Independent Fabrication 1999 Planet X Older Cyclocross Bike

Independent Fabrication 1999 Planet X Older Cyclocross Bike 

DESCRIPTION

With lots of purpose-built features like a tall head tube for plenty of shouldering room, and bridgeless chainstays for gobs of tire clearance, the Planet Cross erases barriers with dignity and grace.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 14  
[Aug 24, 2006]
jb1883us
Road Racer

Strength:

Ride quality is like no other bike...fork is amazingly comfortable on a rough cross course.

Weakness:

Weight and cost, but those two things are to be expected from steel and a handmade bike.

Classic 853 steel with a nice, tall head tube for shouldering clearance. Mine was built up with Shimano 600 sti, XT front and rear derailleurs, XTR cantilever brakes, Top Line MTB crank (38-48 rings) and an XTR 12-28 cassette. Wheels were interchangable based on the race.

So about the ride, it was nothing but the best. As can be expected from a steel bike, it was a bit heavy but the advantages far outweighed the weight penalty. The IF steel fork is a thing of beauty...straight bladed forks weren't too popular back then on road and cross bikes, and it was great. The ride of this bike overall was excellent. Too bad they're expensive, but I found mine (a HUGE 58 seat tube = 60 cm? top tube) for cheap on e-bay a long time ago.

Similar Products Used:

Alcyon cyclocross bike, Trek MTB set up as a cross bike.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
[Aug 12, 2001]
Dan

Strength:

This bike does it all - cross racing, road riding (or racing), singletrack riding, dirt roads. Light weight, and an absolutely sweet ride

Weakness:

none

This bike is the jack of all trades. I just got done racing it in the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, which is a 100 mile ultra endurance race on rocky mining roads and dirt roads with more than 20,000 vertical feet of climbing. It was so much fun on this bike - kind of like the old school photos you see of the Tour de France. The bike was actually faster for the first 40 miles of the ride than a mountain bike, although the lack of suspension, high gearing and drop bar set up eventually led to fatigue which made it slower over all. Still, this is a testiment to the all around capabilities of this bike. I've done a ton of trail riding on this thing, and it's a blast. It also works great for the local training rides, races and commuting. Looking forward to a fall of cross racing on this bike. I've owned a couple cross bikes before, but they just don't compare to the IF in terms of ride quality. If there was a war tomorrow and I could only take one bike with me, the Planet X would get the call.

Similar Products Used:

Bontrager Cross Bike

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 18, 1999]
Michael Gamstetter
Racer

Strength:

Fast, instills confidence when navigating even the most technical trails, telepathic steering, good weight, absorbs trail shock even with 700x28 clincher tires, great paint—the best

Weakness:

The way the seatstays look where they meet the seat tube. The way the rear brake cable looks near the seatpost clamp; it threads a minimalist noodle (which is nice) but the angle from the front cable stop to the noodle is not pleasing to my eye.

Chris Chance once said he wanted his bikes to ride as if they were telepathic—he wanted them to feel like they ride by themselves; to know where to go before the rider did. Not only was he able to achieve this lofty goal with his bikes, but he was successful in teaching his then builders how to make bikes that ride and fell that way.
Many of the old Fat City crew are building at Independent Fabrication, the company they started after Chance moved Fat City to upstate New York. IF has refined its bikes and their ride, yet they continue to have that same telepathic ride.
The Planet X feels like no other cyclocross bike I've ridden. I spent weeks moving around Bianchi and Steelman trying to get comfortable. Both also required a few rides before I became accustomed to their handling. The Bianchi was stable but a little too slow to react to my input. The Steelman's handling was faster and more to my liking, but it could be twitchy. Plus I was never able to get comfortable in it's shorter toptube and steeper seat tube angle.
The Planet X, on the other hand, rides like a pro. It takes tight switchbacks like it's on rails and it handles technical descents as well as any rigid mountain bike. I often ride it on the same trails I mountain bike on, albeit a bit slower. With larger tires it should handle any terrain within reason.
It climbs better than I would have thought. I have been using a 12-25 cogset, but I plan to switch to a 12-27. Given the fact that I don't mind shouldering the bike, however, the smaller cog has been fine.
Bottom line: This bike is just plain fun to ride. For now, I have hung up my road and mountain bikes in favor of my Planet X for all my daily riding. It has rejuvenated my enjoyment of cycling.

