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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross for Commute

    Hey all,

    I'm a total newbie trying to make a smart purchase while avoiding buyer's remorse. Hoping for some opinions.

    I want to get a cyclocross (preferably) or a road bike for my commute to work which is about 17km each way, with some light hills but nothing too crazy. My budget is $800-$1000.

    From what I've read, the Kona Jake sounds like a great purchase but the shop I talked to today said they weren't stocking the 2014 models because of some shifting problems. Does that round right? I could probably find one if I kept looking.

    I also saw a 2013 Brodie Revel today on sale for $800 (clearance) and the shop said they would go a little lower on the price. It's 56 cm and I am 6'1" (34.5" legs). They said that it fit me well and it did feel alright, but I don't know what a perfect fit feels like. They said that the Brodies generally fit bigger than other brands. I'm a little paranoid about their advice on the fit since the bike is something they want to get rid of. Any input on this?

    I'd also like to be able to attach a front-child seat to whatever I buy.

    Any input on the bikes above or other suggestions altogether would be greatly appreciated. What cyclocross bike would you buy with $1000?

    Thanks,

    Jesse
    Last edited by jsmith16; 05-30-14 at 08:30 PM. Reason: small edit

  2. #2
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Not familiar with Brodie bikes, but a 56 frame seems small for someone 6'1" tall. I'm 5'11" and ride 56-58 frames. Cross bikes a make great commuters and all-around bikes.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    If it was the same shop that told you that they weren't stocking Kona Jakes because of "shifting issues" that also has that Brodie... go find another shop- they are trying to sell you what they have and not necessarily what you need.

    Another thing (which I'm sure others will chime in on): if you are wanting/planning on putting a child carrier up front, CX geometry may not be the ideal for that application. Touring geometry might be better suited, but I've never attempted to use a child carrier on the bike (front or rear).
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    If it was the same shop that told you that they weren't stocking Kona Jakes because of "shifting issues" that also has that Brodie... go find another shop- they are trying to sell you what they have and not necessarily what you need.

    Another thing (which I'm sure others will chime in on): if you are wanting/planning on putting a child carrier up front, CX geometry may not be the ideal for that application. Touring geometry might be better suited, but I've never attempted to use a child carrier on the bike (front or rear).
    They were different shops. Agree that would have been a huge red flag.

    This is the child seat I have with a little bit about its requirements: Child Bike Seat | safe-T-seat by iBert | Will the iBert safe-T-seat Fit Your Child and Bike?

    The child seat isn't absolutely necessary and I'd rather get the best bike possible with my money as I'll be riding it solo 99% of the time, but if there were comparable bikes and one of them could hold the seat that would be great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith16 View Post
    They were different shops. Agree that would have been a huge red flag.

    This is the child seat I have with a little bit about its requirements: Child Bike Seat | safe-T-seat by iBert | Will the iBert safe-T-seat Fit Your Child and Bike?

    The child seat isn't absolutely necessary and I'd rather get the best bike possible with my money as I'll be riding it solo 99% of the time, but if there were comparable bikes and one of them could hold the seat that would be great.
    I'm kinda wondering how well that child seat is gonna fit between you and drop bars, regardless of the bike. Seems like a design that's aimed more at flat bars and upright postures.

  6. #6
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Not familiar with Brodie bikes, but a 56 frame seems small for someone 6'1" tall. I'm 5'11" and ride 56-58 frames. Cross bikes a make great commuters and all-around bikes.
    +1. At 5'8" with normal-ish proportions, their 56cm is about as small as I'd want to go.
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  7. #7
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I've got a 2013 Kona Jake, which I really love, but I did have a weird shifting problem after about 2000 miles that I just couldn't solve. I took it into a local shop and they showed me that the cable had worn a small groove in the frame where it exits from the internal routing. They put a little piece of PVC liner there and it's been fine for about 500 miles since. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the problem that your LBS is referring to. The 2014 Jake the Snake has a removable plate where the cable exits. The base model 2014 Jake (like my 2013) doesn't have that, but I bet the 2015 will.

    The 56cm Revel seems to me like it would be a bit small for someone 6'1". I'm just judging based on the geometry chart, but I would expect the next size up would be better for you. The Revel geometry looks very similar to the Kona Jake series geometry. I'm 5'9" and ride a 53cm Jake. I expect you could live with the 56, but it probably0 wouldn't be the best fit you could get.

