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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross as a commuter

    My commuter Dahon folder is too small for me (I'm 6"6') so I'm considering buying a "proper" full-size bike for my daily commute and am considering a cyclocross for commuting and occasional weekend off-road riding (canal paths and dirt tracks, nothing heavy), fitting mudguards and a pannier rack.

    Is a cyclocross bike suitable for my intended purpose? What models do you recommend for a budget of 500 - 850? So far I've considered the Specialized Tricross and Trek XO 1 but any other recommendations or info would be most welcome.

    TIA

    Johno

  2. #2
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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  3. #3
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I really like the look and ride of a Surley Cross Check. I wouldn't mind owning one...

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    Thanks for that

  5. #5
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I really like the look and ride of a Surly Cross Check. I wouldn't mind owning one...
    They're great. Mine is the best bike I have ever owned. I don't know how much they sell for in the UK, however.
    1997 Mongoose Hilltopper, 1988 Bianchi Specialissima, 2006 Surly Cross-Check, 2010 Norco City Glide, 1947 CCM Single-speed.

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  6. #6
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I have a Surly Cross Check. It strikes me as one of the most versatile bikes. I've been riding it with narrow, extra-light wheels. I have fenders (aka mudguards) on it. It's wonderful.

    And of course, you can put huge, knobby tires on it.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  7. #7
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    You could also look at the Kona Jake. Most of the ones in your price range have triple chainrings which would be useful if you are going to carry baggage. For your type of riding you should get smooth tire in either 28 or 32 mm width.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all your feedback, I must admit I do like the look and spec of the Kona Jake The Snake but then came across the Verenti Kilmeston which looks absolutely gorgeous but isn't a cyclo-crosser, just a tough road bike complete with mudguards and eyelets for mounting a rack, so I'm smitten.
    What are the main differences between a cyclo-crosser and a road-bike? I understand that there's more ground clearance for the bottom bracket (so I guess bigger wheels) on a CX compared with a roadie, but are there (m)any other differences? What I'm finding is that quite a few CX bikes can't take mudguards and a pannier rack and also the CX bikes tend not to have quick release hubs, which given their intended purpose, is understandable.

    As I said, I'm looking for a (mostly) roadbike that I can confidently use for commuting all year round with the odd bit of off-road riding on bridle and canal paths, but am wondering if a tough road bike will handle that? Maybe a CX bike is overkill?

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    In General.. a more durable wheel with a 32 tire will fit easily in Cyclocross frames .
    and the same function well even when mud plugging... nature of cantilever brakes also benefits as there will be plenty of room
    for mudguards .

    in the space left .. that was put there to keep the wheels turning ..
    when having an extra inch or so thick of mud sticking to them.

    better still when the pros make disc brakes fashionable ,
    the bike companys will make more for the rabble like that.

  10. #10
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    a cross bike is meant for speed on dirt tracks. your not usually racing with stuff packed on a bike. however, it seems that many cross bikes do have mounts to put a rack on. Speed of the bike is determined by weight of the wheels and how aero you can get on the bike. weight of the frame isn't a big deal.

    honestly, just stick some knobby 32 or 35 tires on instead of slick 32 or 35's if you want to do the occassional dirt path ride on your commuter. Thats what I just did, it works great.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
    honestly, just stick some knobby 32 or 35 tires on instead of slick 32 or 35's if you want to do the occassional dirt path ride on your commuter. Thats what I just did, it works great.
    Will 35s fit on a Dahon?

    I use an almost stock Cross Check. The only mods are the seatpost, saddle and Panaracer Pasela tires.

  12. #12
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Of the bikes mentioned, the Jake tends to be the best bargain in the UK. Whichever one buy, have the store swap the pre-cut straddle on the front brake for a hand cut one and have them fit a fork mounted canti hanger. Or do it yourself. (Cross bikes have one bad habit - squealing and under-powered front brakes. This is the result of a decision by manufacturers to de-ball them for legal reasons.) Search or ask on the cross forum if you more help.

    Don't forget that your experienced of test riding a crosser will be heavily biased by the tyres it has fitted; all things equal the more they are suitable for off road the worse they will ride on it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
    a cross bike is meant for speed on dirt tracks. your not usually racing with stuff packed on a bike. however, it seems that many cross bikes do have mounts to put a rack on.
    The entry level Jake and the Cross Check aren't really meant as racers. They're all-rounders.

    Speed of the bike is determined by weight of the wheels
    Not really.

  14. #14
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    You could also look at the Kona Jake. Most of the ones in your price range have triple chainrings which would be useful if you are going to carry baggage. For your type of riding you should get smooth tire in either 28 or 32 mm width.
    The guy is 6'6'' - a 32 tyre off road may well be a disaster for him; he probably weighs well over 200lbs. 35mm or 40mm Schwalbe Duremes are fast on the road and somewhat dirt capable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    The entry level Jake and the Cross Check aren't really meant as racers. They're all-rounders.



    Not really.
    ummm, yes really. An extra lb of weight on the rims slows a bike down a helluva lot more than an extra lb on the frame does.

    what does being 6'6" have to do with tire size? why aren't we focused on his weight. I'm 235lbs with 35c tires light knobby tires on my bike, it easily handles dirt trails. He didn't say he want's to do full on cyclocross, just that he may take the occasional ride on a bridal path. Knobby 32or 35c tires will handle that easily.

