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  1. #1
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    Looking to get a 'cross bike...is this Marin any good? (or any other suggestions?)

    Right now I have two MTB's, both 26" HT's.

    My newer one is trail-only, while my older one is running slicks and is used just for riding around town. Most rides
    so far are 20-30 miles long. I want to get into doing longer rides, such as progressing to 40, 50, then on to 100
    by the middle of the summer. Even with the slicks, that MTB is slow and it's also heavy. It's a '05 Marin Bobcat Trail.
    a low end 24spd with Shimano mech disks. It's been a great bike, it's just not ideal for all the road riding I want to do with it.

    I was thinking of getting a road bike, but the more I look at CX bikes, the more I want one. I like the versatility and the ability do so some light trail work. Plus the roads around here are horrible, and the shoulders of the roads I usually ride on always seem to be full of gravel & sand.

    No immediate plans to seriously race CX with it, although I'll probably give it a shot for kicks and giggles, it looks like fun.

    I was looking at the BD bikes such as the Motebecane FantomCross and the Liberty CXD, but I'm also looking elsewhere as well.

    Things I really want are a tripple and disks. Maybe I'm used to my MTB's, but I can't imagine going back to messing with canti's, and road bik brakes look pretty useless as well. I rode a co-workers Long Haul Trucker last fall, and was appalled at how bad those brakes were. As far as the tripple, I like having gearing options. I htink the small ring would come in handy if I ever hit trails.

    The Airborne Delta looks good at $750, although all the have left is 53CM bikes - not sure that's my size.

    I also found the Marin Lombard MARIN BIKES**|** Road**|**Cyclocross **|**Lombard

    The 13's are more than I want to spend, but I found some '12's on ebay for 650-700 shipped. I've been searching, but really haven't found that much info on this bike. It's a little dull looking, but it's got all the features I want and the price seems good.

    Any thoughts on this bike, as far as the specs and geopmetry? I really don';t know much about road parts, and nothing about geometry or wheels. That's one thing about this bike, the wheels look to be junk, considering it's got machined rims on a disk bike.


    If not either of these bikes, any other suggestions for under 1k?

    Thanks for any info!

  2. #2
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    You've got to face the facts when shopping for a specialty bike in your price range. At Sub-$1k, you're going to have to cut some corners somewhere.
    On the Marin, Sora components and Tektro Disc brakes will leave you wanting a lot more. The problem is, bike companies know putting disc brakes on a bike that conventionally doesnt come equipped with them is a selling factor. The Tektros they use are super low budget, heavy, and most likely not an improvement over canti brakes or V brakes.
    In my personal opinion, between those two bikes, I would save the $100-$200 and buy the Motobecane Phantom Cross @ BikesDirect.
    Save up to 60% off new Cyclocross Road Bikes - Motobecane Fantom CX Clearance

    The only upgrade the Marin has over that bike is the Carbon fork (Which in my opinion you wont notice the difference between a cheap steel fork and cheap carbon, except looks)

    You can always keep an eye out for a sale at Performance Bike or Nashbar?

    The Norcross SP is a VERY nice bike at the current $1k price tag. Tapered FULL Carbon fork, BB30 bottom bracket, Full Sram Apex 10spd components.
    Blue Norcross SP Cyclocross Bike - Our Best Bikes Up to 70 Percent Off

    If you subscribe to Nashbar's email service, they send out notices everytime they have a sale. About a month or two ago I snagged one of those Norcross SP's for 20% off.
    ***(((They currently have a 20% off coupon for any one item! Code 37487)))*** That brings your total to $839.00 shipped! (Today only)

    I'd keep an eye on that before I bought either bike you mentioned.

    Either way, good luck, and welcome to the addiction known as Cyclocross!
    Hammerheadbikes.com

  3. #3
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    If you save a bit more there are some better deals to be had.

    You could probably get a Trek CrossRip for under a grand (Trek stores constantly have sales it seems). Al frame, internal routing, carbon fork, bb5 brakes, etc for $1099 retail. Drivetrain is a little low end but it is functional stuff. You can always upgrade later.

    Civilian Vive LeRoi is also another good one for $1124. Steel frame, carbon fork, bb7 brakes, 1x10 with SRAM drivetrain (a little low end on the rear der but mine worked very well until I trashed it with trail debris), sliding dropouts, etc.

