I bought a Crosstrail Pro on Friday. It was an impulse buy, and one that I fear was a grave error. I had been noodling around the idea of grabbing a Fisher Cobia 29er when I happened to stumble across the Crosstrail at the Specialized dealer. They had it set up with 29x2.00 Resolution Pro tires. It looked like a mountain bike. It was 29 inches. I liked the color and the components better than on the Cobia, and so I grabbed it. Now I realize that what I really bought was a "crossover" bike designed around Borough XC tires, and not a true mountain bike. That may not be all bad. More on that in a moment. In the meantime, after riding the bike yesterday and after rereading about the specs and geometry in the catalog, I've a number of questions and observations:
* What is this "All Road" geometry that Specialized talks about? What are the goals of that geometry? The head-angle, for example, seems a bit slack for mountain bike. What is Specialized trying to achieve by that? And the seat-tube angle is 74-degrees, which is a tad steeper than on my Rockhopper. Is the geometry somehow suboptimal for trail use?
* I bought the 18-inch version. Cockpit size seems ideal. I'm curious though, why Specialized has inch sizes printed on the frames while using centimeter sizing on their website. Does anyone know why that is? My 18-inch frame size seems to correspond to what on the website is the 49cm size. However, nothing on the bike actually measures 49cm. How then, does Specialized come up with that number?
* Standover height is awful, and this is one area where I'm very worried. On level pavement, I have almost zero room to spare when standing over the bar. In fact, if I stand over the bar and lift up the front end to point the bike in another direction, say to turn it around in my driveway, I have to be really careful not to whack the goodies and cause myself pain. This was a real problem on the trail where the ground isn't flat and level.
* Interestingly, the next size down of the bike has the same actual and effective top-tube lengths, but with a lower standover. Am I correct in interpreting that to mean that the cockpit would feel the same for me on either bike? I am 5' 8" with a 31-inch measured inseem (using the book between the legs method). The standover on the model that I bought is listed at 31.8 inches. You can see the problem there right away, I'm sure. Would the smaller frame size likely be a better fit for me? More standover would be a huge help, but I do not want the cockpit to shorten. I like the bars where they are, and I surely do not want them closer in.
(FWIW, I often wish my LBS would have more than just one size whatever bike I'm looking at. I like to be able to try the sizes immediately above and below what I'm buying, just to be sure that I'm getting the size I like best, and I rarely (never?) get a chance to do that).
* Can anyone confirm that fork travel is 80mm? Specs on the website and in the catalog do not list the travel. It looks like an 80mm fork, but I'd like to be sure.
* Are there better 29-inch front forks than the RockShox Tora air fork that I've got now? The stock fork is ok, but I could see myself paying for a new fork that was smoother, had less "sticktion", and that just plain felt better. I keep thinking of how good that Fox fork felt on the Stumpjumper Comp hardtail that I test rode the other day. Does Fox make a 29er front fork?
* What about drop bars? Would I be crazy putting a pair of drop bars on the bike someday? Is there something about the geometry that makes drop bars a bad idea on this bike?
This is just an observation, but I might look for smaller chain rings. The three stock rings all have more teeth than on my Rockhopper. That alone means that in any given gear the bike is more difficult to pedal. Combine those larger chain rings with larger tires, and, well, it's just too hard to get the beast moving. And it's hard to keep it moving too, especially going uphill. I live in a hilly town, and I am constantly at the low end of the gear ranges. There's no point in having higher gears if you never use them. I'll have to see about getting some smaller rings up front.
I did about an equal amount of road and trail riding yesterday. I came away convinced that the Crosstrail is totally the wrong bike for me to be riding on trails. The standover height is a showstopper by itself. And I did not like the fork out on the trail; I want more travel. The bike is ok on smooth, hard-packed dirt, but I did not like it at all when the going got bumpy or sandy or muddy. I did however, kind of like the bike on pavement. On the road, I could get those big tires spun up, and it felt rather good to be flying down the road on the bike. So I can see keeping the bike as an "around town" bike. (And I think I'm pretty much stuck with it anyway).
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Thread: Specialized Crosstrail Pro