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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 09-26-11, 05:45 PM   #1
NickWulf
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Need help picking out a cyclocross bike

I am extremely new to biking, and I need to buy a bike to commute around town year round. After talking to some people at bike shops and doing internet research I found out I should buy a cyclocross bike.

I live in Lincoln, Ne so relatively flat land with snowy/icy winters. Looking around I found two bikes I am trying to decide between. I do not want something entry level or bottom of the line, so I am looking at mid-grade sport level bikes.

The two bikes I am looking at are from Bikesdirect.com
They are:

2012 Motobecane Fantom CXX
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...fantom_cxx.htm

Motobecane Fantom Cross
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...m_cross_xi.htm

I do not know enough about bikes to get the best one of the two. I am worried about the Motobecane Fantom Cross because on the page right above the spec detail there is a not that says: "NOTE: PLEASE TIGHTEN YOUR LOCKRINGS, CRANKS, PEDALS ETC BEFORE AND AFTER EVERY RIDE. Stripped threads, cranks, pedals etc are due to those parts not being tightened enough by the rider and are not covered by warranty" None of the other bikes I've looked at on the page have this warning!

ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH
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Old 09-26-11, 08:16 PM   #2
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That certainly is a strange disclaimer.

I'd suggest you buy from a local shop. You will pay somewhat more than you would through the internet dealer with the strange disclaimer. But in the long run, it can sometimes be smarter to pay a bit more on the front end.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:13 PM   #3
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If you do all your own work already, and have the tools, ,
then the bypassing the bike shop can work.
bikes direct requires that knowledge from you.
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I am extremely new to biking,
you say, so .. what brands are in the bike shops are in your town?
let's start again, there.
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Old 09-27-11, 03:33 PM   #4
NickWulf
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you say, so .. what brands are in the bike shops are in your town?
let's start again, there.[/QUOTE]

The shops I've been to have these brands: Specialized, Kona, and Giant.

The minor problem is I am on a budget (cannot really pay more than $1,000 Tops for one and it seems most entry level are above that), and I don't want an entry level bike with lower end components. I am pretty good at following directions and building stuff/working with tools. So buying online and putting together should not be a big problem. I do know I need to make sure it's put together properly, so worst case I will take it to a bike shop and pay them to put one together.
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Old 09-27-11, 04:17 PM   #5
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If you can find a bike shop that will cooperate with you on a Bikes Direct purchase, that can be very helpful. One of the worst things you can do is buy a bike online and then find out you got the wrong size. The resale value of those bikes is relatively low, and you don't want to end up riding a bike that doesn't fit you.

Most of the assembly is fairly manageable. You'll need to adjust the brakes and derailleurs yourself, but that's a skill you should pick up anyway. One of the common complaints about Bikes Direct is that the wheels often need to be trued when you get them. Watch out here! Truing a wheel from a set of online directions sounds really simple, but if you don't know what you're doing you can completely wreck a wheel and not know it until you're on the road and spokes start breaking.

You may find that your local bike shops are not fans of Motobecane bikes. More likely you won't find that out at first and you'll just wonder why they always put your bike at the bottom of the repair queue when you take it in. They'll still do good work at a fair price, but you won't get the extra favors that you would if you bought the bike from them.

If you're OK with all that, then the Bikes Direct bikes are a good value.

I would suggest, however, that you strongly consider the Kona Jake. In my opinion, it's a better bike than the Motobecane listed above. Yes, it's a little above your stated budget, but not much. It has mostly Tiagra-level parts, which are a level below 105 and, depending on who you ask, possibly a level below Apex, but they are very good parts. The Jake frame is very well designed. You'll get professional assembly at no cost, and probably at least one free tune up down the road. You'll also have a local dealer you can go to if you need warranty support. You may even be able to get a discount on any accessories you buy with the bike.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
If you can find a bike shop that will cooperate with you on a Bikes Direct purchase, that can be very helpful. One of the worst things you can do is buy a bike online and then find out you got the wrong size. The resale value of those bikes is relatively low, and you don't want to end up riding a bike that doesn't fit you.

