1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
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    Smile Buying 2013 Specialized Crossroads for first "big boy" bike...

    Hi all,

    So, now that I am out of college and have started my professional career, I have a little bit of money to spend on a bike that isn't going to come from Wal-Mart.

    My last bike (from W-mart) was this:

    Schwinn Men's Hybrid Bike - Walmart.com

    While the bike was OK (did its job for a college student) the handle bars finally broke right off during a 50 mile trail ride (only had to walk 5 miles or so home).

    So now I am in the market for an entry-level "real" bike that can offer me a 10x improved riding performance. I am currently looking at the Specialized Crossroads Sport or Specialized Crossroads Elite and I am kind of curious as to whether the $150 price range is worth it.

    (Links for those who may be unfamiliar:
    Specialized Bicycle Components

    Specialized Bicycle Components)


    I plan on riding the bike 100% in town during winter, but 50/50 town and trails during summer. I am a bit of a bigger guy, so road bikes or bikes that cause me to lean all the way down won't work for me.

    So, what do you guys think? Worth the extra $150, have any new bike ideas that may be better quality for a similar price?

  2. #2
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    Cross-shop Trek too if you can, they have similar models that start at lower price points than the Specialized. If you are going to be using the bike a LOT, the extra money of the first Crossroad seems to be for smoother operating components.

    But really, anything from a bonafide bike shop will be worlds better than the Schwinn you had. These are models that should be readily available at shops, so go to a Specialized shop, and also a shop that carries Giant and Trek, those will be your best value.
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  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Hybrids suck. Especially now that they usually have suspension fork-shaped objects on the front.

    If you're interested in trails, get a mountain bike. They give up little on the road, nothing if you put some slick tires on, and they're much better on trails.

    Bear in mind that you can raise the handle bars on a more athletically oriented bike quite a lot. So wanting a more upright riding position doesn't have to back you into hybrids.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Where do you live, and what kind of trails are you interested in riding? Also, any chance winter involves riding around town in snow?

    I ask because the Crossroads really isn't intended for riding on what most people would consider 'real' mountain bike trails. If by 'trail' you're referring to something like a cinder rail trail, or even some smoothish dirt roads, you could press it into service. But it's element is really just cruising pavement.

    Personally, and especially if you're looking at spending in 5-6 hundred bucks, I would seriously consider buying an actual dedicated mountain bike rather than a hybrid, and also pick up a set of street tires for it. That would be a far better choice as far as durability, performance, maintainability...everything really. As a bigger guy that's already broken a set of bars, if you're looking to start exploring trails beyond the mellowest dirt roads and such, you will need the sturdier parts that a real mountain bike would come with so you're not dealing with that kind of thing (or the hospital trip that can go along with it) on a regular basis. That goes for the type of stuff you'll run into riding around town too - curbs, glass, potholes, RR crossings, etc. An mtb will handle it all better for you.

    If there is a decent used market in your area, you could likely find a pretty sweet older hardtail. That would likely be the best bang for you bike bike wise. But if you've got a decent local shop to deal with, there can be benefits to buying from them, particularly as someone newer to the sport.


    I think if you picked up something along the lines of the bikes listed in this article, I'm sure you'd be really happy with the bike. Go take some test rides, sit on a bunch of bikes. See what feels right to you. Talk to the people at the shop about fit - swapping out for higher/lower bar position and a seat that works for you makes in incredible difference in the way a bike feels. A good shop will help explain to you why things that might not feel right to you as a beginner actually work better once you start riding for real, such as not having a big fat gel seat, or not running you bars way way up . If you're planning on spending some time on the bike, it's worth getting it set up well for you. You'll end up having a better time and riding it a lot more.

    Mountain Bike 101 | Camping Life Magazine

  5. #5
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    Based on his initial post, it sounded to me like he meant rail trails. Although I may just have read it that way. If that is the case, the Crossroads will be just fine.
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  6. #6
    Redcoat
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    Mate, Pick up a decent entry level mountain bike for around 400-500. Heres a good example BRAND NEW SPECIALIZED HARDROCK DISC MEN'S ALL SIZES & COLORS (bare in mind craigslist shopping is another etity all together though). You could get a specialized hard rock for around that price. Then you can do one of two things. put some town tyres on it for getting around, or what i do is have a spare wheel set with town tires with matching cassette. That way i can change my wheels out quick for whatever im doing. You could prob pick up the wheel set with cassette and tires for like $120 if you shop around. so you will still have spent around $520-$620 and still have the best of both worlds.