    Jamis and Kona also have some good choices in the very low $1k range.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I want to get into doing longer rides, such as progressing to 40, 50, then on to 100
    by the middle of the summer.

    I was thinking of getting a road bike, but the more I look at CX bikes, the more I want one. I like the versatility and the ability do so some light trail work. Plus the roads around here are horrible, and the shoulders of the roads I usually ride on always seem to be full of gravel & sand.

    Things I really want are a tripple and disks.
    I wouldn't rule out bikes equipped with canti's if you like everything else. You can replace them with a pair of mini-v brakes for around $40, e.g. Tektro RX5. and realize a big improvement.

    Based on your other requirements, I'd suggest you pay close attention to tire clearance. For road work, most cross bikes are fine. But if you plan on doing extensive off road riding with wide, high-volume tires, then you'll need to find a bike that will accommodate such tires.

    I'd look at the Surly Cross Check and Specialized Tricross along with the other suggestions mentioned above.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. It's certainly something to think about.
    I hate to have to give up on disks, I ride around some high traffic areas and being able to stop would be great.
    My beater MTB retailed for 500 back in 05 when it was new, so I'm sure the Shimano disks on it are quite low end. They work great though.

    KTrain, how are you liking that Blue? It looks nice, except for the brakes. Is it at least pretty light?

    I'll visit my local Trek store, and as for James, what about the Nova Sport? Or is that along the same lines as the Marin?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Nova Race seems a bit better equipped for a little more money. Carbon fork, brakes, and drivetrain are the main features that stand out immediately. But...if you find a nice bike even with the lower end brakes (Tektro, Shimano, whatever) don't count it out. If everything else adds up on it you can always upgrade the brakes down the road. BB7 brakes can be had fairly cheap second hand or new with the right sales.
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  7. #7
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    I was just looking at the Cross rip, and as much as I dislike Trek, that looks like a good bike if I could find one on sale.

    Is there a list of road components in order of quality somewhere? I'm really unfamiliar with them, I have no idea what is low end and what isn't.

  8. #8
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    Shimano:
    Dura-Ace
    Ultegra
    105
    Tiagra
    Sora

    SRAM:
    Red
    Force
    Rival
    Apex

    Campagnolo:
    Super Record
    Record
    Chorus
    Athena
    Centaur
    Veloce

    All in order from Highest to Lowest.

    My Norcross is a dream bike. It's retail price 2 years ago was $2500, and it's still worth every penny they want for it, but I only paid $738 shipped.

    Like I said before, you are being blinded by the phrase disc brakes. The modulation strength feel etc are not the same on a Cyclocross bike and a Mountain Bike, so lets keep this apples to apples. Tektro CX brakes and other LOW end brakes are not going to "stop" any better than Avid Shorty or similar Canti brakes.
    The real question is, in your budget, are you looking to get the most out of your money, or a neat gravel trail bike with discs, no matter what performance losses you suffer?

    You want bang-for-your-buck? You buy the Norcross while it's 20% off
    You want to go to Starbucks with your friends and brag about discs on your bike? Get the Marin, Jamis, or Motobecane you looked at.

    Edit: My Norcross SP is 6 lbs lighter than a CrossRip in the same size.
    Hammerheadbikes.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKTrain View Post

    My Norcross is a dream bike. It's retail price 2 years ago was $2500, and it's still worth every penny they want for it, but I only paid $738 shipped.

    Like I said before, you are being blinded by the phrase disc brakes. The modulation strength feel etc are not the same on a Cyclocross bike and a Mountain Bike, so lets keep this apples to apples. Tektro CX brakes and other LOW end brakes are not going to "stop" any better than Avid Shorty or similar Canti brakes.
    The real question is, in your budget, are you looking to get the most out of your money, or a neat gravel trail bike with discs, no matter what performance losses you suffer?

    You want bang-for-your-buck? You buy the Norcross while it's 20% off
    You want to go to Starbucks with your friends and brag about discs on your bike? Get the Marin, Jamis, or Motobecane you looked at.

    Edit: My Norcross SP is 6 lbs lighter than a CrossRip in the same size.
    Thanks for the info on the components.

    And thanks for your other candid repsonse. Point taken.

