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What's up with Jake the Snake and its ilk? (kinda long-but hopefully interesting)(11 posts)

What's up with Jake the Snake and its ilk? (kinda long-but hopefully interesting)Val_Garou
May 12, 2003 11:28 PM
I have to admit that I'm increasingly sucumbing to the seduction of the 'cross bike--which means I'm spending unhealthy amounts of time cruising the web for related bike porn/info. What I want is a commuter, crappy roads trainer, and--maybe--a tourer to boot. The typical do-it-all and do it on fast, skinny tires request.

I'm not a little guy, and have felt many a steel frame flexing away beneath me. So I'm leary of the Surly, despite all the high marks it gets here. Plus, building it up gets kinda pricy. (I'm a snob--the tiagra complete bike doesn't quite rev me up as much as I'd like. And if I'm starting with a bare-bones frame, I'm going for it, man.)

So I see Kona offers an AL frame built up with 105 for around a G, and that seems pretty cool by me. I think the K2 Enemy hits around this point as well. Or, spend more, and get the AL Cannondale w/ disks.

But none of these bikes get any attention on this board--at least as far as I can tell. One poster's specific query about the Cdale disc went wholly ignored. That means that no-one on the Cyclocross board owns one, right? Wow. That's a statement, considering the size and general popularity of Cdale in other cycling genres. So what's the deal? Do they have something wrong with them? Or do they just fall short somehow, while still being mostly competent?

Or is it just that 'cross is an idiosyncratic, folklore-steeped offshoot of a culture-steeped sport and these frames just don't make the cut based on their (lack of) potential mythology? That's not a stab at anyone, by the way; I keep returning to the Vanilla website to deposit a little more lust in my pining heart.
re: What's up with Jake the Snake and its ilk? (kinda long-but hopefully interesting)Cuttsie
May 13, 2003 6:44 AM
I have owned a standard C'dale cross rig for a couple of years now, plenty stiff, reasonably light, decent componentry. Not flashy in any way but a good solid CX rig.
I might say its a tad stiff for a long range tourer, maybe the head shok version? I have ridden the C'dale disk a half dozen times (my friendly LBS owns one and as he knows I'm a cross fanatic I was the first one to give it a go and tell him my opinion. WELL I really like it, and as soon as I sell a road bike to raise some cash I'm gonna buy it. Lighter than the regular C'dale cross, Ultegra components! and Avids - all for $1500.
I bet no one responded to the C'dale disk query because
1) its brand new, dropping that kind of money on something unseen not to mention unheard of for C'dale surely makes people cautious.
2) How many bike shops stock cross bikes anyway, let alone "freaky non traditional disk ones".
3)I know people are sceptical about disks on a cross bike, i.e I can no longer swap wheels fom my road bike etc if i get a disk bike. Who will have spare disk wheels at a cross race? I've never seen them. Any one who isn't sceptical about the transition to disk probably already has a frankenbike with disks anyway!
I thought long and hard about the switch, bearing in mind I already own 2 road bikes and 3 cross rigs. Now I'm gradually 'crossing' over wheels/bikes. Not sure how I will make my Ksyriums disk compatible though?
re: What's up with Jake the Snake and its ilk? (kinda long-but hopefully interesting)hummu
May 13, 2003 7:58 AM
The Jake the Snake was born out of mythology (albeit obscure mythology) and was super cool when it first came out. Now there are tonnes around. Just check out any cross race in Canada. In my opinion the spec has gone downhill since it was first introduced but it is still a worthy machine.

But what's to write about? Go into a shop on Saturday. Drop $1500 (Canadian). Race on Sunday.

You want something to write to this board about. Buy a bare bones frame and fork. Or better yet, order a custom frame. Then you get to write to this board. What material? What fork? What braze-ons? What colour? Disks? No disks? What brakes? Top leves? Tubulars? Clinchers? What kind of glue should I use on my tubulars? Does Tufo sealant work on non Tufo tires? Agonize over every component choice and change your mind three times because custom frames always take longer than the builder says.
BTW here are the answers. FOCO (or some light steel). Alpha Q. None. British Racing Green with white downtube and seat tube panels. No disks. Paul Neo Retros. No top levers (but I haven't raced mine yet so I might change my mind on this). Tubulars. Continental. Apparently.

Oh, and no disrespect to a previous poster, but mine is the most beautiful cross bike ever.

Only four months to cross season.
I have a Jake (and I write too much)MTJ
May 13, 2003 7:59 AM
I do a whole lot of reading on this site and not a lot of posting, and I think a lot of Jake owners are the same way. Much of cyclocross is about being nonconforming, and since the Jake is one of the better selling cross bikes out there I am sure there are a lot of Jake owners who peruse this site but don't want to admit to having such a "mainstream" ride. I admit to being a total newbie in the cyclocross world, in that I mostly ride my bike on pavement, but I will share some thoughts with you. For the record, my Jake is a 2000 (with the cool black & white paint job) and the only upgrades I've done was to go to a splined 105 crankset (from the stock Sugino) and I was lucky to get some spinergy SPOX wheels used from a friend.

