Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Springfield, MA
Bikes: 2012 Motobecane Fantom CXX, 2012 Motobecane Fantom CX, 1997 Bianchi Nyala, 200? Burley Rock 'n Roll
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Originally Posted by Mondo734
+1 on Performance and nashbar.
I also would have to say that if you want to use this bike as an all purpose bike you may want to get one with eylets for fenders and racks; this is something the Diamondback Lacks. Plus I would advise against buying a bike without having a test ride on it first. Difference cx bikes from different brands ride significantly different.
If you find the right size locally of one model, you can find the geometry tables for it and comparable bikes online. By comparing them, you can get a pretty good idea if you're buying the online bike in the right size. I would agree, though, that bikes with the exact same geometry can ride differently due to the stiffness of the tube set and other subtle differences. It can be a leap of faith to buy online.
If you're considering buying a bike online that you can't test ride locally, you might as well look at Bikes Direct as well. They have some nice cross bikes at your price point. I got a Fantom CXX recently and like it a lot. I also bought a Fantom CX frame from Bike Island (which is the same frame that comes as a complete bike from Bikes Direct) and transferred the parts from another frame. I rode it for the first time today (just a couple miles), and I think I'll be happy with it.
Of course, if you buy online, then you will need to do the assembly yourself or take it to a local shop to do it. Before you do anything, call around to see what shops will charge. Doing it yourself may require the purchase of special tools. These are the sorts of things that go into the decision whether to just buy locally or not.