Newb bike buying dilemmas
I used to race XC running a LOT and I am really liking the similarity with cyclocross racing. But for the time being I am relegated to a low budget commuter bike to ride back and forth to work (18 mile rt) and to follow my runners around on various terrains.
So I've done some research and I've come up with the following options. Please give me opinions on these options as well as anything else that seems to fit to you. I'd like to go as cheap as possible without losing out on quality. I know I get what I pay for but I can also only pay what I can afford. Ideally less than $800.
I am 6' tall with a measured 35.5-36 inch inseam. 145lbs, long legs and arms, fairly fit and very flexible.
1) Craigslist... keep looking and hoping. It seems as though most CX bikes here are high end and running out of my budget. I found a 57cm 2003 Redline Conquest with Tiagra spec for $375 and a Ridley Xbow 58 cm for $900 with mostly Ultegra. Xbow is almost new.
2) 'bar steelie CX bike with 105 spec sitting at 799+ship new. Lots of good reviews.
3) moto fantom cxx cross with SRAM Apex at 799 shipped.
4) just ditch the idea until I can afford a better bike and deal with my aging, small Bianchi Strada LE.
I wouldn't ditch the idea, if nothing else it'll be great cross training.
The Xbow would be worth the price but seems to be a couple hundred over your limit.
Concerning the other two I would just figure out your preference between steel and Alum. as I'm pretty sure the Moto is AL. If you don't have a preference for frame material, see if you care about the way the components function (the manner in which the shifters shift, feel, etc.). If that doesn't matter to you (because you'll get used to whatever) go with color. I say because the frames on these bikes are going to be around the longest as you can upgrade as you go along if you discover you really like it. What you're going to get at this price point is a usable bike that will get you out there, which is what matters most. A buddy has had a Moto for the last five or six years and it has worked well for him. He has used it in a lot of gravel riding/races but no cyclocross. Overall, he's gotten the bang for his buck.
I hope you are able to buy a cyclocross and supremely enjoy it.
the moto is also a steelie making it a toss-up theoretically with the nashbar.
Right now I'm leaning toward the cheaper Redline just to get started, as long as it's n ot too small. Any thoughts?
If considering the Ridley, you may want to glance through this thread.
Ridley Cross bike sizing questions
Honestly, the Redline seems like a darn good deal and that is what I'd choose. Way under your budget to boot. I guess the only thing I may look at, is if you are wanting to put fenders/racks on it for commuting purposes. One may have more mounting options in that department. Nothing on that Redline will prevent you from having a blast on gravel.
Apparently the BB on the redline is stripped, so if I wanted to replace it I would have to cut it out somehow. I'm not sure I would need to replace it though any time soon.
Actually, it's not stripped. I stopped by and looked at it today. The threads are beat up from someone trying to pull the crank, but I can re-tap those. Anyway, it rides nice. 105 shifters seemed loose but everything else was really nice. I can't tell if it's too small or not though. Still thinking on it. It seemed comfortable for the 10 min I rode it.