    Like I said, I know very little about or cross bikes, hence my fixation on the brakes. You made a good point about perception and price vs. performace.

    Reminds me of when I bought my Marin back in '05. I hadn't bought a bike before that since '96, and was a little overwhelmed by the new tech. Since I was replacing arather expensive bike that was stolen, I was only willing to spend about 500. I was actually avoiding bikes with disks at that pricepoint, thinking that to put the disks on there they had to cheap out somewhere else.I ended up with the disk'd Marin becasue it was a leftover and on clearance, and even though it had low end compontnets on it, I liked the way it felt and it shifted great (I attribute the great shifting to the bike shop guys, as all the other shops I rode bikes at told me that Acera would never shift smooth. It's a shame they're no longer in business).

    Anyway, yes, I want the best bang for my buck. I plan on riding the bike, and keeping it a long time. Can't say for sure if I'll be racing it, but the more I look at cross racing, the more appealing it looks. I need to check out the local scene, see where the races are.

    And Starbucks? Man, I don't even drink coffee.. You're more apt to find me in the bar ABOVE the Starbucks! (Yes, there is a bar about our local starbucks, haha). None of my friends are even into bikes, so I'd have no one to brag out my *****in' disk brakes even if I wanted to.

    I'm liking the looks of the Norcross a lot, to tell you the truch. Unfortunately they don't seem to have my size, I think a medium would be what I need (5'9, 31" inseam) , and they only have larger sizes. D'oh!

    Oh, and that's awesome the Blue is so much lighter than the CrossRip! I like the idea of a light bike! MTB's are getting so heavy it's ridiculous.

  10. #10
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    My vote is for the Fantom Cross, as that is the route I took. I for the titanium Rival version and love it, but I have two friends with the Aluminum version as well. I understand that you mentioned wanting a triple and discs, but do you have experience with a good set of cantis and a double? My cantis (with good pads, none of that stock crap) work beautifully, and you can get a good spread on a compact double.

    I just got back from a grocery run on mine ten minutes ago. Was riding single track with it yesterday. You'll love the versatility of a cross bike.

  11. #11
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    No, no experience on a double. I'm just going back to my MTB experience...I've been riding since I was a kid in the '90's, and always rode MTB's with triples.

    Although come to think of it, I was riding canti's at the time. I remember when I bought my first expensive bike that v brakes came out like a year later. I honestly don't remember having problems with the canti's as far as stopping, I just remember having to adjust the pads a lot. And cramped hands after alot of downhills! Which is why I fell in love with the juice disks on my trail MTB the first time I took it in the woods.

    And going back to the double, on road I rarely (if ever) use my smallest chainring, so I probably wouldn't miss it. I like to power up hills rather than spin, as most of the hills around here are fairly short climbs.
    Last edited by StuntmanMike; 04-02-2013 at 04:38 PM.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like this would be the bike for you then. It's nice that you actually used some logic when thinking about the options. I see so many people who "wouldn't dream of a bike without discs" or some such nonsense just because they want to be cool, or a friend of a friend told them Rim brakes suck.

    The only things on the Motobecane I would definitely change off the bat are a saddle of your preference and Kool Stop Salmon brake pads. Cantis will still take more work at the lever, but you will have great modulation and the ability to lock up the wheel whenever you prefer, especially with the narrower tires.

    Post up any more questions, and let us know what route you go.

  13. #13
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    Well I didn't get the Blue. Looks like a great bike, but they don't have my size.

    What I need to do before making any snap decisions is to get to a few LBS and actually ride a few of these to see how I like the feel and sizing. Then I can start looking online to buy.

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    Excellent thinking! When I re-read my last post, it certainly came across as condecending. I apologize.
    I recently bought my wife a 29er, and was sucked in to spending a bit more because the brakes were hydraulic instead of mechanical discs... sadly, BB7 discs would have been twice the quality.
    My first new CX bike purchase was a Motobecane Phantom Cross Pro, with Rival. I bought it because at the time, it was $899 and you couldnt hardly buy the components for that much. At that pricepoint though, the quality in the bars, stem, seatpost, clamps, fork, wheels, etc were all compromised.
    I parted it out on ebay for $100 less than I paid for it less than 3 months later.

    I apologize for pushing the Norcross so hard without knowing your size and Nashbar's stock too. It is a hell of a deal, and a bummer you couldnt snatch one up.

