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  1. #1
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    Best cyclo-cross bikes for 500-600?

    Hi All,

    Looking to get into cycling for fitness and fun but also for the odd commute. I wanted a roadie for the fitness aspect but I think that it might hinder me in winter or on the commute or even riding on trails etc. It was suggested to me that a cyclo-cross bike is the perfect beginner bike for my needs. As it's a road bike with some alterations to allow the possibility for some more adventurous routes.

    I'm looking for something with drops that will mainly be used on the road but still has that capability to go a little further.

    From my own research I've found:
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/nor ... e-ec053834
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/r ... -bike-2014

    Any opinions, or alternatives?

    Thanks in advanced guys!

  2. #2
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunters14 View Post
    Hi All,

    Looking to get into cycling for fitness and fun but also for the odd commute. I wanted a roadie for the fitness aspect but I think that it might hinder me in winter or on the commute or even riding on trails etc. It was suggested to me that a cyclo-cross bike is the perfect beginner bike for my needs. As it's a road bike with some alterations to allow the possibility for some more adventurous routes.

    I'm looking for something with drops that will mainly be used on the road but still has that capability to go a little further.

    From my own research I've found:
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/nor ... e-ec053834
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/r ... -bike-2014

    Any opinions, or alternatives?

    Thanks in advanced guys!
    A crosser is definitely the right type of bike for you to buy; the ability to run wider tyres should make it the default choice for a road bike in UK conditions. Either bike should be ok - but you can get great deals on lightly used bikes on ebay with some waiting.

    Main points are

    - Use an online bike fit calculator to buy the right size frame (choose the most relaxed fit options.) Consider changing the stem or bars to get the fit right for you.

    - Read the canti brakes faq for this forum and fit a tri-dangle or equivalent to the front brake to reduce squealing

    - Put 35-45mm road tyres on, preferably Marathon Supremes (offroad tyres are slow on the road and can have poor breaking). The Supremes will be great on gravel and ok on dry forest paths, especially the 45s. Put a knobbly on the front if you want to do more.

    - Have the stock brake pads changed for Kool Stop pinks (these work better in the rain)

    ..A medium price crosser with a dialed in fit and the right tyres will handle better than a 2000 grand super bike with poor fit. Do NOT trust the staff in the store to get fit right; they're usually either incompetent or oriented towards a very aggressive road racing fit that strains necks and backs.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    A crosser is definitely the right type of bike for you to buy; the ability to run wider tyres should make it the default choice for a road bike in UK conditions. Either bike should be ok - but you can get great deals on lightly used bikes on ebay with some waiting.

    Main points are

    - Use an online bike fit calculator to buy the right size frame (choose the most relaxed fit options.) Consider changing the stem or bars to get the fit right for you.

    - Read the canti brakes faq for this forum and fit a tri-dangle or equivalent to the front brake to reduce squealing

    - Put 35-45mm road tyres on, preferably Marathon Supremes (offroad tyres are slow on the road and can have poor breaking). The Supremes will be great on gravel and ok on dry forest paths, especially the 45s. Put a knobbly on the front if you want to do more.

    - Have the stock brake pads changed for Kool Stop pinks (these work better in the rain)

    ..A medium price crosser with a dialed in fit and the right tyres will handle better than a 2000 grand super bike with poor fit. Do NOT trust the staff in the store to get fit right; they're usually either incompetent or oriented towards a very aggressive road racing fit that strains necks and backs.
    Meanwhile, thanks for the reply! Some very useful information there! I have had a look at the second hand market but I'm looking for something quite specific in terms of price and cyclocross and there are few around to be honest. The plan would be to buy something new as I don't know enough about it all yet to guage how good a second hand bike is and then the more I learn along the way I will upgrade the bike I have in some of the ways you've mentioned (when I have available funds).

    I think initially I just want to know if these bikes are a good investment and that over time when I upgrade them they will get better and more suited to me and my needs and I won't want to get rid of them for something else.

    Are there any particular bikes you would recommend over the ones I've mentioned? Or even some to keep an eye out for on the second hand market?

