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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Why my CX bike is my best bike

    I usually keep my Soma Double Cross off the road in winter but had the chance to ride it this week. I also have a Ti road bike and two vintage bikes. They are all substantual bikes, but the CX is the best; Why?

    It fits the best of all my bikes. It’s about 98% as fast as my Ti road bike. It shifts intuitively and has well spaced gears across a huge range. It’s has the smoothest ride. It’s the bike I ride most often. It’s the best bike for a 200k event. It is the most versatile bike and can be taken off-road. It can carry light loads as a commuter.

    Being back on this bike made me feel confident again. I can totally trust that bike. Zero issues in 8000 miles of riding. I trust that bike with my life, and it has transformed my physical fitness.

    Is it wrong to love a bike?

    Last edited by Barrettscv; 02-20-11 at 10:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    I know exactly what you mean. I've finally got my stable down to 2 bikes. 1 nice steel road bike (Bianchi EV Boron) and a nice titanium cyclocross do-it-all bike. Like you I've found that it's not too much slower than my road bike, but can do so much more. Here in Oregon more than half the year is rainy so this cross bike gets a majority of the miles out of the two. It's also my choice of bike for large mountain passes since it's got a very low geared triple and disc brakes. Rack mounts as well which opens up all sorts of other adventures.

    I recently started exploring dirt/fire roads and have found a whole new world. Put some 35 cross tires on it and I can tackle anything my body can handle.

    Not many snobby elitist cyclists here I've found but I would dare any of them to keep up with me when I take that dirt road to the right......
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  3. #3
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    I can relate. I own a Kona Major Jake, Specialized Tarmac Pro, Giant TCR0, a 1982 Peugeot and two mountain bikes. The MJ is the overall favorite by a long shot.

    My Reasoning:
    1) Commuting is a core part of my cycling experience and though I love to commute on my other bikes, the MJ is by far the most versatile for the speed. Fenders? NO PROBLEM! Knobbies? NO PROBLEM! Studded Tires? NO PROBLEM! Fast road racing tires? NO PROBLEM! Lit up like Christmas? NO PROBLEM!

    2) I live to go on rambling, off/on road rides (my favorite is a 105 mile [60 mi on-45 mi off] circle from Burley ID through Southern Idaho's City of Rocks). I have found that with a pair or inverted tread tires, I can ride my MJ just about anywhere (including snow covered trails) and give up very little speed compared to an MTB with knobbies.

    3) The MJ is just about as fast as my road bikes and that gap almost disappears when I compare apples to apples by putting my "race" wheels on the MJ.

    4) The MJ with 25c tires is almost as comfortable as my carbon tarmac

    5) The only racing that I LOVE to do is cx: good luck doing that on the tarmac or TCR!

    6) There is something about a cx bike that makes it ok to have a small scratch or even little ding here and there: they do not seem to psychologically diminish the bikes performance as they do for a dainty road bike.

    I still usually reach for the Road bikes when I am out with the hammerheads but there is no question about it: If I could only have one bike, it would be a performance oriented cx bike.
    Last edited by Sawtooth; 02-21-11 at 11:48 AM.

  4. #4
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    I have to agree. I have a Kona Rad Jake (Major Jake) and have to say it has quickly become my favorite bike. The comfort, speed, handling and simplicity. I love it. It's not even tricked/tweeked out like my MTB's. This bike sees the majority of my mileage now.



    BTW, that Soma IS SWEET.
    2009 Kona Rad Jake
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  5. #5
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    I just recently went from a 48cm 2006 Redline conquest Pro w/ Ultegra (keep in mind I am 5'11" a 48cm was just a tad small ) to two bikes:

    Road: 2010 Aerocat w/ SRAM Force 56cm

    CX: 2011 Redline Conquest Pro 56cm built with full Rival

    There is nothing I love more then riding my new Redline. Mind you the Aerocat hasn't seen the road but as far as I am concerned my Redline is truly my "best bike". For me it is functionality, feel, speed, handling, everything just feels perfect. And while many people tell me that toe overlap is not something to worry about, I am a city commuter, I like being able to do bike stands, toe overlap = PITA bike stands. Best of all worlds as far as I care.

  6. #6
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    This thread is making me feel even better about my decision to buy a third CX bike (Major Jake) instead of a true roadie.

