Urban Velo

Masi Speciale CX

Masi Speciale CX

I’ve been lusting after a Masi Speciale CX for some time. Admittedly, I want almost every bike I see. But now Masi’s gone and teased me further by running an ad for it on the back cover of Urban Velo #11. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to review one, but until then, here’s what I find so appealing about the Speciale CX:

It’s got the look. Steel tubes painted rootbeer brown—classic, like a 76′ Cordoba. The retro graphics are cool and timeless. The cork bar-tape and brown leather saddle look practical and classy, not elegant and geriatric.

The price is right. At $1,150 it’s a little more expensive than some, and a little less expensive than others. This puts it within the price range of most of my friends, even though most of them aren’t buying new bikes more than once every two years or so. I even know a high-school student who’s seriously looking at this. The bottom line is, you get what you pay for and this bike strikes a good balance between “want” and “need.”

Parts is parts. And pieces is pieces. One of the big differences between the Speciale CX and less expensive cross bikes are it’s STI shifters. Masi went with Shimano Tiagra, which work extremely well out of the box. Eventually they wear out but if maintained properly you’ll probably get three or more good years out of them. Shimano’s 105 rear derailleur is a workhorse that should last as long as the frame. And the frame is the best part—TIG welded, double-butted chromoly with rack and fender mounts. The matching steel fork has a lugged crown and cantilever bosses. The Ritchey and Truvativ parts are nothing to sneeze at while they’re new… By the time you’ve beaten up the wheels and cranks, you’ll have found some sweet Campy or Dura Ace replacements at the bike swap.

Visit www.masibikes.com for more info.

About Urban Jeff

I'm about to have a nervous breakdown, my head really hurts. Contact me.

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  1. jamesmallonJanuary 3, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Masi has some good steel for the prices, but Jamis knocks me out. The bottom two rows on this page are all steel: http://www.jamisbikes.com/canada/thebikes/road/index.html

    An Aurora Elite would do most of the same things well as the Masi CX: same Reynolds 631. Costs a bit more ($1350 vs. $1150), but it’s a parts upgrade.

  2. Rick CummingsJanuary 3, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Nice bike, I like the look and utility of it. I have a question though, what do you mean by “if maintained properly you’ll probably get three or more good years out of them”? I didn’t know you could maintain these shifters, what do you do to maintain them?

  3. Urban JeffJanuary 3, 2009 at 10:41 amAuthor

    Rick, I see what you’re saying… Basically, just don’t do anything dumb like leave the bike outside all the time. And don’t adjust them with a hammer. If you crash in the mud, clean them as best as possible. And clean and lube the cables that run to them every few months, and replace them after a year or two.

    James, there are lots of bikes out there. The Jamis you linked to is nice, but more expensive and not a cyclocross bike.

  4. jamesmallonJanuary 3, 2009 at 11:03 am

    “The Jamis you linked to is nice, but more expensive and not a cyclocross bike.” Urban Jeff, you’re right, of course; however, I did say: “An Aurora Elite would do MOST of the same things well as the Masi CX”, not all of the same things.

    A steel touring or ‘cross bike is the bike most enthusiast cyclists should be riding for how they ride. Few of us ride ‘cross, right? You might; I don’t. And hey, they’re both great bike for the price. I just thought people might like to see another option, because there’s too few good steel bikes out there, compared to alu and carbon.

    In the spirit of people looking to use a ‘cross or touring bike as their do-everything bike, they might look at: Fuji touring, Masi CX and Speciale Randonneur, Kona , Surly Cross Check, and Salsa Casseroll Triple. If they are looking for straight ‘cross, my advice is less useful.

  5. Urban JeffJanuary 3, 2009 at 11:38 amAuthor

    James, I hear ya, and appreciate your comments. But in the spirit of conversation: Why would you suggest an orange instead of an apple when the apple costs less and does more?

    If you’re shopping for a bike, you should look at every bike manufacturer. And you shouldn’t limit yourself to steel just because some people like to jump up and down cheering, “steel is real,” because aluminum is a damn fine frame material, too.

    And cross racing is one thing, but a cyclocross bike is more adept at riding trails than a touring bike. I find myself in the woods a lot, so a cross bike is nice. It’s part of the reason I’m so happy with the La Cruz.

  6. jamesmallonJanuary 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    You try to make nice, and…

    You say, “Why would you suggest an orange instead of an apple…?”
    I said, “A steel touring or ‘cross bike is the bike most enthusiast cyclists should be riding for how they ride. Few of us ride ‘cross, right? You might; I don’t.” And I won’t give a seminar on steel, but I have experienced the nicest rides on steel.

    You were thinking ‘cross and trail; I was thinking commuter/tourer. The end.

  7. Urban JeffJanuary 3, 2009 at 12:23 pmAuthor

    I didn’t say that I only ride cross and trail, the Masi would be a damn fine commuter. Part of what makes it such an appealing bike is its versatility. And steel does ride nice, you’ll get no argument from me on that. But when it comes to ride quality, I’m of the opinion that tire size is far more noticeable than frame material.

