I'm a long time rd/mtn racer but had never tried cross as I was usually burnt out
on racing after a full season of rd and mtn racing. However, after missing all last summer due to an injury, I decided to try cross and boy did I get hooked. :-) I did the season on an old converted mtn bike: full ridged with drop bars and cross gearing. I do however want to build up a proper Cx bike. I was going to treat myself to a Ridley X-fire. However, the stand over will not work. The other two that came to mind that have the proper fit are the Ibis Hakkaluggi and Salsa Chili Con Crosso. If anyone has any experience with either, feel free to offer you opinion. Or make other suggestions. I should add that I'm only looking for a frame set.
I rode the Salsa Chili Con Crosso, despite the awesome name I didn't like the bike much. I really wanted to like it but it just wasn't there for me. I haven't ridden the Ibis, but Andrew had it for a while, maybe he'll chime in. I test rode the Van Dessel and liked it. Surprisingly, I really liked the Felt 15X (I think that's what it is/was called last year) so you might want to check out that one, they have cheaper build options that use the same frame.
I wish I could fit a Ridley myself, but they just don't work. By the time I've got a TT long enough, the HT is too tall, and the seat post is too short. Damn! I'm weird, they're weird. Who knows. If you're looking for a "whole bike" not just a frame, you should give the Redlines a look. Yeah I know, not much cool factor, but they are great bikes and Redline really knows how to spec their bikes for cross racing - unlike a lot of shelf bikes that need part swapping. The unfortunate thing is that they've put those damn disc tabs back on the Pro. I hate those things. But the Team is simply a great bike - I hear they're coming out with a some carbon, or all carbon version this year. I've test ridden the Salsa and they're nice, but I don't care for sloping TTs on my cross bike. Still, the weight is great, and the ride is awesome (thank Scandium). Don't know about the VD's but they look good. In MI Specialized is big, and most of our top racers are riding them. Take a look at the Jamis. They are a nice bike, especially if you like the front end low - like I do - otherwise you're going to be stacking up those bars. If I had the dough, and was good enough, I'd go for a Stevens Team Carbon. But I'm neither, so I'm sticking with my Redlines.
I have raced Redlines and Stevens and both bike worked very well but this year while riding on the road with road tires the Stevens carbon frame broke on the drive side. This bike had been a B bike and never saw any abuse other than 11 cross races as a backup. The bike shop sent a photo to Sinclair Imports and they decided that the crack was my fault and they only offered a couple hundred dollars off of a new frame. My old frame was 7 months old also.The bike shop tried to have Stevens help from Germany but they offered nothing. So my point is Stevens Bikes does not stand behind there product which is to bad because it was a good race bike but for $1700 retail they need to back up there product.
Wow.... Sorry to hear your story, but thanks for letting me know.
Many many products have issues from time to time. It's how the manufacturer handles it that
counts. As such, I just scratched Stevens off the list. I've lived this nightmare with Dean Bikes.
I'm not looking to repeat it. No Stevens for me.
I too can't fit to a Ridley (short legs) so I looked around a lot before deciding to go with a Blue. They are coming out with three new CX frames. I'm not sure when they will be available, I imagine sometime this summer. The main complaints about this frame have been addressed for '11 it seems, i.e. tire clearance. This was sent to my email this morning.
The frame itself on the SL will be the same design from the 2010 Norcross bike, but we've added some more clearance in the chainstay area and the fork has been updated to include carbon dropouts. Features will include the 1 1/2 lower headset bearing and BB30 bottom bracket. http://rideblue.com/images/pageimages/norcrosssl.jpg
Brand new for 2011, the EX will feature a carbon monocoque design using the same geometry as the SL. The fork will be the exact same one that we used on the 2010 Norcross and will feature a 1 1/2 lower headset bearing. BB30 will also make an appearance in the BB area. The EX will come in weighing around 150 grams heavier than SL frameset. http://rideblue.com/images/pageimages/norcrossex.jpg
With the CX6.5 leaving our range for 2011, it will be replaced by the also alloy Norcross SP. The SP will feature the same fork as the EX frameset, including the 1 1/2 lower headset bearing and also come standard with BB30 bottom bracket. The SP will be THE bike for the budget conscious rider who still wants great performance. http://rideblue.com/images/pageimages/norcrosssp.jpg
sounds like you're looking for a sloping top tube for standover? so longer torso, shorter legs? but sounds like you want light?
the ibis was slightly sloping but not too much on the larger sizes. what size are you looking at? the slope isn't the only issue but one consideration along with head tube length and bottom bracket height.
one sloping top tube that comes to mind is the giant TCX.
the other approach is just bikes that have short head tubes and are very aggressive. Todd's suggestion on Blue is right on here (although not the lowest bb, which affects standover), also Bianchi and Focus fit this bill nicely and have carbon options. We've reviewed both - and both are great bikes. The Bianchi is under-appreciated but nearly perfect as a frame, the focus has a very stout fork and the Ultegra model at $2700 is a relative bargain for a full carbon bike. I think Jamis might fit your needs as well (low bb).
Even surly and soma have short head tubes/long top tubes.
I'd agree with surly bastard redline specs great bikes but if you need lots of standover their top tubes are not really that sloping.
Lastly, one small thing to consider is top-tube length is not absolute - it needs to be considered in conjunction with seat angle if you're using that as a gauge for size, if you are positioning your seat relative to the bottom bracket.
Thanks for the detailed response.
I'm looking for a size 52 which most co's call a small. I'm currently using a 52.5 TT. My biggest issue is a 78cm inseem. This has me scratching Blue, Ridley and a few others.
I'd like to avoid a sloping TT but I nay not have much of a choice. Sloping TTs on smaller frames make them tougher to shoulder. I hadn't given much thought to head tube lenght. What should I be looking for here?
Your are correct in assuming I'm looking for some thing on the light side. I'm not willing to sacrifice durability though. I've seen several reviews of the Con Crosso mention how easily it dents. Sort of has me concerned.
So you have any experience with the Scott Addict Cx. It's more than I want to spend but I'm finding my fit to be limiting
we reviewed the alum addict a couple issues ago. josh patterson reviewed it and liked it - he found it very stiff for sure. if you're worried about dents, certainly carbon/steel are better choices, but may not be overall more durable.
I'm surprised the blue has clearance problems - they're pretty low slung and have short head tubes but sit a bit tall. you could always consider custom. for the prices of carbon you could definitely get a custom alum, scandium (rock lobster doesn't have a crazy wait and is reasonable) or ti (overseas - habanero) custom frame.
for shouldering, your shoulder really sits around the middle of the top tube, so you could look for something with a tall head tube and a extreme slope may actually have the same amount of room as a low head tube and horizontal top tube, if that makes sense. it's like comparing the midpoints of "-" and "/" ( a gross over simplification). granted, your crotch is not much further back than the midpoint of the top tube too, so there might not be much gain either.