You don't say how big you are - I'm about 6' and 260 pounds (though dropping a few pounds every week). Even when I was 280 I didn't feel any flex in the frame, so I'm guessing it will be rigid enough for you, unless you're a lot bigger than me. The ride is ok, maybe a little on the stiff side with road tires but ok on wider cross tires. It handles well and it's spec is solid. I can higly recommend the bike, though I admit I have never raced it and doubt I ever will. I use it as a versatile road bike, where I can take it on crappy roads (I ride a lot of dirt/gravel roads), and have taken it on singletrack on one occasion, where I had fun but it was so much more work than my mountain bike that I think I'll wait till I drop 30 more pounds before I try it again!

My complaints are very few and very minor - I want rack mounts, it doesn't have them. And I would have liked disc brake compatibility. Unlike many people on this site, I am a huge believer in discs and may end up with a new frame in the next year in order to satisfy that urge (I'm thinking a Surly Karate Monkey with a 'cross parts spec). That's it. I am happy with the bike and am leaning pretty hard on a friend to buy one too.

So - I hope my post encourages some other JTS owners to step up to the plate here, but if not, at least one big guy likes his. Good luck and have fun.
K2 Enemytriangleforge
May 13, 2003 8:36 AM
A teammate of mine picked up a K2 Enemy last season, and it's a mighty attractive 'cross bike -- he's a big, strong sprinter, and likes it quite a bit. Looks very stiff (which may or may not be a good thing, but sounds like something you want) with oversize aluminum tubes, disc brake & rim brake compatible.

Priced right, too.

re: What's up with Jake the Snake and its ilk? (kinda long-but hopefully interesting)Hardtail
May 13, 2003 8:59 AM
"Or is it just that 'cross is an idiosyncratic, folklore-steeped offshoot of a culture-steeped sport and these frames just don't make the cut based on their (lack of) potential mythology? That's not a stab at anyone, by the way; I keep returning to the Vanilla website to deposit a little more lust in my pining heart."

Pretty much yeah. ;)

The Empella Bonfire on cyclocrossworld has the "mystique' and isn't too awfully expensive.
Jakes are fine...The Walrus
May 13, 2003 10:15 AM
...especially the older ones (wanna buy mine?) Handling is pretty quick, compared to the more "mellow" Axis or Wazoo, but the ride is a bit harsher. I enjoy the Jake, but it is not as roomy in the cockpit as some other bikes (not good for the long torso/short legs riders like me...) I'm not concerned about image or mythology when I ride, so I'd have to give an emphatic thumbs-up to the JTS.

However, if you've got the bucks and the inclination, I'd push you toward the Vanilla. Now
i that's
Ditto. Jake's a good all-rounder...Dale Brigham
May 14, 2003 8:32 AM
...I have used my '98 Jake for cross racing (4 season's worth), rando/brevet riding (including '98 BAM and '99 PBP), singletrack and gravel roads, and simply tooling around the neighborhood with the wifey. It's done just fine at all of those tasks.

I recently procured a Steelman EC525, and while I like it just fine, I would not say it's necessarily "better" than the Jake. Both are fine bikes. I think the Jake is a very good cross bike. Buy one; you won't regret it.

About the '04 Jake and disc brakes ...Duncann
May 14, 2003 11:26 AM
Joe at Kona tells me that the Project 2 disc fork is already shipping, and the '04 Snake will have disc mounts on it. Was thinking of buying an '03, but I think I'll wait 'til October and check out the '04. Word is "Lots of options for the '04.". Duncan.
More info on the K2 Enemy, etc.snwbdrhoon
May 15, 2003 6:19 AM
C'mon, you better be using the 'cross bike offroad too. That's 90% the fun!
130 mm vs 135 mm rear dropout spacing is an issue ...Duncann
May 15, 2003 11:21 AM
"Road" disc hubs are 130 mm wide and tend to be a specialty item. MTB disc hubs are 135 mmm and widely available. MTB hubs are probably cheaper and beefier, but also heavier. The Cannondale CX disc bike has 135 mm rear stays. Not sure what the plans are for the '04 Jake.

I'm not sure about the problems arising from squeezing a 135 mm hub into a frame with 130 mm stays. Espeially a frame made of aluminum, a material not known for its flexibility. Anyone have any experience/thoughts on this?

OK ... I 'fess up. This thread is getting excessively weenie - shut up and ride already!