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Cheap lite CX race frame/bike?

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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.

Cheap lite CX race frame/bike?

Old 08-28-13, 07:47 AM
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Cheap lite CX race frame/bike?

I enjoy my Giant TCR ALUXX road bike/frame. It was cheap, it's light, I can go fast on it.

I want to find a similar frame/bike for CX. ...I first looked at a TCX frame, and they're cheap, but DANG they're heavy. Why? Will CX destroy a road-type frame? My experience is that CX isn't that harsh. (I studied it last season and recall the TCX was like 3-4 lbs heavier. Googling now I come up empty.)

What I think I'm looking for is a road-frame with clearance. Not so much to ask for.

I'm not even positive I need canti brakes, much less disks, but whatever. Some sidepulls have lotsa clearance (or did, back in the day).

I put narrow CX tires (sewups!) into my TCR and had a BLAST last week doing a CX training race. Of course there was micro-clearance and if there was any sticky mud I couldn't ride but in the dry it's great. I didn't know what to expect for handling -- it was great! It carved turns so much better than my old sport-tour bike -turned- CX bike. The 26mm tires held the sidehill/offcambers just fine. I had to brake less than with my sport-tour CX bike even though I was going a LOT faster. What fun!

I'm not a power-monster, I'm pretty skinny -- I doubt I was over-stressing my TCR frame. I just wish it had MORE CLEARANCE. The weight is good. I don't need ANY extra weight in the frame, as far as I can tell. Or am I overlooking something and my bike is going to SNAP?

Anyway, I suppose I'm looking for a frame that's about $200 on eBay, etc. ? Whattaya think?

'Course I might LIKE disk brakes if I ever tried em. And I *do* have a set of brifters I could install -- I sure can tell they'd make CX even more fun. As it is, I'm using bar-ends and shifting can be chaotic. It's a whole definite skill on its own.
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Old 08-28-13, 07:49 AM
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BikesIsland is a good source of inexpensive frames. I think most of them have cosmetic issues but for a race bike who cares.

https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1238
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Old 08-28-13, 09:52 AM
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I paid $600 for a 2006 Ridley Supercross scandium frame on ebay last year . . . it is light but not cheap. it has developed a nasty creak in the bottom bracket. Traditionally, light and cheap go in opposite directions. If you are light body weight, you may not destroy a road frame on nicely groomed, grassy, dry cx courses, especially an AL frame, think you should be OK. Now if you really want light, you are looking at carbon. some people think carbon bikes in cx are a silly waste of money just because they break. I've just ridden carbon forks, so no experience with carbon frames. but I'm not the lightest rider so would never race a carbon bike on cx. can't always count on nicely groomed courses. we had one famous tree root that took out nearly half the field one race (well, not "half" but seemed like it) . . . and then there was this crazy plywood flyover ramp that snapped off several carbon seatposts if you let your butt hit the seat on the way down . . . but I digress!
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Old 08-28-13, 04:19 PM
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Light, strong and cheap. Pick two.
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Old 08-28-13, 04:28 PM
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As I said I consider my TCR Aluxx to be light, strong and cheap. I'm looking for a CX frame along those lines and at that weight and price. I wish Giant had just given the TCR more clearance. All I ask is for a little clearance.

(I don't really know what barriers have to do with it. I'm 6-foot and I feel the diff b/w lite and heavy bikes quite obviously. I went a lot faster with my TCR 20-lber roadbike last week than I did with a 24-lb sport-tourer the week before.)
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Old 08-28-13, 04:52 PM
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These guys seem to have sub 20-lb TCX builds. Apparently the frame weighs about 1500 grams, which is half a pound more than the TCR. Make sure you're comparing similar builds when judging weight, components can make for a lot of the 3-4lb difference you mentioned. The TCX frame/fork combo shouldn't be more than a pound heavier than the TCR.
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Old 08-28-13, 07:07 PM
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OK, good point on the TCX. I suppose I was looking at whole bikes and the TCX shocked me but likely they were going for a certain pricepoint and used diff parts than the TCR. Still...still... for a 3-4 lb frame/fork to have one weigh a whole pound more seems weird. Why is it? All I need is a bit more clearance... Does widening the spacing-gaps mean you need more material there and that plus the studs for the canti's ends up adding a pound?

