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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 03-24-14, 08:35 AM   #1
bombardier
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Nashbar CX bike for commuting? Help me choose my next bike!

Hey everyone,

I finally have sold off other bikes to make room for (and get the cash for!) a commuter bike. I'm moving to a city that is notorious for snow, rain, and foul conditions (Buffalo, NY), and would like to find a bike that I can ride to and from school. I've directed most of my search toward CX bikes, as they seem like they'd make wonderful commuters. I'd like to spend less than $1000, and would also like 105 or sram apex drive train or above. Lastly, I am fairly comfortable in buying a bike online, as I have a good sense of what frame geometry and sizing I need to feel good.

Right now, I've been vacillating between a few different bikes...

bikesdirect has some nice aluminum frame/carbon fork, disc brake bikes that are within my price range. I figure disc brakes may be the way to go, given the weather I anticipate riding in. This Fantom Cross Sram is one I was looking at in particular ($900 shipped)- Save up to 60% off Avid Disc Brake SRAM Apex Cyclocross | Cross Bikes - Motobecane Fantom Cross

But Nashbar also has a sweet sale today (21% off bikes), and I had my eye on their CX bike ($650 shipped)... This is probably heavier than the BD bike above, but it is steel which I find appealing. Seems like a steal for 105 components and a solid steel frame. The cantilever brakes are a downside, but that said, people have been riding canti's for years before the disc brake surge and seemed to manage just fine. Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike - Overweight Code F Restricted

I also have been looking at the Surly's (cross check and straggler), and some Raleighs (Roper, Sojourn), but I think they're just out of my price range.

Can anyone shed share some insight on which bike might be a better choice?
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Old 03-24-14, 09:31 AM   #2
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If I were you, I'd get the Fuji Feather CX 1.1 Cyclocross bike from www.performancebike.com. That will allow you the benefit of not only dealing with a reputable brick and mortar bike shop, but will also permit you the opportunity to test ride and inspect the bike, before actually purchasing it.

You can still either exchange the bike or be entitled to a refund should things go south shortly after the purchase.

IMHO, Performance is a better option than either Nashbar or Bikesdirect

The Fuji Feather CX 1.1 is listed as a "Fitness Bike" with Performance.

Last edited by WestPablo; 03-24-14 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 03-24-14, 09:39 AM   #3
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If I were you, I'd get the Fuji Feather CX 1.1 Cyclocross bike from www.performancebike.com. That will allow you the benefit of not only dealing with a reputable brick and mortar bike shop, but will also permit you the opportunity to test ride and inspect the bike, before actually purchasing it.

You can still either exchange the bike or be entitled to a refund should things go south shortly after the purchase.

IMHO, Performance is a better option than either Nashbar or Bikesdirect

The Fuji Feather CX 1.1 is listed as a "Fitness Bike" with Performance.
lol, thanks for your unbiased opinion.
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Old 03-24-14, 09:43 AM   #4
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lol, thanks for your unbiased opinion.
You're most welcome!

Personally, I find that my opinion always works best for me and the people I like the most!
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Old 03-24-14, 09:52 AM   #5
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Those are both so tempting, and I've been pleased with both Bikes Direct and Nashbar, moreso than with the bike I've purchased from performance to be honest.

I can't give you an objective reason, but $650 seems like such a great price for the Nashbar that I'd jump on it.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:02 AM   #6
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If I had to pick, I'd go with the Nashbar bike. But a large part of that is influenced by the fact that I have a cross bike with almost the same exact build. I would recommend replacing the cantis with some inexpensive 90mm arm v-brakes, which I did on my cross bike. If you purchased the Nashbar bike, you'd have more money left over to outfit it as needed.

I bought a Motobecane Windsor with an aluminum frame, and it was a pig. That was a different bike entirely, but unless you can find weight specs on both, I wouldn't assume that the Motobecane is significantly lighter. I hated the bike, but I also went super cheap on the build, so obviously better components would have helped with that experience.

But for especially bad conditions, disc brakes would be nice, and SRAM is good stuff. So in the end, it's your call.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:13 AM   #7
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Those are both so tempting, and I've been pleased with both Bikes Direct and Nashbar, moreso than with the bike I've purchased from performance to be honest.

I can't give you an objective reason, but $650 seems like such a great price for the Nashbar that I'd jump on it.
No. 1. Bike is very solid for a commuter. Also cantis are just fine; no reason to change them unless you belong to the hate canti crowd which a lot of BF posters appears to be charter members of. Buy it and ride it.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:25 AM   #8
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This is probably a noobie question, but I'm going to shoot it out there anyway - is the fact that the BD fantom cross has an integrated headset, whereas the Nashbar bike has the standard top/bottom cup anything to quibble over? I can't find a definitive answer on google. I think the Nashbar's price is just right for me to pull the trigger and feel OK about it... I might just be looking for reasons not to at this point.

Thanks to everyone for your responses, I really do appreciate your opinions (even you, WestPablo!).
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Old 03-24-14, 10:32 AM   #9
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I don't have either one, but the Nashbar CX bike has been one that's appealed to me for a while.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:35 AM   #10
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This is probably a noobie question, but I'm going to shoot it out there anyway - is the fact that the BD fantom cross has an integrated headset, whereas the Nashbar bike has the standard top/bottom cup anything to quibble over? I can't find a definitive answer on google.
I replaced the steering head bearings and races on my Hardrock last fall (just in time to quit riding for the year) after 9 years of use with a Cane Creek headset for about $100. It wasn't that hard, and you could do that a couple of times for the price difference between the 2 bikes.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:37 AM   #11
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buy a couple rounds and we can talk about it ..
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Old 03-24-14, 10:38 AM   #12
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I replaced the steering head bearings and races on my Hardrock last fall (just in time to quit riding for the year) after 9 years of use with a Cane Creek headset for about $100. It wasn't that hard, and you could do that a couple of times for the price difference between the 2 bikes.
Yeah, I haven't had any trouble with traditional headsets on my other bikes.

