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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 01-06-11, 09:30 AM   #1
Andy_K 
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Benefit from a better bike?

I've got a 2008 Kona Jake with a mixed Gossamer/105/Ultegra drivetrain. I'm wondering how much I would benefit (racing) by upgrading to a better bike and how much better I'd have to go to make a significant difference. I realize that my fitness and handling skills are the ultimate determinant, and based on that I've been thinking I'd never outgrow this bike (I suck). On the other hand, I can use all the advantage I can get.

I was looking at the Specialized Crux and the Giant TCX, but other than having carbon forks and low-spoke count wheels, I'm not sure they're much different from the Jake. I don't think I have the budget for one of the nice Ridleys, but I could probably swing a frameset and move my current components over to it. I think I'm still crashing too often to go with a full carbon frame. I was thinking about getting a Winwood Dusty (carbon disc) fork and some Roval Pave wheels to upgrade the Jake.

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Old 01-06-11, 10:15 AM   #2
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I would just upgrade your wheels if you want. The kona is a great frame and the 105/ultegra mix you can't go wrong with or even save much weight upgrading that. Generally the largest weight savings are wheelsets, tires, and the fork (full carbon vs alloy steerer). I saved over a pound upgrading to a alpha q full carbon fork and another pound upgrading the wheelset on my bike.
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Old 01-06-11, 10:33 AM   #3
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I agree with upgrading the wheels. Also, you may want to ride a SRAM equipped bike. All in all, if you want a new bike, get one.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:02 AM   #4
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Second to upgrading the engine, the next biggest upgrade you can make is switching from clinchers to tubulars.

Oh, having a second bike, power-washer, and mechanic would be a huge advantage (depending on conditions), but isn't really in the spirit of cat 4 or 3 racing (IMHO).
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Old 01-06-11, 11:05 AM   #5
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All in all, if you want a new bike, get one.
Agreed, as long as you factor in the cost of a tubular wheelset and tires.
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Old 01-06-11, 11:53 AM   #6
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Well, of course I want a new bike. That's a given. The trouble is, I want a new CX bike, a new road bike, a new mountain bike and a new winter commuter. I'm just trying to figure out which I want next.

I'm reluctant to make the jump to tubulars because of the expense and maintenance effort. The initial cost doesn't look too bad, but I don't know how often I'd be prepared to drop the cost of new tires. For those who use tubulars, how often do you typically replace them due to damage?
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Old 01-06-11, 12:02 PM   #7
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I'd estimate I've got over 20 races on my current set, as well as countless training sessions, and they are still going strong. My rear must have gotten a flat because it started losing air quicker than usual, I put in some Stan's+Slime, now it's fine.

Switching to tubulars from clinchers or tubeless is that rare upgrade that gives a substantive increase in both performance AND reliability. And it's really not very expensive if you go with alloy rims and Challenge tires.
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Old 01-06-11, 06:08 PM   #8
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Like many others who have replied to this thread I would absolutely upgrade wheels instead of getting a whole new bike. More specifically get tubulars! They make a huge difference. If you are interested in some nice tubular wheel builds shoot me a message.

Having a variety of tire selections for different racing conditions can make the difference. Your components are great and a kona jake is a solid frame that can be upgraded later. In my opinion I would rather have a solid tubular tire selection than an upgraded frame.
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Old 01-06-11, 06:13 PM   #9
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Why would he want to buy SRAM components if he already has a working set of Shimano?
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Old 01-06-11, 07:42 PM   #10
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IMHO because SRAM are rebuildable and work better in the sloppy conditions for PDX cross.
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Old 01-06-11, 07:51 PM   #11
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^^^ because scram is the latest, greatest and lightest thing out there, although I'm still not ready to jump on that bandwagon.

IMHO wheels are the best, single, upgrade. Other things that haven't been mentioned yet, seat post, stem, handle bars and seat can all help out also.

For wheels, I personally am headed for a sturdy, relatively light set that I can use for training and racing cross and road. Using latex tubes and high tpi tires is as close to tubular as you can get.

Could really use more info on your frame to better suggest.

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Old 01-07-11, 12:16 AM   #12
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I'm sure in Florida there would be no difference between groups. I use Shimano on the road bike and it works really well but it stays clean. In a sloppy, muddy cross race I've found that my Rival works really well.
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Old 01-07-11, 09:58 AM   #13
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I've never had any problem with my Shimano system, but I am curious about the SRAM system. Even so, I don't think it's in the cards as long as what I have is functioning.

I appreciate everyone's input. I think you've convinced me on the tubular tires. It seems like the biggest bang for the buck upgrade. I've also been wanting to replace my 30-pound tank disc-equipped winter bike, so what I'm thinking now is that I'll get a new frameset (I'm kind of hoping to find a scandium Major Jake or Chili Con Crosso) and move my current components to that along with a tubular wheelset. Then I'll get a disc fork for the Jake and move the components from my winter bike (mostly the original Tiagra parts the Jake came with) onto that. This way I'll end up with a nice racing bike and a very nice winter/rain bike.
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Old 01-07-11, 12:58 PM   #14
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Could really use more info on your frame to better suggest.
It's a 7005 aluminum frame with a steel fork. I think the frame is the same as the Jake the Snake for the same model year (2008), but I could be wrong about that. They have the same geometry, at the very least. With a double crankset and Ultegra/Open Pro wheels, the bike weighs in around 21 pounds.
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Old 01-09-11, 11:41 AM   #15
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So, phase 1 of my upgrade plan has been initiated. As mentioned above, I was thinking I'd get a scandium frame and carbon fork, but I found a good deal on a complete 2008 Kona Major Jake, so I jumped on it. It has almost none of the original parts, but that's not what I was after anyway. Basically, I'm looking at this as the frame and fork I was after with a lot of extra parts for my parts bin.

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Old 01-09-11, 06:43 PM   #16
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'Tis the season. Looks great.
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