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Bike Newb. Help me pick my first CX bike. Let the flames begin.

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Bike Newb. Help me pick my first CX bike. Let the flames begin.

Old 05-14-09, 02:14 PM
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Bike Newb. Help me pick my first CX bike. Let the flames begin.

So I recently became interested in biking. I live in SF and have to go through some hilly parts of town. I also like to ride through the presidio on the less paved trails and like the versatility of a cyclocross bike. I also have zero experience wrenching a bike, but I consider myself a handy guy. I've visited many bike shops recently and test road a couple of CX bikes and wanted to hear your thoughts. I am looking for a good value on a bike ill be able to use for a long time. I'd prefer something under the $1000 range but that being said, I'm looking for a great deal so if the bike is a better deal/quality i'd be willing to spend a little more. I also know my bike sizes. Thanks for taking a look

The bikes I've been considering are (all prices are after tax, i think i can get an LBS to assemble a bike for 40+ dollars)

Bianchi Axis 09 with Sora parts from LBS $1423.5 which includes bike fitting

Bianchi Axis 08 with Tiagra Jenson uSA shipped $1008.25 (will probably need to get someone to assemble or learn how to assemble it myself)
https://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ss+Bike08.aspx

Fuji Cross Comp 09 with Ultegra and 105 components from a local Performance bike $1093.91 (comes with free adjustments so i probably don't need a bike fitting?)
https://www.fujibikes.com/Specialty/C...CrossComp.aspx

Fuji Cross comp Pro 09 Ultegra everything from Local PB for $1531.905
https://www.fujibikes.com/Specialty/C.../CrossPro.aspx

Bikes Direct Fantom Cross Comp Pro 09 Ultegra Everything (will probably need to get someone to assemble or learn how to assemble myself) $1000
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...oss_pro_IX.htm


I welcome all recommendations, flames, trolls, shills, whatever. Thanks again for your opinions

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Old 05-14-09, 02:47 PM
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Don't for get the SF Bike Kitchen for assembly.
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Old 05-14-09, 03:04 PM
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If you're in SF, you owe it to yourself to go buy American Cyclery and check out the Soma DoubleCross... Soma is a SF based company as well

https://www.americancyclery.com/

https://somafab.com/frames.html
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Old 05-14-09, 03:15 PM
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Cyn, thanks for reminding me about that place. I am going to check it out. Do you have any experience with the bike kitchen?

Threeflys, i'll stop on by and take a look as well.
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Old 05-14-09, 03:38 PM
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I helped start the one in Sacramento so I have met some of the folks involved with SF's. If you really want to learn to wrench it can be a great asset and if you volunteer you can learn even more.
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Old 05-14-09, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Cynikal
I helped start the one in Sacramento so I have met some of the folks involved with SF's. If you really want to learn to wrench it can be a great asset and if you volunteer you can learn even more.
I wish San Diego had one of these...
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Old 05-14-09, 05:21 PM
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I thought there was a non-profit shop in SD. You can always start one. Ours has been up and running for 3 years now.
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Old 05-14-09, 05:40 PM
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Any thoughts on any of the above bikes
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Old 05-14-09, 05:53 PM
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just keep in mind the "free adjustments" that performance offers would be for tightening up the brakes and indexing the gears. it is not a fitting session.
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Old 05-14-09, 06:00 PM
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I like to bianchi 08 axis with tiagra is a very solid build, as is the fuji comp with 105/ultegra. both good mid level builds, but the fuji has worse wheels. The $1500 fuji is my favorite, i would LOVE a build like that. also good values would be the soma doublecross, but it would likely exceed your 1k budget with decent components. a surly cross check is a truly solid value, and it retails right at 1k. most shops should be able to get one, but you should be able to find at least one in town. Kona also makes a solid cross bike, the jake. one of my favorites i just rode, even when compared to 2k bikes, was the masi steel CX bike. doubles as a touring bike (also right at 1k).

keep in mind that 105 is the go-to race group for value (10 speed), but tiagra is still fine for everyday riding (9 speed). I personally hate sora components, especially the shifters. i still use 105 9 speed components from 2002. buy good the first time and you won't have to upgrade.

when im buying a bike, i make sure it fits me well, then my budget, and finally has at what i consider to be good components (at least tiagra, preferably 105). wheels and components can be swapped out as you wear them out, as almost anything will roll and shift. an improper frame fit can cause pain, lead to less enjoyment riding, ultimately making you ride less. test rides should be a minimum of 30 minutes. i have arranged 2 hour test rides on bikes i have been seriously considering (although not cyclocross bikes).

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Old 05-14-09, 06:52 PM
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I vote for the $1000 Fuji from Performance. You will probably want to learn to do all your own wrenching anyway, but at the pricepoint you are going for it is nice to head home from the shop with a bike in good working order to start with. Bike fitting isn't a big beal until you start heading out on longer rides. As long as the shop gets you on the right size frame, you can figure out where to go from there from information on these boards. You really can't go wrong with any bike in the $1000 dollar range, but there is no need to spend more than that unless you are racing at a very high level.

