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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.

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Old 08-02-08, 05:43 PM   #1
wils0nic
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what can 'cross bikes handle for commuting?

what can 'cross bikes handle for commuting?
can you run off a curb? how about speed bumps and potholes? there's also been some construction lately. what about raised manholes?
i know mountain bikes and hybrids can do these things fine, but i haven't had much experience with road-styled or cyclocross bikes.
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Old 08-02-08, 05:59 PM   #2
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Cross bikes, like all bikes will be killed by the occasional parallel-drain grate, if you know what I mean. Other than that, they're solid. My next bike will be a cyclocross.

At the very least, you can start training and shoulder the bike over the obstacles!!
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Old 08-02-08, 06:20 PM   #3
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I once rode right over a raised manhole that I didn't see until it was about six feet in front of me on my Bianchi Volpe. Traffic had merged into one lane, and the car in front of me hid it until it was too late. It was quite jarring, and I wouldn't recommend trying it, but my wheel was fine. I'm not saying that your 'cross bike will be fine under similar circumstances, but mine was, so take that for what it's worth.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:27 PM   #4
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Curbs, potholes, dirt roads, chip and seal, mtb trails, My cross bikes have seen it all.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:33 PM   #5
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I once rode right over a raised manhole that I didn't see until it was about six feet in front of me on my Bianchi Volpe. Traffic had merged into one lane, and the car in front of me hid it until it was too late. It was quite jarring, and I wouldn't recommend trying it, but my wheel was fine. I'm not saying that your 'cross bike will be fine under similar circumstances, but mine was, so take that for what it's worth.
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Curbs, potholes, dirt roads, chip and seal, mtb trails, My cross bikes have seen it all.
very inspiring news for me. thanks!
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Old 08-02-08, 06:35 PM   #6
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or, you could buy a commuter bike. You know, one that's built for commuting on, not a bike that's built for cyclocross RACING.
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Old 08-02-08, 06:43 PM   #7
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or, you could buy a commuter bike. You know, one that's built for commuting on, not a bike that's built for cyclocross RACING.
Ignore this guy. If the bike fits you properly it will be comfortable. I've always ridden road bikes or fixed gears as commuters and I've never had any problems. When I rode a mountian bike with slicks the upright position was inefficient and hurt my back.

A cross bike, with its powerful brakes and wider tires will be a more than capable commuter. If I could afford another bike it would be a cross bike for jsut the purpose you are thinking of. Just make sure that it has fender and rack mounts and you'll be fine.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:12 PM   #8
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or, you could buy a commuter bike. You know, one that's built for commuting on, not a bike that's built for cyclocross RACING.
I rode a commuter bike for three years before upgrading to my cyclocross bike. The cyclocross bike is a billion times better (for me anyway), and I would never go back to the commuter. Cyclocross bikes are well suited for commuting, I think.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:15 PM   #9
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I commute on a cross bike every day. it hits pot holes and man hole covers every day. also it handles very well with a full shopping cart of groceries in my panniers. the only flaw is your heal clearance with panniers, which can be minimal. also make sure you get a triple crank if you are going over any big hills.
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Old 08-02-08, 07:40 PM   #10
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It's mostly the wheels and tires that take the abuse when I commute in Chicago. I recently bent a Mavic 319a rim. At 235 lbs I require a lot from my bike.

I'm building a Cyclocross commuter based on a Soma Double Cross frame: http://www.somafab.com/frames.html

The reason for selecting this frame was it's material (it's steel) & it's ability to accept 700 x 38 tires and fenders.

I'm using a 36 spoke "29er" MTB wheelset with Infinity Armadillo Kevlar tires.

As the young people say, "bring it on".

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Old 08-02-08, 09:06 PM   #11
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I don't really commute all that much with my cyclecross (Specialized Tricross Sport), but think that it's ideally suited for the job. The slightly shorted wheel base makes it a very maneuverable bike to negotiate urban traffic, as well as to dodge pot holes and other potential hazards.

In comparison to my beater bike (a hybrid) with a longer wheel base, I find that I often can avoid a pot hole with the front wheel only, and despite my best effort to completely swerve around it, the back wheel somehow will usually take the blow. My cyclecross on the other hand, will most often completely dance around the hazard.

My advice is not to become pretentious with it's capabilities...don't ride off of or over curbs, don't ride over pot holes because you think that your bike can take it. Your bike will be happier and you'll reduce your chance of a spill. Also, I'd avoid riding in snow. I find that my Tricross is very unstable in even in a few inches of snow. I'm told that the reason for the instability is the shorter wheel base, as well as the center of gravity is higher due to the crankcase being higher off the ground.

