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Old 02-12-11, 05:41 PM   #1
jethro56 
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Cyclocross bike for commuting?

I'm a 54 year old with 1000 miles under my belt and N+1 has hit.I have a Trek 7300 and wish I'd bought a Trek Fx series bike instead. My plans are to commute 25 miles round trip starting this spring. I was planning on getting an Fx. but it occured to me that it's too similar to my 7300 to be of value. Looking on Bikes Direct I saw this http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ane/outlaw.htm . Would this be a good commuter for someone with as few miles as I have in or is it too agressive?
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Old 02-12-11, 06:02 PM   #2
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I think it would serve you needs nicely. Cross bikes have a more relaxed geometry than a traditional road bike. I'm assuming each way on your commute is 12.5 miles which is a nice number for getting the feel of the road bike style riding. Mechanical disk brakes might pose a problem or those racing the bike but for daily riding you will have plenty of reliable stopping power. With the cross bike you have options on tires to match the style of riding you'll be doing. The bike comes with Kenda 30's that will have some knobbys. With the 700 wheel you can put a 23 or 25 road tire on it and use the bike for longer rides including centuries. It's a 9 speed with 48/39 that may leave you looking for gears on really steep hills. I believe that you can get a smaller chain ring(36?) that will fit the 130 bolt spacing of the crank if you need climbing gears.
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Old 02-12-11, 06:13 PM   #3
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Cross bikes make great tourers and commuters.

With 130mm BCD, 38T is your smallest chainring option.
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Old 02-12-11, 06:28 PM   #4
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I have that bike and love it for when the weather turns wet. It would be ideal for your needs...get some Planet Bike fenders to go with it and you're set. You also might want to change the saddle, but that's a personal thing.
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Old 02-12-11, 06:58 PM   #5
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My commute is almost as flat as it gets. My plan would be to put the OEM tires on the 7300 for mild trail ridding.
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Old 02-12-11, 07:00 PM   #6
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My commute is almost as flat as it gets. My plan would be to put the OEM tires on the 7300 for mild trail ridding.
Oh yeah, I changed the tires too. I put on some Continental rain tires on.
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Old 02-12-11, 07:49 PM   #7
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Without commenting on that particular bike, +1 to the functionality of cross bikes for commuting.
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Old 02-12-11, 10:06 PM   #8
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Cross bikes are great for everyday use. On my cross I run 23mm road tires in the summer and snow tires in the winter. Too aggressive, no way! Just nice and fast.
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Old 02-12-11, 10:53 PM   #9
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similar topic and more votes for cx commuters here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...commuter-bikes
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Old 02-12-11, 11:06 PM   #10
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I did 7000+ miles on my cross bike last year including my 36 mile RT commute, a couple centuries, a double century and a week long tour. For commuting I have fenders, rack and panniers to store my gear. I strip all that stuff off for the recreational rides and it feels like a whole different bike. What's not to like?
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Old 02-12-11, 11:41 PM   #11
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Here's some replies I got a few weeks ago to virtually the same question

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ng-a-road-bike
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Old 02-13-11, 12:09 AM   #12
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This was my choice: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx2.htm Got it in yellow. Over 15,000 commuter/utilitarian miles w/one minor truing of the rear wheel and regular maintenance. Changed out the stock tires for some 28mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus' and have only had one flat and one slow leak out of them in about the same amount of time. I don't think they're great bikes for the money. They're great bikes for twice the money. If you're planning to commute I'm sure you know that full fenders are a must. Rack, bags, lights, framepump, toolkit and you're there.

Btw, I'm planning on overhauling the drivetrain this spring. Going to replace the brakepads, chain, cog, bb and chainrings. The cables seem to be fine.
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Old 02-13-11, 01:27 AM   #13
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My only concern with a cross bike would be the gearing----but as you are on flatlands- it would not be a problem with 39/26 as your lowest gear and a 48 would probably be high enough.


My only other concern is the Make of bike. I know that Bikes direct have a lot of followers but I do prefer to have a bike with a "Name" behind it and to have the LBS locally to have problems sorted out. I don't know many of the manufacturers bikes- other than Giant- so a quick check on the Giant Catalogue and the TCX2 came up. A choice between a Motobecane and a Giant and I would prefer the Giant. Would probably be the same for Other Known "Names" aswell.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/....2/7315/44078/

It may not have disc brakes and possibly a few Downgrades on spec from the Motobecane- but cheap Disc brakes are not always that good.
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Old 02-13-11, 07:46 AM   #14
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stapfam:
I hear what you're saying. I've read some complaints about the avid mech brakes and the amount of maintence required. I'm also a little concerned about accelerating from a stoplight with a 39-26 low gear. If it was 34-26 I'd be alot less concerned. My training will stay focused on weightloss until I'm well below my target weight so raw power is not something I can effectively train for.