Similar Products Used:

Bianchi Cross Project USA, Steelman Eurocross 525

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Nov 10, 1999]
Aaron
Cross-Country Rider

Strength:

Light, fast, nimble.
Almost telepathic acceleration.
At home on streets, fire roads, and trails.
Steel is 100% real.

Weakness:

Too beautiful to expose to the mean streets, let alone a muddy trail.

Why did it have to be love at first sight?Forget about the mountain bike. Forget about the road bike. A good cross bike will bomb down trails as easily as it tears through city streets. Believe me, IF knows how to make a good cross bike.At first glance it looks like a good, fast road bike, until you put the giant knobbies on it and take it off road. Who knew drop bars were OK in single track? IF makes a superior frame. Reynold 853 makes for a sharp, stable ride which stays comfortable for the long rides. This skinny-tire steel frame is actually as comfortable on the rough stuff (gravel+babyheads) as my Spec. M2 MTB with fat tires! Meticulous welds make for a strong, light frame. And don't forget the custom paint job! This bike is definitely race ready (just ask Tim Johnson), but is just as comfy on streets, commuting, or light touring.As for the component mix, I certainly can't complain about the 105. It works, and seems durable. Running barcons gives that retro-grouch appeal, and the diacomp brakes give better braking feel + more rim clearance versus STI. I would like a little more low gearing for off-road climbing ... maybe there's an XT cassette in my future.OK, so the frame is a bit expensive -- almost as much as the Lightspeed. Then again, it's less than most cars and computers. You've just got to set your priorities straight.Just one warning: This ride is faster than most drivers expect! Be nice to the poor idiots in their steel coffins when they cut you off.Five flaming Chilean Insanity Peppers!

Similar Products Used:

Bianchi, Pinarello, Voodoo, Redline Cross
Lightspeed Appalachian

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Feb 22, 2000]
Mark
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

I decided that I couldn't afford an IF. So, I set out to find a cross rig that I could. Tested some nice bikes. I was sitting the fence between the Cannondale and the VooDoo. Both beautiful and worthy machines, by the way. On the way home from the shop (Belmont WW), after a long afternoon of testing (and blistering, as I was test-riding without gloves) I thought I would stop into another bike shop to ride the IF ...just for comparison. The bike they had built up was a 54. I take a 50 and maybe even a 48. I was only half way around the block before my priorities changed completely. My computer suddenly seemed like a big waste of money. I began to contemplate life without a car. I had goosebumps. I had envy. I had a crush, yes, a crush, ...on a bike.

I 'took delivery' about three months later. I'm in debt. I have caused my girlfriend to think that I spend money foolishly, to question my priorities. I regret nothing. This thing rocks.

Find one. Ride one. Then you'll know.

Similar Products Used:

Cannondale(w/headshok), Bianchi(aluminum), GT, Gunnar(853), VooDoo(italian steel) 'cross bikes.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
[Feb 16, 2000]
John
Weekend Warrior

Strength:

Supple! Telepathic! Eye-Catching

Weakness:

price, toe-wheel overlap

True and Versatile Love!

As a Bridgestone Fanatic and a Steel Fetishist, IF's hand-built-steel philosophy and friendly attitude (they gave me a tour of their factory before I bought my bike) appealed to me, and so I test rode their Deluxe mountain bike and the Planet X. One ride on a well-fitting Planet X frame (the BB is high, so framesizes are a larger fit than road frames) was all it took to convince me that this would be my new communting/weekend riding bike.

Why? That steel is oh-so-supple and absorbs those nasty Cambridge potholes and ripples with ease. The frame geometry is expertly designed and as a result the bike handles like a dream. Throw a pair of Michelin Knobbies on there and it can tackle that icky wintertime snow and slush and sand. Put a pair of slicks on there and it'll catch up to those leg-shavin' spandex weenies on weekend rides. Wanna ride it off-road? Why the hell not!

The extra-wide gear range I've got gets me up the big hills without sacrificing speed on the straightaways. The XTR brakes work fine, tho' I'm considering a pair of Mr. Grumpy Cyclocross brakes to compensate for the STI lever's lack of pull.

