First real bike: Road bike that's dirt/gravel ready?
I'm trying to step up to my first real bike but am torn between decisions. I'll be doing mostly road but want something with flat bars and capable enough to do packed dirt and gravel trails. My first thought was a Specialized Crosstrail, but after test riding one it was too heavy and I don't want suspension. With the recommendation of the LBS I tried the Sirrus and loved it. However, I'm unsure of which model to go with, if any.
I rode the 2013 Sirrus Elite Disc and Comp back to back. I definitely liked the feel of the carbon fork, but also loved the feel of disc brakes. Since they don't offer a carbon forked disc option, I have to choose. Also, I liked having the bar ends on the Comp, which the others don't have. Are those something I can add later? Tires were also a problem as the Comp's tires didn't seem like they could handle anything other than pavement. I saw someone on here who fit 37x700 on an '07 Sirrus, but I don't know if things have changed since then. That person also had to use different wheels which might add unwanted cost.
In short, I'm asking this:
+ Better components
+ Carbon fork
- Will need fatter tires
- No disc brakes
Sirrus Elite Disc:
+ Disc brakes
+ Decent tires
- Lesser components
- Aluminum fork
- Needs bar ends
What's my best option? Or should I forget the Sirrus and look elsewhere?
Tires and bar ends are easy to replace. Nashbar and biketiresdirect are always running sales on tires, don't let that be a deciding factor. Most people change tires pretty much right away depending on what kind of terrain they ride.
On my Treck MTB I rode the stock tires ONCE around the block when I first got the bike then promptly replaced them. I knew the stockers would be hopeless on the terrain I ride.
I read your topic heading and thought "cyclocross bike", but those have drop bars as like on a road bike. Son't discount them though, I just got one and it's a hoot. Coming from a strictly flat bar MTB background, I have to say I really like the drop bars and the multiple hand positions. I find it more comfortable on longer rides than the flat bars actually.
You can always add flat bars to a 'cross bike I suppose.
Or maybe buy a hybrid or less agressive MTB and add a sub- 2.0 tire to it for less rolling resistance. I run 1.95 Kenda Kross tires on my "street" MTB, and they're great - slick tread in the center touches the road, but it has knobs on the side for when it gets softer. I took them on a mild trail for kicks and giggles once and they did suprisingly well on some looser climbs.
And don't get too hunb up on Specialized, there are plenty of other bike makers.
Not sure I would choose a Sirrus model for any off-road use. That is an on road designed bike. It's essentially a road bike with flat bars, there aren't any provisions made which make it suitable for off road use at any level. It's meant to be a road bike for people who are afraid of drop bars for whatever reason. It's a marketing bike, the kind of bike you sell to someone because that person doesn't know any better. It's too aggressive to be a casual hybrid with its 28c tires and riding position and it wouldn't be a good road bike because of the same reasons. It is an aggressive, pavement only, road bike for people who don't like drop bars.
If you truly want to be comfortable off pavement then you need larger tires. I'm talking cyclocross; that weird, bastardized mash up of bikes which can turn a mountain bike ride into a weirdly fast bull ride or a road ride into a fire road race. A cross bike is tough, capable of fitting fairly wide tires, and have better brakes than most speed hybrids do.
Of course, in most places it's hard to actually find a cross bike on the rack so you'd have to really know that you wanted one.
If you're going with pavement only - buy the Sirrus.
If you want to ride off of pavement, explore other options.
Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?
Typical good advice. This is the correct answer.
Originally Posted by zebrahum
JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer
Thank you for the responses. I shopped around online a bit more and came across the Specialized Tricross series? I'll have to find one at a LBS to ride to try drop bars again, but it looks promising.
I browsed Giant, Trek, and Cannondale but came back to Specialized because they offer a steel framed, disc version, which if I've done my research right, offers a smoother ride on chip seal roads? (majority of my local roads are chip seal) My current bike is steel, and I know I wouldn't want any harsher of a ride.
I rode a Tricross Disc Sport about 3 weeks ago, it was a nice bike mostly. I thought it had a comfortable ride (at least for the limited test ride I did) and a comfortable riding postion. Frame looked very nice in orange and the internally routed cables look tidy. However, I was underwhelmed by the disk brakes and though that for $1,300, it should have better than an aluminum fork and Sora components. Along these lines, check out the Trek CrossRip, it offers similar features as the TriCross. Neither are true 'cross bikes though.
I ended up buying a Ridley X-Ride 'cross bike. It's a 7000 triple butted AL frame, with a full carbon fork. I'm actually quite impressed with the ride. Maybe it's because it has 700x32 tires on it with lower than road bike pressures, but I find it very comfortable to ride. And keep in mind that prior to this, the last time I rode a bike that didn't have front suspension was probably around 1995.
Good to see you are giving drop bars a chance. I was going to ask why you were set on flat bars, but everyone has their own preference. I'll say again though, even coming from a strictly flat bar background, I LOVE riding with drop bars. The multiple hand positions are a real plus IMO for long rides.
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