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My choices are; Opinions? Suggestions?

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My choices are; Opinions? Suggestions?

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Old 07-09-07, 02:53 PM
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Infantryboots
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My choices are; Opinions? Suggestions?

According what I have been reading on this forum and everyones suggestions, my choices are and according to what I want to do is:

Choices:
1. Cross Check
2. LHT
3. Pacer
4. Trek 520
5. Trek X0 1

Riding:
1. Commute/Tour
2. Carry stuff
3. Jump a curb or two
4. Run with bike groups (road bikes)

Should I build or buy a complete bike? Would building be cheaper than buying a complete bike?
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Old 07-09-07, 02:54 PM
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buy a bike. Building one is better if you want to do it simply for the experience of building a bike. It is typically much more expensive to build than to buy outright.
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Old 07-09-07, 03:11 PM
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Choices:................Commute/Tour............Club..........Curbs........Hauling
1. Cross Check...............X........................X..............X
2. LHT..........................X.........................................................X
3. Pacer.................light commute..............X
4. Trek 520...................X........................X...............................X
5. Trek X0 1..................X........................X...............X


Originally Posted by Infantryboots
Should I build or buy a complete bike? Would building be cheaper than buying a complete bike?
Buy complete unless you're really just about building it yourself. In the end, it's usually less expensive to buy complete. Also, when I say "curb jumper" I don't mean beat on it like a 15 year old at the terrain park. I just mean that it's reasonable to hop it up and down a couple curbs here and there.
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Old 07-09-07, 04:18 PM
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Build if you can't find an acceptable bike already built. But you WILL spend more. As an experiment, make a list of the components you need and start adding up the cost based on what you find on Nashbar or Performance or JensonUSA or something. You'll find that it costs a fortune to buy individual components.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:53 PM
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I am a huge advocate of buying used.

I've bought at least six used bikes in the last year, ridden them for a while, and sold three of them for at least what I paid for them (including shipping charges). Those I sold include: Kona Jake the Snake, Quintana Roo Borrego, Cannondale Bad Boy. The three I still have could easily be sold for what I paid as well.

Ebay is full of barely used bikes for less than half of retail price, including quite a few surlys. Buying used allows you to try new things, determine what you like, and move on without losing money.


How attached are you really to the "jumping curbs" thing? That really skews the results. Yea, you can jump a curb with a road bike with thin tires, but why? If you're riding in the road there's no need other than possibly a desire to play.

Regarding "commute" and "hauling", give some serious thought to what you really mean. Are you really going to ride in the rain frequently? This determines whether you REALLY need fenders. Sure, the board consensus is that everyone needs fenders and a rack, but many of us have neither.

Given that you have no idea what you really want (no offense intended) I really don't think building your own bike makes sense. You will end up spending a lot more money and not have the knowledge to spend it in the right places, and still run the risk of ending up with a bike you don't like.
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Old 07-09-07, 08:41 PM
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I second Jeffs statements 110%.

Buy a complete bike unless you have a lot of extra cash and know exactly what you are looking for. I built up one bike and it was a money pit and I ended up not even liking the finished product.

You can find higher quality bikes for a lot less money if you are willing to get a bike someone has taken arouund the block a couple times (sometimes not even that far). $500 wont even get me the most basic model road bike at my LBS; but that same $500 could get you a really good quality used bike with plenty of money left over for any upgrades, accessories, or keg parties you may want to do.
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Old 07-09-07, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Choices:................Commute/Tour............Club..........Curbs........Hauling
1. Cross Check...............X........................X..............X
2. LHT..........................X.........................................................X
3. Pacer.................light commute..............X
4. Trek 520...................X........................X...............................X
5. Trek X0 1..................X........................X...............X
Why do you find the 520 more suitable to club rides than the LHT? Just curious.

I'd go for the two cross models myself, the Trek or the Surly. Trek is aluminum, including the fork, so it may be a bit harsher riding, but if you're running 28s or larger tires, that might be perfectly acceptable. The cross check is steel, of course, and probably a little more versatile, but not by a lot.

Might I also suggest trying out the Novara Element? I never, ever hear it mentioned yet it seems like a great deal. A mix of mostly Tiagra with some 105 on an aluminum frame with carbon fork, but you also get Avid BB7 disc brakes, which get stellar reviews. At 1100 dollars it's at the higher end of your price range, but I think the XO1 is more expensive.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:00 AM
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I had one of those for a short time. Nice bike except for the fork,which is alloy not carbon. Also,there wasn't enough clearance to go much wider than maybe 35mm tires(smooth,not knobby). Would've prolly kept it if the fork wasn't alloy or if I could've fit the 38's I had on my last cross bike.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:10 AM
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I bought a Surly Cross-Check based on similar requirements and am very happy with it. I was deciding between that and the LHT and chose the CC based on it being a little more "lively" and less relaxed bike, since I wasn't planning on doing any long-distance, loaded touring. The CC will take a rack though, and the geometry isn't super-leaned-over racing style. As a "do-anything" bike, I am thrilled. My LBS built up the basic complete bike Surly offers with a few additions including brifters.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Buy complete unless you're really just about building it yourself. In the end, it's usually less expensive to buy complete. Also, when I say "curb jumper" I don't mean beat on it like a 15 year old at the terrain park. I just mean that it's reasonable to hop it up and down a couple curbs here and there.
I think you are underselling the LHTs curb ability! But then I ride one w/ 36 spoke 26" wheels and 2" tires. But the CC does have a higher BB, and possibly shorter wheelbase, so maybe that's the secret. But my bunny hop is closer than my track stand to actual functionality.