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Old 08-02-08, 09:09 PM   #12
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It's mostly the wheels and tires that take the abuse when I commute in Chicago. I recently bent a Mavic 319a rim. At 235 lbs I require a lot from my bike.

I'm building a Cyclocross commuter based on a Soma Double Cross frame: http://www.somafab.com/frames.html

The reason for selecting this frame was it's material (it's steel) & it's ability to accept 700 x 38 tires and fenders.

I'm using a 36 spoke "29er" MTB wheelset with Infinity Armadillo Kevlar tires.

As the young people say, "bring it on".

Michael
Your build sounds like my bike:

[IMG][/IMG]

I wish I had started commuitng on a 'cross bike instead of the painful/expensive leaning curve I endured to end up here.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:09 PM   #13
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My advice is not to become pretentious with it's capabilities...don't ride off of or over curbs, don't ride over pot holes because you think that your bike can take it. Your bike will be happier and you'll reduce your chance of a spill.
Ignore this guy and his advice! Sounds to me like he's learning how to ride a bike. I do all the stuff he said not to do, except for the potholes, on my 'cross bike. In fact, when I come across a speed bump, I speed up and get mad air jumping it. It's funny. I do all that stuff and my bike is still in one piece. I can also put racks and/or fenders on my bike.

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Old 08-02-08, 11:20 PM   #14
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Depends how smooth you are and how much you weigh.
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Old 08-03-08, 02:22 AM   #15
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or, you could buy a commuter bike. You know, one that's built for commuting on, not a bike that's built for cyclocross RACING.
Or, you should commute on whatever is the most comfortable and fits your needs, whether it's intended for racing or not.

My daily commuter is a Tricross Expert and my commute includes 2 miles of dirt roads/trails, some severely cracked sections of road, and raised steel plates to cover road construction in addition to all the things that come with a normal commute. It handles these with no problem and has proved to be a great commuter. It's very comfortable and spending countless hours in the saddle on my days off are something I look forward to.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:16 AM   #16
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Depends how smooth you are.
Corrected it for you. Weight has nothing to do with it if you are smooth.

Any bike, save one with super low spoke count wheels, will stand up to a certain amount of abuse. Road bikes can be bunny hopped and they have to deal with the same road hazards...potholes, cracks, rough pavement, etc...as commuter bikes. You can even ride them off curbs without damage if the wheels are strong enough.

You really shouldn't be slamming potholes anyway. It can lead to not just wheel damage but frame damage which is far more expensive to fix.

As a commuter bike, cyclocross is okay if it has the proper fittings for carrying racks and (if you need them) fenders. If it doesn't its as useless for commuting, as my father would put it, as teats on a boor hog The frames on them are fairly short so fitting racks to them and using panniers (if you use them) can be difficult and cause heel strike problems.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:34 AM   #17
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Am I going to be the first one to say that how your bike as a whole holds up to potholes, running off curbs, cracks, rough roads, etc. has a lot more to do with the wheelset than the frameset? I commute on a CX bike (Surly CC - which works great, thank you "overturn"), but you need a good stout wheetset with plenty of spokes to handle the kind of abuse you're talking about. My commuter currently has Mavic CXP 22 rims (Semi-deep section rim) laced with DT Swiss spokes and they are holding up well so far.

As far as the frame is concerned, any decent CX frameset should be able to take it; titanium and steel will hold up better and longer than aluminum; and get a frame that uses a traditional headset not an integrated one, especially if it's an aluminum frame.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:49 AM   #18
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Your build sounds like my bike:

[IMG][/IMG]

I wish I had started commuitng on a 'cross bike instead of the painful/expensive leaning curve I endured to end up here.
That looks great! How long have you had it? How much use?

Michael
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Old 08-03-08, 11:55 AM   #19
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or, you could buy a commuter bike. You know, one that's built for commuting on, not a bike that's built for cyclocross RACING.
I've been using my old steel Centurion ROAD bike for years now. Fits me fine, and gets me to work faster than any commuter specific behemoth.

I don't see what's wrong with commuting on this, or even if it was a CX bike with canti-levers.

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Old 08-03-08, 04:05 PM   #20
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That looks great! How long have you had it? How much use?

