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Newbie looking for opinions on bike (internet purchase?)

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) 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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Newbie looking for opinions on bike (internet purchase?)

Old 11-11-15, 03:32 PM
  #1  
RockiesDad
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Newbie looking for opinions on bike (internet purchase?)

Looking at getting a new bike. Some info: 80% road / 20% firetrails; best value, less is best<$1200; recreation/fitness riding; want a quick acceleration and handling; somewhat comfortable.

I was thinking of a hybrid at first but decided on going cyclocross/gravel. I almost got the Janis Coda Elite but then rode a Renegade and liked it a lot.

renegadeexpat

But then I found this...

Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike

Looking at the geometry they look similar and was wondering if they would handle and feel about the same as the Renegade? Components are better too. Pricing would be ~$700 shipped. Wow, awesome value don't you think? Parts could be upgraded as needed and I still would come out ahead.

Still test riding other bikes but the ones I am looking at are all over $1k. I know the frame is the most important but this deal looks amazing. Any thoughts and any thoughts on getting a bike from the internet? I got friends who could help with tuning so that's not an issue.
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Old 11-11-15, 03:57 PM
  #2  
Tim_Iowa
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Looking at getting a new bike. Some info: 80% road / 20% firetrails; best value, less is best<$1200; recreation/fitness riding; want a quick acceleration and handling; somewhat comfortable.

I was thinking of a hybrid at first but decided on going cyclocross/gravel. I almost got the Janis Coda Elite but then rode a Renegade and liked it a lot.

renegadeexpat

But then I found this...

Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike

Looking at the geometry they look similar and was wondering if they would handle and feel about the same as the Renegade? Components are better too. Pricing would be ~$700 shipped. Wow, awesome value don't you think? Parts could be upgraded as needed and I still would come out ahead.

Still test riding other bikes but the ones I am looking at are all over $1k. I know the frame is the most important but this deal looks amazing. Any thoughts and any thoughts on getting a bike from the internet? I got friends who could help with tuning so that's not an issue.
That's a good deal for the components (11 speed 105). The frame is a basic cro-mo steel frame, but so are Surlys. Hopefully it isn't too heavy. Nashbar frames are decent.
The wheels are basic, but they'd be fine for rec riding if you're less than 250 lbs.

FYI, BikesDirect.com has plenty of similar bikes for similar prices. For example. the Motobecane Fantom CXX-100, or they offer cyclocross bikes with disc brakes.

If you have a knowledgeable friend to help assemble and tune, then you shouldn't be worried about buying a bike from a reputable seller on the internet.

But, when you buy remote you can't test ride. So, you need to measure yourself carefully and follow the seller's sizing recommendations.
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Old 11-11-15, 04:10 PM
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I'd go with the Jamis Renegade.... the nice Clement Xplorer USH tires are worth the premium.

If budget is your concern, check out Bikes Direct new Omni Strada... it ticks all your boxes.
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Old 11-11-15, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
I'd go with the Jamis Renegade.... the nice Clement Xplorer USH tires are worth the premium.

If budget is your concern, check out Bikes Direct new Omni Strada... it ticks all your boxes.
Ooh, that Motobecane Omni Strada is pretty cool. It might have too much tire for the OP's 80% road bias, but it would be a good bike for gravel roads.

The Jamis Renegade is also an excellent choice.
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Old 11-11-15, 04:57 PM
  #5  
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Don't get the Nashbar steel CX bike, unless you plan to cannibalize the components for another bike. I had one, and the headtube became ovalized after less than 1,000 miles of riding. It is also a very heavy bike (~25-26 lbs), and frankly does not ride that nice. You're basically getting a nice pair of brifters, derailleurs, and a so-so crankset. All of the other components are pretty low-end including the wheels. The only parts from it that I still use are the 105 brifters on my Space Horse, and the crankset and FD on a beer-run hybrid.

If I were to do it again, I would have just built up a custom bike from scratch and probably came out ahead compared to slowly replacing the Nashbar bike parts, piece by piece, and having to buy a new frame and wheels.

For $1,200, and the type of riding you want to do, I'd recommend a Giant Anyroad ($1245, with Tiagra components).
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Old 11-11-15, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
FYI, BikesDirect.com has plenty of similar bikes for similar prices. For example. the Motobecane Fantom CXX-100, or they offer cyclocross bikes with disc brakes.

But, when you buy remote you can't test ride. So, you need to measure yourself carefully and follow the seller's sizing recommendations.
Free Shipping* Save up to 60% off new Cyclocross Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom CX Clearance

Not to bad. What gets me a little concerned is that I can't test ride these internet bikes. How do I know if the bike is "quick" or not. Can I tell by looking at the specs? Great components does not equal a great bike...

