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Thinking about first Cyclocross bike(16 posts)

Thinking about first Cyclocross bikecmach
Jul 31, 2002 12:45 PM

In the next month or so I would like to purchase my first cyclocross bike. I would like to start riding it to work and also have something that can do a bit of everything. I am
intrigued with these bikes. I was hoping to get some opinions on the following frames.

1) Redline Conquest (Cheapest frame I would consider $410)
2) Empella (Looks cool, $600, know nothing about it!)

The plan is to buy the frame and build it up from there. I am trying to keep this all under $1200 if possible. Does
anyone know a shop in LA that actually carries Cyclocross
frames and has them in stock?

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks
in advance.

re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikeatpjunkie
Jul 31, 2002 1:43 PM
look into ebay and roadbike reviews classifieds. You can hook yourself up with a sweet ride fo' cheap.
There's a empella frame on ebay right now.
The Redlines are nice, the Pro SC's are sweet.
If you are on a budget, use the sources, I've gone this route and ended up with about 4 grand in cross bikes for under 2000 bones
re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikerbb
Aug 1, 2002 5:32 AM
Hey guys/gals!! that's actually my empella up on ebay right now! thanks for the plug! i love these bikes(empella), if the frame/fork i have up there is too small i'd have to say check out they have other manufacturers available if you don't like the empella. Also, if you're interested i also have a used Kona jake the snake frame/fork,headset, w/Real titanium bb for sale that i was going to put up on ebay next week. It's got a 53cm top tube. it's blue with a black fork, in great shape. Let me know if you're interested, if not i'd advise you to check out the link mentioned above.
take care.
re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikecmach
Aug 1, 2002 5:48 AM
Hi rbb,

I actually saw your bike on E-Bay. Yes I'm interested.
Quick question for you. I normally ride a 56cm road-bike.
Do you think I would fit your Empella. I believe its
a 54cm. I know that cross bikes should ususally be sized
down but I not sure about the Empella.

re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikerbb
Aug 1, 2002 6:28 AM
Sorry to say that it's going to be too small(it's a size 54cm, which has a 52cm top tube). I ride a 55-55.5cm top tube road bike and went to a new empella frame with a 54cm top tube. Sorry about that. You should really check out, they are really great people and have helped me out alot in making decisions about sizing. Also, i don't think you could get a frame/fork for the same money as a empella that would give as nice a ride and have same quality. They're very light as well, the empella i have built up right now has dura ace, top mount levers, itm bars/stem, turbomatic saddle, and michelin tires-weighs in at 18.5lbs(on a bike shop bicycle scale)!!!
Good luck in your endeavors!
re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikecmach
Aug 1, 2002 8:06 AM
Hi Bob,

Let me see what my roadbikes top tube is. I technically
should be riding a 55.6cm. I have actually ridden a smaller
frame (I think it was a 54cm ) and was quite comfortable. Actually I prefer riding a smaller frame. This of course assumes I would fit the Empella. I was under the impression
that almost all cyclocross frames need to sized down. In
other words if you ride a 55cm roadbike you should be riding
a 54 or even 53cm cyclocross bike. Of course I could be wrong. I'll get back to you with my measurements.

Thanks again
L.A. just isn't a 'cross town...The Walrus
Jul 31, 2002 1:55 PM
It's rare to find a dealer who carries 'cross bikes at all, let alone carries frames in stock. One place you might check with is Open Road in Pasadena, on Sierra Madre. There's a Redline dealer way up Bouquet Canyon in Santa Clarita who might have Conquests. If I think of any other possibilities, I'll let you know. Like atpjunkie says, there's usually something good on eBay; also look at the RBR classifieds and
2 shops...Mitch2
Jul 31, 2002 4:09 PM
that I know of hand. The Performance bike shop in Torrance carries the Jamis Cross bike and I think it is on sale. The components on the Jamis are not that great but the frame looks awesome(Steel is Real) and Wheel World on Washington Blvd carries Kona Jake the Snake.(Awesome bike) If not I think Supergo can order you Specialized cross bikes/frames. Hope that Helps.

Venice, Ca
Rock Lobster & all Offroad!
Caution on Ebay & unfamiliar bikestriangleforge
Aug 1, 2002 7:28 AM
One word of caution -- if you're not familiar with a particular type of bike or bikes in general, or if you're not pretty savvy about going rates for different bikes & what constitutes a good deal, Ebay can become a place to learn some very expensive lessons. Same with buying a frameset anywhere online or even from a local shop -- by the time you get it built & ridden, it's a little late to decide the size is wrong or something isn't quite like you expected.

Bob's Empella, for exampe, is a beautiful, no-holds-barred, pure 'cross race bike, and I want one. Badly. And this one's even got the added karma of being tested in top-level competition.

