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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 10-11-13, 09:41 AM   #1
boogiewith
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Need your advice, newbie, first cyclocross bike purchase

So I've come to the conclusion that a cyclocross bike makes the most sense for my needs (road, off-road, commute, etc.). I've only been a mtb rider, but want to do more road riding, while still able to hop onto fire trails, gravel, and mellow dirt trails. I'm looking at an entry level bike, and have done some research, including this forum. I have a list of possibilities, and plan to test ride them, but having no experience, I'm not sure what I should be thinking about as I test ride them, and if you can help lead me in the right direction, that would also be great. Here is the list. Thanks for the input!

Cannondale CAADX 7
Redline Conquest
Ridley X-Bow 20
Felt F75X
Focus Mares AX 3.0
Scott CX Comp
Masi CX Comp
Trek CrossRip Elite
Jamis Nova Race
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Old 10-11-13, 10:03 AM   #2
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You got all those in your favorite local bike shop, to test ride ?

here we can get trek , redline and felt, and because QBP has US distribution rights, ridley can be ordered .

Go test ride bikes.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:29 AM   #3
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They are covered by 2 LBS's. I am looking for advice to help narrow down the list, and also any insight that may quickly chop some off.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:46 AM   #4
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the popularity contest will follow ..

Our LBS is less able to carry a lot of brands ..
as we have to do 80% of the business in the 4 months of summer.

Redline comes out of Seattle Bike Supply classic is steel , has disc brakes .. theyre fine..
CrossRip, next one down has a triple crankset , under A grand it has Cantilevers this year..

Ridley has a better cyclo cross racing focus, the Belgian company is in a Cross racing country.

largely good or less is the assembly out of the box attention to detail, and the service after the sale..


so pick the shop First , then the bikes they sell ..
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Old 10-11-13, 07:05 PM   #5
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Bump
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Old 10-11-13, 08:30 PM   #6
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Buy the one that looks coolest to you. They're all the same.
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Old 10-12-13, 07:05 AM   #7
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Wow, really? If they're all the same, why does a forum like this exist? I'm not really looking for a response to that, just surprised by your reply.
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Old 10-12-13, 04:08 PM   #8
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I think the problem is that your question is too broad and your list too large. It's hard to say where to begin. I could tell you my favorite CX bike, but it's not one of the one's on your list so it would be counter-productive.

You probably won't find a lot of people who have extensively ridden more than one of the bikes on your list, so the most we'll be able to tell you is what we like about the component choices or maybe the geometry of a particular bike. And it wouldn't even be particularly helpful for me to talk to you about geometry because it appears that your intended use isn't quite the same as my typical use, though I would say for the general kind of riding you describe even geometry isn't particularly critical.

The thing I'd say you should be looking for in a test ride is comfort. The biggest difference (aside from component choices) between the bikes will be minor differences in the way they fit. So if you get the one that feels best when you're riding it, that's going to be a good choice.
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Old 10-12-13, 08:08 PM   #9
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A new Redline Conquest, IMO, is a better all-arounder than a carbon Ibis Hakkalugi. (which wasn't on your list)

That's all I can add since I've never been on any of the other bikes. I've been on a Ridley X-Night, which was nice, but not enough time to share a warranted opinion with you.

Best advice is to ride them. Your opinion is infinitely more relevant than that of anyone else here.
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Old 10-15-13, 02:14 AM   #10
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I have a Redline Conquest and I love it. Dont have much experience with others though.
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Old 10-15-13, 11:31 AM   #11
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Thats about It .. people buy only one at a time .. so can't compare/contrast amongst 9 choices.
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Old 10-15-13, 11:37 AM   #12
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I have five years and many thousand miles with my Focus Mares. No original parts save the headset is on it now but I just love the frame. Solid and predictable, highly recommended.
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Old 10-16-13, 06:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by boogiewith View Post
Wow, really? If they're all the same, why does a forum like this exist? I'm not really looking for a response to that, just surprised by your reply.
At your pricepoint, they're all the same.
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Old 10-16-13, 07:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
All things being equal * they will be .
Quote:
Quote:
why does a forum like this exist?
you can ask that about a large number of forums on the web..

answer : Because ,,

* things that cost the same in this case ..
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Old 10-16-13, 11:56 AM   #15
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Alrighty then. How about geometry? Does anyone have thoughts on the geometry of any of the bikes on the list? Are any more compact, upright, very racing oriented, etc.?