Might be worth the money to get one from a LBS??? That way I will know what I bought, get to take it home right away, get support of LBS and supporting a small business. But then saving ~$400 is nothing to sneeze at... Humm tough decision...
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Old 11-11-15, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
Don't get the Nashbar steel CX bike, unless you plan to cannibalize the components for another bike. I had one, and the headtube became ovalized after less than 1,000 miles of riding. It is also a very heavy bike (~25-26 lbs), and frankly does not ride that nice. You're basically getting a nice pair of brifters, derailleurs, and a so-so crankset. All of the other components are pretty low-end including the wheels. The only parts from it that I still use are the 105 brifters on my Space Horse, and the crankset and FD on a beer-run hybrid.

If I were to do it again, I would have just built up a custom bike from scratch and probably came out ahead compared to slowly replacing the Nashbar bike parts, piece by piece, and having to buy a new frame and wheels.

For $1,200, and the type of riding you want to do, I'd recommend a Giant Anyroad ($1245, with Tiagra components).
Okay forget the Nashbar. In fact I think I will forget going on-line for a bike. I'll support my LBS...

BTW I did try that Giant and was impressed with that too. For these gravel bikes I did not notice too much of a difference between steel or AL frames. Was it me or is that the general case? Need to go and test ride more bikes...
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Old 11-11-15, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Free Shipping* Save up to 60% off new Cyclocross Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom CX Clearance

Not to bad. What gets me a little concerned is that I can't test ride these internet bikes. How do I know if the bike is "quick" or not. Can I tell by looking at the specs? Great components does not equal a great bike...

Might be worth the money to get one from a LBS??? That way I will know what I bought, get to take it home right away, get support of LBS and supporting a small business. But then saving ~$400 is nothing to sneeze at... Humm tough decision...
The new Omni Strada which is BD's new gravel road/adventure bike is a better fit than their CX line.

https://ww.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/disc-brake-roadbikes/omnistrada-sport-discbrake-bike.htm

Not bad for $600. They'll be shipping this month.

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Old 11-11-15, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
I'd give a serious thought to the SRAM rival version...good luck finding any other bike with SRAM anything for under $1k. SRAM Brifters, bb7 brakes, tubeless compatible wheels, 45c tire clearance...that hits a lot of checklist items for my next bike!

Like dirtroadrunner, I also have the Nashbar steel cyclocross bike. I've been pretty happy, but I wish the tire clearance was better in the back. Also, the bike has cantilever brakes, which (while perfectly fine for my riding) seems to becoming less common every day as manufacturers switch to disc brakes.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:30 PM
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Nothing wrong with the bike you have.

And nothing wrong with an entry level bike.

A top of the line bike is nice but most people have to work with a budget.

Buy a bike with a good frame and upgrade it as your situation allows.
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Old 11-11-15, 07:36 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Might be worth the money to get one from a LBS??? That way I will know what I bought, get to take it home right away, get support of LBS and supporting a small business. But then saving ~$400 is nothing to sneeze at... Humm tough decision...
That's the big issue right there. From everything I've heard Bikes Direct sells some pretty good bikes, but you never know what it's going to be like to ride it. Apart from whether or not it's quick (who can tell that from reading a spec list and a geometry chart?) you can't be sure how it will fit. By fit I mean more than selecting the right size. For some bikes there just is no right size for the way you want it to feel. For instance, I used to have a Surly Cross Check. The size I had felt like it had too much reach to the handlebars, but the bars were also lower than I would have liked and the next size down would have made that worse.

There can also be some minor setup issues (assembly and wheel tension check, for instance) that can eat into your savings if you aren't prepared to do it yourself.
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Old 11-12-15, 08:42 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Okay forget the Nashbar. In fact I think I will forget going on-line for a bike. I'll support my LBS...

BTW I did try that Giant and was impressed with that too. For these gravel bikes I did not notice too much of a difference between steel or AL frames. Was it me or is that the general case? Need to go and test ride more bikes...
You'll pay $200-400 more for a comparable bike through your LBS. But, that money gets you expert installation, sizing assistance, test rides, warranty backup, and usually at least one post-purchase tuneup. It's up to you if those are worth the difference in price.

Generalizations on steel vs aluminum: Steel is usually a bit heavier, but it's springy so it can flex a little bit and give you a nice ride. Aluminum is usually a bit lighter, but it isn't springy so it has to be stiff.

Aluminum can get brittle with use, whereas steel is quite durable. But steel can rust if it's scratched and left outside.

Modern designs and manufacturing processes can make good-riding frames from any material, so the differences can get blurred.

Also, most new bikes come with cheapo, heavy tires with a dull ride that masks the ride of the frame.