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    You're probably right Andy_K.

    So I did a little running round to various stores today and found a few comparable bikes. I wasn't actually able to test ride them due to them not having my size built, but I requested a couple of them to be built so I can test them later. Any opinions on any of these bikes and how they compare?

    2013 Specialized Tricross X3 - $999 - Seems like a great deal but I haven't heard much about the bike.
    2014 Kona Jake - $1249 - This bike looked freaking beautiful, but is at the very top of my price range. Someone should talk me out of it.... or talk me into it . I keep hearing great things about the Jakes.
    2013 Brodie Ronin - $1100 - I was told about this bike but haven't even actually had a chance to see it yet. I'd have to ask them to build it.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Individual Brand Touting Aside..

    As a Category they are all over the market , typically a Hybrid with Drop bars , so takes racks and Mudguards ..

    actual competition Cyclocross race bikes dont need to , so they don't.

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    Senior Member ratell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith16 View Post
    You're probably right Andy_K.

    So I did a little running round to various stores today and found a few comparable bikes. I wasn't actually able to test ride them due to them not having my size built, but I requested a couple of them to be built so I can test them later. Any opinions on any of these bikes and how they compare?

    2013 Specialized Tricross X3 - $999 - Seems like a great deal but I haven't heard much about the bike.
    2014 Kona Jake - $1249 - This bike looked freaking beautiful, but is at the very top of my price range. Someone should talk me out of it.... or talk me into it . I keep hearing great things about the Jakes.
    2013 Brodie Ronin - $1100 - I was told about this bike but haven't even actually had a chance to see it yet. I'd have to ask them to build it.
    The tricross is a great bike, but if you are going to spend $999 on something that could last your lifetime you should get something you think is freaking beautiful.
    2010 Masi Speciale CX
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratell View Post
    The tricross is a great bike, but if you are going to spend $999 on something that could last your lifetime you should get something you think is freaking beautiful.
    The Tricross is a great bike!

    However, you should not forsake Raleigh...

    Checkout the new Tamland 1 and the Roper.

    Now these are truly beautiful bikes that really will last a lifetime!

  12. #12
    Senior Member andyprough's Avatar
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    Might want to have a look at the Diamondback 2013 Steilacoom RCX Cylcocross for between $880 and $935 (depending on your size) on Amazon.

    91RC3XEdR0L._SL1500_ (800x748).jpg
    8100v0Zwj6L._SL1500_ (800x491).jpg
    Last edited by andyprough; 05-31-14 at 08:46 PM.

  13. #13
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Individual Brand Touting Aside..

    As a Category they are all over the market , typically a Hybrid with Drop bars , so takes racks and Mudguards ..

    actual competition Cyclocross race bikes dont need to , so they don't.

    The Kona Super Jake has eyelets for mudguards. Does that make it a hybrid with drop bars?

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Sure why Not , its a name , Any UCI World champions Won the rainbow Jersey on them?




    Probably, IDK , I'm Not in PDX there is no Cross racing here since the visiting Halloween crowd moved that weekend to Bend.

    never been in a town wehere a dealer had that brand franchise.

    does the top of the line Ridley take racks and mudguards Too.. ?

    My Old AlAn, I sold off when I was 30 something, (almost that many years ago) didnt. not even water bottle mounts.


    If it isn't a Touring but its got some kind of drop bar and takes 622-35 tires you can make up your own name for it..

    Stick straight bars on it and in some countries they call that a cross over bike.

    Kona made by Giant, Like Trek , Or Merida , Like Specialized? IDK. I just Fix them ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-01-14 at 11:05 AM.

  15. #15
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    No, I think Kona's best world's finish was Helen Wyman's third place last year. I have no idea who makes their frames.

    The thing is Kona uses the same geometry from their top-of-the-line Super Jake down to their entry-level, clearly utility-targeted Jake. Like you say, it's just a name. Some bikes, like Spec's Tricross don't even pretend to be cyclocross bikes anymore. Others, like Kona's Jake the Snake, are great enthusiast-level race bikes and also have the hardware to carry groceries during the week. It's a continuum. Racing makes the genre sexy. Utility makes it practical. Actual bikes in the market segment can end up anywhere in between.

  16. #16
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Well, there are two types of cyclocross bikes: race only bikes, and bikes that are more all around sporty race like bikes. One thing that stands out on the sporty bikes is rack mounts – a real race design will never have these.

