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Bike for Fiance - Good Find or Folly?

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Bike for Fiance - Good Find or Folly?

Old 06-04-08, 03:00 PM
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Bike for Fiance - Good Find or Folly?

I'm looking for a "cute" touring / cyclocross bike for my fiancee. Yes, 'cute' is a VERY important buying consideration for her, so don't try to dismiss that point. She commutes 18 miles round-trip daily and really wants a drop-bar bike. Entry level is what we can afford ($850+tax is our budget) and what she'd feel comfortable commuting with. She *loves* the Specialized Dolce, but WSD road bikes don't allow wider tires - so she can feel confident in commuting and riding unpaved paths.

So far, the only contender I found is the BikesDirect Fantom in Yellow. Bike shops in the area only had the Conquest Sport to offer, which is 'okay' but clearly not exciting to her like the bright yellow Fantom. The Fantom, incidentally, has all of the braze-ons and eyelets, which is a plus for a commuter bike.

What other bikes might we look at before we journey down the BikesDirect route?


REQUIREMENTS:

1) She must find it aesthetically pleasing (think wide aluminum tubes, colors with 'pop' like yellow, red, shiny blue).
2) It must fit a 5' 2" rider (probably 48 cm depending on the frame dimensions)
3) Must fit wide tires for commuting and unpaved paths.
4) Braze-ons and eyelets are a plus, but not required


Bikes that were ruled out:
- The more affordable Bianchi's - "gang green" and "rust" colors?
- The Redline Conquest Sport (still on the table, but she's not as excited about it in the silver as the Fantom in yellow.)
- I suggested stretching for a Jake the Snake (nice blue frame) but "there's no way I'm riding a bike called Jake the Snake" is what she said. Hilarious!
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Old 06-04-08, 03:16 PM
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Is this one cute?


A local shop is selling the Conquest (not sport) for $899. I don't know if this was a typical price or not, but it seems to meet your requirements.

Surprised she didn't instantly go for the Kona, I think the blue Jake the Snake is a sexy looking bike. Anyway, glad you're still looking to get her a quality bike despite the intense aesthetic criteria.
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Old 06-04-08, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Autospirit
Is this one cute?

A local shop is selling the Conquest (not sport) for $899. I don't know if this was a typical price or not, but it seems to meet your requirements.

Surprised she didn't instantly go for the Kona, I think the blue Jake the Snake is a sexy looking bike. Anyway, glad you're still looking to get her a quality bike despite the intense aesthetic criteria.

She loved the Kona when I showed it to her a while back (I was looking at it, but refuse to spend good money on myself - money is for spending on her afterall). That is, she loved the Kona until she knew it was called the "Jake the Snake." She can't go around riding a bike that says that on the frame - my god man! ;-)

Life is complicated, you know. ha ha...
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Old 06-04-08, 03:35 PM
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Oh yeah, I'll send her a photo of the Conquest (non-sport) to test it's cuteness factor. However, I'm guessing that it won't wow her. The color isn't very bold (like the Jake the Snake or the Fantom). The Jake-the-Snake would have badly busted our budget, so maybe it's for the best that she can't stand the name!
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Old 06-04-08, 03:53 PM
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I've never looked at the yellow Fantom CX and thought "cute", but whatever

At that price point, for that purpose, it's going to be hard to beat the Fantom CX. It also comes in shiny blue, which you said she likes. Also consider that you could buy a Fantom CX, upgrade the wheelset to something like handbuilt OP/Ultegra for $220 or so, and still be well ahead (price-wise) of a $900 Redline.
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Old 06-04-08, 04:09 PM
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we just had my wife's motobecane cx powdercoated. mind you, there was no "cute" factor involved; she just bummed on all the huge logos and didn't like the blue once she saw it in person. also, we got one with a black fork, which she also didn't like.

you could get any old bike cutified by getting it painted, if it's such a huge deal.

today i came across the pake c'mute, which is sold here. it's affordable and seems in the same vein as the crosscheck in terms of versatility, but it's probably about as heavy as a little cute donkey. but the color is... cute? the cute little stickers are cutely removeable. how adorable!

