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So I have gotten the ok to spend the money and I have the button ready to push I just need to figure out what bike shows up at my door when I push the button. 

I am looking to buy a cross bike to use as a full season road bike and then to start racing cross in the fall. I am hoping to spend $1500 or less. I am trying to figure which brands to look at. I have a list of some bikes that I have seen for around $1500 that I can keep an eye out for. The brands are:

Fuji Cross 1.1, Cross 1.3

Trek Crockett 5

Specialized Crux Sport 105

Focus AX 1.0, 2.0, 3.0

Cannondale CAADX Disc 105

Raleigh RX 2.0

Felt F75X, F65X

Redline - I can't remember the model I test rode

I am looking for a 58cm aluminum frame. I hope to find one with Shimano 105 or better. I have also been told that SRAM Rival and up are good so that would probably work. At this point I am not picky about the rims or tires. It can also be canti brakes or disc, I don't care at this point.

Basically my question is, of the brands I listed or haven't listed, is there anything I should stay away from? It seems that any bike I went with would be a good purchase.

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Of course we'd say this, but we had a great bike buying tips article in Issue 21 that would be really helpful in prioritizing your options while shopping. Issue 23's study on geometry wouldn't hurt either. You can even get the box set and get them both. 

While those pieces will help you figure out what you really need, I would highly recommend you to not focus on brands or components but focus on what meets your needs, what fits you and your riding style, and what's available locally from a shop that will take care of you. Good luck!

Thanks for the tips Andrew. I have been  meaning to check out the actual CX magazine so this would be the best time. 

Even though I can't count the number of bikes I have had on one hand, this is the first one I have gotten to pick and buy myself. My plans are to list the bikes that could possibly meet my price point and specs in terms of components then find what is available locally. Now it's mostly down to calling around to shops and seeing what they have and then check them out.

No problem Chad. When you say "as a road bike" what does that include? Group rides? Races? Gravel? 

I'd say on thing to look for, if it's going to be a road/cx bike for you, is a low bottom bracket. And as blasphemous as it sounds, maybe you don't even need a cx crankset/gearing if more months are being spent on the road than racing cx. If you really get into it, you can always swap the rings for cx rings. Not sure how hilly it is where you are.

I'd also agree with some others that if you're also riding road a lot, maybe disc brakes are overkill and the added weight will be unnecessary on the road. Assuming you're also riding clinchers on the road though, you may look for a bike that comes with tubeless ready wheels. Certain wheels, with certain tires, can work great in cx setup as tubeless. That's another discussion entirely, but if you'd like to run one wheelset all year and be able to go low pressure, tubeless might be the way to go.

There's some good tips in the mag, but whatever you pursue, good luck!

On the road the bike will be used for group rides only. During the summer I will probably try taking it on some trails that a co-worker takes his cross bike on. Thanks for the tips.

+1 on frame geometry being the biggest difference between cross bikes.  If you are logging a lot of road miles you want the lower style american BB geometry vs the Eurostyle higher BB.  If you plan a lot of trail riding, the higher style Euro geometry has its benefits. 

Disc brakes are really becoming the standard on cross bikes now, but we are really in limbo as hydraulic setups aren't really readily available. Mini V's are really superior rim brakes unless you are racing in Belgium mud.  They will probably be an add on from the shop, but any decent shop should give you some credit for the canti's towards them.  The cheap Tetro ones are just fine with better pads(kool stop), no huge need for the super expensive TRP setups for most people.

The good thing is that most cross bikes are setup for people in your situation, not really built for racing off of the shelf.  A 46/36 chainring setup is fine for road riding outside of fast group rides and racing.  A 50/36 or 50/34 maybe spec'd on certain lower end bikes and it isn't really cross gearing, but instead rec rider triple replacement.

Brand doesn't matter so much as the geometry of the given brand as some may have gaps around your size or if they have a BB height that isn't great for you. 

Being that its your first cross bike you aren't going to really know what you want, it took me a half dozen road and cross bikes to understand what I really wanted, but I didn't care as much because I didn't know better.

If you were looking to only race cross on this bike, I would say buy a used frame and 1x10 it with a wide narrow chainring and mini v's grabbing all of the cheap tubular wheelsets that are floating around right now.  The more you ride and race cross you find that your utility bike and cross race bikes are different breeds altogether.

One final thought is I have never had a cross bike that was comfortable to ride for 2+ hour rides regardless of terrain compared to a dedicated road bike.  They are built to be stiff for short races and that isn't fun for longer rides.

 

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