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  1. #1
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    Starter Cyclocross Bike

    OK here's my situation, I have been riding a road bike for about 3-4 years now. I ride for fun, as a work out, and use my bike to ride to class. Even though the road bike I have is too big for me, I enjoy riding it when the ground is not wet from rain or whatever. Anyway, now that I have a few years of experience under my belt, I have realized a multipurpose bike would be a better fit for me. The road bike I have is a GT zr 5.0 with stock components

    I enjoy the speed of the road bike but I also like the idea of not having to worry as much when the ground is wet. I also have a few friends that ride up light trails, and I would like to join them. I want my new bike to have a rack for going grocery shopping, fenders for when it rains, and preferably lighter (aluminum is fine). This is why I have decided on getting a new bike.

    I'm a broke college student, so I don't have a huge budget. I am trying to save as much of my summer work money as possible. With that being said, here is a list of potential bikes I have found interest in:

    Kona Jake
    KONA BIKES | 2015 BIKES | CYCLOCROSS | JAKE
    Redline Conquest
    2014 Conquest Disc | Redline Bicycles
    Specialized Tricross
    Specialized Bicycle Components
    Trek Dual Sport
    8.5 DS - Trek Bicycle
    Salsa Vaya 3
    2014 Vaya 3 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles
    Trek Crossrip
    CrossRip Comp - Trek Bicycle
    Cannondale CAADX 7 sora
    CAADX 7 Sora - CAADX - Cyclocross - ROAD - BIKES - 2014

    Lastly, do you guys think I should be concerned with bike components (e.g. derailleur model) or am I looking too deep into it? I know my road bike has shimano sora components but I have also never tried using better ones. Also, I already know that the way a bike feels is what is most important and I will be going to my LBS soon to try some out. I just like to do my homework before I go so that's why I am posting this on here.

    It would be great if I could get some 'expert' opinions on this issue or even just testimonials. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Not an expert, but I was shopping for a bike with similar concerns recently. I tried the crossrip (base model and the next tier up) as well as the tricross. Of the cross bikes I looked at though, I have to say I liked the fuji cross 1.5 the best...great value imo.

    One suggestion: you might look at touring bikes...they often have rack mounts and can accomodate the larger tires that you'd want for light off road use. I ended up buying a road bike and just use my old 5 speed touring bike for the gravel.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the drop bar commuter sector with hybrid wheels gets lumped in as 'Cross bikes'..

    'broke, college' says serviceable used bike and serious locks to not have it stolen ..
    given Uni campuses attract Bike thieves..

  4. #4
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    @wheelsmcgee
    Fuji 1.5 cross looks very appealing! (Fuji Bikes | ROAD | CYCLOCROSS SERIES | CROSS 1.5)

    Aren't touring bikes usually a heavier metal to account for the bigger loads they'll be experiencing? If I had the option of having two bikes I would, but I have to get rid of my old road bike if I want to get a new bike for financial reasons.

    @fietsbob
    That makes sense. Can you recommend some of those hybrid bikes with drop bars?

    Yes I am very familiar with the troubles of having a bike on campus. I have a single U-lock that usually takes care of the frame and rear wheel and then I have cable lock to keep the front wheel tied to the frame. I'm thinking about getting another smaller U-lock for the front tire but I'm still unsure if I need it. I'm thinking if I get a newer bike, it would be smart of me to invest in one.

    @Everyone

    Can anyone speak on behalf of the functional differences between derailleurs? I mean I don't really care about weight, mostly if shifting actually feels different on higher end models or not? SRAM or Shimano? Big differences between SORA v. Tiagra? Tiagra v. 105? That kind of comparison would help when comparing all of these bikes

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kopsis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waq123 View Post
    Can anyone speak on behalf of the functional differences between derailleurs? I mean I don't really care about weight, mostly if shifting actually feels different on higher end models or not? SRAM or Shimano? Big differences between SORA v. Tiagra? Tiagra v. 105? That kind of comparison would help when comparing all of these bikes
    You'll start a holy war with that one Here's how I look at it ... if you're buying "off the rack" (i.e. not buying a frameset and building it up yourself), the manufacturers have spent a lot of effort trying to come up with the optimal set of components for a given price. They'll make different trade-offs (better wheels for a lower group, mixing levels within a group, mixing component brands, etc.), but the solution will be comparable to what everyone else came up with for that price (because if it's not, it won't sell).

    Figure out what you want to spend, then pick the bike in that price range that "speaks to you". Getting the fit, handling, and features you want is infinitely more important than whether the RD is Sora or 105 (for example).

