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Help a Tall Clyde With Bike Selection?

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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.

Help a Tall Clyde With Bike Selection?

Old 07-22-14, 01:43 PM
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Help a Tall Clyde With Bike Selection?

I have been researching cyclocross bikes via this forum and some others for some weeks now, trying to research bike options. The forum has been an amazing source of information, but it also has my head spinning with technical talk!

I ride bikes quite a bit. I commute 10 miles round-trip to work in fair weather (in downtown Chicago). To date, that riding has been occurring on a very inexpensive hand-me-down Schwinn hybrid. I also do some occasional singletrack riding on a Trek mountain bike.

Lately, I have been getting into longer rides for fitness and enjoyment, in addition to starting to run the occasional triathlon. Also, I have been hoping to work up to a century ride by this fall. Needless to say, the cheap Schwinn hybrid can be a bit lacking in efficiency when I am trying to go on a longer ride or build up a bit of speed.

So, I initially thought I should get a road bike. However, I visited my LBS where I get my existing bikes serviced, and the folks there suggested a cyclocross bike. I am 6'5'', 275, and basically the LBS expressed some durability concerns with a purchase of a road bike with the typical 23s. Also, I do sometimes like to take my bike on gravel trails in various state parks where a full-on mountain bike would be overkill, but a pure road bike would be problematic. I also have a friend who recently made the switch to a cyclocross bike and has been giving it a ringing endorsement.

So, any bike I purchase at this point would hopefully be capable of smooth roads, handling potholes/less than ideal pavement on my commute to work, and a bit of gravel/dirt. I think that leaves me in cyclocross territory. However, if it's a road bike that just has a beefier wheelset, I'd be happy to consider it.

So as to not spend an arm and a leg, I have been scouring Craigslist and Ebay for appropriate fits. Unfortunately, there just generally has not been a heck of a lot in the 60+cm range that I need given my height.

I have discussed some KHS and Felt options with folks at my LBS, but everything they offer tends to quickly get up over $1000. I very much would like to keep this a sub-$750 affair if possible. There does not seem to be a whole lot in new bikes in that range (understandably).

Here are the few options I've been looking at:

BD: Gravity Liberty CXD
Save up to 60% off new Disc Brake Road Bikes - Gravity Liberty 2 | Save up to 60% off new road bikes

BD: Motobecane Fantom CXX
Save up to 60% off new Cyclocross Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom CX Clearance

Nashbar: CX1
Nashbar CX1 Cyclocross Bike - Road Bikes

Trek: Crossrip
Trek CrossRip - Village Cycle Center - Chicago's Best Bike Shop, The Bike Experts for Bicycle Sales and Service


Given my scouring of the forums here, I know opinions are quite mixed on BD. One of those reasons is that fit can be an issue. That bothers me somewhat less because (1) my LBS does not stock bikes in my size and would require me to order and purchase one anyway, and (2) at my size, I'm basically getting the largest available frame in whatever bike I purchase anyway. I also know BD prices aren't quite apples-to-apples because I will have to pay for LBS support rather than getting it in the purchase, and some work to get things up an running is certain to be required.

Does anyone have any opinions about the above bikes? Is there anything comparable that should be on my list that I haven't noted? Obviously, there is quite a range there in price. I'd love to get the Gravity as it's only $499 and has disc brakes. At that price point, I would be comfortable putting a little money into it to swap out a wheelset (if necessary), get is set up properly, etc.

Also, it is worth noting that I am mechanically inclined generally, but don't have anything more than basic experience with work on bikes. I basically use my LBS for all service, and haven't done anything more than change wheels, replace tubes, etc.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-22-14, 10:57 PM
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Not a cross bike, but one that might serve my purposes and could be had through my LBS:

Felt: Verza Fit 1
Verza Fit 1 - Felt Bicycles
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Old 07-23-14, 07:40 AM
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I would go with the size 61cm Crossrip. It has a long 60.9cm effective top-tube. This bike should fit you as well as any standard production bike. It looks like it's in stock at Village. Take a long test ride after a complete fitting.

Disc brakes are not really needed in Chicago. Most of your riding will be flat and dry. Disc brakes have an advantage on wet and hilly routes, but not on dry days.

I use a Cyclocross bike often in Chicago. I like the ride of the bigger tires on Chicago streets. I'll also use the bike on the Des Plaines River Trail. 700x32 slicks roll fast and ride great. See: https://www.bikeforums.net/fifty-plus...l-grinder.html
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Old 07-23-14, 08:25 AM
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I think all of those bikes are going to be too small for you. I don't know about the Trek because the don't list the bike's geometry ( why not?). All of the top tubes are 590 and below, I think you want something in the 600 range at least otherwise you will end up with layback seat posts and long stems.

If you have a Jamis dealer near you they have the Jamis Nova Sport that comes in a 61cm frame. It's a little closer to fitting but I thin it may still be too small for you. I had a 2001 Jamis Nova in with similar proportions and it was too small for me (6'5" also). I had to put a stem extender on to get it to fit. It owrked, but did not look great.



KHS makes a lot of their bikes in larger sizes. This may work for you. It is not a drop bar, but you could probably convert it with bar end shifters for $150.

XPRESS | KHS Bicycles

The Soma Double Cross comes in a 66cm, but the frame and fork will run about $500. If you are handy with tools you could find a donor bike, even a Gravity, and swap the parts over and sell the donor frame. You might be able to do it all for under $800.

I recently went with a 65cm Black Mountain Cycles Cross frame and built it up with parts I already had. The fit is pretty close to perfect, but I do have a couple on inches of spacers on it. This would probably be out of your budget because the frame alone is $600, but may be cheaper to build up because it uses canti brakes.
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Old 07-23-14, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv
I would go with the size 61cm Crossrip. It has a long 60.9cm effective top-tube. This bike should fit you as well as any standard production bike. It looks like it's in stock at Village. Take a long test ride after a complete fitting.[/url]
Originally Posted by KOBE
I think all of those bikes are going to be too small for you. I don't know about the Trek because the don't list the bike's geometry ( why not?). All of the top tubes are 590 and below, I think you want something in the 600 range at least otherwise you will end up with layback seat posts and long stems.
The geometry for the Trek can be found on the Trek website, use the "Fit and sizing" tab: CrossRip - Trek Bicycle
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Old 07-23-14, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv
The geometry for the Trek can be found on the Trek website, use the "Fit and sizing" tab: CrossRip - Trek Bicycle

Doh! I looked all over for it.b Thanks.

The Trek looks like it is similar to the Jamis in fit.
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Old 07-23-14, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the input! I appreciate it. I do think the Trek would make a good option for what I need. With respect to the Felt, any opinions on whether it'd be durable enough for gravel? Felt markets it as being lightweight, which is appealing, but doesn't actually seem to provide the weight anywhere. It comes with 28s as far as tires do, which would provide a bit more than a regular road bike, but less than the 32s that are stock on the Trek. I can't discern what the maximum tire size is that the Felt would accommodate.
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