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  1. #1
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    I'm in over my head... I need help!

    OMG I am soooooo in over my head right now.

    First a little bit of back story. I haven't ridden seriously in over 15 years. I'm way out of touch - clueless even, but have decided to commit myself to riding the STP next year. In order to do this, my friend lent me his mountain bike to train on while I learn about bikes.

    One thing led to another, and I am now signed up for a 43 mile ride for the Tour de Cure in Portland later this month. No problem, I'm currently riding a 30 miler this weekend, up from my 22 miler last weekend (I'm riding 6 nights a week anywhere from 10 to 16 miles, and graduating that each week).

    The real issue is that I have signed myself up for the Portland Century next month, and I need a bike for it. I was hoping to spend around $800 for a starter bike, but when I went to the bike shop, the guy there said that anything less than $1100 is probably a bad investment if I am planning on riding centuries and doing the STP. After that he showed me a couple of the road bikes that he had and showed me the differences in derailers, and cranks, and shifters, and what I get for the $1100 model vs. the next step up, $1300 model.

    What I've realized: I don't even know where to begin to shop for a good starter cyclocross bike.

    Here's my profile: overweight dude who sees cycling as my ticket back to fitness. I plan on riding the Portland Century this August, train for the Tour de Blast in June, and ultimately I want to become a regular rider on the STP. I want something that will carry me through at least to STP 2012 and maybe 2013. I also would like to be able to do some trail riding and some touring as a change of pace. Just getting into this, I'm finding that I need all kinds of things I didn't think of... Shoes, clothes, helmet... this is getting expensive. I just want the most amount of bike for the least amount of price to get me started.

    Can Bike Forums help me out and give me some ideas on what I need to get going here? What should I be compromising on early? What should I not be compromising on? (seems like brake shifters might be something that I not compromise on - I don't know)

    HELP!

  2. #2
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    You should actually post this over in the Clydesdale/Athena forum, and maybe the Regional Discussions PNW forum. Probably you'll get the best advice over in the Clydes, though. A few of the guys rode STP this year (both 2-day and 1-day riders) and I rode it back in 2008 as a 1-day.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    The jump from riding a borrowed bike to completing century events is a big one. It will be well worth, it as your improved fitness allows more speed and distance. Look for strong 32 or 36 spoke wheels, tires in the 700x25 to 700x32 size, a compact crank with 18 or 20 speeds or a triple with 27 or 30 speeds. Living in the PNW, you will want a bike that accepts fenders. Ask about these things as you shop.

    I would test tide as many bikes as possible. I would look at these models;

    http://www.rei.com/product/816068/no...onee-bike-2011

    http://www.rei.com/product/809009/ra...send-bike-2011

    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

    http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/

    There are many others, take your time and get what fits.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 07-13-11 at 09:11 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The jump from riding a borrowed bike to completing century events is a big one. It will be well worth, it as you fitness allows more speed and distance. Look for strong 32 or 36 spoke wheels, tires in the 700x25 to 700x32 size, A compact crank with 18 or 20 speeds or a triple with 27 or 30 speeds. Living in the PNW, you will want a bike that accepts fenders. Ask about these things as you shop.

    I would test tide as many bikes as possible. I would look at these models;

    http://www.rei.com/product/816068/no...onee-bike-2011

    http://www.rei.com/product/809009/ra...send-bike-2011

    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

    http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/

    There are many others, take your time and get what fits.

    Thanks man... Any thoughts on this bike:
    http://sellwoodcycle.com/consign/2011-kona-jake/

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CascadeHops View Post
    Thanks man... Any thoughts on this bike:
    http://sellwoodcycle.com/consign/2011-kona-jake/
    Nice bike..
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CascadeHops View Post
    Thanks man... Any thoughts on this bike:
    http://sellwoodcycle.com/consign/2011-kona-jake/
    Nice bike, I like the Shimano triple for long & hilly rides. Be sure it has eyes for fenders near the front & rear axles. You will need to change the knobby CX tires for road or touring tires.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Nice bike, I like the Shimano triple for long & hilly rides. Be sure it has eyes for fenders near the front & rear axles. You will need to change the knobby CX tires for road or touring tires.

    If you were in my situation, do you think you'd value the Kona Jake 2011 or the Surley Cross-Check more?