I prefer the ride of steel; 3 of my bikes have lugged frames of high-end steel. But, I'm happy with my aluminum fat bike, and my carbon cyclocross bike is really fast (and really stiff).
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Old 12-03-15, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelsmcgee View Post
I'd give a serious thought to the SRAM rival version...good luck finding any other bike with SRAM anything for under $1k. SRAM Brifters, bb7 brakes, tubeless compatible wheels, 45c tire clearance...that hits a lot of checklist items for my next bike!

Like dirtroadrunner, I also have the Nashbar steel cyclocross bike. I've been pretty happy, but I wish the tire clearance was better in the back. Also, the bike has cantilever brakes, which (while perfectly fine for my riding) seems to becoming less common every day as manufacturers switch to disc brakes.
Wheelsmcgee, this reply may be too late. But I received the Omni Strade Expert with all SRAM Rival components last week. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. The sizing chart was accurate. Great fit. Great riding bike. I don't know if this is normal, but even the shifters were already perfectly adjusted. Didn't have to adjust them at all. Shifts perfectly. Love everything about the bike. The 61cm is about 23 pounds which seems pretty good for such a large size with with oversized tires and disc brakes.
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Old 12-03-15, 10:16 PM
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Congratulations on your new BD Omni Strada Expert!

Its a great component spec and the endurance road geometry is perfect for long rides whether on the road or on the trails.

You will find the fat tires roll as fast as traditional skinny road bike tires and they also soak up road chatter well.

A do-it-all bike does nearly everything you're looking for and more. Enjoy your new ride!
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Old 12-04-15, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jivey74 View Post
Wheelsmcgee, this reply may be too late. But I received the Omni Strade Expert with all SRAM Rival components last week. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. The sizing chart was accurate. Great fit. Great riding bike. I don't know if this is normal, but even the shifters were already perfectly adjusted. Didn't have to adjust them at all. Shifts perfectly. Love everything about the bike. The 61cm is about 23 pounds which seems pretty good for such a large size with with oversized tires and disc brakes.
Thanks for the info jivey...keep me posted of how it works out. I'm not buying anything right away, as I've said I'm pretty happy with my Nashbar aside from the tire clearance (which is still OK). I've thought about just getting a new frame, but a lot of the frames I'm seeing are disc only, so I'd have to buy new wheels and brakes, and then it becomes comparable pricewise to simply getting a new bike. Ive thought about black mountain cycles' monstercross frame and a few others which are still non-disc.


The only thing in my wish list the sram omni pro doesn't have is a steel frame (though Al has its advantages too). I just noticed bikesdirect now has a titanium omni, but its $2299 (not that that's unreasonable for what you'd be getting)
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Old 12-04-15, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelsmcgee View Post
Thanks for the info jivey...keep me posted of how it works out. I'm not buying anything right away, as I've said I'm pretty happy with my Nashbar aside from the tire clearance (which is still OK). I've thought about just getting a new frame, but a lot of the frames I'm seeing are disc only, so I'd have to buy new wheels and brakes, and then it becomes comparable pricewise to simply getting a new bike. Ive thought about black mountain cycles' monstercross frame and a few others which are still non-disc.


The only thing in my wish list the sram omni pro doesn't have is a steel frame (though Al has its advantages too). I just noticed bikesdirect now has a titanium omni, but its $2299 (not that that's unreasonable for what you'd be getting)
Will do. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 12-04-15, 09:59 PM
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I'm probably 90% certain I'm going to buy one of these
Save Up to 60% Off Disc Brake Road Bikes - Motobecane Turino TEAM Hydraulic Disc Brake Road Bikes
The only thing I don't like is the straight headtube. There are some places I'd like to explore locally, fire roads but primarily I'll be riding paved roads.
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Old 12-05-15, 01:47 PM
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No love for the Redline sale over at Mikes? I just snagged the comp model a few weeks ago. Ended up replacing the stem from a 120mm +/- 7 to a 90mm +8 so I sit more upright. Sweet ride. Full tiagra groupset with sypre disks.

2015 Redline Conquest Cyclocross Bike Factory Closeout! - mikesbikes.com
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Old 12-07-15, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jivey74 View Post
Will do. Let me know if you have any questions.
Does the Omni have any sort of fender/rack mounts on it? How's the tire clearance?

Last edited by butchcassidee; 12-07-15 at 03:18 PM. Reason: quote
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Old 12-07-15, 07:48 PM
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I don't know anything about fender mounts. Sorry. But it does have all 4 rack mounting points on the back. The Omni Strada Expert comes with 40mm wide tires. It can go up to 45. Even with the wide knobby tires it is still fast and smooth. I just finished 24 miles (16 gravel, 8 paved) and averaged 16.3mph. It's comfortable, smooth, stiff, and shifts flawlessly. I could probably take some pics if you like. I'm new and haven't posted pics before but would be glad to try.
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Old 12-08-15, 05:04 PM
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Yeah you should post some pics! Not that many on bikesdirect.
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