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Thread: Had an epiphany

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    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Had an epiphany

    My n+1 bike is going to be a cx. Here's why:

    I am not happy riding anything but a drop bar. Riding my upright Bianchi hybrid made me feel miserable this past week. But I had no choice. The weather wouldn't allow for anything but wide 35mm studded tires. I was completely vulnerable to the 20-35km/h wind. If it don't get you in the morning it'll get you in the afternoon. I felt scrunched up riding in this position. Completely miserable.

    I need a lightweight cx bike with these same studded tires. So the search begins. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot in the used market at the moment.

    Who among you ride a CX bike on your commute? And what are your opinions on this idea?

  2. #2
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I'm not happy riding anything but drop bars myself. I converted an old MTB in order to have fat tires, but a cross bike (especially now that many come with disc brakes) would be a great choice as well.
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    The wind and the ability to accept wide tires is what pushed me in that direction. You will love it. Good luck in your search and have fun!

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    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    I'm guessing a lot of folks are still racing, Wait a few weeks and you might see more CX choices.

    Ben

  5. #5
    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Found one of these:
    Redline Conquest Team cyclo-crosser review - BikeRadar

    Used model--2009, apparently in good condition.
    Any opinions?

  6. #6
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Cross bikes make great commuters. I agree about drop bars. One of my bikes had bullhorns, which I liked but they provided nowhere to hide on windy days. So I ended up putting drop bars on that bike as well.

    The big issues with using a cross bike for commuting is finding one with the right geometry for you, and also getting one with mounts for fenders and racks. For some reason, a lot of CX frames seem to have short head tubes and long top tubes, which is not my preference. That rules out the Surly and Soma CX frames for me. My CX bike is a Ritchey Breakaway Cross, which fits me perfect and also has fender/rack mounts. Unfortunately, the Ritchey Swiss Cross is strictly racing and has no mounts for fenders and racks.

    You might also want to consider some touring frames. The Soma Saga is designed much like a cross bike in many respects, but has fender/rack mounts, stouter tubing and longer chain stays. In contrast, the Soma Doublecross has a much shorter head tube, longer top tube and shorter chain stays. You might also consider the All City Space Horse, which is more of a do-it-all than cross bike but has features similar to the Soma Saga.

    I really like the Gunnar Crosshairs as well, but it costs a bit more than the other frames I mentioned. However, you can have it painted just about any color, and it's lighter weight and higher quality than more budget steel CX frames.

    I've attached photos of my Ritchey cross and Soma Saga. They ride and fit very similar. If I had to choose one or the other for commuting, I would pick the Soma Saga because it costs quite a bit less and is designed for carrying loads.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tarwheel; 12-19-14 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Is it practical to put drop bars on the hybrid you have?
    2011 Felt Q620
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Cross bikes make great commuters. I agree about drop bars. One of my bikes had bullhorns, which I liked but they provided nowhere to hide on windy days. So I ended up putting drop bars on that bike as well.

    The big issues with using a cross bike for commuting is finding one with the right geometry for you, and also getting one with mounts for fenders and racks. For some reason, a lot of CX frames seem to have short head tubes and long top tubes, which is not my preference. That rules out the Surly and Soma CX frames for me. My CX bike is a Ritchey Breakaway Cross, which fits me perfect and also has fender/rack mounts. Unfortunately, the Ritchey Swiss Cross is strictly racing and has no mounts for fenders and racks.
    Thanks for the insight.

    I am intending to put fenders on this bike, but perhaps not a rack.

    I haven't really been riding long enough to have developed a preference for a type of frame. Both my drop-bar bikes feel fine to me. One is a vintage racer, the other an endurance road bike. I do know that I don't like the flat bar set-up or the hybrid set-up, but I can't put bigger/studded tires on my drop bars.
    Last edited by mcours2006; 12-19-14 at 03:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    Is it practical to put drop bars on the hybrid you have?
    As far as the Bianchi is concerned, no, because I am realizing that the frame is likely a tad too small for me. So even with drop bars, it's not going to feel right. I suppose a x-long stem might work. I hadn't thought about it.

    Though the Giant Rapid 2 could easily be converted to a drop bar bike it lacks enough clearance for bigger tires. I need to have studded tires on this bike for winter. They came in quite handy yesterday morning when there looked like a thin layer of ice on all the roads.

    How feasible is it to build a CX from the frame up? Anyone done this before?

  10. #10
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
    How feasible is it to build a CX from the frame up?
    That has got to be the most gratifying way to do it (if you like doing things like that) and the way you are most certain to get what you want, but also might get more expensive than buying a complete bike.

    Of course, some on this forum seem to have a lot of parts on hand, so for them the expensive way might be to buy complete. And if your hybrid's frame is the wrong size for you, then maybe you don't need much more than a frame that fits and a fork that will accept the tires you want if you can harvest parts from the hybrid.
    Last edited by scroca; 12-19-14 at 02:23 PM.
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  11. #11
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post

    How feasible is it to build a CX from the frame up? Anyone done this before?
    Feasible. About 8 years ago I did just this with a Cross Check. Stripped off the decals and ran it single speed for about 5 years, had 2 wheels sets, slicks and studded, I could swap them out in 2 minutes. It has a rack, fenders, drop bars. etc. I've since switched it to 8 spd IGH after a knee injury made having gears a necessity. I've set this bike up with drops, flats, and albatross bars. The cross check has been my dedicated town/commuter bike. It's a trooper and has more miles on it than all my other bikes combined by a factor of 10.

