Am I giving terrible advice?
a coworker stopped by my office to ask my opinion on "city" bikes or hybrids. She's a fit 20-something who likes to do an occasional mini-tri and is moving to an urban area where most everything is accessible on two wheels. She also sees herself venturing onto crushed stone trails but has no real intentions of wandering into the singletrack. while she isn't trying to be super competitive in the min-tri's i'm sure she'd rather do well then not do well. to this point she's been using an old old road bike that doesn't fit well.
my suggestion to her was to scrap the "city" bike idea for a cross bike. i figured she could put road tires on the cross rig and use it for her mini-tri's but throw the cross tires on for her around twon ventures. my thinking was that drop bars would be of real importance for the racing.
she's also budget conscious though and is currently looking at Trek FX bikes in the $500 -$700 range. Is there a solid entry level cross bike that you would recommend in that range and am I just giving her bad advice to even try to find a cross bike in that price range?
Mostly yes, good advice. I am a runner and a biker, I can't swim worth a dog paddle though so only duathlons for me. When I started CX, since I had a nice road bike(Salsa Colossal), I stuck knobbies on that and it worked "okay" but my front fork limited me to 28c max front tire and maybe 30c rear(I just bought matching 28s, but I had more clearance in the rear). Riding CX as a noob with skinny tires was dicey at best and sketchy dangerous at worst, at least for me.
So then I got a CX bike(All City Nature Boy) after a few races when I ironed out that I wanted to CX singlespeed as opposed to gears. So I guess at least I figured out what I wanted to do CX wise before I bought a ride! See, positive spin is good
While CX geo is a bit more relaxed vs reg road, if she slams the headset and rides in the drops, she can do well in tris with a CX rig & skinny slicks. She won't win, mainly based on her budget concerns alone, not necessarily road vs CX! And she could put on some clip on aero bars if she really got fantasmal. But at her price point, her legs and lungs will decide what mid pack placing she will get, not so much her road vs CX geo bike.
2010 Surly Conundrum
2012 Felt Brougham
2013 Salsa Colossal
2013 All City Nature Boy
2014 Big Dummy
I love city bikes, but they have their place. Which is not at a tri race event, although that would be cool. I also love CX bikes, but for her intended purpose, I would say a road bike with clearance for ~700x30 would be ideal. Something like a Surly Pacer or Black Mountain road bike. But those might be more than she wants to spend.
The Trek's seem nice (aside from my personal opinion of the company itself), and should do well at a beginning level. I'd tell her to get the Trek, ride it for a couple of seasons and upgrade to another bike.
My thought is that a cross bike will hold very few people back as compared to a road bike, but the opposite is not as true. Thus, if someone wants to buy new, I generally steer them toward a cross bike. Maybe a road bike makes more sense for her planned purposes, but if she shifts toward gravel riding or carrying a load, a cross bike will more likely work well. Of she gets serious with her tris, she will likely want to upgrade, so that is a moot point imho.
City bike? Not for a tri except to prove that you can because it gives you s*!ts and giggles
Sent from a one-finger keyboard...pardon my autocorrect
In that price range ($500-$700), I suggest she look at cross bikes at bikes direct dot com. She could event get a steel frame (2014 Motobecane Fantom CXX) if she stretched her budget a bit.
"I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it." - Prefontaine
If buying a cross bike now, definitely buy used.
I lost a ton of money selling my barely used Ridley Xfire on Ebay. It was last year at this time of year.
Right Before CX season, used cross bike prices will go up.
I did my first (and so far only, as an adult) tri on a cross bike. It did not hold me back (see: open water swimming). Throw some road tires on there, and she'll be fine.
Big-tire road bike'd probably be fine as well, but likely ('specially at this time of year) harder to come by.
What bike to get depends on whether you're willing (and able) to help her with minor mechanical stuff. If so, then used or cheapo online'd work. If not, then she's best off buying something from a reputable shop.
(all imho, of course)
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