    Any direction you take, starting off by riding more than two brands of CX bikes at your LBS will benefit you the most.
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  15. #15
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    Why not buy locally? What you might discover is that the bike you like in person isn't available online. And rather than take a gamble and buy something similar, wouldn't it be a safer bet to buy the bike you know will work? Finally, IF you find that there's a better online price (incl tax, freight, assembly) for the same bike, you might want to see if your LBS can make you a deal. One of my local independent shops actually offers price matching, so there's no downside to buying from them.

    Unless you have the right tools, adequate workspace and decent mechanical ability (or an experienced cycling friend), I think buying local is the way to go. Not only does the bike come assembled but you'll probably get extras, e.g. free maintenance, bike fitting, stem/seat swap, saddle bag, mutli-tool, water bottle/cage, return service, etc.

    (more) food for thought
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

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    did you look at these ?
    they are not cross race level bikes

    they have compact style frame geometry - slope top tube
    and you really have to read the size specs

    cause for me i would ride a 42 or 43 cm in their sizing

    Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Gravity Liberty 2 | Save up to 60% off new road bikes

    Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Gravity Liberty 2 | Save up to 60% off new road bikes

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    it looks like i was able to locate the jamis nova sport for 880.00

    i hope this works out.

  18. #18
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    KTrain, no problem.

    Yeah, it's a shame they don't have the Blue in my size, a little research shows that it's a discontinued model, so I guess whatever they have is all they're ever going to have. Although I wouldn't have bought it last night either way. I really need to ride these to find what I like, as I've never ridden one before.

    Nasbar runs those sales all the time, I get emails from them every day with some sale or another, that 20% will roll around again soon enough I'm sure.

    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. And you're experience with the Motobecane is kind of why I'm starting to lean away from it.

    Personally, I try not to be dazzled by components. IMO it's easier to start with a decent frame and upgrade the components as you go and they break or wear out. Like I said, the cheap stuff on my Marin beater MTB still works fine 7 years later. I'm not especially hard on bikes (that I don't take offroad, anyway!) Honestly I don't think the XT rear drl. on my Trek shifts noticeably better than the Acera on my Marin.

    Anyway, I'm hoping to hit a few bikes shops in the near future, and I'm going to go with what's comfortable and feels good.

    Joe, chances are I'm going to buy locally at this point. I DO have a co-worker who offered to help me build a bike (he wrenches on them and used to work in a shop), but the idea of buying one I haven't ridden IS getting a little unsettling, as I think about how many bikes I rode before I settled on my last two that I purchased.

    I was initially thinking of buying online becasue I'm cheap. I like not paying the store markup, and I like not paying sales tax, especially when you're spending almost a grand.

    However, like you mentioned, a free tuneup would pretty much wipe the cost of the sales tax away. And I remember seeing an ad for a somewhat local shop that offered free tune-ups for life. DEFINITELY worth then! And something else I was thinking about today that I think I want: an actual fitting. Bars, stem, seat, all adjusted so the bike fits the best.

    Luna, that Jamis is on my list of bikes to ride, if I can find a dealer!

    Actually, that's one reason I was going to avoid the LBS's.... I don't want a Specialized, Cannondale, or Trek, which is mostly what they all carry. It's bad enough I have one Trek already, I'm embarassed to hit the trail with that thing, lol. Price was right though, I got it free through a work rewards program. It works okay, and I mentioned I love the hyd disks, but the riding postion feels less than ideal, if I were to have test ridden it I probably would have moved on to something else. I try not to be a brand snob, but it seems like every one and their brother has one of those 3 bikes, and I like to be different as well as not pay for a name.

    Anyway, thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it. After I look at some bikes I'm sure I'll be more confused than ever and have more questions, lol.

    Anyone notice how the internet makes decisions like these HARDER, not easier??

  19. #19
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    Did some more research, and found a few semi local places that caryy Jamis 7 Felt, so I'm going to check those out.

    I'm starting to totally blow away my budget, as I'm really liking the Jamis Nova Race (and not just becasue it has disks!) It looks to be well spec'd for the money, at least compared to other things I'm seeing. Than again, of course I'm no pro.