  6. #6
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    Hey, I am also looking at bikes in the same market segment. I have a Trek hybrid bike that I currently use for "road" riding, and a Diamondback mountain bike for off-road. What I'm really looking for is a "road" bike except with clearance for bigger tires to safely tackle bad pavement, railroad tracks, and such; I also want lower gearing than is typical for road bikes because I'm kind of a weenie when it comes to hills. But, I'd like to have a lighter and faster bike than my hybrid. Finally, I'd prefer to have disc brakes and rack mounts, but those aren't deal killers.

    I've tried all of the following recently:
    * Trek Crockett 5 Disc (yeah, more of a serious racer, but they had it and I was curious. Loved it but not really what I *need*)
    * Giant Anyroad 2 (thought I'd love it, but hated it once I got on it. Roughest ride of anything I've been on lately)
    * Specialized Secteur Sport (more road bike, but the disc version can handle wide tires. Very nice.)
    * Specialized Crux Elite Disc Apex (had to try it because it was blowout clearance priced. As nice as the Crockett, but likewise not so practical, and the SRAM shifters were weird to me)
    * Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra (way out of price range, but had to try it to see what I would be missing. WOW.)
    * Cannondale Synapse 5 105 Disc (The weight difference between the alloy and carbon is unnoticeable when riding, but the ride is not nearly as nice. Not quite as much tire clearance as the Secteur I think. Still under consideration though.)

    I'm waiting on a '15 Crossrip Comp that a LBS has ordered for me to try, and then I'll probably make a decision. To answer that last question, I've tried Sora, 105, and Ultegra and honestly, there's not a huge difference in feel between any of them. The Crossrip is Claris; I'm hoping it's not disappointing in comparison. It and the Anyroad are among the few bikes coming with triple crank sets.

    You probably can't get hold of a Tricross right now unless a shop happens to have one left in stock; both my local Specialized shops told me they couldn't get one in. The new Diverge is supposed to replace it and the Secteur Disc for '15.

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    @kopsis
    hahah I wouldn't want to start that.
    Isn't it more expensive to building it up? Also, I understand what you are saying about manufacturers putting in a lot of time and effort to make the bike fit a certain price range. I guess a follow up question to that will be, given that I don't really care for the wheels weight (or more specifically I prefer more rugged and robust wheels so I don't have to think twice about hitting a pot hole if it's unavoidable), which bikes do you think stand out from the list I mentioned before and also including the FUJI mentioned by @wheelmcgee.

    Finally, yes I understand the feel and handling of the bike is most important, its just I'd rather spend more time doing research on these bikes and seeing how they compare on paper rather than going and trying out each and every one (some shops aren't so "local")
    Last edited by waq123; 07-22-14 at 04:12 PM.

  8. #8
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    @tweeg

    OK hear another almost similar story. Also, thanks for your input on the group set differences.

    I think eventually, when I get to a LBS, I will take your motto and try even bikes outside of my price range (1000-1500 but want to stay as close as possible to 1000) just to see what I'm missing

  9. #9
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    Update: I found another bike that might be in my price range
    Cannondale Caadx disc 6 tiagra
    CAADX Disc 6 Tiagra - CAADX - Cyclocross - ROAD - BIKES - 2014

  10. #10
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    If you have a Jamis dealer then the Jamis Nova Sport would be ideal. Accommodates racks, disc brakes, tires up to 40c, Sora components are reliable but also cheap to fix/replace. I've ridden centuries on mine as well as gravel and mud trails. Very nice bike for $850. I also like the Crossrip and Fuji CX bikes are some of the best deals around. Depending on budget the All City Macho Man is a party brand, the bikes are awesome, the company is hilarious(their blogs), and reminds me of college life

  11. #11
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    waq123 - The Fuji Cross 1.5 was a little bit of a surprise...being a newbie, I wasn't too familiar with the brand, but happened to ask about it at our local dealer (it was a shade over what I told him as my price range). He said they sell a ton of them (they had the stock to prove it!) and that the value for the level of components was great. It was my clear favorite of the 4 or 5 crossbikes I tried. Everything just seemed more "refined" than the other bikes, but who knows if that was just the assembly or fit of the others. I would have picked it up in a heartbeat, but it was just a little more than I wanted to spend.

    I agree with bbarnett51. I ended up getting a great deal on a Jamis Ventura sport, so I took that figuring my older road bike could be outfitted with some bigger tires for the occasional off road use I'd need. However, if they had the Nova Sport in stock, I'm 99% sure I would have left with that bike. For $825 MSRP, you get cross tire clearance and disc brakes. The only downsides that I would think about are the aluminum fork and 2x8. However, my Ventura is similar in that regard, but coming from an all-steel 40 year old 2x5 road bike, I dont mind.

    Let us know what you get!

