Tag Archives: Ultracross

Entry Level Monstercross / Gravel Grinder Bike List

20130726-210615.jpg
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.

20130726-210630.jpg

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

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.
20130114-204235.jpg
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
20121009-155439.jpg
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

Tagged , , ,

Singletrack on a ‘Cross Bike

20130720-142908.jpg
It can be done.

It should be done.

It does get done.

Tagged , ,

Un Jour Avec, Un Jour Sans

For my non-Francaise speaking peeps, the title of this post translates to “A Day With, A Day Without”. Euro cyclistes use the phrase “Un jour sans” as a short way to say they didn’t have the legs to pedal well, or to basically describe a bad day on the bike.

However, I had the best day in my recent memory! My legs felt like pistons in a Cummings diesel engine. As can be seen in the Strava screenshot below, I rode a challenging route (what can’t be seen from Strava is that a large chunk of the milage was off highway including logging and rocky coal mining roads). Like the Duke cousins, I flattened the hills and straightened the curves.

How was it also un jour sans? As soon as I finished the descent off of my mountain, I realized I forgot my air pump! I remembered my tubes, patches, multi tool, chain tool, and even a leatherman. Somehow I forgot my air pump even though I knew I would be taking my crossed in places the bony boulders have even flatted mountain bike tires. I thought of turning around, but I actually dreaded the cold morning descent more than the ascent.

This is when I came up with my motto for the rest of the year, and will hopefully get me through Iron
Cross X. Just Ride. That’s right, just ride. Forgot my air pump? Don’t worry about the long hike out of the woods, just ride. Pouring rain and a tornado watch on a Tuesday night? Just ride. Bike a little heavy and you don’t have the latest disc brake system? Just ride. Just slogged up the “run up” on the power lines and your quads, calves and lungs are screaming? Just ride!

Don’t worry about things that can go wrong, the physical challenges facing you on your route, don’t make an excuse why you shouldn’t ride one day….. just ride!

20120919-122846.jpg

Tagged , ,

Iron Cross 2012 Bike

20120705-151008.jpg
1998 Bianchi San Remo

  • size 58 cm frame
  • 25.9 pounds
  • Dedacciai Zero / cromoly tubing
  • Dedacciai chromoly fork
  • 20120705-153852.jpg

  • Salsa in line brake levers
  • Tektro 926 mini v- brake with Problem Solvers travel agent
  • 35 mm Ritchey Speedmax
  • 20120705-155255.jpg

  • Nashbar cantilever brakes
  • 35 mm Ritchey Speedmax
  • 20120705-155347.jpg

  • triple–granny gear is great on steep and loose off road pitches
  • Shimano 520 SPD pedals
  • 20120705-155436.jpg

  • Campagnolo 8 speed drivetrain
  • 20120705-185856.jpg

    20120705-155519.jpg

  • Mavic 36 spoke MA-2’s wrapped in….
  • 20120705-155606.jpg

    I bought this bike as my first “road bike” after riding a mountain bike on the road. Coming from a mountain bike, this pig felt light! Technically, it’s a touring frame, buy there isn’t too much difference in geometry between cross and touring bikes.

    I rode it for awhile, including a tri or two until the opportunity came up to buy an aluminum tri specific bike. This was an enlightenment in bike frame material technology and I realized this frame was in fact not light. The bike was parked for awhile as I acquired a aluminum Bianchi Giro as a daily driver.

    When the opportunity came to try cross, I dusted off the old Bianchi and threw some knobbies on ‘er. She was also pressed into service to carry the baby seat.

    She again got a new lease on life when I signed up for 2012 Iron Cross. I added the mini-v brake up front to reduce fork chatter. Also added the in line levers for shifting weight back on descents. I also changed out handle bars from a Cannondale and seat post from a Trek mountain bike. The seat is from my Bianchi road bike–too plush for the road but great for cross–also matches frame color! Switched out to a shorter quill stem purchased from eBay.

    Estimated Cost

      $200-complete bike, used, LBS
      $35-Speedmax tires
      $17-Fizik handlebar wrap
      $19-brake levers
      $20-brake install and travel agent
      $15-shorter stem
      $25-used pedals
      $16-mini-v brake
      $9 Nashbar canti brake
      Free-seat post
      Free-handle bar
      Free-saddle
      Total-$330

    The Good and the Bad

    Good

      Cheap ride
      Steel frame sucks up bumps
      In-line levers are a great addition
      Mini v-brake in front allows me to actually stop
      Very comfortable ride quality
      Ritchey Speedmax are surprisingly good on road (quiet and low rolling resistance) but also decent traction on rocky woods trails

    Bad

      Heavy!
      Hard to find wheels for 8 speed Campy
      Not the most comfortable shifter hoods
    Tagged , , , ,