Michael
I have had it about a year. 2000+ miles no issues to speak of other than the recently added Paul Neo-Retro Cantilever brakes which are a real PIA to get set up right. I built it with some new parts and parts from other old bikes. I use an Arkel Utility Basket for commuting (big bag) on the non-drive side of the bike, have size 11.5 feet and have no heel strike issues FWIW.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:19 AM   #21
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what can 'cross bikes handle for commuting?
can you run off a curb? how about speed bumps and potholes? there's also been some construction lately. what about raised manholes?
i know mountain bikes and hybrids can do these things fine, but i haven't had much experience with road-styled or cyclocross bikes.
Don't speed if you don't know your obstacle course to a "t".

I go on the dilapidated roads of Santa Fe on both my road bike and fixed gear.

23 mm front ... they are fine. Check your tire pressure over 90 pounds and you are very unlikely to get a damaged wheel.

I had a hibrid with 38 mm tires because i was paranoid about bad roads, and I went smaller and smaller till I reached the 23 mm mark.

No problems whatsoever.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:49 AM   #22
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Am I going to be the first one to say that how your bike as a whole holds up to potholes, running off curbs, cracks, rough roads, etc. has a lot more to do with the wheelset than the frameset? I commute on a CX bike (Surly CC - which works great, thank you "overturn"), but you need a good stout wheetset with plenty of spokes to handle the kind of abuse you're talking about. My commuter currently has Mavic CXP 22 rims (Semi-deep section rim) laced with DT Swiss spokes and they are holding up well so far.

As far as the frame is concerned, any decent CX frameset should be able to take it; titanium and steel will hold up better and longer than aluminum; and get a frame that uses a traditional headset not an integrated one, especially if it's an aluminum frame.
Totally agree with this seldom-recognized point. All bikes are merely a collection of parts. Most of what folks complain about on a given bike are really just specific parts that might be spec'd on that frame.

As long as you don't buy a piece of crap frame, a well built and solidly designed wheelset such as the CXP's or Open Pro's (my favorites) will allow you do do anything you want to do on just about any frame. My CX frame is a Kona Major Jake but I would have no problem taking my road racing frame (TCR0) just about anywhere with the same wheeleset.

Oh, and I completely disagree with the guy who suggested a commuting specific bike. I maintain 5 bikes (a fully suspended mtb, a fully rigid mtb, a CX bike, a road race bike, and an old steel road bike). I absolutely fail to see what possible functionality a "commuting specific" bike can offer that my CX bike or older steel road or rigid mountain bike does not provide allowances for; and my cx bike is much faster and fits me like a glove. The only one I would consider would be the Trek Portland because it is actually a nice bike designed for covering distances as opposed to just being a ho-hum frame covered with "commuting accessories".

Why in the world would I want a heavy, slow bike just so that I can know it is "designed" specifally for commuting? It seems to me that "commuting" bikes are designed for people who do not have a lot of cycling experience and do not have to cover very many miles to work. There is no way I would ride more than 6 miles each way on one of those things. Should I also get a dorky non-performance oriented helmet just because it is "designed" for commuting? There is a difference between being "designed" for commuting and being "marketed" for commuting. Most of that stuff is simply "marketed" for commuting.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 08-04-08 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 08-04-08, 12:48 PM   #23
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Yesterday me and my cousin did 25 miles around town. In some parts, the bike lanes are so messed up, I thought we were on a motocross track. My cousin bought a new Trek road bike and he had a pretty rough ride. When it got really bad, we just took the right lane.

I have a Jandd Expedition Rear Rack on my 'cross bike. I was hopping the chewed up bike lane. With the rack, my bike weighs 26 lbs. And for the record, I am super smooth when I ride. As far as weight, I'm pushing 150 lbs.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:19 PM   #24
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To answer the original question, though........they can do anything you want them to do except for off road, high speed, technical downhill. I take mine up some very demanding off road climbs with 1 foot hops onto rock ledges, etc. It does just fine (although a mtb is better for that stuff). I can't imagine a better all-purpose bike. But that is because most of my miles are on-road (26-30 mile RT commute with off road lunch rides). If most of my miles were off road, I would choose the fully rigid mtb.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:43 PM   #25
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Today was my first commute to school! 6 miles! (12 in all, gentle uphill to, gentle downhill from)
I'm 5 10', weigh ~155 lbs.....

On my Redline Conquest Sport (Cyclocross)!

This thread is great - I was worried about how much bumps/curbs my bike could take....

SO if I run off a 6-inch curve once in a while.....

specs:
WHEELSET: Redline/Alex: 36H, F/R Stainless Spokes
TIRES: Kenda Eurotrek 700 x 32C

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