    However, This year I picked up a used Santa Cruz stigmata CX bike which might be my favorite bike ever. I commute on it in nice weather, and long gravel grinder rides on it, single track even, it's just amazing.
    Last edited by modernjess; 12-19-14 at 02:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    The Masi CX, CX Comp and CXGR all have rack and fender mounts: Masi Bikes.
    Yeah, I've been thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that being an adult isn't going to work for me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    Is it practical to put drop bars on the hybrid you have?
    I just checked the measurement on the Bianchi. The top tube is the same length as my other drop bar bikes--54cm. However, the seat tube is much about 6cm shorter. But I think if I put drop bars on the reach is quite close.

    I want to do as little as possible with this bike, keeping as much of the original equipment as possible. It currently has a 6-speed freewheel, 130mm OLD, twist shifters.

    What are my options?IMG_0244.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by mcours2006; 12-19-14 at 05:30 PM.

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    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    Feasible. About 8 years ago I did just this with a Cross Check. Stripped off the decals and ran it single speed for about 5 years, had 2 wheels sets, slicks and studded, I could swap them out in 2 minutes. It has a rack, fenders, drop bars. etc. I've since switched it to 8 spd IGH after a knee injury made having gears a necessity. I've set this bike up with drops, flats, and albatross bars. The cross check has been my dedicated town/commuter bike. It's a trooper and has more miles on it than all my other bikes combined by a factor of 10.

    However, This year I picked up a used Santa Cruz stigmata CX bike which might be my favorite bike ever. I commute on it in nice weather, and long gravel grinder rides on it, single track even, it's just amazing.
    I would love to be able to build a bike from the frame up. I think it'd be a good learning experience, but I've already purchased 2 bikes in the past 6 months and restored an old vintage one. It might be a bit excessive if I bought another one at the moment.

  15. #15
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
    Who among you ride a CX bike on your commute? And what are your opinions on this idea?
    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    You might also want to consider some touring frames.
    I'm riding a tour bike which has some similar features to a cyclocross, but not as "racy". However in my case, I skipped the worst days last week as I prefer not to ride on ice and snow. But consider a tourer if you can't find a cyclocross. Can handle wider road tires. Stable ride in windy conditions. Still has drop bars.

  16. #16
    Aspiring curmudgeon icepick_trotsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
    As far as the Bianchi is concerned, no, because I am realizing that the frame is likely a tad too small for me. So even with drop bars, it's not going to feel right. I suppose a x-long stem might work. I hadn't thought about it.

    Though the Giant Rapid 2 could easily be converted to a drop bar bike it lacks enough clearance for bigger tires. I need to have studded tires on this bike for winter. They came in quite handy yesterday morning when there looked like a thin layer of ice on all the roads.

    How feasible is it to build a CX from the frame up? Anyone done this before?
    Here's a really cool thread over on C&V about a drop bar hybrid conversion. Looks like he used a pretty long stem. Granted, his project was much more involved than yours would have to be.

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    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    I had a Specialized Tri Cross that I commuted on. I never swapped the tires out. I also never used the drops. I also ended up not liking the bike so my experience is not the normal. Ended up selling it for a single speed with bullhorns and have since gone fixed gear with bullhorns. I love the multiple hand positions vs drops, even with the wind. What is your budget if you decide to get another bike?

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    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    You're not supposed to have an epiphany for another couple of weeks
    Genesis 49:17

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    I'm riding a 2011 TriCross Elite Disc as my everyday commuter, and as far as I'm concerned it's maybe the perfect bike for the task. Mechanical disc brakes for guaranteed stopping power and minimal maintenance, road gearing that leans to the climb-y side (50/34, 11-32), and a very even-tempered demeanour. I can make it dance if the moment calls for it, getting out of trouble with a quick burst of speed is totally doable, but it doesn't feel as twitchy as my lightweight race bike. Rack and fender mounts, with room for fairly wide tires - I'm running Clement PDX 33s under fenders, and they're about as big as will easily fit, but you'd get another few mm without the fenders. I put 200km a week into that bike, and couldn't be happier.

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    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Not a CX bike, but an LHT meets all your requirements.

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    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
    I had a Specialized Tri Cross that I commuted on. I never swapped the tires out. I also never used the drops. I also ended up not liking the bike so my experience is not the normal. Ended up selling it for a single speed with bullhorns and have since gone fixed gear with bullhorns. I love the multiple hand positions vs drops, even with the wind. What is your budget if you decide to get another bike?
    I woud say under 1k, but the more t i think about it the best option may be a conversion of the Bianchi to drop bar. swap out the wheets for a 9 speed and brifters. 200-300 might be enough. tiagra, herhaps, keep stock Alivio mechs.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mcours2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Not a CX bike, but an LHT meets all your requirements.
    ok, pardon my ignorance, but LHT is?

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    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
    ok, pardon my ignorance, but LHT is?
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Not a CX bike, but an LHT meets all your requirements.
    Except for the "lightweight" part. That's not really a selling point for the Surly Cross-Check, either (I have previously owned both of these bikes).

  25. #25
    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jralbert View Post
    I'm riding a 2011 TriCross Elite Disc as my everyday commuter, and as far as I'm concerned it's maybe the perfect bike for the task. Mechanical disc brakes for guaranteed stopping power and minimal maintenance, road gearing that leans to the climb-y side (50/34, 11-32), and a very even-tempered demeanour. I can make it dance if the moment calls for it, getting out of trouble with a quick burst of speed is totally doable, but it doesn't feel as twitchy as my lightweight race bike. Rack and fender mounts, with room for fairly wide tires - I'm running Clement PDX 33s under fenders, and they're about as big as will easily fit, but you'd get another few mm without the fenders. I put 200km a week into that bike, and couldn't be happier.
    Had the Sport Disc, and I felt like the brakes sucked, and I have used mechanicals before. I am glad to hear that you like yours so much. I wish mine would have worked out, would have been nice to have a geared option if needed.

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