For me w/ topography and trailer loads, the LHT complete w/ triple was a no-brainer vs CC w/ double, but the CC looks plenty fun too.

For club rides, I think they're all 6 of one half dozen of the other. I think only a full-suspension mountain bike w/ big knobbies or unicycle would hamper you artificially below your own fitness level.

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Old 07-10-07, 11:45 AM
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All those bikes are nice and most will fit your needs. I think the XC and XO are probably the best blend but the touring bikes will also work and the Pacer is capable if a little light. For heavy loads the LHT and 520 are the best bet. The longer wheelbase gives more heel clearance and both can easily mount front racks.
As for build versus buy. If the stock bikes are 90% of what you want then buy. You will spend more building unless you spend alot of time bargain shopping for closeouts and used parts. However if you are like me and wanted a bike that wasn't stock then build is a great option.
I built a fixed gear XC with WTB Mountain Dropbars. I love the bike and could not have found the same thing as a stock bike.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:49 AM
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Might want to add Soma Fabrications Double Cross and Smoothie ES to the list. Similar to the Cross Check and LHT, but with better tubing specs. Unlike the Surly's, they aren't sold as complete bikes.

From what I can tell, the Cross bikes are a little longer in the cockpit (toptube length), with slightly quicker geometry, higher BB, shorter chainstay length, take cantilever brakes, and will allow bigger (up to 700c x 42?) tires. Both Surly's LHT and Soma's Smoothie ES can take a little larger tire than most road frames (700c x 32, maybe more), but have a little shorter cockpit, with longer chainstays, and lower BB. This latter geometry suits me better, but may not be what you are looking for.

If you've never done the commute thing, start with a Craigs List special, or two, and find what works for you. After two bikes, and several hundred miles, I have a much better idea of what works for me.
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Old 07-10-07, 12:02 PM
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I put the Trek 520 as more of a club ride bike than the LHT because of the stock gearing. The gearing is a little taller on the 520. Neither one is optimal, based on weight and geometry, but they'll both do the job.

The LHT and 520 will both handle curb hopping just fine. 36h rims and steel frame/fork aren't exactly weak sauce. I'm just thinking about it from an average outfitted touring rig up here in the PNW standpoint: Fenders, flaps, racks, bags... not really something you're gonna go hopping around on. The CX bikes are usually lighter, taller in the clearance, and geometrically designed for more of that sort of action.
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Old 07-10-07, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Choices:................Commute/Tour............Club..........Curbs........Hauling
1. Cross Check...............X........................X..............X
2. LHT..........................X.........................................................X
3. Pacer.................light commute..............X
4. Trek 520...................X........................X...............................X
5. Trek X0 1..................X........................X...............X
This graph really does say it all. Not a single bike you listed does it all. There is no bike in existence that is simultaneously a commuter/road/mtb/tourer.

I think what people say here about buy vs build is in general a good idea. BUT, if you buy the stock Cross Check, you'll get left in the dust by 17 lb club rider's bikes IMO. At least I would. The Cross Check probably would work, but I'd spend some extra cash and build it up myself into a very low 20s lb bike. There are some reasonable build kits out there. Not as cheap as a fully built bike, but after you replace half of the boat anchor OEM components, you might be there anyway.

Cross Check is going to be a theft magnet. Pacer is similar and much less desirable to thieves.
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Old 07-10-07, 01:16 PM
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I'm going to put in a vote here for the Jamis Nova. I had been thinking of a Cross-Check-type bike for myself, too, and was completely won over by the Nova. It is a fantastic bike -- steel (631) frame, carbon fork, full 105 drivetrain. It doesn't have quite the flexibility of the Cross-Check (i.e. clearances aren't quite as huge, and it has vertical dropouts so riding fixed is out), but I'm not planning to ride fixed, and there's enough clearance for reasonably knobby tires. Also, it is an absolute blast to ride.

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/07_bikes/nova.html

I bought mine last week
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Old 07-10-07, 01:21 PM
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I don't think you can really go wrong with the bikes you listed, but since others are adding more possibilities, I'll throw the Specialized Tricross in for good measure.
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Old 07-10-07, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gbcb
I'm going to put in a vote here for the Jamis Nova.....and it has vertical dropouts so riding fixed is out)....
Not if you spend the extra $$ on an Eccentric hub or bottom bracket.
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Old 07-10-07, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder
I had one of those for a short time. Nice bike except for the fork,which is alloy not carbon. Also,there wasn't enough clearance to go much wider than maybe 35mm tires(smooth,not knobby). Would've prolly kept it if the fork wasn't alloy or if I could've fit the 38's I had on my last cross bike.
I see. In that case, the Jamis Nova is probably specced much better for the money you pay (200 dollars more).
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Old 07-11-07, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bsyptak


This graph really does say it all. Not a single bike you listed does it all. There is no bike in existence that is simultaneously a commuter/road/mtb/tourer.

I think what people say here about buy vs build is in general a good idea. BUT, if you buy the stock Cross Check, you'll get left in the dust by 17 lb club rider's bikes IMO.
True, but also anyone who would get more benefit from a 17# bike than they would from shedding 10# of their own adipose matter would probably be able to use an English 3-speed to dust most anyone regardless of what they're riding. I guess I think that since few people truly max out the specialized capabilities of any one 'type' of bike, that there are functionally do-it-all bikes w/in any loose category of, say, cyclocross (if you think your use will skew racer-y), touring (if you skew toward beast-of-burden), or mtn bike (if you skew all-terrain-y).
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