Last edited by isotopesope; 06-04-08 at 04:11 PM. Reason: cuteness
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Old 06-04-08, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by isotopesope
She just bummed on all the huge logos and didn't like the blue once she saw it in person. Also, we got one with a black fork, which she also didn't like.
Did it look like this?
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Old 06-04-08, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by isotopesope
we just had my wife's motobecane cx powdercoated. mind you, there was no "cute" factor involved; she just bummed on all the huge logos and didn't like the blue once she saw it in person. also, we got one with a black fork, which she also didn't like.

you could get any old bike cutified by getting it painted, if it's such a huge deal.
Hey, don't blame ME about the cute thing. :-) She says that she's doesn't care 'that much' about the looks if it's a good bike, but it's also clear that she was way more excited about the bikes that she thought looked nice. So, if I'm going to buy her a bike as a gift, and she's going to keep it for several years, I'm going to strive to make sure she likes it a lot. I aim to please!

Sorry your wife didn't like the logos and the black fork. That's a bummer and one of the pitfalls of buying online! Hopefully we won't have any similar regrets on the bike we eventually choose for her.

Originally Posted by isotopesope

today i came across the pake c'mute, which is sold here. it's affordable and seems in the same vein as the crosscheck in terms of versatility, but it's probably about as heavy as a little cute donkey. but the color is... cute? the cute little stickers are cutely removeable. how adorable!
I guess I should emphasize that she wants a bike that looks aesthetically pleasing *to her*, rather than just saying 'cute.' :-)

Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-04-08 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 06-04-08, 06:16 PM
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So, on a purely aesthetic basis, she likes the looks of the Fantom over the Redline Conquest (as predicted).

However, I asked her about the 2008 Fuji Cross Comp, which is almost the same bike as the Redline Conquest. That is a bike she finds equally good-looking. And it has a lot better components than the Fantom. I think it's a pretty sharp bike, too! Why am I buying her the nice bike and not me? ;-)

So, the question now is whether to spend more money on the Fuji ($300 more). It's definitely the better bike component wise (105 brifters, etc), but in a functional sense they will both be similar for her commuting or recreational riding. It's more a matter of whether she imagines herself getting the itch to upgrade later. If so, better to buy the nicer spec'd bike that she can grow with, rather than a brand new bike a year or two from now.

Of course, we aren't loaded either... So maybe we should be saving our money for other things and just getting the very practical-seeming Motobecane Fantom CX.




Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-04-08 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 06-04-08, 07:10 PM
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If your G/F, fiance, spouse, female partner is interested in a specific bike configuration, look, etc and it won't fully kill your finances; IMO- it is a great investment in domestic tranquility to GET IT !!
Help her make sure it fits well and the LBS treats her well.
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Old 06-04-08, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone
If your G/F, fiance, spouse, female partner is interested in a specific bike configuration, look, etc and it won't fully kill your finances; IMO- it is a great investment in domestic tranquility to GET IT !!
Help her make sure it fits well and the LBS treats her well.
EDIT: I now get what you are saying. If SHE is happy, WE are happy. You are a wise man! :-)

Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-04-08 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 06-04-08, 07:31 PM
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Have you looked at the Giant TCX? The cheaper one is nasty grey, but the more expensive one is an awesome white/electric blue.

Btw, I know you rules out the Bianchi Eros, but it would do exactly what you wanted of it, as would a Surly Cross check.

Also, the Raleigh RX1 comes in yellow and has a nice white fork (very pro!). I think that, or the Giant, would be my choice if I weren't in to building up my own bikes.
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Old 06-04-08, 07:46 PM
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How about the Masi Speciale CX? More of a vintage look, but a very attractive bike IMO. She may not dig the subtle colors, but you have to see it in person to appreciate it. The website pictures don't do it justice. Even the saddle is attractive.

https://www.masibikes.com/cycles/speciale_cx.php

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Old 06-04-08, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by acorn_user
Have you looked at the Giant TCX? The cheaper one is nasty grey, but the more expensive one is an awesome white/electric blue.

Btw, I know you rules out the Bianchi Eros, but it would do exactly what you wanted of it, as would a Surly Cross check.

Also, the Raleigh RX1 comes in yellow and has a nice white fork (very pro!). I think that, or the Giant, would be my choice if I weren't in to building up my own bikes.

Thanks for the tips! Though, upon searching, they don't seem like options for us. The Bianchi Eros is a great choice, but it costs about $300 more than the Fuji Comp, which we would be stretching for. Yes, the Fuji's MSRP is "$1,200" but it realistically sells for $900 or less. The Bianchi, on the other hand, sells near it's $1250 MSRP. Those WSD bikes really get marked up big time at shops.

The Raleigh is only to be found with a 50 cm as the smallest size. Too large unfortunately. It's also a nice looking bike she might have liked.

She's not a fan of the Surly. I should have mentioned that one, too, at the top of my post.

But again, I appreciate the thoughtful response.

