Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA USA
Bikes: Surly LHT
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I have commuted for decades on old rigid-tailed-forked MTBs, and my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Some of my MTBs have weighted in at well under $1000. Sometimes I converted them to drop bars for more of a road bike feel until I got the Trucker which is actually just a road bike that accepts up to 2.1" tires with fenders. So my Trucker really does anything I want, and if not, I just use different tires. What my Trucker lacks (or does not lack) is weight. It is relatively heavy compared to nicer cyclocross bikes.
OK, this might be off topic a bit but my DREAM commuter is actually a Specialized S-Works Crux cyclocross bike.
I had the opportunity to spend a day on one at a Specialized event out in Cali a couple of years ago and it was love at first sight, fit me like a glove, and became part of me before the first hour had passed. At $8000 retail you would expect a bike to be amazing. Even at pro deal prices I could not justify the new love-of-my-life as my stable was full and there was nothing I wanted to part with to make room for it. My boss at the time knew of my lust for this bike (I was doing computer work for a LBS) so he hung one right over the back edge of my desk (which was also the edge of the showroom floor on the opposite side). So for a few months I had "my" dream bike dangling at arm's length for occasional caresses of it's tapered chainstays. And not even compliant with fenders and racks!
So HELL YES a cyclocross bike would make a great commuter! Even those affordable to mere mortals like me will get the job done.