Most of the assembly is fairly manageable. You'll need to adjust the brakes and derailleurs yourself, but that's a skill you should pick up anyway. One of the common complaints about Bikes Direct is that the wheels often need to be trued when you get them. Watch out here! Truing a wheel from a set of online directions sounds really simple, but if you don't know what you're doing you can completely wreck a wheel and not know it until you're on the road and spokes start breaking.

You may find that your local bike shops are not fans of Motobecane bikes. More likely you won't find that out at first and you'll just wonder why they always put your bike at the bottom of the repair queue when you take it in. They'll still do good work at a fair price, but you won't get the extra favors that you would if you bought the bike from them.

If you're OK with all that, then the Bikes Direct bikes are a good value.

I would suggest, however, that you strongly consider the Kona Jake. In my opinion, it's a better bike than the Motobecane listed above. Yes, it's a little above your stated budget, but not much. It has mostly Tiagra-level parts, which are a level below 105 and, depending on who you ask, possibly a level below Apex, but they are very good parts. The Jake frame is very well designed. You'll get professional assembly at no cost, and probably at least one free tune up down the road. You'll also have a local dealer you can go to if you need warranty support. You may even be able to get a discount on any accessories you buy with the bike.
I couldn't agree more. Although bikesdirect seem to be a good value, you are buying a bike online without riding it. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. Also, if you do buy it you will need to take it to a shop to have them set it up, check the torques, and possibly tune it/true wheels. I'm not sure how much that will cost but I would bet on $100 to start.

The Kona Jake is a great bike for the money too. And it's better to at least test ride it.

On the other hand, I purchased online a 2010 Gary Fisher Presidio from a bike shop out of state, but that was after I had a professional bike fitting done. Still, it was a big gamble buying a bike without riding it, but as it turns out I absolutely love my bike, and I am racing on it now.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:13 AM   #7
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I too recommend the Kona Jake. I love mine.

Either of the bikes you linked should be fine though, as long as you're willing/able to do/have done the necessary things mentioned above.

I don't know what it is about that frame, but the Jake really seems to suit a lot of people. Not saying the Moto frame is bad, but I have no experience with it personally.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:47 AM   #8
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Have you considered used? That can land you a much better spec'd bike for a fraction of the cost. I just picked up a used 2003 Kona Jake the Snake for a really good price. Bike is in excellent shape and quite the blast to ride. It was bought to be my bad weather/winter bike yet is in such good condition that I feel guilty for subjecting it to the poor winter road conditions. Still I now have a CX bike that is within a pound of two of my road racing bikes, I can cruise at an 18.5 mph average on, handles everything that a normal road can throw at it, is really well spec'd, and did not cost an arm and a leg. Win, win in my book! So maybe find someone knowledgable in bikes to help you look for a quality used purchase.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:13 AM   #9
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You can also check with your local shops to see if they have any demo bikes for sale. You can get a great discount (as I did just yesterday on a Giant TCX 0) and the bike is sold as new with warrantee, shop service, etc, etc. I agree with the other posters who say that you'll sometimes pay a little more buying locally, but in the long run it can be potentially less aggravation & hassle. Good luck.

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Have you considered used? That can land you a much better spec'd bike for a fraction of the cost. snipped.
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Old 09-30-11, 01:44 PM   #10
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I have commuted HARD on a Kona Jake the Snake for a few years now and I can't agree more with the guy above who recommends them. And I bought used, which got me the bike for half price, so I strongly agree with that guy too.

Ex-demo bikes can definitely be an awesome deal, too.
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Old 09-30-11, 01:50 PM   #11
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Yep, to be honest I am all over buying used now. I own 5 bikes and ride everyday. But only one was bought brand new. Too many good deals to be had used if you take your time, do your research, and understand what you need and what is a good deal.
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