Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-10-08, 04:31 PM   #1
TwoTones
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes:
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Why do cyclocross bikes make for such good commuters?

I see a lot of people in here talking about using cyclocross rigs for commuting. Is that a waste of money? What makes them so good for it? My commute will be in Seattle, so it will have hills and rain and need to be responsive for city riding. Is the cyclocross style what I should be looking at? Discuss.
TwoTones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 04:34 PM   #2
Hickeydog
Crushing souls
 
Hickeydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Sagamore Hills, Ohio.
Bikes: Trek 1500
Posts: 1,591
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm no expert, but the nice thing about cyclecross bikes is they have the holes for racks (most of them), they are light, they have road frame geometry (for more aero riding), they come with knobie tires.... the list goes on and on.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post

What's frightening is how coherent Hickey was in posting that.
Hickeydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 04:35 PM   #3
notfred
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,169
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
They're basically just heavy-duty road bikes with room for fat tires and fenders.

Road bike = fast.
Heavy-duty = reliable.
Fat tires and fenders = I don't know, some people like these and live in places where it rains a lot.
notfred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 04:59 PM   #4
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Bikes: Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
Posts: 18,064
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 232 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoTones View Post
I see a lot of people in here talking about using cyclocross rigs for commuting. Is that a waste of money? What makes them so good for it? My commute will be in Seattle, so it will have hills and rain and need to be responsive for city riding. Is the cyclocross style what I should be looking at? Discuss.
It's not that they make such good commuting bike but it's because they are hot right now. A cyclocross (yes I own one) is basically a shortened version of a touring bike (own one of those too). It has wide stays and wide forks, as well as cantilevers. All of that adds up to a bike that has room for fenders, if you want them, and wider tires for a smoother ride.

Some of them have rack mounts for carrying stuff...a must if you are going to be serious about commuting...but some of them don't. They are short wheelbased so if you want to carry panniers, you may have heel strike issues.

Some of the cyclocross bikes are built like a tank and others are more road bike...and perhaps a little more delicate. Lots of them have carbon forks which are light but maybe not the most durable for commuting.

If you really want the ultimate in go everywhere (and I mean everywhere), carry all of your junk (and I mean all of it), hell-for-stout commuter bike then look at touring bikes. There are lots of them out there but the 3 very best (in ascending order, imho) are the Trek 520, Surly LHT and Cannondale T series with the T2 being a better bike than it's more expensive T1 bother. These bikes have every rack/fender mount you can think of, they have space for 3 water bottles and they will last you for decades.

As an added bonus, you can take touring for an adventure that beats the pants off any commute you'll ever do
__________________
Stuart Black
New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 04:59 PM   #5
bsyptak
Luggite
 
bsyptak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 1,906
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ti cross better

bsyptak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:00 PM   #6
AEO
Senior Member
 
AEO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: A Coffin Called Earth. or Toronto, ON
Bikes: Bianchi, Miyata, Dahon, Rossin
Posts: 12,258
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
room for fat tyres and fenders = I can run snow studs and stay dry in slush. can run 28mm treaded, which most road bikes can't.
700c wheels = I can run 23mm slicks and all the way to 35mm studded. (All seasons)
relaxed road geometry = comfortable, with many hand positions
longer wheel base = comfortable over rough terrain.
not made from CF = can attach a kick stand without worrying about breaking the CF tubes from clamping force.

The other option is the Touring bike... which on the spectrum must be like

Light--M--Heavy duty
Road-CX-Touring

but CX/Touring both run the same sort of equipment, touring bikes tend to be less glamorous though.
__________________
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm
AEO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:20 PM   #7
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Cyclocross just has an awesomename... cmon... CYCLOCROSS!!

But yeah, touring bikes make way better commuters than cx bikes, but cx bikes also carry the image of being sportier, and image is everything, of course.
ShadowGray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:23 PM   #8
notfred
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,169
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
touring bikes make way better commuters than cx bikes
This might be true if "way" is defined as "a little bit, if you need to carry a lot of stuff and ride really far".
notfred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:25 PM   #9
pinkpowa
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 194
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
CX=short wheelbase touring bike. Touring or CX is going to be the best commuting bike type, depends on what fits you and what fits your riding style/terrain better.
pinkpowa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:29 PM   #10
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by notfred View Post
This might be true if "way" is defined as "a little bit, if you need to carry a lot of stuff and ride really far".
Also a lot more cheaper for what you're getting! Commuting is about utility, and a touring bike is geared towards that, CX is just way too sporty for most needs.
ShadowGray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:34 PM   #11
schnee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 3,367
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
'Touring' bike is something your grandpa rides.
'Cyclocross' bike sounds novel and interesting.
schnee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 05:58 PM   #12
sean000
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bellingham, WA
Bikes: Rivendell Atlantis, 1988 Pinarello, Rivendell Wilbury (my wife's bike)
Posts: 400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by schnee View Post
'Touring' bike is something your grandpa rides.
'Cyclocross' bike sounds novel and interesting.
Sadly... that's the way most bicycle manufacturers see it. We Americans like our vehicles to be extreme! Why drive a sedan when you can drive an SUV or a sports car? It's the same with bicycles... they want to sell us racing bikes or mountain bikes. People don't see touring bikes as extreme... even though they really are. Touring bikes are some of the toughest bikes there are, and will haul more gear than a cross bike.