I'm O'K' with the idea of paying a little more to keep the local LBS open as I went to highschool with the owner and have many friends in common. The problem is his market is really lowend Giant bikes. I'm not saying Giant bikes are lowend just the models he sells. He wanted to sell me a Sedona which was the best bike he had.The Trek dealer in a nearby town promised the world and delivered the bare minimum as far as after the sale service. No adjustments to fit me, a free 15 minute tune-up while he hard sold me on list priced Bontrager accessories. He also sold me a 20" bike. I'm 6'2" tall. I think he sold me the 20" 7300 because he had one at his other store. Does Trek really have next day delivery on "ordered" Bikes?

I didn't discover Bikeforums until after I bought my first bike. Had I found this site beforehand I would have made different decisions. I really like this sub-group but rarely post here as compared to you guys I'm such a noob. Over on Clydes I post often as on the subject of weightloss I feel like the wise old man preaching patience and sustainable change. You know... old fart talk.

Last edited by jethro56; 02-13-11 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-13-11, 08:25 AM   #15
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It's interesting how every time Bikes Direct name gets mentioned, there are detractors who don't talk about the bike, but the company instead. I get it if someone had a bad experience with a bike (almost every manufacturer has their lemons, so you're bound to find a disgruntled customer for pretty much any company and any retailer out there).

Personally, I wouldn't want disc brakes for a daily commute bike. The ones on my MTB took some breaking in and tweaking to get right (although they've always stopped well, they were just making some squeaking noises), I wouldn't want to be mucking around with them on a daily basis, but that's just me.

I'm still all over the place in my mind about what to get next (and that includes where to get it). I just had a small budgetary setback, so it will take a little longer for me to accumulate enough money.
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Old 02-13-11, 08:30 AM   #16
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I, too, am not a great fan of disc brakes on an everyday commuter. Too much complexity for the job I need them to do. Your commute and situation might, however, be very different. I want my commuter to be as hassle free as possible, which is one of the reasons I move away from brifters and to bar end shifters. I guess it's really a matter of what you're willing to deal with. I do think, for your stated purpose the bike should work quite well.
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Old 02-13-11, 09:01 AM   #17
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Looks like a winner. My last commuter bike (before I retired) was a CX bike.
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Old 02-13-11, 09:19 AM   #18
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I didn't look close enough at your first post, I have the Motobecane Fantom CX, not the one you posted.

And this notion that my LBS should get every dollar I spend on bikes is crap. Over the years they have and will continue to get thousands of dollars from me and if they don't have what I want I buy it elsewhere. The Motobecane bikes are very decent bikes and come shipped quickly and in perfect condition. Bikesdirect stands behind their products and service and I will probably buy from them again sometime (already bought two bikes there).
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Old 02-13-11, 09:21 AM   #19
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Jethro, i bought my first roadie machine when i lived in atlanta, which is a hilly town. it had a triple crank, the middle ring was a 40T and the largest cog had 25 or 26 teeth, iirc. i pretty much kept it in the middle ring everywhere in town, starting from a stop on the 40T was not problematic at all. i imagine you'll be fine on the 39.

my commuter machine has mechanical disc brakes. i think a different model from the Motobecane posted, but still Avid. the bike is only ~8 months old and i have a short commute, so low mileage, but they have been problem-free. i haven't had to make any adjustments whatsoever. they take some getting used to, as the lever feel is different from rim brakes (pulls more cable). but they work just fine.
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Old 02-13-11, 09:39 AM   #20
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I'm also a little concerned about accelerating from a stoplight with a 39-26 low gear. If it was 34-26 I'd be alot less concerned.
Seriously? I wouldn't worry. 39-26 might be a concern for long or steep climbs, but you said you ride in flat country. I doubt you will even need that lowest gear for starting from a stop.
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Old 02-13-11, 10:34 AM   #21
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On the disc brakes for a commuter-Not a bad idea. The disc is kept out of the Wet- Muck and road grime and will not wear out the rims which can be a problem with long regular commutes- But I would want good disc brakes.

