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  1. #1
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    Need Advice: My First Cyclocross Bike

    So I'm finally looking to jump into cyclocross. Rode BMX when I was young and didn't mind crackin' my noggin all the time, and been on MTB for the last 6 years, racing for my college team for the last 2. Never even been on a road bike!

    So my budget is abt 1.5k (but can go up to 2k if REALLY compelled). Right now I'm looking at maybe 4 NEW bikes specifically, and would appreciate any input about those, or recommendations otherwise. I also have no aversion to used bikes either. 5'8" 31.5 inseam.

    1)Ridley X-Ride/Shimano 105 Disc Complete Bike (1300 delivered)
    Ridley X-Ride/Shimano 105 Disc Complete Bike | Backcountry.com
    2)Diamondback Steilacoom RCX Disc CX Bike 2014 (105 group) (1100 delivered)
    Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 | Diamondback | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    3)Civilian Bicycle Co. Vive Le Roi De Lux (1600 delivered)
    Civilian Bicycle Co. Vive Le Roi De Lux | Backcountry.com
    4)Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 (1300 Delivered)
    Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 | Diamondback | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

    I'm looking for a rig that can perform reasonably well on pavement, for logging base miles and heartrate/watt training. I also want the rig that can maybe be raced in the fall. The Civilian isn't too high on the list, seems overpriced. The Ridley seems like a great deal right now. However, the Steiliacoom seems like it might be a great "under the radar" sleeper, at a great pricepoint.

    I've been riding a Titus Motolite (now FTM) for the last few years, so that is the handling I am used to. Unfortunately for me, the Ridley is the only bike listed above that I could maybe find a LBS to demo. While I might be ok with a steel bike, I'd prefer a lighter frame material.

    Thanks so much for any insight you may be able to provide!

  2. #2
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    I'd go with the Ridley first, and then the Steilacoom. These two are going to be better suited for the task of racing, at least over the Haanjo's. Any "limitations" they have on the road I can't imagine you'd notice since you're coming from a MTB background.

    A friend of mine has purchased 3 bikes from Competitive Cyclist (same company as backcountry.com) and has nothing but good things to say about them. He just got the Ridley X-ride last week for that matter, no miles yet to report though...

  3. #3
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    Since you haven't ridden a road bike much it seems more than a little risky to try to get the right size bike based on geometry charts. Fit is typically the biggest thing that sets apart bikes at the same price level, and you'd just be rolling the dice on that.

    The X-Ride and the Steilacoom are both pretty good deals, but without knowing what kind of fit you're looking for, I think you'd be better off finding something at an LBS.

    Given your budget, 105 components (or SRAM Apex, possibly Rival) seems like what you'll find for a new bike. That's a decent component group. I suggest you check out a Kona Jake the Snake.

    Be prepared to be disappointed in the braking. Even with disc brakes, a CX bike doesn't brake like a mountain bike. That said, don't be afraid to consider bikes with cantilever brakes. They work fine for training on pavement, and a lot of pros are still racing with cantilevers, though you wouldn't know it from looking at the CX bike market.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChemEBiker View Post
    So I'm finally looking to jump into cyclocross. Rode BMX when I was young and didn't mind crackin' my noggin all the time, and been on MTB for the last 6 years, racing for my college team for the last 2. Never even been on a road bike!

    So my budget is abt 1.5k (but can go up to 2k if REALLY compelled). Right now I'm looking at maybe 4 NEW bikes specifically, and would appreciate any input about those, or recommendations otherwise. I also have no aversion to used bikes either. 5'8" 31.5 inseam.

    1)Ridley X-Ride/Shimano 105 Disc Complete Bike (1300 delivered)
    Ridley X-Ride/Shimano 105 Disc Complete Bike | Backcountry.com
    2)Diamondback Steilacoom RCX Disc CX Bike 2014 (105 group) (1100 delivered)
    Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 | Diamondback | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    3)Civilian Bicycle Co. Vive Le Roi De Lux (1600 delivered)
    Civilian Bicycle Co. Vive Le Roi De Lux | Backcountry.com
    4)Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 (1300 Delivered)
    Diamondback Haanjo Comp Gravel Bike 2014 | Diamondback | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

    I'm looking for a rig that can perform reasonably well on pavement, for logging base miles and heartrate/watt training. I also want the rig that can maybe be raced in the fall. The Civilian isn't too high on the list, seems overpriced. The Ridley seems like a great deal right now. However, the Steiliacoom seems like it might be a great "under the radar" sleeper, at a great pricepoint.

