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  1. #1
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    Advice needed on bike selection and sizing.

    I am looking for some advice on my first cyclocross/commuter bike. I have owned BMX or MTB all of my life and feel a road or touring bike would be too delicate for me. I am planning on commuting 40km RT in Metro Vancouver (hilly and often wet). I am in my mid 30’s, 5’10”, 30” inseam and 180lbs. I have a young family so I haven’t been as active as I have in the past. Commuting is part of my plan to change that.

    After doing more research on the Internet than I care to admit to my employer, I have come up with the following shortlist:
    • Devinci Tosca SL2 – Brand was recommend by a friend who rides MTB
    • Kona Jake the Snake – Seems like a great overall value
    • Jamis Nova Pro – Seems like a very popular bike
    • Surly Crosscheck – Customers appear to be very loyal to the brand; they must be doing something right!

    I want something I can put a light, fenders, rack and panniers on. I may possibly want a computer and front disc brake in the future.

    I would really appreciate any feedback on my list along with sizing recommendations.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    I am 5-10 also and a bit but I have a cycling inseam, PBH, of 86cm which is 34 inches. Unless you have really short little legs there is no way you have an inseam of 30 inches at 5-10. You must be giving your pant's inseam, my pants inseam for Levi's is 32 inches usually. I figure you are around a 32 inch PBH.

    You would look at a Surly Cross Check, which I just bought of about 54cm which is also the size I just got. I like a bike fit to the smaller size of my fit range usually because I prefer a more aggressive position on the bike. I would think the 54cm would also work for you. BTW, the 54cm Cross Check fits like my 1984 Pinarello in a 56cm but more relaxed. Bike sizing today is odd, go by the top tube effective length is sizing from an older bike you felt good with.

  3. #3
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    Thanks Loose Chain. I buy my Levis with a 30 leg and usually have to fold the pant legs up. I appear much taller sitting than standing

    Have you had any issues mounting a light, fenders, rack and panniers on your cross check? Any weight issues with the steel frame?

  4. #4
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyE View Post
    I am looking for some advice on my first cyclocross/commuter bike.

    After doing more research on the Internet than I care to admit to my employer, I have come up with the following shortlist:
    • Kona Jake the Snake – Seems like a great overall value
    • Jamis Nova Pro – Seems like a very popular bike
    When I was commuting to work (9 miles one way = 14.5 km) I rode a Jamis Nova. Awesome bike. I had fenders, rack, and lights. Very tough bike. It even survived a car/bike collision, the only damage being a broken spoke in the rear wheel. I didn't fare so well. I needed shoulder surgery, but that's another story.
    I'm mow retired so no more commuting but I now ride a Kona Jake. Another awesome bike. I think I may have liked it better than the Nova if I had it when I was commuting. It will easily accommodate fenders, rack, and lights.

    I never was a fan of disc brakes. I always felt safe enough with the cantilever brakes on the Nova. That's what my Jake has.
    If you're interested you can see pictures of my commuting setup in the bike pics in my signature below.

    I have a few friends who ride Surly LHT or Cross Checks. Another great bike.

    It sounds like you'll need a 54 cm in any of the bikes you're looking at.

    Let us know what you get -- with pictures.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  5. #5
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyE View Post
    Thanks Loose Chain. I buy my Levis with a 30 leg and usually have to fold the pant legs up. I appear much taller sitting than standing

    Have you had any issues mounting a light, fenders, rack and panniers on your cross check? Any weight issues with the steel frame?
    No, the Cross Check is built for fenders and all manner of racks.

    If you really have short legs in order to get some stand over you may have to drop to the next size, a 52, but due to your odd physique you may never find a perfect fit on a bike without going custom. Since the Surly in the 52 and up sizes essentially has a level top tube you might consider looking at bikes with a sloped top tube as you could still get the "reach" you need and the sloped top tubes would give you more stand over for a given effective tt length if you follow.

    I am pretty sure you would be OK on the 54 CC but I am concerned a little about stand over.

    Steel is real, weight issues, no.

  6. #6
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    My LBS that carries Konas just suggested I look at the Opus Sentiero as well. He said the bikes he owns are all Konas but the disc brakes on the Sentiero will come in handy during Vancouver's rainy winters. I know nothing about Opus, but the specs and price look comparable to the Jake the Snake.

  7. #7
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    Great advice LC. I think I may buy from my LBS instead of used off of CL. Selection is pretty low and too many customizations for a newbie rider to compare apples to apples there. Also, I assume my LBS will perform a fitting and suggest component swaps where needed.

  8. #8
    wonderling FuzzyE's Avatar
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    I ended up buying a used 2008 Jamis Nova Pro. Cost me half of what I was going to shell out for a new JTS. I bought some Shimano M515 pedals, Bontrager Shoes and Shorts. I think I will throw on the Axiom Streamliner DLX Rear Rack and Rainrunner Trekk Reflex Fenders. Any thoughts on this?

    I went out for a 1/2 hour ride in the rain. The bike is much faster than my old MTB. I think it may take me a bit to get used to the more aggressive posture, especially when ripping down a hill. Mostly rode on the road but a did a few laps on a gravel and a grass field in a park.

    So far so good. It took me a bit to realize the brake was also the shifter and had a bit of anxiety at my first stop sigh trying to unclip from my pedal.

    Thanks guys for your help!


  9. #9
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Pretty, pretty, love it, congrats on your new machine.

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