ane/outlaw.htm

Baron bicycles - http://baronbicycles.com/spec.htm
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Old 03-17-09, 07:32 AM   #3
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Thanks for the links Markhr!

I would love to get a cross bike with disc brakes, but looking at your links a lot of the disc brake bikes have a low spec. The bikes with a good spec ( I would like 105) seem to all be out of my price range. I see a lot of good deals right now on Lemond poprad discs, but Trek has put a no shipping restriction on Lemond bikes. I am looking for one in Canada but so far I haven't had any luck.

Is it possible to run disc brakes and a 10sp cassette?

Thanks again for your help
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Old 03-17-09, 07:57 AM   #4
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...Is it possible to run disc brakes and a 10sp cassette?...

Thanks again for your help
No problem. Not sure how much help I was.

I ran/run dtswiss 240s disc with 10 speed campag ergo and it works great (they also do a shimano version of cassette body). They are premium hubs though so all I can suggest is save for a loooong time (kind of what I did) or start hunting craigslist/ebay/swap meets for either suitable bikes/frames/parts.

Good luck on finding one of the poprad disc bikes, they're awesome.

edit: the bikesdirect CX disc model towards the bottom of the list is reasonably priced for what it is and you can swap out the few non-105 parts as and when the others wear out.
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Last edited by markhr; 03-17-09 at 08:01 AM. Reason: BD
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Old 03-17-09, 08:28 AM   #5
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whenever i see that list of links, i always think "who the heck wants disc brakes?" hahaha different strokes i suppose. disc poprads are indeed sweet.

a cross bike can handle a lot, if you're a smooth rider. i'm not sure i would want askiums for a trail-use wheelset though. i much prefer a 3x wheel to a fancy pants one. i've ridden some moderately tech trails around here with a ritchey wcs carbon fork and with my current 4za zornyc carbon fork. both have been fine, though i much prefer the 4za's stiffness. the wcs was a little too noodly.

you should also choose which ever frame fits you best. i would guess by your inseam, a 58 would fit you. however, you may want to use an online fit calculator to get a better idea or have your lbs give you a fit session. the problem with riding too small a bike is getting your handlebars high enough.

how long your inseam is is an important fit factor, but many would argue that top tube length is a more important dimension to determine. i'm 6'4" with a bit over a 36" inseam. i would never want either frame just due to how long the top tubes are and that neither seems quite tall enough for me. however, i have a short torso and like a shorter top tube.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:03 AM   #6
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...but who the heck wants rim brakes?

Other than these retro grouches, you mean...

UCI World Cup



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Old 03-17-09, 09:34 AM   #7
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yeah, don't get me started on the union of (anti)cycling idiots

no disc brakes
no aero tubes
only "traditional" diamond frame bikes
saddle position restrictions
etc

spineless bureaucrats

edit: and by no disc brakes I mean they're unapproved and not banned. Either way they can't be used for UCIdiot competition
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Last edited by markhr; 03-17-09 at 09:42 AM. Reason: db clarification
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Old 03-17-09, 10:05 AM   #8
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Not trying to get you too wound up, Mark, but I, for one, can run faster carrying a non disc brake bike than a disc one. I expect you can too.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:32 AM   #9
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Honestly, if it weren't for the barend shifters, I'd go with the the CC. But otherwise, they're so close, the test ride should be the decision maker.

FWIW, I'm not a big fan of disc's on cyclocross bikes. I can't really justify the weight unless it will see an extreme of downhill action.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:47 AM   #10
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Honestly, if it weren't for the barend shifters, I'd go with the the CC. But otherwise, they're so close, the test ride should be the decision maker.

