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Specialized Tricross 1 year review (long)

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Specialized Tricross 1 year review (long)

Old 07-07-10, 02:41 PM
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Specialized Tricross 1 year review (long)

This time last year I was looking for a bike to use during rainy days as I didn't think the road bike's skinny raceblade fenders would be great for long term use. I also wanted a bike that could take a rack+panniers for my 11 mile one-way commuter. I looked at 3 bikes seriously:

Condor Agio
https://www.condorcycles.com/agio.html
(Link added coz you guys probably haven't heard of Condor, it's a quality brit make started in 1948.)
This bike was around 1100 and the test ride revealed a very nice bike running on fulcrum 7 wheels (as tested). But I couldn't spend that much on a commuter bike and there would be a delivery time of around 6 weeks.

Surly Cross Check
This was around 1000 and the shop wouldn't be able to supply one for about 4 weeks. And no discount as end-of-model year bikes sold out.

2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
The test ride immediately revealed an oh-my-gosh super-plush ride. Remember I I've been riding 23mm gatorskin'd tires before this. But it also manifested itself as being slower, less nimble handling (compared to rb, I would say it was boat-like). I also didn't like the brake shudder but these were things I knew about the bike before I rode it. The worst thing was to-eoverlap when doing slow-tight turns, like the ones I do everyday on the rb when negotiating stop-go traffic.

Another test-ride, a discount negotiated, accessories installed, I rode home. And then I never rode the bike again. All through winter I continued using the rb, in rain, in wind. I loved my rb and nothing could touch it. Sure I went on the odd ride, maybe once every two weeks, but I never truly gelled with this bike.

A few weeks ago I had an accident on the RB which meant I had to use the cx every day. Slowly but surely I got more accustomed to it. It really was very comfortable and I eventually even learnt to live with the toe-overlap with front wheel problem. I wouldn't go so far as saying I liked the mtb cassette, more like I started to dislike it less, especially on the uphills where it was a complete breeze.

PLUS POINTS:
love the copper brown color
people really check this bike out at the lights
it's almost tank like (I have the 58cm)
I've infally compe to understand what other tricross owners have been telling me in m posts about this bike from last year, i particularly remember the two ladies who took their tricrosses on a 3000 mile trip.
Relatively cheap considering it's a brand new bike.
Super comfortable ride, full-size fenders, great rack, comfortable geometry
Ability to use front rack if required, three bottle cage support

MINUS POINTS
Dont like those brake-levers on the horizontal bars as it takes up space to install lights
Toe-overlap during tight slow turns

I still have mixed feelings and am happy I added it to my collection (of then, one bike ) as I consider it to be more general-purpose than the Allez. However, despite my increasing fondness for this bike, I cant wait to get back on a dedicated rb. Maybe I need another year.

EDIT: added pic
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Last edited by mustang1; 07-16-10 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07-15-10, 11:39 PM
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I want to add my further positive review of this bike, just got a 2010 model, which has no front brake shudder at all (an issue apparently with some models before I have read about-but easily fixed apparently)

I looked at many online reviews when researching bikes and perhaps this will help someone else.

I have an old steel framed touring bike that I have done many 3 wk- 1mth trips on, twice in France, Normandy e tc once and the Pyrenees another, Gaspe penninsula here in Quebec Canada, and down the west coast Oregon and California. Throw in years of commuting and such.

wanted to replace this bike, wanted something a bit lighter, more responsive. Cyclocross bikes seemed the logical choice--tough, lighter, brake-shifter setup on drop bars...all my needs.
Looked at many of em, Kona Jakes, Giant, MEC 1991 and Cote, DeVinci---so saw steel frames, alu, alu with some carbon etc etc.

Decided on this as importantly for me--the wheelbase is same as my touring bike- 104cm, rear chainstays are same--so absolutely no rack-pannier-heel issues for me. Some of the other bikes I looked at had shorter dimensions--so would be friskier bikes, but could have rack/bag/heel issues.

Gearing on the tricross is more to my liking: 50x39x30 with a 11-32 cassette---this is almost exactly the same low gear inch as my touring-about 25 gear inches. High end is bit hhigher, which shall be fun the few times fun downhills come up--down. My touring bike used to run out of gears at about 55-60 kph, and the Tricross feels similiarly stable that I am sure 60, 70, 80 kph will be as similiarly non-scarey as on my old bike.

Many of the other bikes are Tiagra derailleurs front and back, so cassettes tend to be limited to 12-25, too high for what I am used to and the type of hills I often am on, especially when one considers full panniers--so this the gearing was a big plus vs other bikes.

Front carbon fork has rack bracket holes, ample room for fenders--does only have one set of rear brackets so I will have to improvise if I put fenders on it along with the rack I put on it that I pilffered from another old bike of mine.

