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Please help me choose my bike!

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.

Please help me choose my bike!

Old 04-02-12, 12:45 PM
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Please help me choose my bike!

Based on inquiries and details given on ******, it was determined that a cyclocross would be best for me, I wanted to expand the exposure and bring it to a large forum.

Useful Information:
I am a very new rider using a Schwinn trail hybrid.
I am 6'1, 225.
I have very few LBS around me, the closest bike shop is a performance bicycle
I want my bike to be primarily for a work commute 6.1 miles away
I would also like to bring a SMALL amount of groceries home from the market
I would like for the bike to be able to handle trails (mostly paved, some with debris, no dirt).
I have a budget of about 800 (which can be stretched a little if needed)

Because I am very new at riding, I kind of need to be walked through my first real bike purchase, as I don't want to get hosed on a used one on craigslist, and think I'm bound by either bikes direct or performance bicycles. Further on I'd like to take advantaged of the used world.

So based on everything above, what specific bikes would you guys recommend a very new, albeit "passionate about biking taking over my car" rider?

Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 04-02-12, 02:17 PM
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Another option is fezzari if you don't mind ordering the bike, they have really good customer service and a pair of pseudo cyclocross bikes (pseudo in that they have straight bars and the frame is slightly different geometry).


If performance bicycles is localish I'd really try to make that happen as if you go with a LBS you often get 90 days (if not a year) of free tune ups and a discount on anything else you buy at the time, I got 25% off everything I bought with my bike at my LBS, others got 15% off anything for the year at another LBS.
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Old 04-02-12, 02:19 PM
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Have a look at the Cannondale Bad Boy 9. It is an excellent bike and extremely versatile. It can accommodate road or mountainbike tires, has disc brakes which are great for nasty weather, accepts fenders and a rear rack. The Bad Boy 9 can be had for under $750. For a little more you could upgrade to the Bad Boy 5 which can be had for under a grand. I know it's not a cyclocross bike but I really think that it's worth a look. https://www.cannondale.com/2012/bikes.../urban/bad-boy
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Old 04-02-12, 02:36 PM
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The first question to answer is what are you not satisfied with about the Schwinn hybrid? I would expect it to be able to do everything you listed.

That said, I love my cyclocross bikes.

Beyond a certain minimum quality level, fit is probably the most important factor in your bike choice. Ideally you'd be able to trust the shop where you were buying on that point, but Performance Bike can be hit or miss. I know some of there employees know what they're talking about and will take the time to make sure you get fit right, but others are still learning. If you go in and stress that you want to be really sure you get the right fit, they might direct you to someone with a lot of experience. In any event, Performance has a pretty flexible return policy and if you end up getting a bike that isn't comfortable they'll probably let you exchange it.

So, what I'm saying is that I'd go with Performance over Bikes Direct if you aren't very sure about size. If you are confident about size, or are willing to go through a mail-order exchange process and eat some return shipping costs, and you're comfortable doing some minor assembly, then Bikes Direct is a nice option.

Beyond that, it looks like budget will dictate your choice. I think the Fuji Cross 3.0 looks pretty good. At Bikes Direct, I'd choose the Fantom Cross over the Fantom CCX, but both are good.
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Old 04-02-12, 03:04 PM
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I bought the Schwinn used on craigslist mainly for fitness reasons. I tore my ACL and meniscus years back, and could only get the meniscus repaired. I was an avid runner, but the impact has taken a toll on my knees.

I thought I'd try biking and loved it. The Schwinn taught me alot, as I was not experienced at all with bikes, and bought it not knowing how bad the shifter was. The cost was very minimal. So though several tutorials I was able to get the rear and front deralieurs working, with a small exception being while in the second chainring, gear 5 will not catch. I need new front breaks, and the plastic guard of the chainring is cracked.

These are all very manageable expenses, but I know I'm going to want to upgrade, and might as well not throw good money at bad. I may fix up the schwinn later on down the line, but this bike will replace my car for work and around the town stuff, so I can justify spending the money on a new one.

So, I'm not really dissatisfied, I just figured It would be a good time.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:15 AM
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Andy K is pretty right on the money. Also, just above your minimum level is the low end Giant cross bike. While Sora-levelcomponents aren't the greatest, they are quite functional. Performance's house-brand 'crossbike is pretty decent as well.
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Old 04-07-12, 05:32 PM
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I was in a very similar position about a month ago. Had an old schwinn (mine is a mtb) that needed work. I had been riding that for 3 years and figured I'd buy a new bike that better matched my riding style. Here is what I did.
1. Determined that I wanted a cyclocross bike
2. Test rode as many different brands and models of cyclocross bikes as I could (regardless of price)
3. Re-rode the top 3 that I liked best
4. Re-rode the top 2 and made my decision

I understand you have a budget but you may find that the perfect bike is just a little out of your price range and is worth the little extra. Also ask tons of questions while at the lbs. Hell ask the same questions to different lbs staff ( you get some different answers at times). And for your first bike be sure to buy at a lbs (performance if its what you got to work with) I say this because test riding a bike is critical.
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Old 04-07-12, 05:42 PM
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At 6'1" you will need to look at the both the largest and the next size down when selecting frame size.

Depending on where you live, your local bike shop might not have a broad enough inventory to have a bike that will truly fit you well. Do plenty of research online to determine if the frame size is one of the more popular middle sizes, or is one of the larger that the manufacturer produces.

Another benefit of shopping at either Performance or REI is that both chains have a liberal return policy. Be sure to ask your local bike shop if they will guarantee the fit.

Although not a cross bike, The Novara Safari Bike touring bike from REI fits your stated needs. It's normally $900, but REI members can get a 20% discount on the bike. This discount exspires on the 15th.

When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-07-12 at 07:58 PM.
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