Cross bikes do make excellent commuters though... mainly because they have clearance for wide tires and fenders, as well as a braze-on for a rear rack. Cross bikes are also sporty and aggressive, which appeals to people who regularly ride a racing bike.

I also like sport-touring bikes (which some manufacturers call "club-racing bikes" since "sport-touring doesn't sound extreme enough). They are pretty much the same geometry as cross bikes, but already come with smooth tires and can get by with a little tighter geometry in some models. They can also be fendered and racked.

I actually ride a touring bike (so go ahead with your grandpa jokes!). It's a great bike that handles well under load and over any terrain. It isn't as light, stiff, or fast as a cross bike or a sport-touring bike; but it's great on the gravel path I take for part of my commute... and the low gears make it easy for me to pedal a full load of groceries up our insanely steep hill.

Sean
sean000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 06:06 PM   #13
envane
Senior Member
 
envane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Bikes:
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean000 View Post
Sadly... that's the way most bicycle manufacturers see it. We Americans like our vehicles to be extreme! Why drive a sedan when you can drive an SUV or a sports car? It's the same with bicycles... they want to sell us racing bikes or mountain bikes. People don't see touring bikes as extreme... even though they really are. Touring bikes are some of the toughest bikes there are, and will haul more gear than a cross bike.
Touring bikes are making a comeback. I think the LHT really got people interested in them again. I ride a 2008 Jamis Aurora tourer and there a lots of people in the commuting forum rolling them.
envane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 06:45 PM   #14
slvoid
2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM
 
slvoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: NYC
Bikes: 04' Specialized Hardrock Sport, 03' Giant OCR2 (SOLD!), 04' Litespeed Firenze, 04' Giant OCR Touring, 07' Specialized Langster Comp
Posts: 15,762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'd go with the psychological thing.
I mean seriously, this is more useful:

But this just looks badass skitching off a bus or truck.
slvoid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 06:50 PM   #15
fordfasterr
One speed: FAST !
 
fordfasterr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Ft. Lauderdale FL
Bikes: Ebay Bikes... =)
Posts: 3,375
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I tried a specialized tri-cross (oops, ordered it from the lbs, and then promptly rejected it after the test ride). I didn't like the handling, or the power transfer. It felt sluggish and slow vs normal road bikes / track bikes.

I guess I'm spoiled. I ended up with the specialized roubaix elite triple ( ugh, the triple was a STEAL OF A DEAL @ the lbs so I took it ). MUCH improved IMHO.

it is a kick-*** commuter and has served me well since !

ohh wellz.
fordfasterr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 07:00 PM   #16
BCRider
Senior Member
 
BCRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Bikes: Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
Posts: 5,456
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's a subtle thing but a cross bike with the shorter wheelbase and steeper head angles will feel a touch more nimble and spirited than a longer wheelbase touring bike. Otherwise there's not much difference between them other than the uber kewl name.....

Of course when you've had one too many that same nimbleness may feel more like nervousness....
BCRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 07:13 PM   #17
jimlamb
Committed Commuter
 
jimlamb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Cary, NC
Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Swobo Baxter
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I switched from a flat-bar hybrid to a Specialized Tricross last summer and I've been very happy with it. I didn't really consider any road bikes without dropouts as I wanted to be able to put on a sturdy rear rack to carry my laptop and gear. I haven't had heel strike problems, but I do have to be careful about pedaling while turning as my toe (size 11 feet) tends to catch my front fender.
jimlamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 07:42 PM   #18
nbac23
I carry one spare tire.
 
nbac23's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Maryland
Bikes: 96 Gary Fisher Montare, 07 Kona Jake
Posts: 84
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have size 13 shoes and I have a similar problem. No fenders on my Kona Jake, but I have brushed my front tire a few times. It isnt a problem enough to switch bikes though

I think the advantages of a cyclocross bike as a commuter are: bigger tires for all weather/comfort and the ability to get put smaller road tires on and you can keep up with the roadies if you want to do some non commuting riding. I also like having brakes on the drops and the flats. It helps in the city. I can break from any hand position.
nbac23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 07:57 PM   #19
Michel Gagnon
Year-round cyclist
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
Bikes:
Posts: 3,023
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Price is also a serious consideration.