    My stable now looks like this:

    "Road" bike/nice weather commuter: 2009 Surly Cross Check
    Winter/rain commuter: 2008 Kona Jake with front disc brakes
    CX race bike: 2008 Kona Major Jake
    Family/camping bike: 1989 Specialized RockHopper


    Now I just need to figure out which one of these will work best for short track MTB racing. If it's not the RockHopper, I might put drop bars and cantis on that.

  7. #7
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    This thread is making me feel even better about my decision to buy a third CX bike (Major Jake) instead of a true roadie.

    My stable now looks like this:

    "Road" bike/nice weather commuter: 2009 Surly Cross Check
    Winter/rain commuter: 2008 Kona Jake with front disc brakes
    CX race bike: 2008 Kona Major Jake
    Family/camping bike: 1989 Specialized RockHopper


    Now I just need to figure out which one of these will work best for short track MTB racing. If it's not the RockHopper, I might put drop bars and cantis on that.

    LOL, I just pulled the trigger on my 2nd Kona yesterday (2010 JTS). It will become my new commuter/pit bike.

  8. #8
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    I like my Redline Conquest Team. It's older but feels the best due to the way the geometry is. Really fits like a glove. I'm now riding so much that i think my fit is changing and I'll be flipping the stem down and raising the seatpost just a bit to really dial it in. I am riding on heavy wheels and heavier touring tires which slow me down a tad on weekend group rides but soon I'll swap wheelsets to my lighter roadie setup and I know it'll really come alive then.
    I agree about toe overlap though, this bike has a bit of overlap and with fenders it can get really annoying.
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Attachment 191320After flatting last winter from a sharp sand spicule on my skinny-tire bike, and thoughts of a lot of roadcrew sand dumping again this winter, not to mention noticeable street and road deterioration, I decided to test-ride some CX bikes. A Crux caught my eye. I test-rode it. Aah, this is niice. Then I talked my wife into test-riding a smaller one, overcoming her reticence to ride a drop-bar bike for the first time in her life. She got on it in the parking lot and disappeared. Came back with a big gleam on her face. So we got each other his and hers Christmas presents.

    We rode some hills around Sonoma, crossed the Golden Gate, and ended up touring a dog park. Then I did the bike trail from Marina to Pacific Grove. Back home, we've had weather ranging from -17 F to 68. Been riding on the warmer days. I'm not worried about riding in the road sand or hitting potholes.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/images/attach/jpg.gif

  10. #10
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    You have a look on your face like "look at those poor bastards behind me...."
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  11. #11
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    That crux is a fine looking bike!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Thanks Sawtooth. I'm agreeing with Barretscv. CX is really good for conditions that would be too harsh on a road bike, but you don't really need an MTB, and with CX you can go faster than on an MTB.

    Stock brakes on the Crux Expert, not that good. My wife noticed this on hers too. I'll work on this. The frame is good.

    I actually crashed mine, not the bike's fault, I hand tightened my pedals, sans wrench, and had pedal breakaway. Oops, had to get a new handlebar, the front wheel slipped out of its holding nubs, the front brake pads went whacko. I had to fix things, It worked out fine. I really want to take classes at United Bicycle Institute in Ashland Oregon. Can anybody comment on this school?

  13. #13
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    Eclectus, I tried my best to get canti brakes to work well, but the best I could get was fair. Even with some fancy cool stop pads. I switched to mini-v brakes and was quite pleased with them. You can change them out for probably no more than about $30-40.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    knobster, that's a great recommendation.

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
    knobster, that's a great recommendation.
    A lot of people get good results from mini-vees, but try fitting a fork mounted canti hanger first. It almost always works - at least with metal forks.

  16. #16
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    These bikes come with them as standard equipment. My 2010 Tricross had them and they did work better than my other Tricross that didn't have it, but were still poor compared to the mini-v brakes.

    Check it out in this photo:

    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  17. #17
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    These bikes come with them as standard equipment. My 2010 Tricross had them and they did work better than my other Tricross that didn't have it, but were still poor compared to the mini-v brakes.
    Yes, but the Tricross fork is about the worst possible case for fitting a canti hanger - the Tricross has been notorious for front brake problems precisely because of its cool-looking but problematic fork. The Tricross is a bike that I'd tell someone only to buy if they were willing to fit mini-vees or TAs. (That's a stunningly pretty bike, btw.)