And before any BD followers cut me down on what I feel- Then I will tell you why.

They seem good bikes- Well specced on group but look a bit deeper and the wheels are not that great- and components are not light. Seems to be whatever was going cheap at the end of line productions to build up a bike with a "Non" descript frame that will not be of the lighter variety. The advert seem to imply "1/2 the price of an equivalent Trek"--or any other make that they wish to name. But it is not a Trek and will not ride or feel like one.On top of that the components are often parts that I would not out of choice fit to a bike.

So given the choice of a BD bike or any other equivalent Known bike- I will not contemplate the BD bike. I would rather pay more for something I can get out and try before I buy- and get a good enough deal on to say that I do not want the BD bike as it will not be worth it. And those deals are out there and the Shops that offer the service to go with it.

OK- you are getting a cheap bike that you can afford- But that is what it is- A cheap bike. I would rather go for say a Giant Defy3 at $750 if I could not afford the Defy 1 at $1300. That way I would have the LBS for setting up and covering problems or warranty concerns that I may have.

We don't have BD bikes over here- but we do have several Retail stores that have a reputation for cheap bikes. One of which is Halfords and their brand is Carrera which are similar to the Motobecane bikes.

So This is my reasons for Not liking BD- even though I have never dealt with them. I don't have to deal with them to see that they are not the bike I want. All I am waiting for is the Full Dure-Ace group to be fitted to a C.F. frame in red and to see it advertised at 1/2 the price of a Pinarrello Dogma. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
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Old 02-13-11, 10:53 AM   #22
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A cross bike is very useful as a Chicago commuting bike. I went from a Giant hybrid to a Soma Double Cross as a commuter and was very happy with the decision. A good cross bike is so versatile. I also use the Soma for Century rides and group rides with very good results.

The 48/39 crank-set will be ideal as a commuter in Chicago. I ran a 46/38 on my bike and never had any issue with any of the hills in Illinois.

Personally, I would avoid disc brakes. Disc brakes are ideal in wet weather and hilly & grimy terrain. Even if you commute year around, you will find cantilever brakes to be simpler/lighter/cheaper than disc brakes and the wet weather performance of disc brakes is simply not needed in Chicago, YMMV.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 02-13-11 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 02-13-11, 02:00 PM   #23
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They seem good bikes- Well specced on group but look a bit deeper and the wheels are not that great- and components are not light. Seems to be whatever was going cheap at the end of line productions to build up a bike with a "Non" descript frame that will not be of the lighter variety. The advert seem to imply "1/2 the price of an equivalent Trek"--or any other make that they wish to name. But it is not a Trek and will not ride or feel like one.On top of that the components are often parts that I would not out of choice fit to a bike.

So given the choice of a BD bike or any other equivalent Known bike- I will not contemplate the BD bike. I would rather pay more for something I can get out and try before I buy- and get a good enough deal on to say that I do not want the BD bike as it will not be worth it. And those deals are out there and the Shops that offer the service to go with it.

OK- you are getting a cheap bike that you can afford- But that is what it is- A cheap bike. I would rather go for say a Giant Defy3 at $750 if I could not afford the Defy 1 at $1300. That way I would have the LBS for setting up and covering problems or warranty concerns that I may have.

We don't have BD bikes over here- but we do have several Retail stores that have a reputation for cheap bikes. One of which is Halfords and their brand is Carrera which are similar to the Motobecane bikes.

So This is my reasons for Not liking BD- even though I have never dealt with them. I don't have to deal with them to see that they are not the bike I want. All I am waiting for is the Full Dure-Ace group to be fitted to a C.F. frame in red and to see it advertised at 1/2 the price of a Pinarrello Dogma. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
I know that BD bikes are not 50% of what a comparable name brand bike would be, but they are 25-30% cheaper. I will say that from reading the Not Again thread you posted, that you have a great LBS, and an above average rapport with the owner. Most people are not going to be loaned a bike like that Giant TCR Advanced from any of the LBS' I have dealt with.

I haven't made a decision on my next bike. I'm still trying to figure out a bunch of things. I am absolutely willing to give any of the LBS' around me a shot to earn my business. If I buy another bike online it will be because that seems like the best decision for me at that time. I do know that just like car dealerships, bike shops make more of their money on parts, accessories, and service. So wherever I buy a bike from, I know the LBS' will be glad to do business with me if I need parts, accessories and service. These are all things I won't be spending money on if I don't have a bike that I like to ride.


We'll see.
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