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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 12-03-08, 02:33 PM   #1
mjamesc07
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Cyclocross bikes used as a commuter?

I am new to the cycling world and I have been doing research for the last 2 weeks on what bike I should get. I was looking at Marin, Novara and now I am really looking into Kona. I am looking for a bike that I can use as a commuter bike but also something I can use on the light trails that go through Red Rock National Park out here in Vegas and I am also looking to eventually start into cyclocross. A lot of people have told me that I should get more then one bike then and I am thinking there is no reason to get more then one bike. I was thinking if I could find a good cyclocross bike that would cover my trail riding and they are pretty light so it will not be a bad commuting bike. I will be going about 100-150 miles a work week. I was thinking that I could get different tires for when I am just commuting and going to the store and others for when I am going to be going on trails. Let me know what you think. I have been looking at the Kona Jake mostly.

Oh I will also like to be able to have a real rack if possible if not a messenger bag will work.
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Old 12-03-08, 02:47 PM   #2
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no reason to get more than one bike if you don't need it. people commute on cross bikes all the time. if anything get, get a set of mavic open pros for commuting and use the stock wheels for trails or vice versa. kona jake looks like a pretty sick bike for the price.
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Old 12-03-08, 02:49 PM   #3
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IMO you are on the right track and a Kona Jake would be a great choice.

I would look into getting an extra wheelset, not just tires. Changing tires gets to be a PITA. Get wheels with the same hub, so that shifting stays constant when you change out the wheels. (Surprisingly, there is no standard for freehub spacing on rear hubs.)
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Old 12-03-08, 02:50 PM   #4
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seems to me, a cross bike would be perfect for you. it looks like the jake has rear rack mounts. you could definitely get a few sets of tires, depending on what type of riding you'll be doing. you could even get a spare wheelset with each tire type already installed, so you're not swapping tires all the time.

i currently swap my tires from race use to commuting/trail use and it sort of gets old. however, now that race season is winding down, it's not such an issue. eventually, i'd like a race wheelset and use my current wheelset for trail riding/commuting.

edit: man, i'm slow at typing!
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Old 12-03-08, 02:58 PM   #5
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I agree, my cross bike is pulling double duty as both commuter and trail/race bike. On the same tires, no less. It's perfect for the ten mile ride to the trails and back, as well as on the trails themselves. It completely eats up my commute, which is mostly on asphalt and in an almost straight line for seven miles.

I'm looking into a spare wheelset myself, at the very least some spare tires for racing. The Kwick Kross tires are fine for trails and roads, since I'd rather not have to change my tires when I get to the trailhead.

By all means, go with a cross bike, even if it never sees a race.
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Old 12-03-08, 03:06 PM   #6
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Dude I could not be happier that I joined this site. Y'all are awesome I really appreciate all the advice. I am really interested in building my own bike one day but that is way down the road. I will definitely get a cross bike. Now I just have to decide which one to get. A lot of people seem to like the Kona Jake and the Kona Jake the Snake. I am not sure if it would be worth the extra money the the Snake. What other bikes/brands are similar though?

I like the idea of getting a wheelset instead of swamping out the tires but I think that will take sometime to get to after I buy the bike.
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Old 12-03-08, 03:15 PM   #7
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I've gotta put in props for the cross check. IMO, still the best all around bike there is. Haven't ridden a Jake, but a Salsa Chili, Las Cruces (my home town, sweet) or Casserole (not great for cyclecross) I have ridden and all are good for the job. The Las Cruces is out of production and all of the Salsa's are lighter than the Surly, but all will cost more as well.
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Old 12-03-08, 03:26 PM   #8
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I've gotta put in props for the cross check. IMO, still the best all around bike there is. Haven't ridden a Jake, but a Salsa Chili, Las Cruces (my home town, sweet) or Casserole (not great for cyclecross) I have ridden and all are good for the job. The Las Cruces is out of production and all of the Salsa's are lighter than the Surly, but all will cost more as well.
Biggest tire clearance of any cross bike AFAIK.
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Old 12-03-08, 03:31 PM   #9
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I think I will have to go and try and test ride these bikes if possible. The draw back to that is that the dealers selling them are pretty far from each other, oh well. I am also having trouble knowing how to compare components and the gear set up. I am sure I will have to wait and find out what kind of gear set up I personally like. The Salsa bikes are a bit on the expensive side. I was hoping to stay below a grand but I know that if it is worth it then I will make the investment. I mean everyday i use the bike it will start to pay for itself.
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Old 12-03-08, 04:44 PM   #10
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Also look at the Specialized Tricross models. Some of the lower priced models of the cross bikes have triple chainrings which could be useful if you want to commute up hills with a load of books in panniers.
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Old 12-03-08, 04:49 PM   #11
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Wow Tricross looks nice but it is really pricey. I know that it is an investment but I also don't want to pay for more than I need. Vegas is pretty flat at least where I am so that is not a major obstacle
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Old 12-04-08, 01:10 AM   #12
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+n+1 for the CrossCheck as a highly versatile and adaptive ride. great for commuting and a lot of trails and utility riding. some suggest it is a little heavy for racing, I don't race so cannot weigh in
on that. have ridden mine thousands of km in just about every possible condition- it just keeps going.
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Old 12-04-08, 01:18 AM   #13
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Very cool. Great bike. I am going to have to compare the Cross Check with the Kona Jake. Any other bikes along those lines I should take a look at?
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Old 12-04-08, 02:37 AM   #14
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Once I finish my single ring cross build it will probably end up being used more as a commuter than a cross racer. Unfourtunally I can't afford 2 sets of wheels but meh. Out of all the bikes I've looked at and read/heard about cross defiantly seem up at the top of the list when it comes to commuting though (assuming you get more or the more utalitarian ones instead of pure races ones).
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Old 12-04-08, 08:55 AM   #15
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Very cool. Great bike. I am going to have to compare the Cross Check with the Kona Jake. Any other bikes along those lines I should take a look at?
My crosscheck just turned ten last week... and it's better than ever. This year it's been a roadbike, pit bike, mountain bike, daily commuter, and now it has mustache bars doing "gentlemen's" bike duty.

