Monthly Archives: July 2013

Entry Level Monstercross / Gravel Grinder Bike List

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There is much debate about what constitutes a “monstercross” bike. What most can agree on is this is a fun and fast growing segment of the bike world. I thought it would be a fun and helpful exercise to gather a list of such bikes. It’s fun for me because it’s like electronic window shopping.

I work as a Data Governance Analyst for a large worldwide financial services company. In my daily job activities, I see everyday that trying to get everyone to agree on a definition of even elemental items can be like roping the wind, or getting oil from a water spout <edit: with nat gas fracking, the latter actually is possible, so bad analogy>. For the purpose of this post, I am defining my population of bikes as between $1000 and $2000 in cost, can fit large tires, drop bars, and disc brakes. I know disc brakes are entirely not necessary to either to be defined as a monstercross bike, or to function as one; however, this criterion allows me to narrow down the population to a more manageable number. If there is a 3 dimensional continuum of bike genre, these bikes are somewhere where commuter, tourer, cyclocross, and road bikes overlap. Just as a congressman leans left or right, many of these bikes lean towards one genre harder than another.

This is precisely where the beauty of this type of bike lies; they are at home on a B group road ride, or on smooth singletrack. Which bike is right for you? That would depend on where on the multidimensional continuum you lie as a rider.

I am sure there are those who will disagree with my list, or cry about an omission. Please remember, I am not a professional bike journalist who gets to travel expenses paid to product launches or gets faxed press releases!

The table below list the bike manufacturer and model name, frame material, and a link to either brand website, or review. I also included a short and subjective description.

Kona Rove steel new breed of dedicated gravel grinder
Raleigh Tamland steel another new breed of dedicated gravel grinder recently announced
Raleigh Roper steel commuter leaning, but rugged and versatile
Redline Metro Classic steel commuter leaning, but rugged and versatile
Specialized Tricross aluminum or steel similar in scope to Raleigh Roper above
Trek Crossrip aluminum multipurpose and versatile, commuter centric
Salsa Vaya steel follows in lineage of pioneering adventure bike
Surly Disc Tracker steel like the Vaya, follows in long line of adventure type bikes
Giant Anyroad aluminum most road leaning bike on the list, brand new design

Noticeably absent are some good entry level bikes like the Focus Mares AX 2.0 Disc, Felt F65X, etc. I decided to leave them off the table above since they are cyclocross racing centric. However, any of those would also make a great gravel grinding type of bike suitable for races such as R2D2, Iron Cross, etc. so are included below.

Focus Mares 2.0 AX Disc aluminum cyclocross
Felt F65X aluminum cyclocross
Jamis Nova Disc aluminum cyclocross
GTR CX Elite aluminum cyclocross
Kona Jake aluminum cyclocross
Redline Conquest Disc aluminum cyclocross
Airborne Delta aluminum cyclocross

Also absent were the offering from BikesDirect.com. I don’t personally have an issue with this company, but I think buying in this method is different enough to exclude the Motobecanes and Gravitys they offer.

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Iron Cross Bike Race Links

Unfortunately, I will be in California during Iron Cross this year, so
I won’t be partaking in the melange of gravel, singletrack, roads, and run ups this year. However, for those folks who are thinking about racing this event and are looking for more information, I am reposting a list of links I put together last year, along with adding some others. Hopefully you will be motivated by these historical posts to enter the foray that is IC XI.
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Iron Cross Home Page
Iron Cross Bike Reg
What the heck is Ultacross?
Cycling Dirt Video
Dirt Rag 2010 Report
Roger Masse 2011 Repor
Iron City Bikes 2011 Report
Fit Chick 2009 Report
Cycling Dirt 2011 Report
Pez 2005 Report
Liberty Sports 2011 Preview
NYC Velocity 2011 Review
Hill Junkie 2008 Review
Race Ramblings 2010 Report
NE Race Redux 2010 Report
Danielle Musto 2009 Report
Monika’s 2010 Report
Liberty Sports 2011 Results
Guys Racing 2010 ReportTeam Ommegang 2011 Review
Alicia Parr 2006 Review
Rawland Cycles Review

Bike Setup Specific
Hill Junkie Blog – CX or 29er?
Forum thread on gearing
Forum thread on bike setup
Another forum, talks about tires
XXC mag
Bicycle Times example
Soiled Chamois post about bike choice
Iron Cross organization recommendations
My bike from 2012

2012 Iron Cross X Links
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XXC Mag Preview
Iron Cross Website Results and Review
Cycling Dirt Video
A.E. Landes Photography
SSR Race Report
Pflug’s Report
Hans MBM Race Report
Lance Byrd Report
Mike Festa Report
Cyclocross Magazine Report
Chris’s Report
LWC Youtube
Second Hand Spoke Blog
Ryan Dudek Pictures
Tongue in Chic Blog Report

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Singletrack on a ‘Cross Bike

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It can be done.

It should be done.

It does get done.

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