    What does everyone think? JAMIS BIKES Race&cat_grp=road_4

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKTrain View Post
    Excellent thinking! When I re-read my last post, it certainly came across as condecending. I apologize.
    I recently bought my wife a 29er, and was sucked in to spending a bit more because the brakes were hydraulic instead of mechanical discs... sadly, BB7 discs would have been twice the quality.
    My first new CX bike purchase was a Motobecane Phantom Cross Pro, with Rival. I bought it because at the time, it was $899 and you couldnt hardly buy the components for that much. At that pricepoint though, the quality in the bars, stem, seatpost, clamps, fork, wheels, etc were all compromised.
    I parted it out on ebay for $100 less than I paid for it less than 3 months later.

    I apologize for pushing the Norcross so hard without knowing your size and Nashbar's stock too. It is a hell of a deal, and a bummer you couldnt snatch one up.

    Any direction you take, starting off by riding more than two brands of CX bikes at your LBS will benefit you the most.
    What made you decide to sell the Moto?

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    Kona Jake

    too far from me and no disc brakes.

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    Just a one more opinion.

    I bought several bikes (road) before I got a cross bike. I wanted a cross bike from the beginning and wish I had gotten it sooner. Cross bike versatility is awewome IMO.

    price and components. I now ride 2 cross bikes regularly-one with SRAM rival and the other with shimano sora. They work differently but honestly the sora works and I enjoy my cheaper redline conquest sport as much as my nicer lemond propad. If you want one (disc brake or otherwise) get what YOU want and ride it. you will be happy!

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    dealer specific brands like jamis are tough

    maybe it is odd, but the local jamis dealer went out of business recently.



    and the bicycle bananas place that also sold the jamis went out of business.

    our local jamis dealer is now under new owners.
    but because of the old owner. i still would never go to that shop.

    the local shop does not stock the bike i want.
    so i can't go and ride it
    or check fit or feel
    i basically have to buy it at full msrp,
    pay tax
    and then wait for it to come in
    and see if it fits.
    so buying on line is worth the hassle i feel

  24. #24
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    So this is going to be harder than I thought.

    I went to 3 bike shops today, two of them had ONE cross bike each, and the third had 5, but none remotely near my size/price range.

    One of the stores that had only one had a Lapierre full carbon bike they had built for a customer, about 4500 bucks. It was feather light, the guy said they weighed it at a hair over 17lbs. He said I should strongly consider a road bike unless I have plans to CX race, since I already had the offroad part covered by having a MTB. Good point, however if I DO ofroad the cross bike, I see myself taking it on smooth winding trails that would otherwise bore me on my MTB. I usually like to ride technical stuff.

    The other store had one bike, a '12 Scott CX Comp. The price tag said 1,199. I thought it was more than I wanted to spend, but it was the only one they had. The owner had one of the mechanics take it down and show it to me, and he pointed out the features. He asked what my budget as and I told him less than this. He then called to the owner and said "what can do on price for this?" The owner thought for a few seconds, then said $900. He said it was a bike he bought to have one inthe store, but he doesn't really have a big market for them so it's been there awhile.

    It seemed pretty light and looked to have good specs, Tiagra with a 105 rear dlr.

    I didn't ride it, but I think I want to go back and give it a closer look. They also carry Felt and Ridley, but didn't have any of the CX bikes in stock.

    The store with the carbon Lapierra carries Cannondale and Felt as well, and he said he can order me whatever I want. He was showing me the bikes in a catalog. I understand they're a small shop, and I've been in there before and have gotten good info, but I can't see buying a bike I haven't ridden. If that's the case I might as well just go mail order.

    The 3rd shop had a few Kona Jake & Jake the Snakes, along with a sweet looking Focus. None of them were in the 54-56cm range, and the shop was super busy so I didn't talk to anyone.

    There's still a few more shops I want to check out, maybe tomorrow.

  25. #25
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    On paper, the Scott CX Comp appears to be a pretty good deal. 2x10 drivetrain with 46/36 FSA Gossamer crankset. Schwalbe Rocket Rons, approx. 21 lbs. Tiagra/105 component mix and "decent" rims are to be expected but, for $900, you won't find a much better setup. No shipping or assembly required and you may get the aforementioned "extras" by buying local.

    Go for it!
    Looking to get a 'cross bike...is this Marin any good? (or any other suggestions?)-mdb-f1609_221907_cx-comp.jpg
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

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