    I've been riding a Titus Motolite (now FTM) for the last few years, so that is the handling I am used to. Unfortunately for me, the Ridley is the only bike listed above that I could maybe find a LBS to demo. While I might be ok with a steel bike, I'd prefer a lighter frame material.

    Thanks so much for any insight you may be able to provide!
    I am a big fan of steel frame bikes.. especially if you plan to take it on the road some. The Civilian has an Ultegra rear derailleur + steel frame... That would be my pick.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input so far! I understand these "I'm New Need Advice" topics can be tedious, so I made sure to do a pretty good forum search before throwing this up

    We were all new at one point, and stuff like this is really helpful

    As I start, I'll setup a time to get down to my lbs Ridley dealer and see how those feel. Everyone that I've talked to says that 1300 for the X-Ride delivered is a pretty good deal.

    TBH, I almost prefer the look of that darned '14 Steilicoom though. Also reminds me of being younger and riding Diamonback when it was a top 5 brand.

    EDIT: Also have access locally to an All City Macho Man Disc, brand new, that might be had for 1-1.1k. There seems to be a pretty avid 'steel is real' sector here, and lots here seem to like the Macho Man, though online reviews are scarce.

  6. #6
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    Being able to test ride the bike is huge, as pointed out. The Macho Man's are pretty sweet bikes too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post

    Be prepared to be disappointed in the braking. Even with disc brakes, a CX bike doesn't brake like a mountain bike. That said, don't be afraid to consider bikes with cantilever brakes. They work fine for training on pavement, and a lot of pros are still racing with cantilevers, though you wouldn't know it from looking at the CX bike market.
    Maybe the bikes you rode w/ discs were not set up properly? My bike performs as well as my mt bikes do. Canti s are old Skool, I get it, but before discs a good set of mini-v brakes were where serious braking was on CX bikes. It's ok, progress can be a good thing.
    I turn a wrench @ Simplicity Cycles
    http://www.simplicity-cycles.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikewrench View Post
    Maybe the bikes you rode w/ discs were not set up properly? My bike performs as well as my mt bikes do.
    Really? I'm curious what brakes you're using on each.

    I've got TRP HY/RD's on my commuter. They work great -- much better than cantis and somewhat better than dual-pivot calipers or V-brakes -- but they aren't in the same class as the hydraulic XT's on my mountain bike.

    I've also used Tektro Lyras and the "road" version of BB7's. Again, they both worked decently, but neither of these was even as good as MTB BB7's IMO.

    To some extent the physics of the brake levers is working against me, because with my small hands I just can't get the same leverage braking from the hoods that I get with a flat bar brake lever. Even so, for the brakes I've used I stand by my statement that CX discs aren't in the same class as discs on a mountain bike.

    I agree that mini-V's are a good option for CX racing. I was mainly suggesting that disc brakes aren't the clear winners here that they are in the MTB world.

  9. #9
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    I have XTs on my geared HT 29er & just installed Deore 615s in place of BB7s on my SS rigid 29er. My CX bike is running TRP HY/RDs and the braking has been way better than the BB7Rs I have ridden on other bikes. It did take a fair amount of dialing them in, but I feel that they offer a great deal of braking, better than other disc CX set ups I have ridden. I feel that the modulation and stopping power that each type affords in their particular environments are comparable.
    I turn a wrench @ Simplicity Cycles
    http://www.simplicity-cycles.com

  10. #10
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    I also think that w/ some semi-metallic pads & AiRotors(what I am running on both of my 29ers) that the TRPs will really come to life!
    I turn a wrench @ Simplicity Cycles
    http://www.simplicity-cycles.com

  11. #11
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    My BB7 roads aren't as strong as my mtb brakes; however, they are strong enough for me and are much stronger than canti's. I figure I'll use them for a couple of years and wait until they dial in the hydros, then possibly upgrade. The important thing is starting with a bike and wheels that are disc compatible.

    I'm not familiar with the bikes listed, but my friend LOVES his Ridley so much, he bought a Ridley road bike.

  12. #12
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    I'd go with the Ridley, but I may be biased.

    I have the older canti Rival version of the X-Ride, and I love it. Except for the canti's. I love the Rival though, I'd take that over 105. It's a shame they switched the spec.

    Anyway, the X is a great bike, it's fairly light, and IMO handles well. I've had mine up to 47mph and it's nice and stable at that speed.

    The one thing to watch out with Ridley is the traditional geometry makes them run a bit big for the size. I ride a 54 road bike, and bought a 54 Ridley, but I think I'd be better off on a 52 or even 50cm. I'm 5'9 with a 31.5" inseam, btw.
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride

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