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  1. #1
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    Jake the Snake or Cross Check?

    Sneaking in from the fat bike forum..

    I went to my LBS to see about getting a summer wheel set for my Mukluk and while talking, looked over and saw the "Jake the Snake" bike. Way Cool and bike lust set in. Guy let my husband and I take two out (he had the smaller orange?red? one) and I had the larger 56 size green one. Rode it around for about 20 minutes on the local trail and had a great time.

    Hubby and I switched bikes and headed back home. The smaller red/orange one was really nimble and swift and the green had a stiffer feel to it due to the design of the fork..wider and taller for mud clearance according to the guy.

    The one I truly loved despite the lesser components was the red/orange one. Having 3 rings makes for easier climbing and the green has two. Kona is out of the red/orange one completely in my size (56) unless a store has one. Guy said the green one would be a better hill climber but the stiff feel of the green one make the bike feel sluggish.

    Went to another store and tried the Surly Crosscheck. Bike fit perfectly and the steel frame was great. (I just sold my Salsa Fargo which has a steel frame) But, the components aren't the greatest. My Fargo had problems with the bar end shifters and while the Crosscheck bar ends did pretty good, I'm still leery. They are still Microshift which means the Paul's Thumbies won't fit.

    Surly felt like it was bombproof and perfect for where I live with crappy highway roads/ruts, and gravel. Jake the Snake felt far more refined. How bombproof is the Jake the Snake and will the stiff feeling go away once I get used to the bike?

    I do some single track with some hills and roots, but nothing terribly technical. I also ride gravel and road. I'm leaning toward the Jake the Snake, but there's something about steel that I really like. There's no wrong answer, but wondered how you guys felt. If it was the red/orange one, I would have walked out the door with it.

    I figured if I was going to end up spending 500-600 dollars on a wheel set just for the summer usage, a new bike for summer would be the better purchase and n+1 is always the correct formula.

    Not a Trek or Specialized fan. My trek road bike was awful and Specialized bikes make you feel like you're riding a mushy bike.

    Only thing I would change on either bike is add a Woodchipper 2 handlebar.


    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I think you might've test rode the Kona JTS (metallic orange) and Rove (green). The JTS is aluminum w/ carbon fork while the Rove is steel but they're about the same price.
    KONAWORLD

    They're all great and comparable. Sounds like you know which one you want ... hope you can find one!
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  3. #3
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    I ride the orange JtS and love it, it can go almost anywhere and it's like a rocket compared to a mtb (but obviously much less comfortable when singletracks get tricky).

    The green Rove looks much tougher - and heavier? Great for long trips? I love steel on my FG and SS.

    Excellent video to trigger a CX investment, consistent with your n+1 strategy :
    Local trails ala cx on Vimeo
    FG | SS | FS | CX

  4. #4
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    I came home with a Ridley X-BOW a couple of days ago. While I loved the green Jake (2012) model, it was too big. Yeah, the Jake had better specs, but their 53 was too small and the 56 is too big. I didn't want a Trek or Specialized and liked the X-BOW. So far the X-BOW is totally cool..overpriced but cool, fast and light. Coming from a fat bike to a skinny bike, every bump is totally felt and magnified. Until I get used to the bumps, I'm pretty sore.

    Bike eats gravel with ease. Figured I'd be sliding all over and bouncing like a beach ball, but it made my Mukluk look pathetic.

  5. #5
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    Congrats on your new X-Bow. Cool bike.

    You could soften the blow by lowering air pressure. For a 160-lb rider on 32mm tires, for example, you can drop the front to around 40 psi and keep the rear at 50 without a significant increase in rolling resistance.

    You may feel less efficient if hard pedaling becomes bouncy but you can keep adding a little air until you find a good balance between comfort and performance. But even those skinny cross tires can roll fast and not pinch flat with relatively low pressures.

    Here's more in case you hadn't seen it:
    http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQTireDrop.pdf
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  6. #6
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    Coming from a fat bike, tire pressure is crucial to your ride or you end up riding a beach ball so totally get it. For the road, it's 25psi and for single track it's 5-7psi. My last road bike a couple years ago would pinch flat over stupid things and I'd end up walking home for 3 miles. I quit using clipless pedals because of it. Was thinking of pulling them out again once I have everything dialed in.

    Will work on tire pressure over the next few days and find what works.

    The speed on this thing is incredible as I hit 30mph just on a slight downhill road. Maybe this summer I can really put some mileage on and work up to longer rides.

  7. #7
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    Forgot to say sweet video. You make it look so easy. At 200 lbs and still working on cardio and technique, it's harder to have the grace and agility for even simple things. Closest I've been to Scotland is Newcastle as hubby's family is from that area.

  8. #8
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    Congrats on the new bike! The Ridleys sure are nice! I'll be picking up my new Ridley tomorrow...I can't wait!

    Good to hear it's so fast. I can barely hit 30 while peddling hard on my slick tire MTB I've been doing road rides on. I've been pushing mileage lately, I did a new personal best of just under 43Miles today.

    And I love me some fat bike! That's my next 2wheeled acquisition! Maybe next year...

