I'm looking for assistance in choosing a first bike for CX. I'd like a singlespeed, and this narrows it down substantially. The bikes I'm looking at are:
1) Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno - $399
- I've been told by folks that Moto brand was bought out, ain't what it used to be, and the components are lousy. Several reports of tacoed wheels can be found out on the interwebs. The plus is that it's cheap enough to buy with my current wallet.
2) Swobo Crosby - $750
- What are folks' impressions of the component-quality here? I like the versatility, with fender-mounts, etc, to make this a great all-rounder. It can be had for $750ish in my size (50cm), for which I only need to hock a few more personal items to be able to afford.
3) Masi Speciale CX/SS - $900+
- I have it on good authority that this one is a sweet set-up. The downside here is the amount of cash I'd have to hack up.
Please give your impressions and opinions, and other suggestions. I'm not cheap, I just don't have very much money to spend on a bike.
Thanks, in advance.
I can't say what bike to get, but I can complicate things by suggesting another option -- if I were buying a stock SS I would look seriously at the Bianchi Roger (discontinued, so it would have to be used). I haven't ridden one, but they look like they have a lot of potential.
I do have a Bianchi San Jose (SS cross bike). I haven't raced it, I use it for commuting, but I like it a lot. From stock I think it would benefit from upgrades (wheels) to race happily.
The Crosby looks like a lot of fun. It would be hard to have much buyers remorse with that, from the looks of it.
...and to complicate this a bit further. I have known 4 people now that have wanted to get into CX and have purchased single speed CX bikes. They all have gears now. If you are planning on racing CX on a singlespeed you might want to find a way to try it first before purchasing. Most of the comments from folks have been, I didn't know it was going to be so hard on a SS. Having just purchased a SS mountain bike I am all for the SS you just have to be ready for the pain when racing CX with it.
Yeah, I gotta agree. With that in mind, the Crosby could be a great first SS CX bike b/c you could use it SS and when/if you want gears (and yeah, more likely when than if), you can throw them on there pretty easily. Plus if you ever want disc you're covered.
I don't know if the geometry of the Crosby is particularly suited for racing, that's beyond me.
I know several people who recently started racing 'cross and did so with the Motobecane Uno. They really like the bike. In my opinion, it's a great way to start out... you get a lot of bang for your buck. The Motobecane has decent components for the price, but you may want to do a few upgrades eventually. One thing I really like about this bike is the fact that it is steel. Sure, it's a little heavier, but the way it smoothes out the bumps makes up for the added weight.
Bottom line... you can't go wrong with the Motobecane with such a low price.
If you want to spend a little more money, I'd recommend the All-City Nature Boy. Great bike. I ride a Nature Boy frame. It's a great race bike as well as a do-it-all bike.
As for single speed vs. gears, I'd say this... definitely go with single speed. CX racing is going to be hard no matter what, and racing SS doesn't usually put you at that much of a disadvantage. It's simple, low maintenance, efficient, reliable and most importantly, fun! By the way, I race my SS in the single speed classes as well as against the geared guys.
Thanks to all who've replied so far, and thanks for the friendly warnings about SS.
I currently race in endurance MTB races on a mountain unicycle, not only SS, but fixed, and just one wheel! So the CX/SS doesn't scare me. But I do like the extreme versatility of the Swobo, i.e. if I did want to gear it, and/or commute and/or disc-brake it, all the hookups are there.
Well, I was looking at a hucknroll.com ad for the Swobo Crosby, and saw their price had dropped to $650, and I decided I just had to go for it. Then the Crosby came up on their "special bargain" site bonktown.com, for even less.
Get this: $464.99, shipped. Whoa. I bought one.
Whoa is right. As versitile as it appears to be, I *think* it does require two wheels, but now that you've mentioned that there is such a thing as unicycle MTB, I realize I don't know anything.
Enjoy the bike!!