But I'd actually tend to steer a first-time cross bike buyer away from the Empella, largely because it is so purpose-built for racing. As just one example, Empella doesn't (or at least didn't) put threaded bosses for water bottle cages on its bikes, because nobody races cyclocross with bottle cages; of course, they come in mighty handy for commuting and the general all-rounding that most people want out of 'cross bike. For that, I'd get in touch with him about the Kona Jake the Snake he mentioned; it's no slouch when it comes to race day duty, but is more adaptable to other kinds of riding than the Empella Bonfire. Then again, for all I know, maybe a straight-up, no-frills race bike is what you're after.

Another Ebay example -- a couple of years back, I bought a nice, lugged Eddy Merckx via Ebay and paid a hefty sum for shipping from Hawaii, only to discover that the seller clearly had no clue whatever how to measure a bike. Best I can tell, he measured the seat tube from the bottom edge of the bottom bracket to some mysterious point a couple of centimeters above the top of the seat collar, and the top tube from the back of the seat collar to the front edge of the head tube. Fortunately, I was able to resell it locally for what I had in it.

Even better, it's pretty clear from the exchange here & his Ebay ad that Bob knows how to measure! :-)

If it sounds like it will fit you, I'd drop Bob a line about the Kona, or the Empella once you've learned a little more about them and decided that's what you really want. Whatever you do, whether shopping online or live at a local shop, ask a lot of questions -- a lot -- and make sure you're buying what you think you're buying.

One other E-Bay warning...flyweight
Aug 1, 2002 2:21 PM
One other E-Bay warning: some of the items being offered are stolen. Purchasing property that common sense says is probably stolen (ex: you buy a new looking $2000 bike for $400) is a crime in most areas.

A few weeks ago our shop had an orange Gunnar roadbike stolen from us. At the time we were the only shop in the area to sell orange Gunnars so when the bike popped up on E-Bay we knew it was ours. We worked with the San Francisco Police Department and put in a winning bid on the item. I went out to meet the seller to "pay" for the bike along with some SFPD Inspectors. When the seller brought out the bike the cops brought out the handcuffs. The seller claimed he bought the bikes at a flea market. Even so, the fact that he paid so little money for something clearly of great value was enough for him to be arrested and charged with fencing. In addition to our bike the seller was selling 5 other bikes, most of which had been reported stolen.

Always be sure to ask the seller how they acquired the item. If their story sounds fishy I'd steer clear.
re: Thinking about first Cyclocross bikePoptart
Aug 1, 2002 11:28 AM
hi cmach,

we're in the same boat in that i'm also looking for a low to mid-priced cyclocross bike for commuting. i don't know if all of these are available as framesets, but here are some of the ones i'm considering that haven't been mentioned by anybody yet:

1) the fuji cross bike for about $1200
2) the lemond poprad bike for about $1000 (dropbars w/sora)
3) the lemond wayzata for about $1100 (flatbar w/tiagra)
4) torelli cross frame for $725
5) bianchi steel cyclocross frameset for $800
6) gunnar crosshairs frameset for $780
7) marin tiburon bike for about $1200(flat,alum,tia/105/ult)
8) surly crosscheck frameset for $400 (or bike for $900)
9) soma double cross $???, but i know it's really cheap

i'm also considering slightly more expensive bikes like dean torreys, airborne carpe diem, kelly knobby x, steelman eurocross 525, interloc.

obviously, i'm concentrating on steel frames/forks for comfort's sake and 105 or better if possible.

i have to drive fifty miles into san francisco to find dealers with a decent inventory.

good luck, maybe we can compare notes
don't know about the others, but Poprad IS avail. as frameset nmGlowBoy
Aug 1, 2002 11:38 AM
Checkout Colorado Cyclist..Mitch2
Aug 2, 2002 4:42 AM

Just got my Coloradocyclist Catalogue and they have a Rocky Mountain Cyclocross bike for $ 999.00. Awesome spec for that price.
Rocky Mountain RailSlacker Joe
Aug 2, 2002 12:00 PM
Not to butt in here, but from someone else shopping CX, thanks for pointing that out. That does look like a good deal, bringing it in line with the Kona Jake the Snake spec/price at least, maybe even better if it does come with Race Face Turbines.. choices, choices. It'd make a nice stablemate for my RM Blizzard, and the 54cm looks like a good fit, but I haven't heaerd any impressions of the bike besides the one review at RBR. Anyone own a Rail?
Rocky Mountain Raillurpy
Aug 7, 2002 3:38 PM
Just got my rail last week. Haven't done more then a ride around the block yet, but here are a couple of observations: the cranks are Ritchey cross, not the RF's pictured on the Rocky Mountain website (this is noted in CC's specs). Also, mine came with a Shimano 535 wheelset. These will probably move to a road bike, to be replaced with a 32 hole 3 cross standard wheelset.
ThanksSlacker Joe
Aug 8, 2002 7:47 AM
Thanks for the initial impressions. I ended up ordering one myself and should have it Monday, but I'm disappointed to hear it came with the Shimano wheels. I doubt I could return it simply because of the wheels, even if it differs from what they list. Ah well, maybe I'll just put up with them. Thanks.