  8. Ghost RiderJanuary 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    It’s “Cordoba”, not “Cordova”. Interesting comparison, though…does that mean the saddle and bartape are “rich Corinthian leather”? ;)

    I’m diggin’ that CX. It seems to me that a cyclocross bike is the ideal platform for truly do it all riding — on the road, off the road, carrying a load or just hauling ass.

  9. rickJanuary 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I loves mine

  10. Urban JeffJanuary 3, 2009 at 4:19 pmAuthor

    Thanks, Ghost Rider, I stand corrected. And I agree, the cross bike is an awesome do-it-all bike. And I’ve even been thinking about a fixed cross bike as a future project.

  11. jamesmallonJanuary 3, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I still don’t get the hostility, but I’ll make sure only to mention bikes advertised in Urban Velo henceforth.

  12. partystarJanuary 4, 2009 at 5:50 am

    haha funny exchange :)

  13. RonstaJanuary 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    My 2 cents:
    I think its great the industry as a whole is recognizing the value of inexpensive, ute-oriented/cx bikes. Some are more race oriented while others are more utilitarian, pick your poison. The fact we have so many choices at affordable price ranges is great for EVERYONE! Thanks to the inside enthusiasts like Sky Yeager and Tim at Masi who drive these products and give us a good array choices at great prices!

  14. Tony BullardJanuary 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I have personally found this argument very useful. Thanks for the info guys!

  15. Exxon JuanJanuary 6, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Now if some one will come out with a decent single speed ‘cross bike that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (I’m looking at YOU, SPOT!) I’d be an even happier camper, especially if it actually fits ‘cross tires and has ‘cross geo (sorry, the San Jose ain’t the thing I’m looking for).

  16. jefffffJanuary 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    i LOVE my cx. i’ve had it since it first came out, bought it as a pro-deal.

    my only gripe about it is that there is toe-overlap. then again, it might be because of the size of my feet…

  17. ShonJanuary 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I’ve had mine for a few months now and love it. I’m able to commute, ride centuries, tour and hit the occasional dirt road all on the same bike.

  18. AlJanuary 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I’m scratching my head. Both the Speciale Randonneur and the speciale CX look great. But one comes with canti brakes, and STI shifters, and one comes with caliper brakes and barend shifters. What I want is barend shifters and canti brakes. My my. I might have to buy the CX and do a little parts swapping. I’ll need a triple crank anyway. Beautiful bikes.

  19. OverwhelmedApril 7, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Hi there,
    I am living in Switzerland and am interested in this bike. Do you know a internet shop, which is selling this bike?

  20. metroMay 17, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Does anyone know how fat of a tire the masi cx can handle?! just wondering how it compares to the surly cross-check in that regard…

  21. NickSeptember 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Just picked this bike up. Kitted it out with a Brooks, a sturdy rack, and my choice of pedals(MKS Touring). VERY nice ride. I was looking at Surly completes (LHT and Cross-check), but a choice Austin bike shop had this on hand when I mentioned what I wanted. I’ve been riding it non-stop, and I am very satisfied with the fit and ride.

    As far as tires go, I think it pretty much tops out at 700×35. The stock tires in that size come pretty close to the fork crown. I am going to wedge fenders rather than big tires in whats left. Maybe 700×37 w/out fenders.

  22. ShaneOctober 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I don’t do cross, but I do a fair bit of trail riding. Been using this bike for a couple months and love it. Last week my wife and I did the Great Allegheny Trail and C&O Towpath–so a combined 320 miles on gravel/packed dirt–carrying full camping equipment and gear. Except for one flat tire, everything went great. At the end of the trip I was even happier with the bike, and had all the feeling in my hands, arms, and ass. Not bad.

    And FYI, I’m not a mechanic or a gearhead. I just ride it as I bought it, standard everything.

  23. NathanOctober 22, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Shane, did you have any trouble with hitting your feet against your panniers? I’m wondering if touring with this is possible? I just got the bike and am amazed at how smooth it makes all the choppy Michigan roads.

  24. MakotoSeptember 3, 2010 at 4:07 am

    hi, i just sold my crappy motorcycle and looking into buying Masi Speciale CX, but i cannot find a decent information regarding the strength of the bike it can withhold. I am planning to using this for commuting with my girl friend sitting on the back. My weight can fluctuate between 70~95kg and my girl friend, 40~45Kg and at the same time my luggage can add up to 50Kg in total… Can it hold 200Kg? And about the rack for the back for my girl to sit… Can it hold my gf? and i am looking for image of the rack but could’t really find one… I hope to get some advice or directions. THANKS!

  25. jayOctober 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Its been a long time since the last post, but… I have had the Speciale CX for 3 years, six chain/cassettes, and two sets of wheels (due to rim wear from brakes). I upgraded the brakes to Paul Neo Retro canti’s and the wheels the XT hubs w/ Mavic a719′s. I put a surly crosscheck fork on it and can run 700x47c schwalble smart sam’s for trail riding, and 700 x 28′s for commute. I race a bit of cross on it on 700×32′s. The stock fork is no good for cross, as with the 32c tyre it soon clogs with mud. It does about 300 plus kms a week. I take it trail riding, and after the wheel/brake change it gets more use than both my sweet mountain bikes. Very,very good bike! Very tough, a little heavy, but any lighter and it might comprimise the strength.

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