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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 03-01-11, 05:36 PM   #1
side_FX
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Converting cross to commuter...am I making sense?

I have been on a long quest to find the ultimate do it all bike. I was really zeroed in on the FX series but then I spied the Cannondale Bad Boy. I thought it might be a bit beefier and hold up better for my road/dirt path/grassy knoll travels. The one thing that worried me was the flatbars and lack of positioning. Then I found the Gary Fisher/Trek Lane. A steel cross bike with commuter specs. I liked it but felt the components were a bit weak for the price. Now I have mixed all these images in my head to come up with:

what if I get the Cannondale CAADX with the matte black finish and tiagra components? If you add street tires to it, isn't it bascially a Bad Boy with drops? I had a specialized cross bike and had problems with my toes hitting the front wheel on tight turns, is that par for the course with all cross bikes?
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Old 03-01-11, 06:27 PM   #2
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I have a Novara ( REI brand ) cyclocross bike. For a while I basically used it for everything; because it was the go-to machine for long weekend rides, I kept it as light as I could. When I got a road bike, I put fenders, panniers, and the whole nine yards on the cross bike. It's heavy ( although the frame was a bit heavy to begin with ), but it works very well. It's pretty comfortable for commuting and it's strong enough to take on the trails - when those panniers mean having food and an extra layer.

With street tires ( 28 mm, which work decently enough on dirt trails with light gravel ) and a tiagra/105 mix, it's a great bike. I'd definitely recommend the same kind of thing. Cross bikes are incredibly versatile.
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Old 03-01-11, 08:18 PM   #3
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I second that. I use a tricross singlecross as a commuter and love it. Its got all the needed mounts and if comfortable with out feeling sluggish. They only thing I wish it had are tabs for disk brakes.
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Old 03-01-11, 09:16 PM   #4
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+1 for the cross bike. I bought a completely stock 2000 Jamis Nova a couple of months ago to replace the '03 Specialized Allez I had been using for commuting. I haven't kitted it out with racks, fenders etc. but the wider,knobby cross tires and the steel frame make the commute that much more enjoyable.
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Old 03-02-11, 06:00 AM   #5
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2008 Tricross Comp commuterized. CX is an ultimate machine for high-speed long-distance commute. Just make sure you have enough bosses to put all the bells and whistles. And brakes tend to be more sensitive to good adjustment.

Have fun

SF
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Old 03-02-11, 06:23 AM   #6
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The true race cross bikes often don't have the eyelets for fenders/racks/etc., but many (most?) of the lower end ones do.
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Old 03-02-11, 03:54 PM   #7
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The true race cross bikes often don't have the eyelets for fenders/racks/etc., but many (most?) of the lower end ones do.
It is an inflammatory statement to say that only lower end cross bikes have eyelets for fenders and racks. I read in another thread in the cyclo-cross subforum that the geometry of different cross bikes have varied intended uses. Some 'cross bikes are actually engineered to be good jack of all trades suited to doing a little bit of everything including commuting. Although they may not be amazing at cyclo-cross racing, I wouldn't call cross commuter bikes low-end.
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Old 03-02-11, 04:07 PM   #8
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ok, that may be true, I was just thinking that I'd read that the cf race cx bikes with the higher end components (and therefore more expensive) were less likely to have the eyelets, but you may have a different experience.
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Old 03-02-11, 06:04 PM   #9
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The true race cross bikes often don't have the eyelets for fenders/racks/etc.
that's because the races are only an Hour long,
and anyhow so many people bought Bianchi Volpe's
that other manufacturers supply something similar
a touring bike with a bit lighter tube set ,
and shorter chainstays. stick a rack on it and you Might as well build up a touring frame ,
and not kick your luggage, panniers, on the rack, so often.

Now Pro Cross racing bikes cost as much as pro road racing bikes ..
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Old 03-02-11, 08:31 PM   #10
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I'd say the Bianchi Volpe or Surly Cross-check make great commuters, if you can find them.
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Old 03-02-11, 09:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sci_femme View Post
2008 Tricross Comp commuterized. CX is an ultimate machine for high-speed long-distance commute. Just make sure you have enough bosses to put all the bells and whistles. And brakes tend to be more sensitive to good adjustment.

Have fun

SF
When I was looking for a bike to use for a 40 mi rt commute w/rolling hills(one 18% killer ) and 95% asphalt I ended up stumbling on a Motobecane Fantom CX from BD. It's a 2x9. I swapped out the 36t low for a 40t and the stock tires for some SMPs after about a month. Already had a rack, bags, lights, wb cages, toolbag, framepump, clipless, etc. So, all I had to do was set it up and ride. It was a winner from the first pedal stroke and is still going strong after 15,000 commuter/utility miles.

Later this spring I'm changing out the chain, cassette, cables and brakepads. Adding full coverage fenders and new hb tape. Both hubs, bb and headset bearings...probably will replace them all.

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Old 03-02-11, 09:39 PM   #12
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ok, that may be true, I was just thinking that I'd read that the cf race cx bikes with the higher end components (and therefore more expensive) were less likely to have the eyelets, but you may have a different experience.
read that again, didn't mean to flame you.
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Old 03-02-11, 09:51 PM   #13
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I like my Fantom:

DSC_0025-01


P2043653
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Old 03-04-11, 09:45 AM   #14
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A cross bike can be a wonderful commuter. I built up a Bianchi Castro Valley frame (basically Volpe geometry with frame set up for 1x9 drivetrain) as my year-round commuter. While heavier than my carbon fiber road bike, it's lighter than a hybrid or the CV has all the fittings for: full coverage fenders, rack, plenty of space for lights, the canti brakes and wider forks give clearance for anything from 23mm road slicks (summer) to 32mm or wider road (my default set) to 35mm studded (depths of winter). It would take wider tires if I removed the fenders. Modern cantis can provide plenty of stopping power and work with drop-bar brifters. Front fork has rack brazeons, so I could do reasonably full touring on it if I wanted to.