Cannondale CAADX 7
Redline Conquest
Ridley X-Bow 20
Felt F75X
Focus Mares AX 3.0
Scott CX Comp
Masi CX Comp
Trek CrossRip Elite
Jamis Nova Race
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Old 10-16-13, 03:23 PM   #16
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As I recall the CrossRip has more of a general purpose, relaxed geometry. Probably not as nimble as some of the others, but more comfortable over a long haul. I think it fits the gravel grinder motif. The Cannondale, I think has a relatively tall head tube relative to the top tube. This gives it a somewhat more upright riding position without going all the way into the adventure touring realm. I haven't heard a lot specifically said about the others, so I expect that they are fairly close to traditional CX race geometry. That's all off the top of my head. Still too many bikes to look up.

There are a few general things to look at in geometry. Most CX bikes will have a head tube angle around 72.5 degrees and a seat tube angle around 73 with a chain stay length around 420mm.

A steeper head tube angle (larger number) makes the bike more nimble but less stable. A slacker head tube angle makes the bike hold a line better but it won't carve a corner quite as sharply. A slacker head tube angle also helps minimize toe overlap, especially on smaller frames.

A slacker seat tube angle tends to put your weight back over the rear wheel a bit more, which is good for traction when accelerating or climbing (as long as the grade isn't too steep) but is somewhat bad for handling. In practice most people probably cancel this out by adjusting their saddle fore/aft position for comfort (that is, relative position of the saddle and the bottom bracket) and adjust their body weight as needed for technical riding. Smaller frames often need a steep seat tube angle to make room for the rear wheel, especially with short chain stays. (Note: the relative position of the saddle and bottom bracket has performance implications and the seat tube angle influences the starting point there, but that may be leading this discussion astray.)

Shorter chain stays make the bike more nimble and put more of your weight over the rear wheel. Longer chain stays make the bike more stable in straight lines. If you ever want to use a rack and panniers, longer chain stays are important to avoid heel strike, though some rack designs mitigate this problem.

The other significant variable (outside of fit issues) is bottom bracket height. There's a lot of disagreement about this. Traditionally CX bikes have had high bottom brackets with the idea that it kept you from hitting your pedal on roots and rocks and such. Recently though CX courses have tended not to have many such obstacles, so there is a trend toward a lower bottom bracket, which generally has more favorably handling characteristics (makes the bike less tippy).

All of these are relatively small effects, but noticeable when you push the bike to its limits. The key point you should take away is that there is no good or bad geometry, just geometry which is better or worse suited for particular riding conditions. All geometry choices improve some characteristic while degrading another. It's a matter of which trade-offs you want.
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Last edited by Andy_K; 10-16-13 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:18 PM   #17
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Thanks Andy, great stuff! I checked the geometry of the bikes listed, and the head tube and seat tube angles are all very similar. The chain stay lengths seems to be the bigger difference, ranging from 425-435. It also appears that the BB drops differ a little, ranging from 65-70.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:28 PM   #18
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If you've never ridden a CX bike before you won't be able to really judge differences, and if differences make things better/worse. I only own one road bike and one CX and they're my first of each. I can compare the two with each other but I couldn't make sweeping comparisons with other road/CX bikes even after a 20 mile test ride. It takes a number of rides, in different conditions, imo - for example, I rented an older Fuji Roubaix earlier this year and I think it was a harsher ride than my road bike. But I wouldn't have been able to say that straight after the first ride.

Any of those would be fine I think. If you aren't looking to make any changes to the stock setups (Shimano vs SRAM shifting, gearing, disc vs canti brakes, stock tires/wheels, etc.), then just find the one that fits the best, and the other you would like to ride straight out of the shop - the one that looks the best to you aesthetically.

You could also look at the newer "gravel bike" "category" for your needs. Might be more comfortable over longer rides than a true CX race bike.
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Old 10-18-13, 12:55 PM   #19
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What would be good examples or ideas/suggestions for a gravel bike? How do those differ from CX bikes?
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