So to cut a long story short, I have decided to buy or build myself a cyclocross bike. I am currently riding a Cannondale CAAD10 105 (2012), but it is not getting ridden as much as it deserves. I have owned it for around 9 months now, and have ridden it less than 500 miles (probably nearer to 300!). I have recently discovered that the New Forest (a massive forest here in the UK) is only a 15 minute train ride away, and I know I will get a lot more riding done there - as I like to go exploring, and have friends who ride there. Therefore I will be selling my CAAD10, and buying a bike that can be used off road as well as on the road.
After going around in circles, I have decided (with a lot of help and advice) that a cyclocross bike is best suited to my needs. I had considered an XC mountain bike, but that seems to be overkill for what I will be using the bike for. I love the speed and light weight of my road bike, and am looking to have these aspects in my new bike. The bike will be used on road, and also on fireroad/gravel/compact mud trails and routes around the New Forest. At first the bike will not be used for racing; but I have already eyed up a few events taking place towards the end of the year. I am ideally looking for a bike that will be comfortable enough to be ridden on the New Forest bike trails for hours on end, but also fast and stiff enough to be race ready.
So this is where I need your advice please:
> Carbon, aluminium, or steel frame?
I am looking for a lightweight frame, so that kind of rules out steel already. Is carbon worth the extra expense? I know it will be the lightest, but it is also a lot more expensive than aluminium. Is carbon going to be worth the extra expense for comfort over long periods of riding off road? My CAAD10 is aluminium and I can feel pretty much every little bump in the road. I'm guessing this is going to be a lot worse off road, and won't be comfortable for long periods of time?
> Discs or cantilever?
So discs are still relatively new in professional cyclocross. However it seems a lot of pros are still choosing cantilever over them. For the sort of riding I will be doing I presume discs are going to be the better choice? Especially with the wet English weather!
> What manufacturer groupset is considered to be the best?
Every article/forum post I read brings up different answers here. It appears to be SRAM or Campagnolo over Shimano?
> When will the new cyclocross builds be coming onto the market?
I see that the 2013/14 Ridley X-Night is coming onto the market around June time. Will other manufacturers release their new cyclocross bikes at a similar time? The main reason I ask this, is so that I can work out when the 2012/2013 models will be going on sale, so I can hopefully save some money.
> Any bikes or frames that you guys recommend?
I haven't set myself an exact budget yet, as I haven't researched enough to understand how much bike I actually need, and how much money that will cost me. I guess it largely depends on the frame material I go for. The maximum I would ever spend would be £1,750 ($2,650) - but I am hoping to be some way under that if possible. I need to work out my finances first, to see if that figure is realistic. I'm hoping to get around £800 ($1,200) from the sale of my current bike, and then the rest will probably be on a 0% finance deal.
Please recommend me a light cyclocross bike, that will be comfortable for long rides off road, but also fast and stiff enough to be race ready.
Thanks in advance for any help guys
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