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Ex road racer, 1st year in cross and will be racing in the midwest and mid atlantic region. I have it down to Kona jake the snake, hear it's one of the best entry level bikes that could keep me happy for a few years, but I am not a shimano fan. Then there's the giant tcx 1 with sram rival which I have heard is a no brainer for cross but not into the huge companies. The giant I can get for about $350 less which would leave some money for tubulars down the road and would be buying it from a shop from which I plan on doing some training with. Ultimately I want the best overall bike, any help would be appreciated.

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go  with the giant, sounds like you have a great starting point. Saving some coin to buy tubulars is the smartest investment!! If having a bunch of manufacturer logos on your bike doesnt sit well with you, you can always remove them!!

I just converted my cx bike over to sram, no races yet, but absolutely love the way it shifts!!! My only word of advice is make sure you test ride them both, try and do some dismounts and remounts, shoulder the bikes to get a feel for how they are going to handle!!! Good luck!!

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