I guess at this point it comes down to if the disc brakes are worth the price difference! Hard decisions...
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Old 03-24-14, 10:39 AM   #13
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buy a couple rounds and we can talk about it ..
Wrong side of the country! But I'll crack a lagunitas tonight in your honor.
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Old 03-24-14, 10:46 AM   #14
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they ship a Petaluma California Micro Brew Across the country one way and Sam Adams the other .
& PBR in both directions ..

Isn't burning fossil hydrocarbons, like there is no tomorrow, wonderful ..
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Old 03-24-14, 11:19 AM   #15
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I would be very tempted to go for the Nashbar CX bike, as I love the ideal of a steel CX bike for commuting. I would consider hitting buy myself if I didn't think my wife would kill me.

I though BD had a steel CX bike as well, but didn't see it now on a quick glance. They have a few other steel options as well, but I don't think you would go wrong with the Nashbar at that price. Worst case you could reuse the components on a new frame in the future.
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Old 03-24-14, 11:43 AM   #16
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I personally prefer the ride of CF forks on an aluminum frame, over the steel forks on aluminum frame of my other bike. Not sure how steel/steel feels. Also I rather prefer the looks of the BD bike with the horizontal top tube. Nice that it has rack/fender mounts on it, too.
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Old 03-24-14, 12:15 PM   #17
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Worst case you could reuse the components on a new frame in the future.
I was thinking this as well. As much as I ***** about Shimano, the stuff works and works and works. You could even get a disc frame down the road and pick up some BB7's.
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Old 03-24-14, 01:06 PM   #18
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buy a couple rounds and we can talk about it ..
Sharing beer would be great, but sharing pictures is a must with whatever you end up buying.
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Old 03-24-14, 01:10 PM   #19
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IMHO, Performance is a better option than either Nashbar or Bikesdirect
I worked with the manager of a Performance in Atlanta. According to him, Nashbar is owned by Performance. (Or vise versa, whichever----one owns the other.)
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Old 03-24-14, 01:17 PM   #20
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they ship a Petaluma California Micro Brew Across the country one way and Sam Adams the other .
& PBR in both directions ..

Isn't burning fossil hydrocarbons, like there is no tomorrow, wonderful ..
I drove for an Alabama flatbed company for awhile. A neighbor drove for a competitor. It was not unusual for us to have our trucks parked side by side beside the grocery store. Both with GA-Pacific lumber loads, one eastbound and one westerly....crossing paths in the middle.
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Old 03-24-14, 01:28 PM   #21
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I worked with the manager of a Performance in Atlanta. According to him, Nashbar is owned by Performance. (Or vise versa, whichever----one owns the other.)
Yep, Performance Bike owns Nashbar - https://www.performancebike.com/imag...tructuring.pdf
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Old 03-24-14, 01:46 PM   #22
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It doesn't really matter what bike you commute on. Just ride whatever you've got. I just use one bike for everything.

Luis
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Old 03-24-14, 03:12 PM   #23
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The Nashbar bike is very well specced for that price. The frame is basically a Crosscheck with straight blade forks, though perhaps with a little less tire clearance. Looks like it would make an excellent commuter.
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Old 03-24-14, 03:54 PM   #24
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CX bikes are cool, especially if you want a bike that's fun for some light trail riding, but there's lots of other options. One of my favorite bikes I've owned was a Trek 520 that I found on Craigslist for $150. The sheer amount of missing paint was a better theft deterrent than my u-lock but that thing road as well and as fast as much nicer, more expensive bikes that I owned. Killer commuting bike and much better for that job than any CX frame.

There's a lot of vintage road bikes that do well in the commuter gig and don't cost a fortune if they've seen some miles. My '70s Jack Taylor is a production model that you'd find at high-profile races. It'll fit decent-size tires and a back rack. Bikes back then weren't as obsessed with aero at the expense of everything else. And it's a very smooth and easy ride.

There's a lot of fantastic commuters at bargain prices used. Consider it.
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Old 03-24-14, 04:15 PM   #25
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1. are you handy with a wrench? You'll need to perform all of your own repairs and maintenance if you buy from nashbar or bd. If you are averse to der/brak adjustments, wheel truing, etc., you'd be better off buying from a high quality shop.

2. for whatever reason, I often find bikes of 'similar' size and geometry to ride quite differently. In the abstract, a bike's numbers and specs can look great on paper, but it's hard to tell how you'll like how it rides without actually riding it. Hence, the importance of a test ride, an extended one if possible, along with fine tuning the fit.

You can buy new handlebars and stems, but sometimes a shop will work with you on even exchanges.

---

If you're lucky enough to live close to a great shop with a bike that fits you, that's ideal. If none of the shops nearby have a good bike for you or just are not good shops, then buying online and learning how to work on a bike yourself makes a lot of sense.

edit: bd doesn't even list the geometry. nashbar does, but the list is rather rudimentary. Inexcusable omissions in my book.
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