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Bought my first CX bike

Posted April 20, 2015 06:09PM by Skye in the Cycling Forum

Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

I've been watching Craigslist for months, looking for a full suspension XC Trail bike, and instead I end up buying an old CX bike. I guess that says something about how my brain is wired. There's just something about drop handlebars and double triangle frames that gets me going.

It's a 2006 Felt F1X, alloy frame and carbon fork. 55cm top tube and seat post length, I usually ride a 56cm, so this will a little more upright which is probably good for offroad. Bottom bracket drop is only 55mm, so it's got a lot of clearance. Bottom of the top tube is flattened for carrying. Construction is quite beefy, and it has mount points for fenders and racks which is a nice touch if I want to use it for touring. Threaded SRAM GXP bottom bracket and Truvativ GXP cranks. It also has a replaceable rear mech hanger which is good because I'm sure I'll be crashing a lot.

It was listed as a 2008 but it's not, and he said he bought it new, so that's a bit fishy. And there are some oddball parts on it so maybe it's been in an accident or two. On the plus side, the 2006 F1X doesn't seem to be affected by the Felt F1X fork recall.

The good:
- 2x10 Ultegra 6600 shifters and mech
- Comes with pretty good DT Swiss R450 wheels, straight and lots of life left on braking surface.
- Recently replaced bottom bracket, runs smooth.
- It's the right size for me and I love the matte black paint.

The bad:
- It's filthy. I spent the better part of a day washing off the caked-on grease and grime.
- Shifting and braking is awful, all cables and housings and brake pads need to be replaced.
- The chain snapped on my first ride. Might as well replace cassette too.
- The jockey wheels are so worn they are as sharp as shark's teeth. Didn't noticed that before buying.
- The front derailleur has been replaced with an old Dura-Ace FD that doesn't match the chain ring profile.
- Chain rings are an odd 50-38 combo. Going to have to buy a new 110 BCD compact crankset for non-race use.
- It's a bit of a porker, weight without wheels is 6.9 kg (15.2 lbs). Nothing that some $$ won't fix.

First impressions:
- Goes great on gravel, even with these 28mm Continental Touring Plus tires
- Very responsive handling with the 75mm stem. I might put on the original 110mm stem at some point just to compare.
- Ultegra shifters feel really positive and crisp. Hope the braking performance improves as these new Tektro pads bed in.
- Shimano PD-M515 pedals are ok for now. We'll see how they do with mud clearance.
- Bar top brake levers are an interesting touch. I can see how they would be useful for really gnarly descents, but add weight.
- 50-38 chain rings and 12-28 cassette is not so good for spinning up steep hills. Low gear ratio 1.36 - high 4.17

The budget:
I'm a sucker for a deal, I almost always buy used. Plus, buying into the last generation of tech means you can upgrade to top of the line components for a fraction of what it cost a few years ago. However unless you add up all the money you spent fixing it up to a 8/10 condition, you won't really know if you're coming out ahead. Adding up the bills is always the painful part. Of course, I'm planning to upgrade some things like the seat, seatpost, brakes, etc when a deal comes along, but I'm not including those, just the "true base cost" for now.

2006 Felt F1X, as bought off Craigslist - $550
Shop work: Replace all cables and housings, chain, cassette, brake pads, pulley wheels, check dropout alignment - $300
New handlebar tape - $20
Used Truvativ Elita Crankset GXP 110bcd 50-36 compact, eBay - $90
Used Ultegra 6600 front mech, eBay - $20
New DT Swiss rear QR skewer - $20
TOTAL: $1,000 on the dot, which was my budget. I can live with that.

In comparison, I could have bought a brand new Ridley X‑Ride 15 Disc from MEC for $1,850 after tax (plus pedals). I would have gotten a warranty, service, disc brakes and maybe a slightly lighter frame, internal cable routing, and 11 speeds instead of 10. On the minus side, they would be mechanical disc brakes which don't sound so great, and I feel like disc and axle technology and common specs haven't really been sorted out yet. I won't have any trouble spending the extra $800 on some good race wheels and tires (maybe a few sets).

How about some photos?


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Beaver Lake laps

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Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

Took the F1X for a ride through the park today, it was supposed to be an easy spinning day, but I saw some really nice singletrack going off the side of the road so I had to explore. Tons of fun through the fast rolling section, low gear on the 50-38 was perfect. Need to work on my remount technique. Managed to hop the roots ok when they were spaced out, but when there were 2 or 3 close together I ran into some trouble (shins are nice and banged up tonight). Going to do more exploring on the 26er hardtail and see if I can find the easy trails for more CX practice, maybe higher up near Meadow Trail.

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Silence is a luxury

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Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

Another thing I noticed is that the bar top brake levers interfere with carrying the bike in the "around the head tube, grip the tops" position. Conversely, the cables running along the bottom of the down tube make the "around the down tube, grip the drops" carry position uncomfortable. Going to do some more easy singletrack on this bike before making a decision, but if they hardly ever get used, ie I can handle steep descents on the hoods, the bar top levers are definitely coming off. I think I can simply replace them with an inline adjuster to avoid having to redo all the (brand new) brake cables.

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Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

Installed new Bontrager CX0 cross tires and tubes. Getting those Conti Touring wire bead tires off the rims was a bitch. Shaved over a pound off the bike and looks boss

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Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

Took the Felt up to Whistler this weekend to ride with a friend on the mountain bike trails around Lost Lake near Blackcomb village. The new CX0 tires worked great, I think I can drop the pressure even more, just waiting for my Topeak D2 pressure gauge to get here so I can really dial it in. Confused a lot of tourists (is that a road bike?) and passed a lot of full sus mountain bikes. The easy/green MTB trails are crazy fun on a CX bike, really great flow. Still have to think about cornering sometimes (drop outside pedal, hover on seat, lean bike over, distribute weight) but it's almost second nature now.

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slacker
slacker toboggan victorious
@komradepow   Load error 6151114
Location: Whistler
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 34

You kicked my ass on corners. Watching your lines was helpful — even more helpful was lowering my seat by 1cm, from a touring style position to having a bit more wiggle room for laying the bike over.

— beatz: http://djtobias.com
— tweetz: @komradepow


Skye
Skye Skye Nott
@TheStaminist   Load error 5880115
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago   Posts: 529

I can definitely see how lowering the seat would allow being even more aggressive in corners, really get the bike leaned over for max grip from the side knobbies. Speaking of which, it looks like dropper seat posts are coming to CX/gravel bikes - Specialized has a 27.2mm dropper now? But $450 yikes, plus the weight. Probably not necessary for CX races but would be a lot of fun on trails.

http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bikes-and-gear-features/dropper-seatposts-come-road-bikes

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