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  1. #1
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    New race bike questions

    My son did his first cross race today and is now in love with it. I'd like to pick him up a decent race bike. Comfort, rack mounts, ect. are of no concern. Really don't want to spend more than $1300. Do I want a carbon fork? We're both new to this

  2. #2
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    How old is your son? What is his level of riding skill? For smaller kids or even newer racers, I don't think a cx bike is necessary, mountain bikes have a lot of benefits, the fatter tires and flat bars can help a lot with confidence. Plus they work well for mountain bike racing when spring comes! I've raced my old mtb a couple of times in cx races, there used to be a category for mtbs in cx, called 'open class' that was just for mtbs, I did that for 2 seasons. I plan to race my mountain race-bike during an upcoming hillier cx course, I think it will be a little quicker than my cx bike on that course. My son is racing cx (his 2nd season) on a mountain bike. He's mostly learning to race now, and transitioning to a 'proper' cyclocross bike will be easy in a couple of years. Check to see if mountain bikes are allowed in your area.
    Carbon is light and stiff, and I like how it rides, get as much carbon as you can afford! Are you looking to buy new, or used? $1300 will buy a sweet used race bike.

  3. #3
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    He is 12. He is brand new to cross but races criteriums and bmx. Yesterday he was the only junior so he raced with the cat 4/5 women and men. Being his first race I told him to hang in the back at first and get comforyable then go for it if he felt like it. He ended up a head of all the women except one and would have beat a few of the men but had his shoe get stuck in the crank for a good 3 minutes and there was also at least 3 crashes...lol. So as far as skill I think he's very much a novice but is in good shape and also rides/trains daily. The decision to cross race was a quick one. The crit he was training for was cancelled and he wanted to race something. I threw tires on his commuter Giant Escape and he raced that. He said he didn't mind it but thought it felt heavy plus he took out two spokes in back and one in front. Still finished strong though. I was thinking about buying a set of wheels for it if but figured I migh.t as well get a proper bike. He has a little brother that I can pass it down to when he out grows it. He's 5'9" so I'm thinking a 54cm. I'm worried about carbon because I'm sure there will be countless more crashes but maybe they can take it. I appreciate the input, it would be easier to find a deal on a nice hardtail. The cross bikes seem high in price.

  4. #4
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    You should be able to find a used carbon bike for $1300 if you look hard enough. Don't write off an aluminum frame with carbon fork though. I know there are a number of companies that make pretty decent aluminum cross bikes at that price range. Fuji Cross 1.3 or 1.5, Specialized Crux base model, Kona Jake/Jake the Snake. Obviously none of these are superbike status, but I'm sure would work pretty well for a 12 year old and would be much more suited to cross than the Giant.

  5. #5
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    Wow, if he's 5'9" you've got tons of options. 54 would likely be good fit, depending on the geometry. Lots of folks tend to go a size down from their ride to cross bikes, but ymmv.

    Like eness215 said, check out something that is an aluminum frame with a carbon fork, much easier on the wallet. And as he's likely to keep growing a bit, he'll probably be on a new frame in a couple seasons.

    Check out Raleigh's lineup too, they've got some nice setups.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  6. #6
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    If he's 5'9" at 12, he's obviously been growing fast and may be for some time. If he's growing fast he may outgrow a bike pretty quick. The bmx will have helped with a lot of racing in a group, and handling at speed, and at that age they progress very rapidly with their skills.
    I keep coming back to a hardtail mountain bike because if he likes cx, he will also like cross country (xc) mtb racing, and one good hardtail will do both. I would bet a small amount of money that your son will also really like xc mtb racing, which can start pretty early in the spring. Most guys with cx bikes also train on the road and many train on mountain bike (I train nearly exclusively off road). I find training on trickier trails on a mountain bike gives me an edge in the technical stuff while cx racing, I can just bomb through/up/down some sections that other guys are sometimes hesitant on. There are trails that I don't want to take my cx bike on, the xc bike is much more versatile. My budget is not super high, and bikes generally require some maintenance, plus you've got gear (team kits are expensive) and entry fees, so I tend toward spending less money if I can.
    If you're ok with buying cx and xc race bikes that's very cool, but if you're looking to get fewer bikes that will do more, I think you should consider a hardtail xc race bike, your son will want one soon anyway, and they do small jumps a lot better than cx bikes, - I'll go ahead and assume your boys like the occasional jump.

  7. #7
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    Again thanks for all the suggestions, I grabbed him out of school today so we could hit up some shops. He tried quite a few out but fell in love with the Bianchi Zurigo. I really was pushing for agood hardtail but what are you going to do..it is a sexy little bike. The 55cm fit great and he was already ripping pretty good on our course. Going racing again Sunday so we'll see what he thinks then. The bike seems pretty decent and he adjusted to the sram shifters in minutes. The shop dropped the price $600if so it really wasn't too pricey. Maybe some wheels in the future and go Rival once the Apex wears out. Man I would have given both of my nuts for a bike like that when I was 12..lol


  8. #8
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    very cool!, -what a dad to pull him out of school to go look at race bikes! I think he owes you quite few lawn mowings with no complaining!
    I often remind my son that there was not a bike on the planet as cool as his little Klein when I was his age.

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