    Specialized tri-cross is a decent bike if you are not really racing (the Crux is for that). One thing for sure, they really hold their value well as they go really quickly and for top dollar on Craig’s list. The Jake the Snake also goes fast as a used bike.

  17. #17
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Well, there are two types of cyclocross bikes: race only bikes, and bikes that are more all around sporty race like bikes. One thing that stands out on the sporty bikes is rack mounts – a real race design will never have these.
    I'm specifically disputing this part. Kona's Jake the Snake is a real race design by any reasonable measure. It has rack mounts. Cannondale's CAADX Disc Ultegra is a very nice race bike. It has rack mounts. To be sure, both companies have more expensive carbon-framed CX race bikes that don't have rack mounts, but I don't think it's in any way reasonable to claim that these aluminum models are not real race bikes.

    Cannondale's web site says "CAADX IS: Race on Sunday, commute on Monday. Race performance meets functional versatility." Kona makes similar claims about the JtS. I don't think this means they are "all around sporty race like bikes."

    With Specialized Tri-Cross is clearly not a race bike while the Crux is. With Trek the Crossrip is clearly not a race bike while the Crockett and Boone are. Not all companies have such clear distinctions.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I've got a 2013 Kona Jake, which I really love, but I did have a weird shifting problem after about 2000 miles that I just couldn't solve. I took it into a local shop and they showed me that the cable had worn a small groove in the frame where it exits from the internal routing. They put a little piece of PVC liner there and it's been fine for about 500 miles since. It wouldn't surprise me if this is the problem that your LBS is referring to. The 2014 Jake the Snake has a removable plate where the cable exits. The base model 2014 Jake (like my 2013) doesn't have that, but I bet the 2015 will.
    I have a 2012 Kona Jake I commute on ... nearly 800 miles so far and I'm very happy with it. No shifting issues on mine.

    $1249 seems expensive to me for a Jake though ... granted, I bought mine after the 2013s came out, so it was cheaper.

  19. #19
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    I have a 2012 Kona Jake I commute on ... nearly 800 miles so far and I'm very happy with it. No shifting issues on mine.
    The 2012 model didn't have internal cable routing, which seems to be the cause of the problem I had.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    The 2012 model didn't have internal cable routing, which seems to be the cause of the problem I had.
    Ah ... thought it did, went and looked and you're right. It's only the rear brake cable which is run internally.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyprough View Post
    Might want to have a look at the Diamondback 2013 Steilacoom RCX Cylcocross for between $880 and $935 (depending on your size) on Amazon.

    91RC3XEdR0L._SL1500_ (800x748).jpg
    8100v0Zwj6L._SL1500_ (800x491).jpg
    I bought this bike as my commuter/ CX racer until I bought a more dedicated CX bike. This this has been good to me. 3 podiums last year and a bunch of commuter miles. It is not the lightest, but the 105 group works as it should and I haven't had to replace anything other then the brakes for performance reasons. Also, tire clearance is limited to small 40cs, but I run 25c grand prixs for commuting so not an issue and generally ran 35c for racing.

  22. #22
    Senior Member andyprough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyeRey521 View Post
    I bought this bike as my commuter/ CX racer until I bought a more dedicated CX bike. This this has been good to me. 3 podiums last year and a bunch of commuter miles. It is not the lightest, but the 105 group works as it should and I haven't had to replace anything other then the brakes for performance reasons. Also, tire clearance is limited to small 40cs, but I run 25c grand prixs for commuting so not an issue and generally ran 35c for racing.
    Three podiums? Nice! What kind of races?

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    Last year was my first time racing CX so just CAT 5, but as a 235lb guy, I was quite pleased..

  24. #24
    Senior Member andyprough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyeRey521 View Post
    Last year was my first time racing CX so just CAT 5, but as a 235lb guy, I was quite pleased..
    Excellent!! There's hope for us big guys

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    The 2012 model didn't have internal cable routing, which seems to be the cause of the problem I had.
    Ah, that's too bad that they've got this design issue. I commute on a 2010 Jake The Snake and it's been trouble free since the get go. Kona Jakes (and variants) of different vintages are by far the most common bike used to commute at my place of work. Out of say, approximately 30 bikes that lock up where I do there are five Jakes of different years and four Jake the Snakes.

    However, I don't see any Jakes newer than 2012 which may be indicative of this issue.

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