And of course there's that blush of pride I feel every time another cyclist eyes my bike and says "oooh! nice ride!".

My only complaint is that on smaller frame sizes (i.e. mine), the toe-front wheel overlap is significant, and a bit of a nuisance, but not a major flaw (on newer models of the X, IF has switched to 650c wheels to solve this. And, of course, my credit card still hasn't forgiven me, but...

Five Hot and Flaming Habenero Peppers for this baby!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 04, 2000]
jason
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

Ride, Ride, Ride. Feel, quickness, etc.

Weakness:

uhhmmmm...let's see...the only thing that comes to mind right now is the price?

I was interested in Cross bikes because of the riding situation where I live (SF). I found myself riding on the road to Marin, then roaming the mountains on the fireroads, and some singletrack. Mostly, I wanted something to ride better on the road and wasn't really interested in a road only bike. So far this is the perfect comprimise. This blows the doors off of a mountainbike on the road, and climbs great. While I won't be taking it down Tenderfoot anytime soon, most single track is illegal in Marin anyway, so most time is spent on fireroads. Having no suspension is taking some getting used to, but at the same time it forces me to pick smoother lines. If you are looking for a great all around bike a cross bike is it. They climb like a goat and can take a pounding on the downhill. (Beware, your arms will cramp in the drops!!!) If you want the best cross bike, look at the Planet X. While it is on the high end price range, it is worth it. When I go to look for a new mountain bike, IF will be on my list as well. I can only hope to get the same ride and feel in a mountain bike. Until then, this will be my primary ride...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 25, 2000]
Sam Acheson
Road Racer

Strength:

Solid workmanship, nice finish quality, unique.

Weakness:

Not as stable off road as other cross bikes I have ridden, sizing should be calibrated to reflect the sloping top tube.

I bought this bike 2 years ago and for the most part have been satisfied with my purchase. I really have two complaints about the bike. My first complaint is the fit of the bike. The sloping top tube, and the measurements of the stand over cleareance on the IF web page offers a false sense of the actual stand over clearance. I ride a 57 cm road frame, and I have more clearance on that than my 54 cm cross bike. My second complaint compares the handling of the IF to the two best handling cross bikes I have ridden - the Salsa and Steelman. I ride my cross bike throughout the year on a variety of off road trails. Of these three bikes, I think the IF is the least stable and least predictable when the trail becomes technical. This is not as much of a problem during racing season, because the cyclocross courses are not very technical - but as I like to enjoy my bikes more than three months out of the year.

I do think the IF is built extremely well, and the tire clearance is ample. If you have demo'ed the bike and like the way it handles, and if your body geometry caters to the IF geometry, I don't think you will be disappointed with the purchase.

Similar Products Used:

Salsa La Cruz, Ibis Hakkalugi, Steelman CC, Seven Cross, Merlin Cross, Cannondale

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[May 02, 2000]
Patrick
Recreational Rider

Strength:

Beautiful workmanship, handmade.

Weakness:

N/A

I've ridden every cyclocross frame I could get my hands on over the past 3 months and none can compare to the IF.

I ride a Litespeed MTB and decided on the IF cyclocross frame rather than ti. It's stiffer than my Ti MTB but still has that 'lively' steel ride. I've been riding my local singletrack with it for a month now.

Handmade, beautiful frame. Looks like art. If you are considering a high end steel frame, IF is should be in your lineup.

Similar Products Used:

None

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 19, 2000]
Matthew Chanoff
Recreational Rider

Strength:

Ride, handling, beauty

Weakness:

Brake chatter

I've just had it ten days (about 200 miles) and haven't been on fire roads yet. I primarily bought it for centuries. At 22 lbs for the 56 cm frame and Daytona, it's as light as a decent steel road bike, handles nearly as well, is comfier, and will take you over the, um, pave better. Plus, I love the looks -- IF does a great paint job. I have a friend with another one of these that also suffers from brake chatter when going down steep hills. I've tried adjusting and swapping out the pads but no luck. Maybe the Avids, though, rather than the frame. My only real complaint is that it's too beautiful to park around town.

Similar Products Used:

Just road bikes in the same price range

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 14  

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