Long-time Rider Looking for First Serious (Cyclocross) Bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Tcsamuel, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Tcsamuel

    Tcsamuel New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm a long-time bike commuter, who's finally looking to take cycling a bit more seriously. For the past 11 years or so, I've used an old CCM mountain bike to commute everywhere. I initially wanted to upgrade to a cheaper ($300-$500) hybrid or road bike, but I'd also like to start cycling long distances for fitness. A road bike is probably not the greatest option for me, since the streets are riddled with gravel and giant potholes here, and I'd like to bike a bit down packed dirt paths in the river valley as well. At the same time, I do like going really fast and biking long distances. While I don't cycle religiously right now, I feel it's mostly because my current bike limits me from doing so (it's too small and falls apart periodically).

    I came across cyclocross bikes, and they seem very attractive with regards to their versatility and durability. My first question would be, "is it a bad idea to spring for one as a bike newbie?" I've barely maintained my current bike at all, and I know almost nothing about bike components and maintenance, though I'm wholly willing to learn.

    I've been scouring classifieds in my area, and I've found someone selling a lightly used Ridley Xbow for $900. This is about twice as much as I initially intended to spend, but given the usage patterns of my current bike, I could definitely make the investment, especially if it will last me just as long. I am worried about leaving such an expensive bike locked on a rack for more than an hour, though, and that might limit my usage of it.

    What advice would you offer me, with regards to what sort of bike I should look for, and also the Ridley Xbow Cyclocross as well?
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. Based on what you have indicated, 'I' would use the JAMIS CODA as the reference benchmark against which I would assess other bikes that you are currently considering ... Its base model price is under $600 (this is the one which I would probably choose because it has a steel frame -- not ideal for racing, but certainly more than adequate for commuting) ...
    • NOS 2013 base model Coda bikes should be under $500 & older NOS models in inventory should cost even less ...
    The Jamis Coda bikes have FLAT, MTB-type handlebars/etc. ... Here is an old reference picture from the Jamis website: [IMG ALT=""]http://www.cyclingforums.com/content/type/61/id/285278/width/350/height/700[/IMG] There are several other Coda models whose frames are not steel and which have more expensive components ...
    • Similar bikes should be available from other brands.
    A reason why I would choose the Jamis Coda type of bikes is because it could be easily converted to a Cyclocross configuration for a couple of hundred dollars (or, more if you are feeling flush ... but, 'I' am generally from the why-pay-more school of component selection UNLESS the more expensive choice is for gotta-have-it for cosmetic reasons) by simply changing the Flat handlebars to DROP bars & adding a pair of Campagnolo shifters (yes, they are compatible with Shimano derailleurs) + a set of cantilever brake calipers to replace the V-brake calipers.
    • An advantage to a possible DIY component change is that you can choose the handlebar width AND bend that works best for YOU & choose future components which best fit your budget or aesthetic sensibilities. Of course, you may decide that the 700c wheels & tires may give you the performance increase you are looking for & you may not want to bother with changing to Drop handlebars on the bike for a couple of seasons ... or, never!?!
    If I wanted an off-the-peg CX bike, then I would probably start with the REDLINE bikes as the basis for comparison.
     
  3. Tcsamuel

    Tcsamuel New Member

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    Wouldn’t buying a hybrid and upgrading components be less cost-effective overall? I live in Canada, and both bikes and parts are significantly more difficult to get a hold of for reasonable prices. I also have only found aluminium hybrid frames at that price point, but I'll keep looking for a steel one. I'd imagine that a steel frame is fairly durable for the cost, since my current department store bike is steel and has lasted me this long with no maintenance.

    The Redline cross bikes seems good, but I can't find a dealer for them in Canada at all.

    I think another option for me might to be simply see if I can negotiate the price of the used Ridley Xbow a bit lower. I’ve noticed that the seller has swapped out the stock tires with Shimano R500 wheels (which I think is a downgrade?). What do you feel would be a reasonable price to offer him? I think his asking price of $900 is actually more than he expects to sell it for.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You might want to consider a Surly bike, like the Surly Pacer in this link. It's got a robust steel frame and can take tires up to 32mm in width, which would soften bumps and pot holes a lot. You can road or cyclocross tires on it. There are Surly dealers all over Canada. To find them, click the "Dealers" link in the page I linked to.
     
  5. Tcsamuel

    Tcsamuel New Member

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    I did take a look at my LBS, but they only carry the Surly Crosscheck, which is a bit too pricey at regular retail price for my budget ($1,400). I did find a classified for a Pacer, but it's $900 and looking to be at least a few years old.

    I did find another classified for a 2012 Jamis Ventura Sport at around $300, and I'm thinking that if the frame fits me, it may be better than the Ridley. Can anyone comment on whether or not the Ridley Cyclocross is a good deal? It's not stock; specs are as follows:

    2011 Ridley X-Bow Frame/Zornyc Carbon/Alloy Fork
    Shimano R500 Wheels
    Shimano Tiagra Components

    Everything but the Tiagra components are a few months old, and he wants $800. Is it worth it?
     
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