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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello all,

i've been lurking for a while researching, reading, and drooling on everyone's CX posts/pics, and i'm pretty close in making a decision on getting my first to join you all. please bear with me on 'ignorant' questions i may have and i appreciate all advice and reasonings:

- my budget is between $800-$1000. i know it's not a whole lot but that's what i have to start.

- settled on 4 bikes from bikesdirect:
a. Motobecane Cross Outlaw 18-spd / disc brakes $899 bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/outlaw_clearance.htm

b. Motobecane Cross Outlaw 20-spd / disc brakes $999 bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/outlaw.htm

c. Motobecane Fantom Cross 20-spd / cantilever $899
bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_cross_xi.htm

d. Motobecane Fantom Cross SRAM 20-spd / cantilever $899 bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_cross_xii_sram.htm

- if i can get a little bit more budget, i thought about this bike $1199
e. Motobecane Fantom Cross PRO
bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_cross_pro_rival.htm


* from your experience given the budget i have, and no i'm not getting it to CX race or anything aside from just normal cardio / climbs / not technical trails and casual rides, which out of the 4 bikes would you get and why? bang for the buck?

** is bike #e worth me breaking the bank? compared to the other 4?

*** out of the listed bikes, only the Outlaw has disc brakes. does that affect your decision?


thank you all in advance for being patient and i appreciate all comments, opinions and advice.

-kc
 

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If I were in your shoes, I'd save a few extra bucks and get the pro. I saved up slightly more than that and opted for a Wilier Cross Carbon on sale.

I can't comment on their cross bikes, but one of my first "grow up" bikes was a Motobecane. I never had a problem with it, and I felt it was a solid ride. I upgraded a few simple thighs as most people do (seat, pedals,etc), but I have no reservations when suggesting a Motobecane.
 

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Nothing against any of the Moto stuff, I'm sure they are fine bikes (rumored to be coming off the same line as Fujis), but your best bang for the buck, especially right now post-season, is to snag a used bike. Your $1k is going to go alot further used than it will even on something like the Moto.
 

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I have a Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro and love it. I have no problem recommending it. I would not personally get the 18 speed. The site says 18 speed Tiagra. That is either several years outdated models or a typo. Tiagra comes in 20 speed and has for a little while.

From there the biggest difference is the wheels and components. Have you ever used either SRAM or Shimano? There is a big difference in what they feel like. Both are good so it is a matter of preference. I am a SRAM guy I love the feel of DoubleTap.

For disc brakes I personally do not miss them. For normal use I don't see a problem. If you do a lot of wet or muddy riding they can pay off, but the BB5 it comes with is has some knocks from what I have read. Disc brakes are a pain to set up, adjusting Cantis are a breeze.

As for going with the SRAM vs Pro... That is up to you. I got a great deal on a barely used Pro which is the main reason I went with it. I love the bike. The biggest difference is Rival vs Apex components. I have Apex on my Allez, and am perfectly happy with it. I really don't notice a difference in function. Mechanically they are identical, difference is in materials and weight of Rival is less. I wouldn't have paid more just for this. The wheels are much better, and are actually pretty solid. Buy the Pro means you may not be looking at a wheel upgrade right away. But is it necessary... Probably not critical. If its buy now vs later I would stay in your budget then upgrade wheels later. Also know the seat post and saddle are a little weak... Spend below you budget now may give you room to upgrade those. I haven't but have considered it a few time. Sorry for the long post but was in your shoes a couple months ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks 'n00ky' for that suggestion: it's a pretty nice spec'd bike but the color is pretty radical for my taste.

'gte105u', thank you for your elaborate and invaluable advice. i've now narrowed down to choice 'd' and 'e'.

for $300 difference, for which i see the specs and your explanation of better wheels as well as Rival components. however i can't tell the difference between the forks only to know they are both carbon; anything you can tell?

since i'm going into CX cold-turkey'd (not that i'm quitting mountain biking either), i haven't tried the way they shift. but i can tell you i like the feel of knowing each shift is a distinct one up or one down instead of trying to feel which gear i'm at (if you know what i mean).

that's definitely a might fine looking bike you have there. i noticed it's a 56cm. i stand 6', 170-180lbs depending on season, with 33 inseam..., perhaps a size 54?
 