How will carbon fork last over time---who knows? This is my first experience with it.

Canti brakes are not much better than my 20 yr old ones, although they have fianlly put the screw adjuster spring thingee on both sides....finally!! Would have preferred V brakes as they are stronger I find, but its not possible with the little extra set of lever brakes on inboard part of the bars---not sure if I like these, will be in way of a handlebar bag....but i admit they are handy when behind someone and cruising withhands on middle bars for slight slowups etc.

Handles a bit quicker than my old bike---maybe--feels it, but might jsut because it is lighter....inany case, for me this is ok, I would have liked it a bit quicker, but in the end, it suits my average rider pace. I was not after a performance road bike, I have to be honest about that, a road bike while fun, would not be my style of enjoying scenerey etc, so a comfy frame like this is great for me.

Was pleasantly surprised with an alu frame, how reasonably unsharp the bumps are. I commuted on an older aluminum Rockhopper mtn bike with slicks, and while the front fork took the zing out of the front, the rear triangle is rather harsh with slicks at 80psi--the tricross with 110psi 28 tires that I put on it right away is much better than my mtn/city bike--kudos to the rear triangle curved shapes of the stays I guess. Will have to compare, but while my steel touring bike is probably a bit less-harsh, especially at the rear, this bike isnt bad all in all.

I ride a 54cm toptube tricross, and love how it fits me better than my touring bike that I spent months and months on....the top of seattube at seat to handlebar distance is now 2cm closer than my old bike, and it makes all the diff--plus I am closer to 50 so ye old back and neck appreciates this nice fit.

Love brake lever shifters, my first real experience with them--although the downshifts on the chainrings arent as fast and smooth as I would like--I was faster and smoother with my downtube index and friction ones before--but hopefully this will improve with practice and/or adjustments after I put more kms on this to stretch the cables out a bit.
Also happy with the look, black with silver, added on my tan leather Brooks saddle and it looks nice--retro with modern.

Front end feels nice and solid, guess a combo of headset and carbon fork that is rather beefy looking (again, I have little "new" bike experience so this is perhaps very common , but it does feel "planted" and sturdy up front.

so, for me, the gearing with the Deore LX rear derailleur, rack brackets on fork, and general look all made me choose this bike.
highly recommended for similiar riders looking for a mix of road and mtn/touring. Put on some 32 tires similiar to the original tires and this bike would be a blast on gravel roads---heck, this is the intended purpose of a cyclocross right? 32s would probably be better for city commuting, with the potholes and such, but I do love 28s for the rolling smoothness and they are a good compromise for road, and are still easily driveable on regular gravel roads (though not too loose).

My fully loaded days are likely finished, but two rear panniers and such will definately happen, so this bike is a neat mix and Im happy with it.

Nice touch the 3 water bottle cage positions--just this makes me think Specialized is aiming this bike at people like me, long distance riding. Its handy sometimes to have 3 bike bottles of water....

Unloaded it is quick enough for me, my riding friends are not on racing-road bikes, so the more spread out rear cassette is fine for me---remember, I am coming from a 7 speed cassette bike, so the 9 wide range is still fine for me and does have closer ratios than my old touring bike.

A bit overpriced perhaps compared to other nice cyclocross bikes like the Kona Jake the Snake, but the wider gearing and front brackets are the kicker for me, so "out of the box" it suits me fine, and as I take care of my bikes, it will last a long time, so the extra money put out isnt really a big deal.

Another satisfied Tricross Sport rider, Specialized did a good job on this one in my opinion.
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Old 07-25-10, 12:18 AM
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to add, for anyone concerned how this bike is at speed on the road, higher bb or whatever, there are no reasons for concern.
At 70k, or 45mph, the other day, it was very stable, even over bumps on the way down the hill I was descending. Happy with the 50-11 combo for the rare downhill sections such as these where one gets the urge to give it a bit of welly.

I may try a brake pad change at some point to try to get them working a bit stronger.
how do you feel Mustang about the brakes? I am not terribley impressed with them, as I figured in 20 yrs, cantis would be stronger, but do concede that they work well enough, and were nothing of concern when I was braking at 60-70k for turns at bottom of previously mentioned downhill.

I shall be doing a 6 day tour with my wife in the next couple of weeks, and shall see how it is with the 80-110 km days that are planned. Did spend a couple of 50km days with it the other weekend with friends and teenage kids, and was very happy with my fit on it and its riding characteristics on paved and gravel roads, even with the 28s on it.

your commute of nearly 18 klicks each way is a good distance. Are you able to be on roads that allow you to go at a decent pace, not too many lights, stop signs etc? For years I used to commute about 12 klicks to work, with a good climb in it, so was great for staying in shape.

cheers

Last edited by djb; 07-25-10 at 12:21 AM.
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