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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After about 3 weeks of looking, I've narrowed my search down to 3 bikes (for now).

1) Surly CrossCheck $1000
2) LeMond Poprad $1650
3) Salsa La Cruz $1650

My budget is really about $1500 tops comfortably, so I'm worried about spending above that if there isn't a really good reason.

Of course I came up with a reason: disc brakes. From what I've read from you fine bike people, the Crosscheck is a great setup for the price, except for it having mid-range components and ineffective canti brakes. I test road it and hated the brakes. While on the hoods, I couldn't lock up the front wheel, nor easily control the pressure. It also took about 4x the strength to properly stop the bike as compared with the dual-pivot brakes on my road bike.

I wanted to go with a mullet setup with the crosscheck but that comes out to $1600 too after a new WTB Dual Duty wheel ($200), Avid BB7 road brake, in-line adjuster (maybe not necessary), and a kona Project two fork ($89).

I've also read that the newer Surlys aren't built with the same quality tubing that they have always had. The salsa and poprad both use OX Plat tubing but neither have canti/v-brake mounts and may not have eyelets for road caliper brakes either (anyone know?).

So my question is:

If I got with either the LeMond or the Salsa, will I ever want to switch to canti/v-brakes? Have any of you switched to disc and gone back to rims? And if I'm going with a mullet setup on the cross, shouldn't I pay a bit more and get the better components on either of the others? Any thoughts?

Note: I'm not going to race, so weight and disc regulations are not a factor. Just upkeep, durability, overall hassle and utility. Thanks for any feedback.
 

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Canti brakes need to be set up correctly to get decent stopping power. That said, they will never be as strong as disc brakes and will always require more strength from the hand for the same stopping power.

Its hard to believe that you can't put a disc on the front of a Crosscheck for much less than $600, especially if you sell off the stock fork, wheel and brake. I think you should shop around some more and figure out what the real price difference is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
do it myself = $300

Yeah, I was blown away by the quote. Either the shop didn't want to do it or they were quoting me a price that didn't take into account the value of the original parts. That's a good point though, I can sell off the front brake, wheel, and fork, so it would make it a bit less. I'm running the same setup past another LBS to see what they give me. The second one already stated that they would give me more in return for the unused parts, so I'm hoping it will be a considerable difference.

The way I figure it

WTB Dual Duty disc wheel (nashbar $89)
Avid BB7 Road (JensonUSA $63)
Kona/Salsa front disc fork (Glory cycles $79)
Cable ($20)
and maybe an in-line adjuster ($20) to help with cable travel.

That's like $271, so maybe I should just buy the components and just bring it to the LBS to have them reroute the cable after I install everything. It looks to save about $300. Plus I could sell off the fork for $45 and the brake for about $3. The wheel might get a bit of $ too.

Thanks for the feedback and ideas.


Do you know of any reason why the stock tektro levers shouldn't work for a disc setup?
 

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thehumble1 said:
Do you know of any reason why the stock tektro levers shouldn't work for a disc setup?
The Tektro levers should work with if you get the road version of the BB7. Cable pull is compatible. You probably won't need an in-line adjuster, since you have the dual pad adjustment. Might be nice. I'd go without, personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
then it's down to frame quality

So that sounds like the best option (if the other LBS doesn't offer a good price). I can eat the $1000 price okay right now and may put a few $ into a good saddle and ritchey adjustable stem. Then get the mullet setup in a month or so and make the swap. It will give me time to find the components cheap and to see if I can adjust the cantis enough so they work fine.

so do you think the frame and components of the poprad and/or salsa are enough better to offset the price difference? I'm thinking that it will cost more later on to buy the components separately if I decide to upgrade to 105s.
 