There are some "performance/flat bar" hybrids that I think work well, too. My son has an older Jamis Coda that I liked as a commuter when I "borrowed" it, performed fine for a self-supported C&O Canal towpath tour when he was in Boy Scouts, and is now his college bike. It takes much wider tires than my cross bike, which might be important if you live someplace with lots of snow (although based on his photos, epon's Fantom Cross seems to have no issues in that department).

Limitations are few. I get some toe overlap on the front wheel, only an issue at very slow speeds, exacerbated by the fender. Chainstays are shorter than on touring bikes, so potential for shoe heels wacking panniers. I mounted my rack as far aft as I could and have not had a problem.
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Old 03-04-11, 10:36 AM   #15
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Here in bike country there are a few large institutions (OHSU and PSU to name two) that have large bike parking facilities where a person can spend a minute or ten oogling a vast array of two wheeled iron (steel, aluminum, various alloys, etc.). I see quite a few Redline cross bikes built up into commuters. FWIW.

H
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Old 03-04-11, 11:40 PM   #16
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I went through a lot of buying and selling ebay bikes early on. One of those bikes was a Bad Boy that had been built up with higher end parts. It was undoubtedly the worst bike I have ever had the misfortune of trying to commute on. I'm not sure why, but it felt slow and dead.

I knew I was selling it after the first ride, but rode it once more just to confirm. That was also the last flat bar bike I've tried riding on the road.

For reference, I also have a Cannondale Cyclocross (for racing only) and it's nothing like the Bad Boy - even remotely. If you want a cross bike, buy one - though I think there are more commuter-appropriate bikes than the Cannondale.
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Old 03-05-11, 07:25 AM   #17
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Another vote for a cross bike. My Soma Double Cross has 8000 miles of commuting, fitness riding and century events. Next fall I'll add another cyclocross bike to the quiver and convert the Double Cross to winter duty with studded tires, disc brakes and a Dyno hub for lighting. A cyclocross bike can be built light for faster road usage and can be easily converted to dirt road use. The bike can also support untra-light touring and winter bike usage.
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Old 03-05-11, 09:46 AM   #18
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My Cross Check commuter, road rider, gravel grinder, century cranker-outer, and overall joy to ride.

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Old 03-05-11, 10:10 AM   #19
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My Cross Check commuter, road rider, gravel grinder, century cranker-outer, and overall joy to ride.

I use something similar to this for commuting. It's very nearly perfect.


Cross bikes make great commuters if they have:
1. Good enough clearance (if you want to run studs make sure it can handle more than a 34c tire)
2. Mounting points for fenders and a rack.

Touring bikes also work great. If you want a snappier ride go with a cross bike, if you want something more stable and better able to handle truly large loads go with a touring bike. Most commuters I've met don't load up more than 25lbs of stuff, so a touring bike is not necessary.
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Old 04-04-11, 10:30 AM   #20
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A tad disappointing. I've been looking towards making the Caadx Tiagra as my new all-round general purpose bike (never ridden one though, lbs didn't have my size) Honestly, I just think it looks really nice, very low key yet fierce. I was looking for something rough-and-tumble like a cross bike, but fast enough to zip out on the roads with. So question: As far as cross bikes are concerned, are commuter-appropriate and race-inspired-fast mutually exclusive?
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Old 04-04-11, 10:35 AM   #21
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So question: As far as cross bikes are concerned, are commuter-appropriate and race-inspired-fast mutually exclusive?
Not necessarily.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._pro_ti_xi.htm

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Old 04-04-11, 11:06 AM   #22
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I don't get it. It's a cross bike, not unlike most other cross bikes on the planet.

I have to think that one of the bikes with fender eyelets and/or rack mounts would have to be considered more "commuter appropriate" by most.

The the OP... there's nothing magic about a cross bike. For most people riding on the road, a "sport touring" road bike would be a better choice. They don't have the appeal though, as people seem attracted to race equipment.
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Old 04-04-11, 11:11 AM   #23
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I don't get it. It's a cross bike, not unlike most other cross bikes on the planet.

I have to think that one of the bikes with fender eyelets and/or rack mounts would have to be considered more "commuter appropriate" by most.

The the OP... there's nothing magic about a cross bike. For most people riding on the road, a "sport touring" road bike would be a better choice. They don't have the appeal though, as people seem attracted to race equipment.
I was responding to the question. The link I provided is a cx racing bike cross bike that also has eyelets. I thought it was a pretty straightforward, so my apologies for any confusion.
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Old 04-04-11, 11:14 AM   #24
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If you don't actually plan to cyclocross race, check out the new Salsa Casseroll. Like a cross-bike, it has canti brakes and clearance for larger tires, but it is designed for commuting and light touring. It has mounts for fenders and racks, front and rear, and includes a front rack. Very reasonably priced.
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Old 04-04-11, 11:16 AM   #25
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I really like that Casseroll. If I had to be limited to one bike, I think that's the do-it-all frameset.
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