  12. #12
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    @bbarnet51 and @ wheelsmcgee
    I couldn't find the Jamis Nova Sport on their website (JAMIS BICYCLES - ROAD BIKES, MOUNTAIN BIKES, STREET BIKES, SPORT COMFORT BIKES, CRUISER BICYCLES, KIDS BIKES)

    Yes, I will let everyone know what I decide on after test riding some of these.

    I am going to try LBSs that have Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Kona, and Fuji bicycles. Looks like I'll be busy for a while haha

    Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

  13. #13
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    Its difficult to find on their website...from the main page, you have to first click on "road" and then notice there is another navigation bar below that reads "Competition Road/TT Triathlon/...etc" on that second bar click on "cyclocross"

    here's a link

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by waq123 View Post
    @bbarnet51 and @ wheelsmcgee
    I couldn't find the Jamis Nova Sport on their website (JAMIS BICYCLES - ROAD BIKES, MOUNTAIN BIKES, STREET BIKES, SPORT COMFORT BIKES, CRUISER BICYCLES, KIDS BIKES)

    Yes, I will let everyone know what I decide on after test riding some of these.

    I am going to try LBSs that have Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Kona, and Fuji bicycles. Looks like I'll be busy for a while haha

    Thanks for all the advice, everyone.
    It under road then there are tabs near the top. Cyclocross is listed. I just looked at it!

  15. #15
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    Look at the Janis Bosanova.

    Its somewhere between a CX and a touring bike. If you like an adventure bike, that's worth checking out as well.

  16. #16
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    @bbarnet51 and @ wheelsmcgee
    Nice, thanks I found it. 850 would be a steal for me if I can get to test ride one and like the fitting and ride.

    @Normanf

    Interesting. That bike is on the higher end of my budget and it is steel. Besides it coming with mud guards, what do you think the added benefit is from that build compared to the cyclocross bikes listed above in that price range (1200-1400)?

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    Welp, I rode the Crossrip Comp today. It's as nice as any of the bikes I rode that were in my budget. The Claris group is decent enough, the bike has all my desired features, and with the Trek sale ending today it's the best bargain. So I bought it. I was in my car with no bike rack, so I'm going to pick it up tomorrow before the Tuesday night social ride.

  18. #18
    Senior Member TourDeHood's Avatar
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    I was in looking at many of the same bikes you mentioned a few years ago. Went w/ the Jake because I wanted something more race ready (The conquest fit the bill but I just didnt like the fit/ride)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by waq123 View Post
    @bbarnet51 and @ wheelsmcgee
    Nice, thanks I found it. 850 would be a steal for me if I can get to test ride one and like the fitting and ride.

    @Normanf

    Interesting. That bike is on the higher end of my budget and it is steel. Besides it coming with mud guards, what do you think the added benefit is from that build compared to the cyclocross bikes listed above in that price range (1200-1400)?
    The added benefit is you can go commuting with it as well as ride off-road. And since a touring bike is more than most people want or need, the Bosanova is the sibling to Jamis' highly regarded Aurora Touring Bike.

  20. #20
    Senior Member User1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waq123 View Post
    I'm a broke college student, so I don't have a huge budget. I am trying to save as much of my summer work money as possible. With that being said, here is a list of potential bikes I have found interest in:
    I'm a little confused here. Why are you looking at new bikes if you're a broke college student? Me personally, I was never looking at new bikes( unless wishing ) for a ridable bike. I did my homework on what I wanted and then hit the classified (no CL back then). Hopefully you live in a good populated area that would have something that you are looking for. In the mean time do more homework on what you are looking for.

    Another thing good about used bikes is that someone else did the "experimenting" and built up a database of the good and bad of the different models. All you got to do is research and ask around. Oh and save some of your rather scarce money too.

    That's my 2 cents!

  21. #21
    Senior Member matimeo's Avatar
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    +1 on you probably shouldn't be buying a new bike if you're really broke, but if you're buying new, this is what you should do:

    Go to Nashbar.com and sign up for their mailing list. They email you a coupon for 21% off. Buy the Nashbar CX1 Cyclocross bike. Comes to $434 with the coupon. Not a bad deal. Just make sure you know what size you'll need (likely smaller than the right size on a road bike).
    El secreto, por lo demás, no vale lo que valen los caminos que me condujeron a él. Esos caminos hay que andarlos. Jorge Luis Borges, El Etnógrafo

  22. #22
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    Final update: I was lucky to find a used CAADX disc 6 tiagra at my lbs. One of the mechanics there offered to sell it to me. I enjoyed the test ride and it felt good to finally ride a bicycle that was my size. I can't wait to see how this thing responds to both the streets and light trails.

    Thanks for all the input everyone!

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