FWIW, I'm not a big fan of disc's on cyclocross bikes. I can't really justify the weight unless it will see an extreme of downhill action.
Assuming you don't want the barcons, that's a problem that is easily remedied. I like them however, especially on a bike that is going to get ripped around, beat up, and thrown in the mud. I'm just not a huge fan of cleaning out brifter guts when they're full of crap/sand/whatever, and I'm especially not a huge fan of replacing them when a tiny piece of plastic inside of them strips or breaks.
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Old 03-17-09, 05:17 PM   #11
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how long your inseam is is an important fit factor, but many would argue that top tube length is a more important dimension to determine. i'm 6'4" with a bit over a 36" inseam. i would never want either frame just due to how long the top tubes are and that neither seems quite tall enough for me. however, i have a short torso and like a shorter top tube.
I'm curious what kind of frame you ride? I have similar dimensions, just a bit shorter overall (6'3").

Thanks,

Eric
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Old 03-17-09, 06:15 PM   #12
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I'm curious what kind of frame you ride? I have similar dimensions, just a bit shorter overall (6'3").

Thanks,

Eric
i ride a 64 c-t 61 c-c ridley crosswind, which has a 58.5 c-c top tube. it fits me perfectly. i really love that bike. my lugged de rosa road frame has the same dimensions. i run each with a 120 stem. the ridley has a super high bb, so the standover is 35".

as far as other cross frames i've come across with a similar fit, it seems it's mostly the euro ones that have the shorter top tubes in the tall sizes.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:40 AM   #13
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Found a poprad dealer willing to ship

Hello everyone,

Thanks again for all of your responses and help. I have finally tracked down a lemond dealer that will ship an 08 poprad disc. My next question is sizing. I have read quite a bit about lemond sizing and believe that they are sizing C-C. Now given that I am 6 feet tall and my inseam is ~33.75" what size of frame would you suggest? The dealer has both 55 and 57 frames in stock. Any suggestions from current poprad owners (or anyone else)? I am not sure if I should have made this another thread... oh well.

Thanks again for all of your help
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Old 03-30-09, 06:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by B-Line View Post
Hello,

I am looking to buy my first cross bike. I currently only own a big downhill bike (04 specialized big hit pro), and am looking to buy something a bit more versatile... which has lead me to cyclocross bikes. I am tall and skinny (6 feet tall and ~135lb), however I am pretty tough on stuff. I will be looking to do some light cross-country trails as well as rip on the local trail system. I have done a lot of research which has lead me to two bikes carried at my local bike shop that are within my price range. The surly cross-check and kona jake the snake. I have some concerns with both bikes.

I am concerned about the durability of the aksium wheels and carbon fork on the Kona. I am not going to be doing really aggressive trails, but how much can a cross bike take? I have also found a 08 jake the snake in a 58. The price is great, but I fear that it is too big, what do you think? I think that I may be better on a 56. Here is a link to the jake the snake:
http://www.konaworld.com/09_jakethesnake_c.cfm

The Surly is a bit more money (about $50 more) , but the part spec appears considerably lower. I also don't know about the bar end shifters, I will have to try them out. I am also a bit concerned about not having a replaceable R/D hanger (I have went through 3 on my downhill bike, though I use that for a different style of riding all together). From what I have read so far the steel frame should give a better ride, and be more durable as long as it doesn't rust). There seem to be a lot of cross-check fans on the boards here. Here is a link to the cross-check:
http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck.html

I also have some questions on sizing. As I mentioned I am 6' tall and I have a 34" inseam. What size of frame would you suggest?

I will be going to the shop to test ride both, but wanted to get some feedback and background beforehand. Any info is greatly appreciated

Thanks
Apart from riding trails, is there anything else you plan to do with the bike, like road riding?

The parts spec for the Surly sucks. No doubt about it. But the frame is quite sweet. As for bar ends - you can sell them on ebay for around $60 and then, find some 9 speed STIs. Definitely a pain. However, if you plan to do road riding, I would much rather have a steel frame than a low end aluminum frame.

There's also a sale at Performance right now - seems like a pretty sweet bike for $799. http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3040 If you don't mind aluminum, not a bad choice.
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