  9. #9
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    I wrecked on mine today..sigh so yeah those Ridley's are faster and more agile than you think. Hope you love yours. The front tire fell between the wooden slats on the bridge I was crossing and lost control of the bike and slid down a 20 foot drop ravine. Drop bars twisted up into me during the fall, knocked the wind out of me and slammed into my chest. I'm pretty beat up but didn't break anything.

    I'm beginning to think I don't belong on a bike after this. I think the only thing that saved me was I hit a bush which turned the bike so I slid down instead of going straight over the edge. Last time I was this beat up was my first gran mal seizure 16 years ago.

    At the same time, any wreck you can walk away from just makes you that much tougher. Would have made one heck of a crash video had someone been behind me taping it.

  10. #10
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    Oooh, sorry to hear about the wreck.

    As long as you walked away under your own power, it's all good.

    Don't get discouraged, if I let falls keep my off my bike, I'd have quit riding YEARS ago. When I was in high school, my riding buddy and I had a saying - "It's not a good ride unless you go over the bars at least once". (Of course this was back in the day when you were lucky to have anything over 2" of travel on your front fork and 2.1" tires were huge).

    Haven't gone over the bars since I got into MTB last Augustl, however still plenty of crashes on every ride! Between being generally uncoordinated with less than steller balance, trying to regain my technical skills, and at the same time master clipless pedals, crashes are quite common.

    Not as bad as yours luckily mine always happen at low speeds, but frustrating nonetheless.

    You just gotta get back up and get back at it though!

    I think coming from riding the fatbike, this is just a completely new style of riding for you, and you need to just get over that learning curve. I'm sure you'll be great with a little more ride time under your belt!

  11. #11
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    Sounds like a lot of fun.

    Yep, it's the same approach as with your fat tire bike--keep adjusting pressures until you find the sweet spot. You got it.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  12. #12
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    Hi Bethany1, sorry to read about the wreck, I hope you are okay today.

    Yes these CX bikes are like wild horses and you need some time to tame them...

    One of my worst crashes occurred on the road with a bike I received hours before (a Kona "Dr. Good" - sic). It takes some time to get used to the new geometry, especially in comparison to a fat bike I guess.

    I'd very much like to try one of these fat bikes BTW. I've not seen many of them in France yet, but I bet there will be more and more, I'll stay tuned

    All the best!

    Xavier
    FG | SS | FS | CX

  13. #13
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    Yikes! Sorry to hear about the spill, Bethany.

    I crashed last summer during a group ride on my HT with 2" tires and soft pressures. I came into a corner at a pretty good clip and normally would've been fine. But there was a thick branch I didn't see until I was on top of it running parallel. My front slipped on it, kicked into my crank and took me down fast. Clipless pedals kept me attached but I went over the bars and (luckily) landed on my forearms in a twisted mess.

    It was a bit horrifying and I couldn't believe I didn't break anything. The worst part was that "oh ****!" feeling as I tried to save it. Nothing as dramatic as your fall (I'm sure) but I think it's the emotional trauma which shook me up the most.

    Hang in there! These things happen--even when you're doing everything right.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  14. #14
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    Been over the bars and yeah, the "Oh ****" slow motion feeling is the worst. Everything else happens so fast you don't have time to think about it. I got lucky, bounced a couple of times and landed in a soft dirt pile face first and spent a few weeks with a concussion.

    Given this is my 3rd crash my first thought was "nothing I can do, just go with it and make sure your head doesn't bounce all the way down". This one still has me wondering if maybe I shouldn't be on a bike.

    The only thing I find hard with fat bikes is they don't climb well. If you don't have the momentum to make it up, you'll slide back down. I don't have the physical strength to make it up all the time although I figure most guys don't have a problem with it.

  15. #15
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    Have you considered an off-road drop bar? e.g. Salsa Cowbell. I think the cross bike made sense since you were looking for a more efficient climber but drop bars definitely require a bit of skill (or caution) to use off road, especially on anything slightly technical.

    Here's some good info on off road drops:

    Guitar Ted's Cowbell Review

    Shiggy's Why I Ride Dropbars (off road)

    I find that cross bikes off the shelf are configured to meet a traditional standard--low bottom bracket, skinny tires, level top tube, cantilever brakes and road bars--and are not optimized for off-road journeys. But a few simple tweaks could make them a lot more fun on the trail.

    Food for thought.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  16. #16
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    My Fargo had Woodchipper bars. LOVED them and figured once I'd saved enough money get one. How do the Cowbells differ from the Woodchippers?

  17. #17
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    Okay, so you know all about off road drops.

    The Cowbell is not as flared as the Woodchipper which makes it:

    - Narrower and less prone to hitting brush on the trail
    - Less angled so your brifters don't need to be angled as much and can be used from the hoods and drops
    - More versatile with the additional, comfortable hand positions. Good for longer rides.

    There's probably a thread or two on the subject but that's the short answer.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  18. #18
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    Looked them up..very nice. My only concern with the Woodchipppers was that they flared out so much you'd end up hooking a tree. Cowbell looks like a great option when I did some quick googling. I'll see how tomorrow's visit works out with the LBS. If I don't have to order new parts, I'll see about ordering the cowbells.

  19. #19
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    Nice!
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  20. #20
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    LBS said the bike made it through just fine. Just the back wheel needed trued. Ridley apparently makes a pretty tough bike. Hopefully I'll be up and riding soon. Now to save up for Cowbells.

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