Strengths: Stiff. Cheap. You can get yourself in a decent cross bike for less than a low end mountain bike. Learn to sprint again after riding your dual xc bike. Crush your mountain bike friends on any trail without roots.
Weaknesses: Stiff. Cheap. The aluminium frame will beat you up on rough roads. Not the lightest frame out there. If you are looking for a polkadot jersy, keep on moving.
I bought a 2002 Romax Frame from a LBS and built it up with parts from my old TT bike (Veloce 8spd Ergo). The result? The fastest commuter bike on the planet. Short geometry and aluminum frame make for a quick sprint away from a stop light; cantilever breaks make for a quick stop in any condition. Touring on this ride will be a dream. I had forgotten how much fun a road bike could be.
Similar Products Used: None. Cross bikes are cool. Cross riders are crazy.
Bike Setup: 2002 Romax Frame. 1996 Veloce group. 52/42 Crank, 12-21 Cassette (yes, it came off my TT bike). LX Breaks off of my, now long gone 1996 Hammer Race.
a Road Racer
from Vancouver, BC
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2000
Strengths: Solid bike, a bit heavy but that's what you get. I bought the 50cm as I'd read that you should buy one frame size smaller in a cross bike than your road bike. (I ride a 52 Lemond). I love being able to crank out trails, hop curbs and ride down stairs but still be able to put out some decent speed on the road.
Weaknesses: I'm used to Ultegra on the road bike, so the Tiagra feels a little odd, especially the shifters. The sun rims and Tiagra hubs are going to be the first upgrade, but not so bad that I can't wait until I break them. The biggest test for this bike is a little climb on Bby mtn called Cardiac. The bike passes, but the 32/25 low combo is way too low for that sort of grade. Try climbing with a cadence of about 30 for a few minutes, that'll wear out the knees real quick.
The perfect complement to my road bike/mtn bike combo. Was a duet, now a trio. Opens up a whole new realm of riding. Allows much more latitude in your rides than either the road or the mtn bike. Lots of dirt track shortcuts around here.
Similar Products Used: None really, it's a lot faster on mild trail than the mtn bike (devinci) but descending can be sketchy even on fire road. Climbs like a pig on the road compared to the Lemond, but then, that's what the granny ring is for.
Bike Setup: 2000 Brodie, Tiagra 32,42,52/12-25 9 spd. Ritchey Crossmax 32's on Sun Rims. Squealed like a B*****d until I set the pads properly (thanks West Point)
from Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2000
Strengths: Frame design is very stretched out, i.e. top tube is long. The stem is also long. At first sight, I was scared that the bike was too big. I experimented with shorter stems, but went back to the stock stem. It is the best fitting bike I have ever ridden, including custom. Brodie's catalogue / web sited includes a sizing guide; it worked for me.
I hadn't previously used STI shifter, but now I'm sold on them. The shifting is so much faster than downtube shifters, especially in traffic; I am an old school bar end shifter guy, but the brake hoods are so much more comfortable than anything else I've tried. I am not so keen on the front shifting, however' it needs some fine adjustment.
Weaknesses: The Tektro Mini V brakes just don't do it. They don't release easily, don't clear fenders, and have no fine adjustment. Fortunately, they have been replaced by Avid cantis on the 2000 model. I replaced the tektros with some ancient shimano cantis. This wasn't without a bit of fiddling, as the threadless fork didn't have any room to throw in a cable hanger.
The rims are too wide and heavy; the spokes and/or wheel build was poor (I kept breaking spokes on the non drive side). However, Brodie authorised my dealer to rebuild the wheel with new spokes, and it's been ok since.
The brake cable stops are in the wrong location for cyclcross carrying - the rear stop digs into your shoulder.
Gearing isn't really suitable for cross, either - 30/42/52 front is too high. But that's what Shimano shoves down your throat.
Front shifting, as mentioned in strengths.
My bike gets a 4 because the fit is great, and the big problem (brakes) has been sorted out for the next model year. If they hadn't done the brake fix, 3.
I researched cross bikes for two years before buying. This is the best value for the money.
Similar Products Used: This replaced my 1988 Bianchi Volpe, which died from a cracked chainstay. The Volpe is a mix of road, cross, and touring bike, with some mountain bike influence thrown in. It's not those cheap 700C wheeled hybrids with flat bars. Kind of hard to compare the two, as I bought this one too small.
Bike Setup: Brakes swapped for first generation shimano cantis, added fenders (this bike does double duty as a commuter and cross bike), I've got a second crank with 36/48 rings that I plan to try out. 2000 models come with Shimano Tiagra, my 99 model is a mix of Ritchey/RSX/105. See the website for both specs: www.cybersport.bc.ca
a Cross-Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 22, 1999
Strengths: good quality steel frame..very light (at least thats what i thought).
Weaknesses: didn't really care too much for the saddle..will probably go for a brooks or something
this is my first decent bike, and its really decent (heh). I bought it mainly for commuting in town, and it handles the road great. I'm sure you can take on light trails too w/o any difficulty. The 105 rear derailleur is a nice touch . A great cross type of bike.. and nice price..
Similar Products Used: cannondale road models (too expensive for me)
Bike Setup: stock everything
a Cross-Country Rider
from Edmonton, Alberta
Date Reviewed: September 9, 1999
Strengths: Steel frame, good group. Rugged. Good brakes, with good stopping power.
Weaknesses: Ritchey Cyclo Rims had a bad bead on them. V-brake cable is too tight to make them 'quick release'.
This is a great bike for mountain bikers that want to spend a little more time on the road, but may decide to take a rougher trail home. It's rugged enough to take on tough trails, and you'll leave all your MTB buddies behind with your skinnier tires and better gearing. It corners well, and feels good, even after several hours of riding. Being a rigid bike, you'll definitely take a bit of a beating compared to your suspended MTB, but it's a smooth ride on the road. For $1200 Canadian, less than $1000US, how can you go wrong?