Like others have said, there is nothing wrong with Tiagra, so don't get too hung up on groupsets. Sora works fine if they are adjusted correctly too, but the buttons are in an odd place if you ride in the drops.
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Old 05-14-09, 07:10 PM
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to me, the best value is the fuji comp with ultegra/105 or bianchi axis 08 from jenson. like others have said, the tiagra is surprisingly smooth for its price, just a tad heavier than 105/ultegra/dura ace.

off topic but the 09 axis with sora for $1500 is overpriced.
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Old 05-14-09, 07:45 PM
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wrench away.. go to homedepot and get yourself a METRIC allen wrench set from 2mm to 10mm. You can always go to shimano's website and look at the tech docs for installing and adjusting their components or you can also go to parktool.com to help cross reference stuff. Or.. you can hit up the BF mechanics section.
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Old 05-14-09, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Cynikal
I thought there was a non-profit shop in SD. You can always start one. Ours has been up and running for 3 years now.
There may be and I just don't know about it....
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Old 05-14-09, 09:09 PM
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Specialized Tricross Sport or Comp for the feel, ride, and handling.
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Old 05-15-09, 01:14 AM
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ooh thanks for the thoughts guys. Looks like im being pushed into the bianchi 08 direction... Any reason why the BD bike sucks? I still have to wrench the bike myself and the BD have a better groupo (Please excuse my biking ignorance)
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Old 05-15-09, 01:27 AM
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Not to steal the thread. I have been shopping for a cross/commuter also. What do you think of Jake the Snake compared to the others
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Old 05-15-09, 01:38 AM
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Has anybody ridden a axis, vs a fuji cross vs a motobecane cross? I guess it'd be hard to find someone who has actually test driven all 3 bikes.
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Old 05-15-09, 03:15 AM
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The bianchi is alright if you're going with it.
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Old 05-15-09, 07:50 AM
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cross bikes i have ridden around 1k:
masi cx
surly cross check
jake
rocky mountain solo cx

I have also ridden the specialized tricross and the trek cyclocross bikes. PM me for ride comparisons.

i have also ridden several friend's fixed bike direct. they aren't bad at all, and represent a real value- if you get them set up properly. the frames are solid, but lack some of the really nice ride quality of the more expensive bikes. some people are very sensitive to this, others aren't. my dad doesn't care at all what he rides, as long as it goes when he pedals. i am very particular about geometry and ride quality.
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Old 05-15-09, 10:40 AM
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I don't think i could handle a fixie. i'm a clydsdale at this point.. but not for long!! as soon as i get my bike that is.
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Old 05-15-09, 10:59 AM
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Also, I see many of you guys pointing out that tiagra is fine. Is the reason to choose the inferior groupset at the same pricepoint is that bianchi makes a superior frame and fork?
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Old 05-15-09, 01:00 PM
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Things break and then you can upgrade.
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Old 05-15-09, 01:21 PM
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I've got a Kona Jake, which I just love, but this winter I upgraded the components to Ultegra + 105 front derailleur, and let me tell you the difference isn't just weight. The shifting is so smooth now. It's like butter. But the Tiagra group really is very good.

The typical reasons not to go with Bikes Direct are (a) you have to do a lot of your own assembly and adjustment, (b) you have to guess at the fit based on a geometry chart, (c) you can't test ride it, (d) they sometimes sneak cheap parts into the spec where you aren't looking.

The Fantom Cross Pro looks like it's got a pretty solid spec, and you sound eager to do your own wrenching, so you're half way home. Fit and feel are not to be overlooked however. You can be kind of on your own for fit at Performance Bike too, even if you go to a store (at least that was my experience), but you can at least test ride.

One thing I'd like to suggest, however, is that given the hills in SF, you really might like a triple crankset. I mean, you'd get used to a double eventually, but you'd really end up working for it. If you think you want triple, you could be back to the Kona Jake.

FWIW, my investment in the Jake plus Ultegra upgrades (including Ultegra/Open Pro wheels) is about $1400, but that involved a lot of good online deals.
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Old 05-15-09, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
I've got a Kona Jake, which I just love, but this winter I upgraded the components to Ultegra + 105 front derailleur, and let me tell you the difference isn't just weight. The shifting is so smooth now. It's like butter. But the Tiagra group really is very good.

The typical reasons not to go with Bikes Direct are (a) you have to do a lot of your own assembly and adjustment, (b) you have to guess at the fit based on a geometry chart, (c) you can't test ride it, (d) they sometimes sneak cheap parts into the spec where you aren't looking.

The Fantom Cross Pro looks like it's got a pretty solid spec, and you sound eager to do your own wrenching, so you're half way home. Fit and feel are not to be overlooked however. You can be kind of on your own for fit at Performance Bike too, even if you go to a store (at least that was my experience), but you can at least test ride.

One thing I'd like to suggest, however, is that given the hills in SF, you really might like a triple crankset. I mean, you'd get used to a double eventually, but you'd really end up working for it. If you think you want triple, you could be back to the Kona Jake.

FWIW, my investment in the Jake plus Ultegra upgrades (including Ultegra/Open Pro wheels) is about $1400, but that involved a lot of good online deals.
Thanks for the helpful advice. I asked a bunch of people at Performance bikes and various other LBS and they said the compact crank should be okay for me. I personally think a triple would be better for me, but I've test ridden a compact double on the Orbea Fleche which I really really liked. I didn't see LBS that sold the Kona Jake. I test road the fuji cross at PB. I am very comfortable on a 54Cm and on a bianchi, I am a 55 CM. I heard that the Fantom Cross frame is exactly the same as the Fuji cross frames, thats why I found it wierd that I was being pushed away from the BD bike, even though it has superior groupo. Thanks again for your thoughts. I love this forum
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