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that's definitely a might fine looking bike you have there. i noticed it's a 56cm. i stand 6', 170-180lbs depending on season, with 33 inseam..., perhaps a size 54?
Not 100% sure what you mean on the shifts. Just so you are clear (and you probably know already) but SRAM uses one lever for up and down. Short push (single click) moves to smaller cog. Long push (two clicks) goes to bigger. I personally find this very intuitive. Shimano uses a paddle and the brake lever.

As for size, I do have the 56. I have a longer upper body but you and I are built very similar. I am about 6'-0.5". Weigh 175-180 (181 now due to winter growth). I wear 34 x 30 pants and my stand over is about 32". I am very happy with the 56 fit. Not telling you what you need because you may feel different on the reach but I doubt the 56 would be too big. I use this bike as my daily commute, the fitness bike in wetter weather, and the ride if I want to explore roads of lesser quality or offload. The fit allows me to be upright enough on the road on my commute but still sporty enough for the other rides.

I will say this, I love this bike. I got my Allez for sport riding while I used my hybrid to commute. I ended up hating to ride the hybrid and sold it for the Fantom. I still love the Allez, rode it 20 miles this morning at 5 am in 39 degree weather for my workout and am glad I have it. But if I had bought my Motobecane first, I probably would not have bought another bike. Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help.

Pics below are from the day I got it. Got it for a steal because the guy who first bought it didn't know about fit or setup and didn't like it. I love the ride. Dork disk is gone and have new white Shimano M530 pedals but otherwise this is my ride.
View attachment 276319
View attachment 276318
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks again for your detailed info. i've gained more insight than just trying to figure things myself.

yea i read about the SRAM and their "double tap". since i've only ridden on mounties, up-shift and down-shift has their own 'knob'. so the way roadies / CXs setup i'll have to take some times to get used to. it's a learning curve like anything else i'd imagine.

what is that disk in the back next to the cassette? i checked bikedirect's website with their stock pic and didn't see it; does it serve a purpose? and just out of curiosity, how much did you get it for?

last friday i walked into REI and got myself fitted for a CX since i've never done so. and just as you pointed out, i can fit 56 although my actual measurement is 55.5... the guy said i can even get a 54 to "size up" just so i can be more 'versatile' depending on riding conditions.

View attachment 276603
 

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I started CX on the fantom cross pro 18 speed tiagra model. Bike was fine, i upgraded it after a year. A year in which i rode it on a century, Triathlon, TT, and CX. Good bike for the money, but I also invested in shop manuals and tools at the same time. My wife and I now own 10 bikes (sold one today :thumbsup:), and none have ever been serviced at a shop. My shop that I use will service moto's without a problem, but some shops may give you **** for it. If i were to do it again, i'd go 10 speed because all of my other bikes have it, and i can swap wheelsets etc... but the 9 speed stuff is plenty good

The disc is there so you don't throw your chain into the spokes. Leave it if you can't adjust a deraileur properly or if you don't have it adjusted by a shop. Or if you don't have the cassette removal tool, you'll have to leave it ;)
 

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For the same price as the Moto with 105 ($799), you can get a Blue Norcross SP from Nashbar.com when they do the 20% off sale (Which has been every weekend the last 3 weeks)
Its got a tapered headtube, BB30 bottom bracket, Sram Apex parts, American Classic Wheels. No cut corners there.
 

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what is that disk in the back next to the cassette? i checked bikedirect's website with their stock pic and didn't see it; does it serve a purpose? and just out of curiosity, how much did you get it for?

last friday i walked into REI and got myself fitted for a CX since i've never done so. and just as you pointed out, i can fit 56 although my actual measurement is 55.5... the guy said i can even get a 54 to "size up" just so i can be more 'versatile' depending on riding conditions.

View attachment 276603
Not sure exactly what it is called officially. Many bikers is call it the dork disk. As you can see I took it off. It serves a couple functions. One thing as mentioned is if your limit screws are not set right you can shift straight into the spokes. This is easy enough to prevent by properly adjusting your derailleur. On an off road bike the bigger risk is hitting something that bends the hanger, this is less of an issue on a pure road bike as you probably won't hit anything. Off road you can hit debris. If you bend your derailleur into your spokes... Well obviously that is a very big problem.