You can't go wrong with one unless you want to use it as a submarine.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:08 PM   #16
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I've got a Kona Jake and I use it for 100-miles a week off commuting, cyclocross racing and I've done a couple of centuries on it. It's an awesome bike. The biggest differences between the Jake and the Cross Check, IMO, are that the Cross Check has a steel frame while the Jake is aluminum, and the Jake has STI shifters while the Cross Check has bar end. Both of those are personal preference things.

If I were starting over and I had the money, I'd probably go with the Salsa La Cruz for the above purposes. It's twice the price of the Jake, but it's got nice components (105, a step above the Jake's Tiagra, but still a step below the Ultegra that you'll undoubtedly find yourself drawn to), and the disc brakes are sweet for commuting and trails (though they do rule out UCI competition, if you imagine you'd ever care about that).
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Old 12-04-08, 02:28 PM   #17
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It is going to be a hard choice. The Salsa La Cruz is to expensive so I will definitely get either the Jake or CrossCheck. I will not be carrying that much weight and most will probably be on my back so the lighter frame of the Jake would be good but I am seeing a lot that the componets are not that great so that concerns me. The CrossCheck is nice and a strudier bike but I do not really like bar-end shifters. I will not be doing many if any group rides. I am just going to have to try and find both and ride them. I really think the lighter frame would be nice though because my ride home is up hill, it is not a steep grade but it is a long way and I am sure in the last mile or two it will feel like a mountain if I had a steel bike.
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Old 12-04-08, 03:31 PM   #18
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I think the components are pretty comparable between the Jake and the Cross Check. The 2009 Jake doesn't have quite as nice a crankset as the 2008 Jake did, but I'm not sure how it compares with the crankset on the Cross Check. Another thing you might consider is that the Jake has a triple crankset. If you're worried about hills, the 30T granny gear on the Jake will be a lot more forgiving that the 36T inner ring of the Cross Check.

On the other hand, if the bar end shifters were a big stumbling block, you may be interested to know that Nashbar has Ultegra STI shifters on sale for $150 right now. With the current 20% off deal, you could get them for $120+shipping. I've got a pair of those under the tree myself. Of course, that takes you into the realm of 10-speed .. new cassette ... slippery slope. Ummmm....Ultegra....
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Old 12-04-08, 03:37 PM   #19
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It is just such a difficult choice to make when I do not know a lot about cycling.
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Old 12-04-08, 03:46 PM   #20
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Sorry guys, I just had to do it.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/cross_bikes.htm

And my bike.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:02 PM   #21
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It is just such a difficult choice to make when I do not know a lot about cycling.
if you're new to cycling, then i think what is MOST important is that you choose the bike that fits you the best. i'd suggest going to a few local bike shops and trying out different models in your price range. i'd also suggest you have a shop do a fit session with you, to be sure you know what size frame would suit you the best. you're not just buying a bike, you're also building a relationship with your bike shop. since you're new to cycling, you're probably new to bicycle maintenance; the bike shop will probably be handling many of your maintence issues, until you learn yourself.

competitive cyclist has a great online fit calculator to give you an idea as to what frame dimensions might suit your body best: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

this part or that part might be lighter, better, cooler, whatever. choosing an ill fitting bike with sweet parts isn't going to help you. buying a bike that fits you properly and runs well is much more important. the tiagra components on the jake will be completely fine. when stuff wears out or breaks, replace it.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:08 PM   #22
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bikesdirect bikes are great for the money, if you know what size you ride and can handle maintenance issues. again, if you're new to cycling, getting fit from a shop that can also handle maintenance for you is well worth the extra price.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:43 PM   #23
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Don't be tempted by Bikes Direct. They are a fantastic source if you know what you're doing, but if you don't Bike Direct is the devil.

I'd second the recommendation to start nurturing a relationship with a local bike shop. The many great people here on Bike Forums will be happy to offer enough opinions to make your head swim, but a good bike shop will not only have helpful people to talk to you in real time, they'll have a personal investment in making sure you get the right bike for you.

BTW, if it comes down to a choice between the Kona Jake and the Surly Cross Check, you can't make a bad decision. They're both good bikes.
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Old 12-04-08, 05:17 PM   #24
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BTW, if it comes down to a choice between the Kona Jake and the Surly Cross Check, you can't make a bad decision. They're both good bikes.
Yeah that is what it pretty much has boiled down to. I will have to see what bikes are locally available and in what sizes. I am kind of hoping I can find an 08' Kona Jake because I am not really a fan of bright colors on bikes but that is not even a deciding factor unless all other factors are equal.
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Old 12-04-08, 05:38 PM   #25
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how about ridley crossbow, from the cointry where cx is practically the national sport
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