    Just stay away from purpose built hyprids and just make your own.

  7. #7
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    You are correct with the rail trails. I like to ride on packed dirt and/or packed rocks and/or paved trails. I'll followup that up with I don't ever plan to ride this bike on mountainous trails or trails where the elevation significantly varies. I live in Central Oregon and it does snow here.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    There are some road-going mountain bikes that might do well for you. Kona's Asphalt bikes (disclaimer: they give my team a nice deal) and about half of Surly's line would fit that description.

    Ride a bunch of bikes and buy your favorite. Ride hybrids too, if you like. Just try to hop on some rigid MTBs and give them a shot at your money.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    If you are looking in a shop that carries Specialized Products have you considered the Crosstrail instead of the Crossroad. It is a good all-around bike that can cover anywhere from city roads to light single track. It should really well on gravel roads.

    A guy I work with uses his to commute to work and rides it everywhere downtown. He also takes it to his family farm on the weekends and rides it all over the place there. It seems to be a really good all around bike. While the ride is not going to be as upright as a Crossroad it is still pretty upright.

    Here is the link: Specialized Bicycle Components

  10. #10
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    I started off searching for hybrids at first because wanted a do it all bike, but then eventually decided on a mountain bike for some of the reasons that other pepole mentioned above.

    One of the bikes that I did consider was the Schwinn Trailways (?), which is the Target version of the Schwinn bike you had. But eventually decided on getting a bike that is normally sold at a lbs or Dick's. Or maybe I should just say not sold at Walmart or Target. I would've been okay with Dick's, Sports Authority, etc.

    I found this initial list that I came up with bikes to look at:

    Giant Roam 1
    Specialized Crosstrail Sport
    Giant Roam 2
    Diamondback Trace
    Diamondback Insight
    Schwinn Searcher
    Raleigh Misceo 1.0
    specialized sirrus
    Schwinn Searcher
    Specialized Hard Rock
    GTs Avalanche 1.0
    Trek DS
    fuji ABSOLUTE 2.3 or 1.5

    The Schwinn Searcher was the first serious bike that I considered and is what got me walking into bike stores to check out. I eventually crossed it off my list, because heard that while it comes with a lot of stuff for the money it's all lower end things.

    It looks on later on I had a shorter list:

    Giant Roam 1
    Specialized Crosstrail Sport
    Rove
    seek
    Myka

    But I don't remember too much about it and what this list is. All it can tell is that it looks like I put it together after that first list. Looking up some of the bikes, it might have been a list that I put together in looking for a bike for my wife. (the Seek and Myka are both bikes designed for women).

    In my search, I went from hybrid->dual sport->hardtail mountain bike.

    I actually had an opposite impression of Treks, where I thought that they were the higher cost for the brand name. But when I was looking at them, I was comparing the price of a dual sport Trek against a Diamondback Overdrive. So didn't really look at the Specialized prices.

    I liked hardtail mountain bikes, because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that ended up getting stuck or not being able to go places other bikes could. Hardtail mountain bikes seem to start at a lower price point than hybrids as well.

    The one advantage of hybrids is that they're more efficient for pavement riding. Where in riding on the pavement on my hardtail mountain bike I've found instances where the bike wouldn't go any faster, and I was still getting passed by road bikes. Part of this might have to do with my bike being more lower end with lower components. But the inefficiency on pavement is a trade off I knew that I had to accept in going with a hardtail mountain bike.

    So if you think it suits your purposes, a hybrid may be the best bet.

    This forum is more of a mountain bike site and is what people would probably suggest. I think I started my search by looking at posts on this site: Bike Forums when I started looking at hybrids, but then eventually migrated over to this site after I decided on getting a mountain bike.

    If you decide to start looking at mountain bikes, I'd add the Giant Revel to the list.

    Good luck with your search!

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for your answers! I do have a follow up question. Knowing that I have a very limited budget in mind, is there a significant difference between an 8 speed or 9 speed cassette bike that would warrant me paying 20% more for the difference?

    For the two bikes I listed above, I can get 10% off either model through a friens., which would make the bikes 600 and 460, withe sport model obviously being on the lower end. Would I notice a very significant difference?

  12. #12
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    8-speed vs. 9-speed per se isn't important. But you also move up a pricepoint in drivetrain components.