Just so you know adjusting the derailleurs, especially the front, was a very fine process. It took a good bit of tweaking to where it flows perfectly. You may be well served to have a shop do the initial setup. Once they set the limit screws you should only ever have to tweak the cable tension over item.

If you go with the smaller bike, you are likely to have a more aggressive position. You can drop the seat but the stack will be less which puts the bars lower. Only way to fix is swapping the stem. Coming from MTN biking this may be a bit of a position shock.

I got mine used for $700 off Craigslist. Guy's post was about to expire and he was looking to get of it. It was about 4 months old and had probably 200 miles on it. The guy I bought it from MTB as well. He had no clue how to set it up and therefore he never got comfortable. The minute I got there I saw the problems. Bars rotated down, seat way too low, poorly adjusted front derailleur. These are some things to be careful of considering you are coming from a different discipline. That can be more dangerous that being completely newbie.
 

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For the same price as the Moto with 105 ($799), you can get a Blue Norcross SP from Nashbar.com when they do the 20% off sale (Which has been every weekend the last 3 weeks)
Its got a tapered headtube, BB30 bottom bracket, Sram Apex parts, American Classic Wheels. No cut corners there.
With Pic attached. I did the Motobecane thing. The components are the only thing worth a darn. Heavy bars, stem, seatpost, seat, cheap tires, cheap brakes, low end wheels. Poor paint. Get a Blue while you still can.
View attachment 276638
 

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I'll second (third?) the Blue. And I'm of the opinion that it's better to save money and wait until you can afford the bike you want, especially if it is just a few hundred dollar difference.

And as far as I am concerned, if you have the money ready there's no reason to wait for a deal to come back up with an online retailer. Just call them on the phone. You can say that you saw the deal and wanted to make the purchase but missed your chance. Then ask nicely if they can give you the deal over the phone. If that particular person cannot make it happen, ask them to ask their manager. Heck, if they sold it once at that price they will do it again.
 

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I'll second (third?) the Blue. And I'm of the opinion that it's better to save money and wait until you can afford the bike you want, especially if it is just a few hundred dollar difference.

And as far as I am concerned, if you have the money ready there's no reason to wait for a deal to come back up with an online retailer. Just call them on the phone. You can say that you saw the deal and wanted to make the purchase but missed your chance. Then ask nicely if they can give you the deal over the phone. If that particular person cannot make it happen, ask them to ask their manager. Heck, if they sold it once at that price they will do it again.
I have a screen shot of the Norcross in my "Shopping Cart" with the 20% discount applied. PM me if you need it for them to price-match themselves.

I've only had the bike since Thursday of last week, but it's my new all-time favorite. Really amazing ride. Nashbar ships FedEx too, so it got to Texas from Ohio in 2 days.
 

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That Blue Norcross is a nice bike. If you can get it for one of their 20% off I would jump on it over the Motobecanne Apex. I have bought a number of times from Nashbar and never had any problems. If you are a member for Fatwallet.com and click through from there to buy, you get cash back from Fatwallet (3% I think) on top of any promotion they are running.

That said, not all BD/Motobecanne bikes are trash. Mine has a pretty decent set of wheels with Mavik Aksiums, Rival components, Avid shorty brakes, etc. I have said before the seat post, stem, bars, saddle, and grip tape are not ideal, but those are things people frequently upgrade anyway. Point I am getting at is if you think there is a major difference in bikes of similar component groups at the same price point in these mail order operations you are kidding yourself. They are more or less the same so get the one that fits you best (from reviewing the geo) and from the retailer you feel comfortable using.
 

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I almost got the Norcross SP when they were closing them out at bikewagon.com, but broke down and paid more for the Norcross EX. I believe it was $1337 delivered. Awesome bike so far.
View attachment 276733
 

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I almost got the Norcross SP when they were closing them out at bikewagon.com, but broke down and paid more for the Norcross EX. I believe it was $1337 delivered. Awesome bike so far.
View attachment 276733
Wow! That's gorgeous! It's funny, when I was shopping for my Norcross SP, I was also looking for a saddle. Once I got my bike, and actually rode on that saddle, I'm in love!
 

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The saddle was OK for short rides, but I'm using the bike for long rides on bad chip-seal, so I replaced it with something less cushy.
 
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