    Kona Jake:
    http://sellwoodcycle.com/consign/2011-kona-jake/

    Surly Cross-Check:
    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

  8. #8
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    I have the Kona Jake from last year and I like it a lot. From what I've seen online this years model is supposed to be upgraded so it is supposed to be a little nicer. The only problem with mine is that I do not have the brake levers on the cross part of the bar, sometimes it would be nice to have these, and I don't know if the new ones have those. I'm a tad under 6', and weigh about 200-210 and the bike has held up well, although I don't yet have 1,000 miles on it. The new Konas have different geometry, but I like the slanted top tube which the Surly doesn't have, but if you get a correct stand over height I don't know that it really matters much.

    From what I've heard the Cross-Check is a good bike as well. Personal fit and comfort would probably be the best bet for you. I don't know how that REI Raleigh would do for trail riding, because I don't know enough about it, but I've seen it at the store and being test ridden and it is a sharp looking bike. It has bar end shifters which I don't really like, but that is a personal opinion which could be different in your case. I've heard plenty of tourers who like bar end shifters. The upside to this bike is that it is an item eligible for REI membership dividends which is generally 10%, so you will eventually get almost $90 back to spend on other items withing their store if you are a member.

    When I bought my Kona the Reline Conquest kept popping up as an alternative, but the place that had them cheap didn't have any my size. You might want to check into that.

  9. #9
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    Hell yeah, I'm an REI member.

    I'm into backpacking, so I'm all about that yearly dividend. Thanks for the perspective.

  10. #10
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    Thought about used? Check the forums here, pinkbike, craigslist, etc.

    I picked up a decent '06 Cannondale Optimo for $800 up here in overpriced Ontario. I like the Made in USA proud on the frame. I would have bought a devinci or opus for Made in Canada, had any used ones my size come up for sale... It just takes some looking around and some patience.

    Cheers,
    Mitch

  11. #11
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    I love my 2010 Kona Jake, and I bought it from the same shop you listed. The 2011 model has different geometry though, and I can't tell whether or not it has the rack/fender eyelets, if that is important to you.

    You would definitely want different tires than stock, but that will be the case with many (though not all) new bikes. Those guys should be able to help you decide, and tell you the differences.
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    walk right in and punch the first guy you meet in the head
    2011 BMC SR02, 2010 Kona Jake, 2009 Felt X City D, 1984 (?) Trek 400, 1995 Trek 850

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrybczyn View Post
    Thought about used? Check the forums here, pinkbike, craigslist, etc.

    I picked up a decent '06 Cannondale Optimo for $800 up here in overpriced Ontario. I like the Made in USA proud on the frame. I would have bought a devinci or opus for Made in Canada, had any used ones my size come up for sale... It just takes some looking around and some patience.

    Cheers,
    Mitch
    I have thought about used, but my issue is that I have no frame of reference on what to look for in wear and tear on a used bike, and what I don't want is to buy something now that I have to pour a bunch more money into next spring. Thanks for the pinkbike refer!

  13. #13
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    With you just getting into the sport, I would recommend buying new at a shop. That will give you some support if something goes wrong. Once you get more savvy about parts and what not then used makes more sense. Congrats on your goal. Be sure to keep it fun too.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CascadeHops View Post
    If you were in my situation, do you think you'd value the Kona Jake 2011 or the Surley Cross-Check more?

    Kona Jake:
    http://sellwoodcycle.com/consign/2011-kona-jake/

    Surly Cross-Check:
    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/
    I would go with the one that fit best. For me, I would take the Kona. I am more comfortable on a compact frame than a traditional frame, like the Cross Check. I also like the triple on the Kona. Both are great. Ride them both.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    get the bike for what you weigh now,metal and sturdy
    doesnt sound like you are planning on the Cross Crusade to race cyclocross
    ,
    Id look at a commuter/ touring bike , like Redline classic, TIG steel,
    disc brakes , mud guards and maybe a rear rack.

    not light weight trick stuff for 50 # less you, [the goal?].
    that would be more for actual racing on the weekends.

    PDX you Got a S**t load of dealers with different brand territories ..
    go test ride stuff .

    Trek has a disc braked commuter , named the PDX, at about $500
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-13-11 at 03:51 PM.

  16. #16
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    Those PDXs look pretty good, especially for the price. I had a Scott Sub20, or maybe 40 I forget, which looks similar, but I didn't like it at all. Now that I know more I think it was just a little too small for me. Someone could do long rides on those though, and I think they would hold up well to heavier riders.

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