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thehumble1 said:
So that sounds like the best option (if the other LBS doesn't offer a good price). I can eat the $1000 price okay right now and may put a few $ into a good saddle and ritchey adjustable stem. Then get the mullet setup in a month or so and make the swap. It will give me time to find the components cheap and to see if I can adjust the cantis enough so they work fine.

so do you think the frame and components of the poprad and/or salsa are enough better to offset the price difference? I'm thinking that it will cost more later on to buy the components separately if I decide to upgrade to 105s.
I got a Crosscheck for my SO last year. I stripped the paint to bare metal, torched off the rack braze-ons and re-painted it, so I had every opportunity to find any quality issues with the frame. I don't know what Surly has done with the tubing -- I think they have always used their "own" tubeset (whereas Soma swapped from Reynolds to Tange a couple years ago IIRC). IMO its a fine frame for the price. More versatile than most, being SS friendly and having very large tire clearance. Its no lightweight.

That said, it is usually wiser to buy the most bike you can afford. If the other two options already offer what you want at a price that is within reach, I'd go that route instead of buying a bike you know you are going to be upgrading right off the bat. The La Cruz, for example, looks like a nice build at a price that would be hard/impossible to beat upgrading the Surly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
best bike for the money

If the poprad and the salsa both have good tire clearance, they should be as nice of a frame setup, but you're right, the long horizontal drops of the surly make it more flexible. I've already got my SS bikes but who knows what this might be in a couple years. I want this to be a 20+ year bike so I'm willing to eat ramen noodles for a few months if necessary in order for me to get the right setup.

I don't know about the cranksets on the salsa and the poprad. seems like 46/12 as a top gear on the poprad is really low. I mean my SS is 48/15. So I might not be perfectly satisfied with any of them. I'm leaning back towards the surly (near)stock for now with a mullet cut sometime in it's future.
 

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PeanutButterBreath said:
I don't know what Surly has done with the tubing -- I think they have always used their "own" tubeset (whereas Soma swapped from Reynolds to Tange a couple years ago IIRC).
they (surly) used to use reynolds 631 on the main triangle of the CC but switched to 4130 ~5 years ago. I don't think it makes any difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
good to know

That's what I read and it sounded like people had mixed feelings about the quality of the tubing now, but it sounds like there is still a lot of street cred behind the surly frame and it is a great base for most anything. I'm pretty sure that if people are spending more on a crankset or wheel set than they do on a frame, they think a lot about the quality surly puts into their work.

Still no feedback about the durability and utility of disc brakes? like PBB said, I'd like to go with the best setup I can afford because buying new will give me the best bang for the buck. I just don't want to get stuck with a frame that's a one trick pony with a trick I don't like anymore.
 

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thehumble1 said:
Still no feedback about the durability and utility of disc brakes? like PBB said, I'd like to go with the best setup I can afford because buying new will give me the best bang for the buck. I just don't want to get stuck with a frame that's a one trick pony with a trick I don't like anymore.
I doubt that having discs and _not_ being able to go the canti route will not be particularly limiting. Maybe if you're trying to break into elite-level cx racing (ie. europe), but at that level someone will probably be happy to have you endorse their lighter wunderbike (ie. ride it for relatively cheap).

If you're worried about the durability and utility of discs, ask over on MTBR.
 

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BB7s have a solid reputation for performance, ease of set-up and tuneability (thanks to CPS and the dual pad adjustment). I have used them on MTBs (even the road version) for years. The best value in disc brakes, IMO.

Weight and wheel selection are the two downsides to discs, from a CX bike perspective. Weight maybe not so much if braking performance is a priority. The selection of 130mm spaced disc hubs is very small. The La Cruz has 135mm spacing, so that's no problem. Not sure about the Lemond, but if it is 130mm spaced that would be a big downside for me.
 

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The only thing you really might want to consider is whether or not you will race in a race using UCI protocol. If the answer is "Yes"...then buy a canti capable frame. If "No" then either the Salsa or LeMond will be great. Discs are about 1lb heavier.

I am using the Shimano R505R discs now and until (if) I race in a UCI sanctioned event I don't worry about them. The have been great so far. I am far less concerned about brake or wheel failure with discs than with canti or other rim brakes. My discs have saved my bacon a couple times. I personally like the Salsa better for the geometry, but I tested the Poprad and really liked it too.

The Surly is a nice bike just heavy. I tested one of those and it felt... heavy. Nice reliable bike though.
 