  4. #4
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    ..You could also consider picking up a 90's hard tail MTB with a rigid fork and doing a drop handle conversion if you're handy with tools. These bikes are spectacular all-rounders. They're never caught on with the general public only because they haven't been associated with a racing event of their own - they could probably win any cross race with a good rider, but they're banned because the extra tyre traction would make them unfair competition. An MTB with drop bars and 1.5 or 2.0 inch Marathon Supremes is an extremely fast road bike too. A good bike store could easily do a conversion like this for you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    ..You could also consider picking up a 90's hard tail MTB with a rigid fork and doing a drop handle conversion if you're handy with tools. These bikes are spectacular all-rounders. They're never caught on with the general public only because they haven't been associated with a racing event of their own - they could probably win any cross race with a good rider, but they're banned because the extra tyre traction would make them unfair competition. An MTB with drop bars and 1.5 or 2.0 inch Marathon Supremes is an extremely fast road bike too. A good bike store could easily do a conversion like this for you.
    I'll look into that idea, however I think as a beginner it would be more sensible to get something that doesn't need a lot or any work initially! This sounds like an endeavour for someone who already owned a bike and had some good knowledge in the field! But I'll definitely look into those Marathon Supremes for an upgrade!

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    As at that price point the total cost makes the component pick on the Asian factory floor much the same .

    difference more in retail Shop's service policy ..

    the shop can do parts upgrades and swaps to suit the small differences desired .

    Halfords has Chain Branches Evans has several shops .. walk in their front doors and try them on in person ..

    Neither make their own bikes Now. Evans used to in the 80's..
    I was with a group and one of the members flew over bikeless , & bought a steel Evans from the London Shop.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-13-14 at 11:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunters14 View Post
    Are there any particular bikes you would recommend over the ones I've mentioned? Or even some to keep an eye out for on the second hand market?
    Differences between bikes are, honestly, small. (Components for the powertrain and brakes come from the same small number of manufacturers and frames for different brands come from the same factories in Taiwan and China.) If you find a crosser on ebay that fits and is in good condition, it will be fine.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 08-13-14 at 12:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    As at that price point the total cost makes the component pick on the Asian factory floor much the same .
    ..And even the lowest cost powertrains and brakes you're likely to find will work well and last for years. When you pay more, it's mostly about saving weight. Very small amounts of weight for very large amounts of money.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunters14 View Post
    I'll look into that idea, however I think as a beginner it would be more sensible to get something that doesn't need a lot or any work initially! This sounds like an endeavour for someone who already owned a bike and had some good knowledge in the field! But I'll definitely look into those Marathon Supremes for an upgrade!

    Cheers
    You could buy a nice 90s MTB for less than 100 on ebay. Drop bars would cost 40 for really good crosser specific ones (Sala Moto Lites or Bell Laps). Bar end shifters another 40. Give 50-100 to the bike mechanic and you're done for around 300. There are lots of examples here:

    the unofficially cool MTB drop bar thread | Retrobike



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    Thanks a lot for the advice guys! Maybe I'm focussing on the specifics too much and what I really need to do is just buy one haha!! I'll keep an eye out on the second hand market like you suggested Meanwhile and see if I can pick up a bargain. If not I'll buy a new one. I will check out that link Meanwhile! I live in Glasgow and Evans have two big stores here. I think I'd be keen to buy from them just for the services and customer support as apposed to halfords!

    Great advice, and great forum! I'll post here again.

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunters14 View Post
    Thanks a lot for the advice guys! Maybe I'm focussing on the specifics too much and what I really need to do is just buy one haha!! I'll keep an eye out on the second hand market like you suggested Meanwhile and see if I can pick up a bargain. If not I'll buy a new one. I will check out that link Meanwhile! I live in Glasgow and Evans have two big stores here. I think I'd be keen to buy from them just for the services and customer support as apposed to halfords!

    Great advice, and great forum! I'll post here again.

    Cheers
    Then my final tip would be check on the reputations of the stores. Final assembly of a bike is done by the shop, and how good their mechanics are has a real effect.

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