Update: Some guidance and insight needed . . . .
At present, I own a mountain bike (Scott Spark), a rugged hybrid (Scott Sub), and a road bike (Bianchi Giro), and while I like them all, I find that I ride the Scotts almost 90% of the time. I just don't ride on the roads that much any more (age, distrust of texting drivers are the main issues). I find myself on trails and single track most of the time, now, so I use the other bikes a lot.
What I'd like to do is sell the Bianchi and the Scott Sub, toss in some additional $$, and get a moderate level CX bike. I've owned one before and liked it a lot - sold it for the Bianchi. I think I can safely go up to around $2000 before I set off too many alarms around the house. But here's the rub - the bike I get has to be one of the following: Raleigh, Cannondale, Scott, Marin, Diamondback, or GT. I would like disc brakes, but that rules out one of my favorites, the Scott. And some of the others are steel-framed which is nice but perhaps too heavy. Carbon frames may be just beyond my reach, and aluminum frames may be little more than a compromise. At present, I'm leaning toward the Cannondale CAADX 5 Disc 105 or the Scott XC Comp or Team.
So . . . here are my questions:
1 - For moderate off-road, gravel road, fire road type riding, will I need disc brakes? I will not be competing or doing actual CX-style event riding. But I sure like the way discs stop!
2 - Will an aluminum frame be a negative, a plus, or of no consideration?
3 - The bikes I'm looking at all have Shimano 105 or lower components (or SRAM equivalents) - any recommendations here?
4 - Of the brands listed above, any preferences? Ones I should stay away from? What am I missing?
As usual, all advice, suggestions, and opinions are appreciated.
Last edited by Ddeand; 06-17-2014 at 10:37 PM.
Some Observations: the disc's on your MTB will be Hydro's, cable operated aren't the same, so don't assume parity here. Ride a cable disc bike and decide if it is for you.
At the price level, 105 is standard kit and as such is adequate. Also, be open minded about frame material choice, ride as many examples as you can to get the feel of the frames compliances, handling and overall feel. You alone, will know what you will like at the end of your deliberations. Also, bike weights are not based on frame materials in this price range, there are some steel bikes that are lighter than apparently lighter carbon ones, don't get caught up in the 'tech' fads, look for the qualities that you will enjoy on your ride.
Have you thought about picking up a second hand up-market bike using Ultegra gear that's had only a little bit of use?
If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?
I ride and highly recommend a Cannondale CAADX Disc w/ Ultegra. Very smooth for aluminum. I believe Cannondale's SAVE system is an effective design on aluminum frames.
Originally Posted by Ddeand
Last edited by glidenj; 05-29-2014 at 04:34 AM.
Reason: Type error
Thanks for the insights - I appreciate them. Perhaps I should add that I work in a shop where I can get a great deal on the brands listed. We carry very few CX bikes, so it will be hard for me to demo anything. But I am capable of customizing the cockpit and doing some upgrades if necessary. I have been checking out craigslist as well as the local biking forums for bikes, but I think I can get a new one for the same price. I also thought about building one up but haven't gone very far with that.
I'm still a bit torn between the brake system on these bikes, though. Maybe it doesn't matter.
Last edited by Ddeand; 05-29-2014 at 08:54 PM.
I was real close to getting a Raleigh while CX bike shopping, ended up with a Ridley X-Fire Disc because it rode the closest to my MTB the bottom bracket height makes it very trail worthy. the Hayes CX-5 brakes have more than enough stopping power for a 1" wide tire even with the 140mm rotor in the rear. The only issue with bikes in your price range are the wheelsets, must are heavy. There are plenty of lightweight 29er wheelsets available to take some of the load off.
I think the case for disc brakes is actually better if you aren't intending the bike for competition. I've got discs on the CX bike I use as a commuter but I race with cantis. Actually wanting to stop is more common when you aren't racing, and for various reasons you don't go through pads as quickly.
Good options for disc brakes are beginning to appear, so if you don't like the stock brakes there are a few nice upgrade choices. This would be the only reason that building from a frame might make sense. For instance, you wouldn't want to shell out for 105-level mechanical levers only to discard them in favor of a hydraulic system. Since you work at the shop though you can probably navigate a part swap pretty well.
Have you seen the Gevenalle hydraulic system?
All my CX bikes are Kona, so I can't offer much commentary on your choices. I doubt you can go wrong with any of those brands in your price range. The trick will be figuring out fit and geometry. Different brands have different philosophies on geometry. None is objectively better than the others. What you need to do is figure out what sort of geometry you want and then match that to the brand.
Thanks for all the input - I appreciate it! In the end, I decided to go with the Cannondale CAADX Disc Ultegra bike, so just to be sure I had my ducks in a row, I called C'dale. They told me the Ultegra model was sold out in my size (at least for the ones they held aside for Prodeals). So I asked about the Disc 105 - no deal - they were also gone. But they had the Disc Tiagra. Sooooo . . . I thought about it for awhile and decided to go with that. It's slightly heavier and the components are more pedestrian, but I'm not a racer, so the Tiagra stuff should be OK for now. Plus, I now have an additional $500 with which to spend on upgrades (like maybe a different wheelset). If I feel I need the Ultegra model, I'll order it next year. (BTW - I ordered the bike on Monday, and Cannondale had to me by today - Thursday! Pretty nice.) I'll post some review stuff as I become acquainted with the bike.
Yeah! use that money to get a nice wheelset, maybe stans crest or that new cross/road/disc wheel!
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