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Wheels

I have a Poprad Disc and it's great. Surly has a great concepts, like the 132.5 spacing for ant wheel sizes. Used wheel sets on ebay for 130mm spacing disc are hard to come by and disc brakes can compromise wheel integrity on the lighter side. Since 29ers are all the rage 135mm spaced wheels and XT hubs are all over. The disc in the front of a Surly would be a great option. The UCI rules are only for elites, on the racing end, most cross races are grass roots and they let anyone race, we even have a "Cluncker Cross" in my region. Disc brakes make steep single track decents lots of fun and allow for fast cornering. The Surly also has the SS factor and lots of tire clearance, FFF and 132.5 is a brilliant concept, that's the do anything you want frame. The Poprad is more of a sport rig, but I love mine, I like to call it my "County Road Bike" and go fast on dirt roads and do loops that would break a road bike and would be to slow on a mountain bike. The Salsa looks cool and 135 spacing means it was designed to be more Mountain Bikey, they are all great options IMO and should get the job done.
 

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I bought a Poprad with rim brakes, mainly because I wanted the option to swap wheels with my road bike. If that wasn't a consideration, the disc would have been my choice. I've used the bike for riding trails and the lack of aggressive brakes has been an issue. I just installed some Kool Stop Black pads in the front that has elimated the brake squeel, but I haven't hit the trails yet. The Poprad disc is 130 mm rear spacing. I know 2 people with that bike and they love it. You might be able to get a better deal on a Lemond now that Trek is offering dealers incentives to blow them out. I don't know if that applies to the Poprad though.
 

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Chicken or egg?

pretender said:
Let's just make clear, the UCI rule is not a valid reason to avoid disc brakes.
I get the feeling that some people (present company not necessarily included) believe that an arbitrary and unfounded rule from the UCI is preventing the acceptance of disc brakes on CX bikes.

There are several reasons why a bike with disc brakes is a poor choice for racing at any level, and not all boil down to "brakes only slow you down" and "white-hot spinning discs of death". Wheel interchangeability is one. The gap between the assumptions of some about the undisputed awesomeness of disc brakes and reality is another. Weight is not on the side of disc brakes. Hub availability is a minus unless you stick to 135mm spacing which goes back to interchangeability. All of the above conspire to hurt resale value.

The UCI rule also reminds us that pros who have to follow it do well enough without discs. I suppose someone could argue that they would be faster still with disc brakes. But the point of racing is competition within a common set of constraints. Anybody who aspires to approach the elite levels of racing might want to learn how to race with elite level equipment, no? No sense in working your way up through the ranks and then finding yourself unable to compete because you are dependant on technology that is no longer available to you.

For someone who is a racer and believes that discs are like anything else and have both pros and cons, its worth noting that at the most elite level or racing they are not used.
 

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pretender said:
Not a concern for you, which is fine. As an exclusively recreational rider (CMIIAW), there is no reason not to take advantage of every technological advantage that appeals to you.

If you are talking about a specifically defined racing discipline its a different story. I don't think people don't race cross because they are looking for something that is bereft of physical, mental and technical challenges.

I like the fact that you can compete at the elite level of CX with brakes that cost less than $50 a wheel. Moving the discipline in the direction of $300+ a wheel superlight discs would be a shame, IMO. Call me an elitist.
 

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PeanutButterBreath said:
Not a concern for you, which is fine. As an exclusively recreational rider (CMIIAW), there is no reason not to take advantage of every technological advantage that appeals to you.

If you are talking about a specifically defined racing discipline its a different story. I don't think people don't race cross because they are looking for something that is bereft of physical, mental and technical challenges.

I like the fact that you can compete at the elite level of CX with brakes that cost less than $50 a wheel. Moving the discipline in the direction of $300+ a wheel superlight discs would be a shame, IMO. Call me an elitist.
offs

There are plenty of valid pros and cons to using discs, and you've certainly covered a bunch. The UCI rule, however, is not one of them, unless you are actually competing in UCI-sanctioned races.
 
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