Odd that, say, 1/2" max more spacing at fork crown would add much weight -- an ounce? For the frame all we need is a bit more space near the chainstays, BB and at the seat-tube.

Fietsbob, I'm confused: you've brought up frame-size twice now. And something about barriers and now how tall you are. Nobody has mentioned 60cm or barriers... ?

Last edited by JeffOYB; 08-28-13 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 08-28-13, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
BikesIsland is a good source of inexpensive frames. I think most of them have cosmetic issues but for a race bike who cares.

https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1238
This is bikesdiect Frames aren't light weight.
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Old 08-28-13, 09:10 PM
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I guess it comes down to what you think light, strong and cheap are. I have a planet x uncle john frame. Its listed at 1850g, and is $250 shipping included from planet x usa store. The kaffenback is steel, $210 all in. About 2300g as listed on the site.

For me that was cheap and light. As for strong i ride my cx bike on the same trails i ride my mtb and the bike is great. Heck my mtb is a s/s bike island frame and I've beat the hell out of it for five years. Cheap, strong and light enough for me to mash up hills.
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Old 08-29-13, 06:49 AM
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PS: For me cheap means they come onto the secondhand market fairly often and for $150-250 in nice shape. Lite means TCR Aluxx sort of life.
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Old 08-29-13, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB
Fietsbob, I'm confused: you've brought up frame-size twice now. And something about barriers and now how tall you are. Nobody has mentioned 60cm or barriers... ?
Sometimes it's best to just nod your head and smile ...
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Old 08-29-13, 09:29 AM
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Or Search out, direct from China CF imports .. near disposable prices , get a new one per season.


As I said I consider my TCR Aluxx to be light, strong and cheap.
so get another one ,,

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-16-13 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 08-29-13, 03:28 PM
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Old 09-09-13, 11:27 AM
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Hmmm, looking at the $500 Chinese carbon frames, I see they're 1580 grams with fork. My 2000 TCR Aluxx is about 1250 grams. C'mon, isn't there a LIGHT cx budget frame out there that's either budget or shows up on the used market? Alum TCR's seem common and seem to often go for about $250 on NOS or 2ndhand market. I'm sad that the TCX weighs a whole pound more in the frame/fork. Are CX frames/forks inevitably a fair bit heavier? It's kinda looking that they are. Why is that? The canti-studs? All I want is a frame like my TCR only with clearance! I wouldn't even mind using road-brakes.
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Old 09-09-13, 02:58 PM
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Your TCR Aluxx is 1250 grams for frame and fork? I'd be more than a little surprised by that.

As for finding a cheap used frame, I suspect you'd have better luck finding a cheap complete used bike and selling the parts you didn't want. You often can find a scandium bike with a nice carbon fork and decent components for around $900.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:52 AM
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Hi... I guess my TCR is actually 1400 gr for F/F.

Does anyone know what a TCX Aluxx with carbon fork might really weigh?
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Old 10-08-13, 08:25 PM
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I built my scandium/CF fork 2000 redline team bike on around $500

Took a while to find deals but its 18 lb of fun that I otherwise would have to spend $2000+ for
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Old 10-10-13, 02:42 PM
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Lose a pound - you'll be faster on both. Road-brakes for CX? Might work if it's dry, otherwise a bad idea since they'll get plugged with mud really fast.
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Old 10-10-13, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB
Hi... I guess my TCR is actually 1400 gr for F/F.

Does anyone know what a TCX Aluxx with carbon fork might really weigh?
Nope. TCR alu. frame in Medium is around 1250g+ just for the frame. The alloy steer fork is prolly about 500~600g.
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Old 10-10-13, 05:01 PM
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Btw, if you are okay with 26mm tires with about 5mm clearance, you are not doing CX.