    OP, I wasn't suggesting larger tires on the dahon, I meant that in terms of a road bike, just find any road bike with clearance for larger tires. My giant Rapid 3 is a flat bar road bike that can probably fit 700x40 if I wanted it to. I have 700x35c on their and they easily clear the caliper brakes and it makes ahuge difference when riding these nasty potholed nyc streets and I take it on a dirt bridal path in Central Park without any issue.

  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giskard View Post
    As I said, I'm looking for a (mostly) roadbike that I can confidently use for commuting all year round with the odd bit of off-road riding on bridle and canal paths, but am wondering if a tough road bike will handle that? Maybe a CX bike is overkill?
    Nah, a 'cross bike isn't overkill. All you need is something that'll take tires as fat as you want to ride on the surfaces on which you want to travel.

    I think we're overthinking this too much. If you had just one shop and they had only a couple brands of bikes, we'd have narrowed it down to just one or two models already.

    (personally, I had more fun on a local canal path with my full suspension MTB than I did when I tried using a hybrid; humming along at 18-20 mph floating over dried ruts was a real kick )

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    Senior Member ratell's Avatar
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    I think the Masi Speciale CX is beautiful. That's why I bought one. It rides great also...
    http://www.masibikes.com/steel/speciale-cx/
    2010 Masi Speciale CX
    1993 Mt. Shasta Cappella

  18. #18
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giskard View Post
    Thanks for all your feedback, I must admit I do like the look and spec of the Kona Jake The Snake but then came across the Verenti Kilmeston which looks absolutely gorgeous but isn't a cyclo-crosser, just a tough road bike complete with mudguards and eyelets for mounting a rack, so I'm smitten.
    http://www.verentibikes.com/bikes/kilmeston-alloy
    http://****************/2010/07/veren...ton-road-bike/
    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...eston-10-39111

    Okay, that's really, really slick. I like it. My only reservation about it is whether you'll be able to fit dirt-worthy tires on it, although the Bike Radar review has pictures of riding on a gravel road.

    The Tricross you mentioned at the beginning is cool, too, and quite close to what I would use for a commuter (I'd put a dynohub on it, too).

  19. #19
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Love my Cross Check, best all around do everything well bicycle I have owned.
    Steel is Real

    I was once told that only _ussies needed lower than 42/21 gearing.

    Steel Bike Club Member 212

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    My only reservation about it is whether you'll be able to fit dirt-worthy tires on it, although the Bike Radar review has pictures of riding on a gravel road.
    Yeah, that's what I need to check otherwise the bike will be a road bike and nothing else.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    There are very slight differences between a road racing bike and a cyclo cross bike. The cyclo cross is far more versatile. To me, the biggest difference is the versatility, since it has room for the fenders and fat tires. I feel my Cross Check doesn't compromise handling, i.e. it's not slower at maneuvers. I really see no advantage to a non-cyclo-cross bike. If you can get your hands on a good one at a good price, you're best off.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  22. #22
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
    ummm, yes really. An extra lb of weight on the rims slows a bike down a helluva lot more than an extra lb on the frame does.
    Yes, you're silly enough to believe this. No, you don't have a good reason for your belief. If you want to understand how foolish you are I'd suggest the MIT Press book "Bicycling Science" - a standard read for any designing a bicycle. As you're probably too lazy to read it, you might skim the dummies version at

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance


    what does being 6'6" have to do with tire size?
    Because people who are taller tend to weigh more, Braniac. And the tyre width you need for a given surface depends on weight.

    why aren't we focused on his weight. I'm 235lbs with 35c tires light knobby tires on my bike, it easily handles dirt trails. He didn't say he want's to do full on cyclocross, just that he may take the occasional ride on a bridal path.
    It's bridle path. And a standard cross tyre - intended for a 160lb ish rider - is 35mm. So for a reasonable weight for a 6-6er, 35mm is about right right for a bridle path. 40mm would actually be better - wider tyres are banned from cross racing because they are an unfair advantage and would "de-skill" handling.

  23. #23
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giskard View Post
    Yeah, that's what I need to check otherwise the bike will be a road bike and nothing else.
    The bike has caliper brakes. If you're very lucky, it will handle 28mm tyres. Don't forget that the width of tyre you will need is going to be greater than a lighter rider will need. A typical bike reviewer weighs 140lb-160lb, you probably weigh a lot more, so it doesn't mean much that BikeRadar showed one of their reviewers riding on (gosh!) gravel. As stock, the bike comes with 23mm tyres.

    Also: those wheels are NOT a good design for a heavy rider - too few spokes, wrong spoke pattern. I can't see any sign at all this bike is designed for the type of riding you mentioned; it's just a pretty road bike that can take mudguards.

  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I don't see the need to insult someone to make your point.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    There are very slight differences between a road racing bike and a cyclo cross bike. The cyclo cross is far more versatile. To me, the biggest difference is the versatility, since it has room for the fenders and fat tires. I feel my Cross Check doesn't compromise handling, i.e. it's not slower at maneuvers. I really see no advantage to a non-cyclo-cross bike. If you can get your hands on a good one at a good price, you're best off.
    Yeah, well, like I said, I love my Surly but it is no Pinarello Trevisio, The Surly CC is a tank, the Trevisio Victory is a knife fighter, it is far quicker, far faster, handles much better, but it is a full on road race bike, not a semi-serious cross bike, jack of all trades.
    Steel is Real

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