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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys... I need some advice.
I hope to do a decent cross season on the cheap this year. I have two potential frames to use and am looking for direction

Frame #1- Surly Crosscheck,largest size (63?). I use it now as a "do all" bike.
It seems a bit long for me although it shouldn't, I'm 6'5"ish but with some neck/shoulder
problems, I get sore with the reach after awhile. I could probably make it work.

Frame #2- Is a '97? Mongoose Crossway 850 (hybrid) I picked it up a few years ago and it's been built but hardly ridden. Area guys at he time were racing cross on this frame. Head angle is a degree more relaxed than a racing stead, but it's pretty light and efficient. Top tube on it is about 58cm so it's a bit shorter, but again, I can make up for it. If I go with this frame, a new fork would be in order (Windwood carbon?) as it has an aluminum kinesis fork on it now.

Do I stick with the tired and true Surly or go with the 'goose?
Thanks for your help... Toddre
 

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hybrid geometry?

most hybrid converts I've seen have long chainstays and a long wheelbase. that makes for sort of a slow handling bike, not that the surly's exactly a crit bike either tho. why not put on a higher rise, maybe shorter, stem on the surly and ride that? stem's cheaper than a new fork.
 

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I love these challenges! I'm building a gutter-budget cross racer for a big friend now, using a thriftshop steel Bianchi hybrid, complete with burnz-omatic replacement of the cable guides for portaging. My advice, pick the one you think is going to best fit. Dude, the bike industry does not consider you "normal". Sorry. You're a monster and bike fit's gonna be a challenge, especially if you're going stock/inexpensive. Your neck problems may be from bars too low rather than too forward. If you have some friends with some compatible stems of different sizes lying around, or a buddy at your LBS who'll let you try out some used ones from the bin, check out some options.

One of the best investments I ever made in bike stuff was a couple of cheap adjustable stems from Nashbar for 15 bucks apiece. One has a 10cm extension, the other a 12 cm, and both adjust up and down. Both 1 1/8 diameter, with shims so I can use them on either size steer tube. I even have an old 1" road fork with a long steer tube that I can switch out and set up threadless with my threaded forks just to use them to experiment with the stem length and position that I can replicate with a permanent stem later. Yeah, you can go get fitted somewhere and have someone tell you what works- their opinion based on some "system" on that day, for that bike. You'll get different results in January than you would with a fitting in August if the fitter is worth your money. But nothing is better than trial and error to get it right as I like different positions for different rides- my crit crouch won't work for a long ride in the hills, and my cross position is different than fixed gear. I don't keep them on, and they're god-awful ugly phredware, but I've used them many times to dial in a desired position for cross, road, fixed gear, touring etc on a bunch of my bikes (they seem to breed in the basement). You can also just buy a few cheap stems and try them out and keep the one you like. Remember that all threadless stems can be turned upside-down for more/less rise, even the one-bolt ones (looks eclectic but that's cross!). I find great deals on stems from icycles.com At less than 10 bucks for a decent, but no-name stem you can buy a couple and give one away. You can also play around with seatposts with more/less setback. I have a box of old seatposts too, never ever ever pass up the opportunity to liberate a seatpost from a rusty junker! Even steel ones get bent in the vice to play with position! :idea: You laugh, but my team mates come find me when they have a which size question for a new frame.

So I can't tell you which frameset to choose, because it's all about the fit, you gotta go with what you know or experiment. You won't notice much difference based on the frame materials, both can be raced. If you go with the mongoose, I wouldnt bother with buying another fork, its not worth it for that frame until the Aluminum snaps from bunny-hopping a barrier or something :thumbsup: Then forget about carbon, get a less expensive steel fork like a Ritchey or Fort or something, you can find them for less than 50 bucks. For a guy your size, a steel fork will work better, less brake chatter, better handling than an inexpensive carbon. Screw the weight diff hype. Really. You wont know the diff real-world. I've raced both, including the Winwood. I prefer the steel for cross racing and Im much smaller than you at 5 10 150lbs. Good luck- either way you're gonna have a righteous bike, see you on the line.
And oh yeah, check this out, you might find it useful to think about your stem.
http://www.habcycles.com/fitting.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The problem with my neck/shoulders isn't necessarily the reach per se, it's more of the fact that riding in the tops and on the hood "cramps" my shoulders. Almost as if the bars aren't wide enough (I have 46's). The weird twist with my wrist and arms in the hoods affects my shoulders. I come from a mtb back ground so I may go to a flat bat set up anyways.
Thanks all for the input
By the way, the chainstay on the Mongoose ends up being about a 1/4" longer.
Would that be considered big by 'cross standards?
 

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If you're used to a flat bar set up and are having trouble with drop bars, set the bike up with flat bars. Being your first season, on a budget....seems like a good choice.
There are alot of 700c flat bar road bike on the market these days.

Second for "go with the bike that fits"
 
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