Around here, "touring bikes" mean hard to find bikes and most often expensive bikes. There are a few cyclocross bikes available under 1000 $ and some models have a triple.
Michel Gagnon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 08:28 PM   #20
HoustonGal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Houston Heights
Bikes: Surly Cross Check
Posts: 282
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
a cross bike with the shorter wheelbase and steeper head angles will feel a touch more nimble and spirited than a longer wheelbase touring bike.
I own an early 80's "sport tourer" Bianchi and a Cross Check. I rode the Bianchi today for the first time after a month on the Cross Check. I'm going back to "nimble and spirited" tomorrow The cross bike is just a commuting monster, I adore it.
HoustonGal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 08:50 PM   #21
breadgeek
mere commuter
 
breadgeek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Redlands, CA, USA
Bikes: 2007 Koga-Miyata Expression; 2007 Electra Amsterdam Classic
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoTones View Post
I see a lot of people in here talking about using cyclocross rigs for commuting.
I have often wondered the same thing. I am just a plain commuter, know nothing about cyclocross, and my bike is just a plain, no-frills Dutch commuter (Koga-Miyata Expression 2007).

I thought that you might find it interesting that when I am shopping for brake shoes and tires, I am constantly asked if I have a cyclocross rig. I do not, but evidently (besides geometry) my bike shares features found in such bikes. The goofy brakes I have are hydraulic Magura rim brakes, which has evoked a single reaction in every LBS: "huh?". Go figure.

I suspect that durability -- of frame, tires, wheels, & components -- is yet another commonality among cyclocross and good commuter bikes. My bike is a tank, too -- perhaps one characteristic unlike 'cross units.
breadgeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 08:59 PM   #22
envane
Senior Member
 
envane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Bikes:
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon View Post
Price is also a serious consideration.

Around here, "touring bikes" mean hard to find bikes and most often expensive bikes. There are a few cyclocross bikes available under 1000 $ and some models have a triple.
There are a few sub $1000 tourers too - like my Jamis.
envane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 09:01 PM   #23
climbhoser
Senior Member
 
climbhoser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Parker, CO
Bikes: SS Surly Crosscheck; '91 Cannondale 3.0
Posts: 1,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Short story on why I went 'cross:

So, I started commuting on my MTB. I realized quickly the disadvantages to MTB geometry on long rides (my commute was 15 miles one way at the time), but the advantages in wide tire capability. Alas, though wide tires are great in snow, and even in summer help dampen the ride day in and day out, they are slower.

I knew I needed geometry that was more aggressive, and that I wanted something that was well balanced with narrower rims and tires. 700c is the best category for finding narrow rims, but still offering wide ones. 'cross and touring were the category of bike that gave me wide tire capabilities but kept aggressive geometry for go-fast longer distances.

Between the two I noticed that touring bikes were heavier, the BB is lower, and the wheelbase is longer. Well, some 'cross bikes are plenty heavy, but the low BB meant it would be a less likely good candidate for riding fixie when I convert it for winter commuting. The long wheelbase is good for loads, but my loads are small, and a shorter wheelbase also means more instant power response.

In short, I could go faster, and a 'cross bike would be more overall versatile than a touring bike. I could run it fixie no problem, mount stuff, do some light touring, even ride it in rec. rides on the weekend and actually keep up!

Now, if I were riding 50+ miles a day I would want a touring bike geometry, but the 'cross bike geometry is just perfect for under 40, but it can still do a fast century or long rec. ride! Plus it's lighter!

I don't carry big loads, just light little ones for commuting duty. I do, however, like to joing group rides on weekends. I do like to get to work super fast, treating most of my commutes as a training ride. I do like nimble and quick bikes with tons of versatility.

I bought a 'cross bike, and always will!

Versatility is king.
climbhoser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-08, 09:59 PM   #24
nashcommguy
nashcommguy
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: nashville, tn
Bikes: Commuters: Fuji Delray road, Fuji Discovery mtb...Touring: Softride Traveler...Road: C-dale SR300
Posts: 2,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Purchased a Motobecane Fantom CX from bikesdirect.com for 2 reasons. 1. Price-499.00 w/no shipping or sales tax. 2. Versatility-It came w/30mm knobbies w/alex aero rims. I'm running 25mm nashbar kevlars right now until my Nu-tecks come in. Sun cr-18 rims and Sora Hubs...32h. I'll be running 130 psi 28mm airless for commuting and the nashbars for weekend rides. Stock chainrings were 34-50 which I changed to 40-50 w/12x26 9 sp cassette. Entry level components, but still very good bike for the money. Cantilever Tektro brakes and Sora Brifters w/suicide levers...again Tektro. I run it w/a Delta Universal Mega Rack and Jandd Saddlebags. When I'm loaded w/my lunch and work clothes the whole thing weighs 50 lbs.

My commute is 40 mi rt w/a 200ft elevation increase on the way home. All rural except the last 3 miles(in) which is busy semi rural. 1 traffic light and 3 stop signs the whole way. The first six and the last six are on the Natchez Trace Parkway which has a 40 mph speed limit and clearance regulations for car vs. bicycles. My homeward commute is at night and is like cycling heaven. Maybe 10 cars. Skunks, racoons, deer, bats...they love to snatch bugs out of my light beam. This bike is perfect for me at this time. We'll see how it holds up over the winter. But it DOES have a lot more spring than my old Softride World Traveler or my Specialized Crossroads hybrid, but not like my 85 Cannondale SR300 rebuild. The frame is aluminum w/a cro-mo fork. For fenders I use SKS Raceblades.
nashcommguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:10 AM.