Cyclosscross Surly Crosscheck or Jamis Quest/Satelitte Road bike
I have been researching bikes for over two months now and I still can't decide what to get. Can you please give me some advice? Here's my situation: I live in the suburbs of Philly, PA and am 6'1 250lbs looking to do most of by biking on paved bike trails but occasionally may head north to do some packed gravel road riding. Not looking to get into racing but just more having fun and getting exercise with my bike but like to go as fast as I can without giving up comfort.
I have been considering getting a surly crosscheck because of the flexibility and comfortable frame with the ability to do some off-road riding. However, since over 80% of the time I will be riding on road I figured maybe I should just get the jamis quest. I like the quest since steel suppose to give you the ultimate comfort ride and at 19lbs I don't think its too heavy.
The bike will not be used as a commuter but strictly for fun riding. I did test ride a 2012 carbon synapse 6 and liked it especially for the $1500 price but I in my over analyzing the bike was sold. I was thinking of staying away from carbon fiber because of my weight and thinking steel will be smoother. What do you think?
I wouldn't worry about the durability of carbon - it's plenty strong these day. The price tag will getcha though.
I can't say enough good things about my Cross-Check. The versatility is hard to beat. I especially like the tire clearance, as I'm currently running 40c Clement MSO's for gravel riding and I still have plenty of room for mud. It's plenty fast enough on the road, so I wouldn't worry about the weight or whatever.
There are, however, lots of similar options on the market now (not so much when I got my 'check). Check out the All-City Macho Man, for example. The Salsa Vaya is a little more upright and a little more sluggish (due to the geometry), but it's a fine mixed-terrain bike too. I've got a Vaya I really enjoy as well.
My cross check has served me well for a few good years now. It sees 20mi/day commuting recently and has done its share of singletrack and fun rides as well. I've not felt that the bike has ever held me back. Its not the blingiest bike out there, in fact its at the low end of the blingy spectrum but that is part of its allure to me. I'd rather improve the engine than fret with bike weight or other such trivialities. There are also plenty of other offerings to consider from other makers like salsa, kona, specialized, cannondale, trek, all-city, civia, etc, etc, etc. as more and more companies introduce "all-around" cross/sports touring/randonneuring bikes with more tire clearance.
I love my check but there are plenty of other bikes that would serve me just as well.
Also, I really like steel. I wouldnt like to worry about dinging carbon bits. My worries are likely overestemated in my own head though.
Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
The Jamis looks like a pretty nicely speced bike. The size-specific tubing in particular is nice to see.
My concerns would be the 20/24 spoke wheels and the ability to fit larger tires + fenders if you want them. If the shop will give you credit for the wheels at the time of purchase 32h 3x wheels like 105 or Ultegra hubs laced to Mavic Open Pros may hold up a little better at your size. Fenders may or may not be a requirement for you. At 250 I think 28mm tires would be good though for the riding you're describing. Good ones will not be sluggish.
I own a Cross Check which I use for commuting (set up singlespeed with 35mm tires and fenders). It's a fine bike, but it doesn't have the fun factor of a road bike.
My first post here so i should say hello. Have you checked out the Jamis Bossanova? Its not as light as light as the Quest but it does have disk brakes and a lot more clearance for bigger tires. I can tell you that the Tiagra drive train shifts great. The rims are not the strongest though and wont handle a ton of abuse. I laced some Velocity Dyads to my hubs and have been very happy with the bike over all.
'12 Jamis Quest w/ White Industries/Open Pro wheels; 2001 Jamis Coda hybrid
I tried both and bought the Quest. I am not as big as you, but got a Brooks seat, nicer wheels, and Ultegra for both deraileurs. 105 across the board and I love the bike. Riding up a long steep hill three weeks ago, I came across a guy with a brand new carbon Trek whose RD had broken off at the plastic joint. Unhappy guy with a cell phone and a serious warranty claim. Steel is a tough product. Try them out, and buy the one you don't want to give back.
Thank you everyone for your input. I researched the bikes you have suggested and each of them seem to fit me. I am leaning towards the cyclocross bikes now just because I will be riding some off-road at times. The Bossanova, Redline conquest classic (no longer made however), and the Salsa Vaya all sound good. I don't need it to be a commutter so I am going to stay away from the Salsa Vaya since noted for its sluggishness. I want a fast cyclocross bike. I can go to downtown philly to check out some of these rides but there is an REI store 2 mins from my house and I could get a Surly Crosscheck there or a Raleigh Roper. Wanted to get your thoughts on the Roper vs. Crosscheck or if you feel some other cyclocross bikes are faster under $2K. Thanks again for all the input
Thank you for all your input and help. I ended up going to the Surly CrossCheck and so far have been very pleased with the ride. Since its my first bike since my Schwinn S1 (I think thats its name) from Target and 80's road bikes with 54cm frames I have been riding, its certainly a very nice upgrade. It rides on and off road very well but its certainly doesn't take hills like the Carbon Fiber Synapse 6 Apex I test rode. At least i have a bike that can pretty much do it all. Thanks again everyone!
Congratulations on your new bike!! New bike day is always a blast. I suspect you will be happy with the XCheck. I have been. It is no specialist unless the speciality is being a jack of all trades. Thus, i try not to often compare it to other genres of bike. I just work on the engine! Have fun riding!