    I don't think the Elite is $140 better. The rear derailleur on the Sport won't give you a great service life, but a nice 9-speed rear derailleur is a $60-$80 part and is drop-in compatible. (And of course they're all over the 'net for less.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

    When you say serviceable life, what is the estimated difference? Will the components of the elite last 2-3 years longer (due to better quality construction) than those of the Sport? Another question, what exactly is the benefit of having more speeds? In this case, why would I necessarily care about paying for a 9 speed if I could get a 7 speed?

  14. #14
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    The same reasoning as why would you buy an extended service plan if one is already offered to you with the product... It's just an upsell to better components. This does not necessarily mean that one is better than the other. Both will do a fine job getting you from point A to point B... but it adds a little bit of a buffer. May make some hills easier to climb.

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I was able to set up an old 12-speed road bike so I was happy with it. That's two chainrings and six cogs. The big proviso is it took ditching the stock chainrings and fitting some that fit my pedaling style and use better.

    Contemporary drivetrains have a tremendous amount of range. They go higher than most mortals need and also have very low gears. Now, a random person can buy a bike marketed for their use and have a really good chance that the bike's gear range will include enough useful gear ratios to be happy. There are also a lot of useless ratios, however. Often, the range of an 8-speed and 9-speed system is actually the same anyway - the 8-speed system just has bigger steps.

    For service life, pretty hard to say. Without abusing them, Shimano's enclosed shifter pods should be good for many years. The front derailleur tends to last a really long time too. Rear derailleurs wear enough to matter faster, but it should still take over a thousand hours of riding and I've usually banged them into something first anyway. Both bikes have pretty crappy cranks. Some people are convinced 8-speed chains and cassettes last longer; for me, while the idea makes sense, there are too many variables for me to be confident in an answer.

    Dunno if that helps.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I was able to set up an old 12-speed road bike so I was happy with it. That's two chainrings and six cogs. The big proviso is it took ditching the stock chainrings and fitting some that fit my pedaling style and use better.

    Contemporary drivetrains have a tremendous amount of range. They go higher than most mortals need and also have very low gears. Now, a random person can buy a bike marketed for their use and have a really good chance that the bike's gear range will include enough useful gear ratios to be happy. There are also a lot of useless ratios, however. Often, the range of an 8-speed and 9-speed system is actually the same anyway - the 8-speed system just has bigger steps.

    For service life, pretty hard to say. Without abusing them, Shimano's enclosed shifter pods should be good for many years. The front derailleur tends to last a really long time too. Rear derailleurs wear enough to matter faster, but it should still take over a thousand hours of riding and I've usually banged them into something first anyway. Both bikes have pretty crappy cranks. Some people are convinced 8-speed chains and cassettes last longer; for me, while the idea makes sense, there are too many variables for me to be confident in an answer.

    Dunno if that helps.
    What makes the cranks on these bikes so bad? From what it sounds like, the bikes are basically the same as far as quality of ride they will provide.

    I also have another quick question. This chick at the bike store yesterday was recommending the cross trails because it has a suspension in the front which would ease damage to the body from like bumps or packed gravel. She said most riders are trying to go to a full suspension system. Is this a bunch of bull?

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Suntour makes a variety of cranks. At the low end, they're riveted together and some use a different bolt pattern from any other crank. That means that if you wear out or damage one chainring, you have to throw out the whole thing. The machining on the back face of the middle and large chainring is also largely responsible for how nicely modern systems shift up front. So crappy cracks are finicky out of the box and can't be maintained.

    By contrast, nicer ones are more forgiving of so-so tuning and the wear parts can be replaced individually.

    The girl at the bike shop was mixing up contexts. Off-road, full suspension is really taking over. But you're riding graded and hardened trails, not mountain bike trails. And the suspension forks on hybrids suck and don't really have good aftermarket alternatives available.

    I'll be honest: I think hybrids suck as an entire category. That's why I was suggesting looking at a rigid mountain bike. I have a somewhat excessive amount of bicycles, but I haven't had room for a hybrid in over ten years. Your choice of what to ride is a little tricky, though. Riding road bikes on gravel takes a lot of attention, and isn't that much fun. Fat-tired road bikes are better at it, but they usually still don't clear the rubber that fits in a hybrid, let alone a mountain bike. A mountain bike would also still work for you if you wanted to do some more interesting trails. Maybe not if you developed more of a road riding practice, but then, the hybrid won't do much for you then either.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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