    Otoh, fitting a canti hanger to my old Kona MTB with its utterly rigid Project Two fork produced cantis that felt like hydraulic brakes - the stopping power and modulation were good before but amazing afterwards.

    If in doubt I'd always a canti hanger before trying mini-vees. It's cheaper, easier, and allows you to set the pads for wider rim clearance - which is why mini-vees aren't fitted in the first place. And if your fork isn't a problematic one I think the result will be superior - I've never had vees that modulate as well as good cantis.

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Oops - re-post!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Yes, but the Tricross fork is about the worst possible case for fitting a canti hanger - the Tricross has been notorious for front brake problems precisely because of its cool-looking but problematic fork. The Tricross is a bike that I'd tell someone only to buy if they were willing to fit mini-vees or TAs. (That's a stunningly pretty bike, btw.)

    Otoh, fitting a canti hanger to my old Kona MTB with its utterly rigid Project Two fork produced cantis that felt like hydraulic brakes - the stopping power and modulation were good before but amazing afterwards.

    If in doubt I'd always a canti hanger before trying mini-vees. It's cheaper, easier, and allows you to set the pads for wider rim clearance - which is why mini-vees aren't fitted in the first place. And if your fork isn't a problematic one I think the result will be superior - I've never had vees that modulate as well as good cantis.
    I don't know... I've owned 4 Tricross's of different levels and haven't had the first problem with fork shudder on any of them. Maybe I had my brakes setup incorrectly which prevented them from applying the proper amount of force to the wheels, but I've heard of this issue so many times and had no idea what it was. I did try mini-v's and discovered they were much better but it was only because of the poor performance of the canti brakes. Even then, the only time I had issues with canti's was on long, steep decents. Normal duty they worked well enough.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  20. #20
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    That being said, I finally decided to get a bike without canti's.

    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  21. #21
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I don't know... I've owned 4 Tricross's of different levels and haven't had the first problem with fork shudder on any of them. Maybe I had my brakes setup incorrectly which prevented them from applying the proper amount of force to the wheels, but I've heard of this issue so many times and had no idea what it was. I did try mini-v's and discovered they were much better but it was only because of the poor performance of the canti brakes. Even then, the only time I had issues with canti's was on long, steep decents. Normal duty they worked well enough.
    I suspect that the reason you weren't getting shudder was that your brakes were so badly set up that they weren't generating enough force - perhaps because of a fork problem. Because dozens of net reports say that a Tricross fork *will* shudder with cantis, and the mechanism is well understood:

    The shudder is (most likely) caused by the fork flexing which slackens the cable, the fork rebounds which tightens the cable which causes the fork to flex which slackens the cable, etc.
    Placing the hanger lower reduces the shudder.

    Correctly set up with a hanger, cantis *do* produce enormous amounts of braking power - and set up is easy if you follow the set up threads posted here in the past. Because a hanger is cheap, easy and maintains the versatility of cantis, I'd always try it first before mini-vees - which don't always produce a happy outcome because of their low rim clearance.

  22. #22
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    Can't argue with that meanwhile.

    Barrettscv, do you do any off roading with your Soma? Wondering how well the frame resists scratches. I've taken mine on dirt roads a couple of times, but haven't had it very long to know yet. My Tricross was getting dinged up pretty good by rocks so I quit riding it on those roads and decided to get a Ti bike instead.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  23. #23
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    Can't argue with that meanwhile.

    Barrettscv, do you do any off roading with your Soma? Wondering how well the frame resists scratches. I've taken mine on dirt roads a couple of times, but haven't had it very long to know yet. My Tricross was getting dinged up pretty good by rocks so I quit riding it on those roads and decided to get a Ti bike instead.
    I've done some gravel trail riding using 700x28 slicks. The bike is passable as long as the path is firm. Softer gravel would need wider tires. The paint is good considering the price point. A few spots are showing after 8000 miles of use.

    Michael

  24. #24
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    Oh that's steel right? I was thinking it was Ti. It looks like Ti.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  25. #25
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    Oh that's steel right? I was thinking it was Ti. It looks like Ti.
    Steel: http://www.somafab.com/dcdc.html

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