What tires are you using?
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Old 10-10-13, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cuski
Lose a pound - you'll be faster on both. Road-brakes for CX? Might work if it's dry, otherwise a bad idea since they'll get plugged with mud really fast.
+1

I did my first season of CX by jamming the skinniest knobby tires I could find in an old Trek 660 frame. Worked great in September. Not so great in November. If I were the OP, I would just troll eBay for scandium CX frames. There seemed to be a few out there last I looked.
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Old 10-15-13, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
+1

I did my first season of CX by jamming the skinniest knobby tires I could find in an old Trek 660 frame. Worked great in September. Not so great in November. If I were the OP, I would just troll eBay for scandium CX frames. There seemed to be a few out there last I looked.
I'm pretty skinny already. (Nearly HS weight and I'm 52! C'mon!) I've been noticing good things whenever I shed weight off the bike lately. No reason I can see for it to be there to begin with. Just gimme a nice light cheap roadbike but with a bit more clearance. Like the TCR only with more clearance. But not a crazy extra 25-30% more weight! Yeah, I suppose I'll start gleaning, but I don't want/need no tank. I'm not that hard on stuff and our MI courses aren't too nuts, either. Light is nice. No reason for heavy. I use sewups, too. So no reason to be over 20 lbs for the bike!

Yeah, I'm screwed if/when it gets sticky, but so far it works fine in rainy mud! Most of our races end up dry/fast anyway. Fingers crossed! I do have an old tank with clearances to bring out for honest mudwork.

And the sidepulls on both my steeds have been fine. MI isn't too hilly and I don't like to brake anyway. More groovy modulation would be nice but I won't get too fussy.
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Old 10-15-13, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by linus
Btw, if you are okay with 26mm tires with about 5mm clearance, you are not doing CX.

What tires are you using?
I have less than 5mm clearance! I'm losing paint!

I think my wires might be 28mm. Oldschool CX. They used 28's even in the 90's. Some would say that if you're NOT using 28's it's not CX!

Of course I'm using sewups.

I do have lovely 30mm handmade Challenge Grifos for another old tank of a bike I have. But only the 28's will fit my nice lite fast TCR.
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Old 10-15-13, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by linus
Nope. TCR alu. frame in Medium is around 1250g+ just for the frame. The alloy steer fork is prolly about 500~600g.
Do you mean the TCX? It kinda seems like you do. 1800 gr for their TCX F/F that's supposedly kinda comparable to the TCR which only weighs 1400 seems just sad. Why a pound more? It's like ~30% heavier. ...A little more clearance plus canti studs weighs a pound? OK, it's a half pound in the frame and half pound in the fork, looks like. It's hard to sort it all out online (sadly) but I recall reading that they make a carbon CX fork and that many upgrade to that. So that would be the way to save the half pound in the fork. I don't need/want their "Advanced" fancy carbon f/f -- just a comparable to their Aluxx TCR (with carbon fork).

If ya google for TCR weights Giant has a PDF with a chart of actual weights of their various frames. I recall the TCR SL Aluxx is like 950-1000 gr and the carbon fork that comes with it is 300-400 gr.
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Old 10-16-13, 01:42 AM
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Out of curiosity, are you a professional racer? Just wondering what the big deal about 1 pound is. To me generally a light bike is anything about 22-23 pounds or less with pedals and saddle. Under 19 is an ultralight to me. I vaguely remember weighing my TCX frame/fork and it was something like 4 pounds and a couple of ounces on the scale at the bike co-op i work at.

If you want something lighter, just pony up the cash. It seems to me that once you get to lighter weight frames, the lighter the weight, the more they cost or the weaker they are or both. So sure your TCR is lighter than the TCX but apples and oranges. If you want a cheap very light cross frame, you will probably end up with something weak. If you want a light strong cross frame, figure heavier than a similar road frame since as far as I can tell, they are designed to handle much more abuse than a typical road frame.

road vs cyclocross frames=apples and oranges
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