EDIT: Oh wait, I forgot to look up the Giant! I'll check it out.

Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-04-08 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by M_S
How about the Masi Speciale CX? More of a vintage look, but a very attractive bike IMO. She may not dig the subtle colors, but you have to see it in person to appreciate it. The website pictures don't do it justice. Even the saddle is attractive.

https://www.masibikes.com/cycles/speciale_cx.php


*I* certainly like it! But that's probably because it appeals to my old-school sense of style. I'm riding an old sport-tourer with lugged frame and friction downtube shifters, which I love riding.

It feels a little odd to be buying my Fiancee such a shiny new bike. But hey, she's going to love it! She's been wanting a drop bar bike for a while now, but didn't have the cash to get one herself. This is my present to her. I like that it will encourage her cycling (including casual weekend rides with me), so it's win-win.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:37 PM
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Well hey, good on you! And maybe if you save up after this purchase you can buy yourself a sweet retroesque ride too
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Old 06-05-08, 11:19 PM
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Well, after all of the thought that was put into choosing a cyclocross bike and the idea that she really wanted a wider-tire, do-anything bike, we ended up with one of these (below). A very *not* cyclocross bike. She took a test drive and fell in love with it. She said it fit her perfectly and felt fantastic to ride AND it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. Again, it's definitely *not* a cyclocross bike, HOWEVER, she is really, really, really happy with her gift. :-)

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to offer so many good suggestions that we ignored (oops). But as MartianOne pointed out above, if SHE is happy then WE are happy! So, we are both very happy and she is just ecstatic about her new wheels.

Trek 1.2 WSD (road bike)

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Old 06-05-08, 11:46 PM
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Dude, now your fiance is roadie scum. Time to call off the wedding.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by M_S
Dude, now your fiance is roadie scum. Time to call off the wedding.
Ha ha. That's true, she will be "roadie scum", but didn't anyone tell you that a hot chick can get away with almost anything? Especially a hot chick on a bike? ;-)

Edit: And on the practical side, this bike will be far better for her 18-mile round-trip commute than the decade-old hybrid she was riding. That thing puts her bolt-upright into the wind and weighs at least 35 pounds. She didn't know it, but I had decided early-on when she started commuting everyday, that if she kept it up I would buy her the road bike she wanted but couldn't afford herself. It felt a lot better spending the bucks on her than on me! I always feel buyers remorse when I buy expensive stuff for myself. Better to spend it on others I guess. So, who else wants a bike - oh wait, I'm broke now, too ;-)

Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-06-08 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 06-06-08, 07:54 AM
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Kona has the Lisa bikes.





i would def say 'cute'
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Old 06-06-08, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by evan_phi
Kona has the Lisa bikes.

i would def say 'cute'

Thanks for the suggestion. She ended up falling in love with the women's-specific Trek road bike, above. She thinks it's the most beautiful bike she's ever seen and loves it. So that's what I got her. I'm sure she would have loved the Kona Lisa, too! However, that bike is definitely out of our price range. The retail on it is $1300. The retail on the Trek is a little over $700. And the Fuji I was considering for her would have been offered at a steep discount below it's retail, so it might have been worth stretching for if that had been 'the' bike she loved.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:06 AM
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Could you fit 28s in that bike? From the photos it looks like it has reasonable clearance.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by flargle
Could you fit 28s in that bike? From the photos it looks like it has reasonable clearance.
Yep, the clearance is better than on some road bikes, but not great. We ended up getting her some 25 mm Continental Ultra Gatorskins to replace the cheapo 23 mm tires the bike came with. They should serve her pretty well for commuting. The 28's would have fit, too, I think, but not with much clearance for gravel and road debris to pass through the fork if they got picked up by her tire. She seems happy with the 25's so far. She called me up today (her first day commuting with it) and told me the bike felt really faaaaaaast! This is her first time owning anything sportier than that old hybrid of hers.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:53 PM
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Oh, and I got a present for me, too! I picked up some Tektro cross levers for my bike (all of $20). They will take away from the retro-goodness of my lugged-frame sport tourer, but will be nice to have when bombing down trails.

Now, installing them will be a slight pain in the arse, but that's a small sacrifice.

Last edited by TrackSmart; 06-06-08 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 06-06-08, 05:53 PM
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Careful now. My friend helped his fiancee buy a Condor Fratello with Campagnolo Veloce. Now she is faster than he is...
When he and I built up a bike as my wife to be's wedding present, I ended up choosing this paint job (not this bike, but same scheme)..
https://www.trialtir-usa.com/2008-der.../neo-faema.htm
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