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  1. #1
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    LBS trying to talk me out of Cyclocross

    I went into my LBS today to ask about getting a cyclocross. I commute to work (10 miles each way) and here are some of the points the employee said:

    1) The wider tires 25-32cm (with Gatorskins or other flat reducing tire) in comparison to 23cm, will not get less pinch flats in potholes if tires are inflated correctly. Also they might get more regular flats since they have more chance of picking up sharp object b/cuz of increased surface area.

    2) If you have the right fit, wider tires on similar priced new bikes, will not give you any more control in cornering (or amongst cars in traffic)

    3) Unless you have a need to go offroad or put on racks (I use a backpack) then there is absolutely no need to get a cyclocross as a commuter, for the same price, they are not any more durable and slower then equivalent quailty road bikes.

    I was honestly a little taken aback by the insistence of this guy to talk me out of a cyclocross for commuting. I ride on bike path and city streets of varriying quality and traffic. Does anyone know if there are higher profit margins on road bikes vs cx? Also any thoughts on the points above. I want less flats, comfort, control and speed. (Obviously I would be riding with slicks)

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Go to a different shop.

    1. CX bikes make excellent commuter bikes. If you don't like the wide tires, you can always go narrower. You can't go wider on a road bike. I've experienced less pinches on wider tires compared to a 23c.
    2. Yes, you do lose a little quickness with wider tires like a 32c. When I switch to a road bike, it definitely feels quicker and more agile compared to wide cx tires. You can get durable semi-slick CX tires like Ritchey Speed Max
    3. People get CX bikes for versitility. More tire clearance. But if you are absolutely not going to ride in gravel or some light trail, there is little advantage to getting a CX bike.

  3. #3
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    the guy seems to just be a pretentious roadie

    almost no one who seriously commutes does so on 23's (it's not cm, btw) city riding is just too rough for most. if you look at ANY bike that is sold as a "commuter" it will have larger tires on it (compared to a true "road" bike)

    if you are commuting in a city, you don't need THAT much control in cornering. you probably aren't going to be flying through turns at 30+ mph, i consider #2 a mute point

    the difference between riding a 'cross bike with slicks and a road bike in terms of one being "slower" is SO negligible that any other number of factors will much more greatly affect the outcome of how "fast" you are, i.e. what you ate, how much water you've had, how much is in your bag, how many lights you catch, wet roads, etc etc etc etc

    in conclusion, and i believe anyone in the commuting forum would agree, a 'cross bike is FINE if not preferred by many commuters. what bike shop is this anyway?
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

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    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
    go to a different shop.
    +1.

  5. #5
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    Did the shop even have any cyclocross bikes? I've seen shops try and talk people into bikes that they had on their floor verses selling someone exactly what they want.
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    The amount of flats depends on the type of tire not the type of bike. If any of the bike paths you use are unpaved you will not need a road bike with 23 mm tires. The advantage of a road bike would be the ability to use double pivot caliper brakes, but fenders would be a big problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    Did the shop even have any cyclocross bikes? I've seen shops try and talk people into bikes that they had on their floor verses selling someone exactly what they want.
    This was my first thought as well.
    Dollars to donuts he was trying to sell you something he had in stock at that moment.

  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    The guys not just a dork. Most of what he's saying is wrong.

    A Cross bike makes a good commuter. So does a touring bike like the Surly LHT.
    I use a sport bike. Sport bikes, like my Gunnar Sport, have geometry halfway between a touring bike and a roadie.

    Just for giggles, take a look at this, it's Gunnar's new frame. It's got me drooling.
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    There's a kernel of truth in what he said. You don't need a cross bike for light commuting, and a road bike could work very well, depending.

    If I were buying a bike strictly for commuting, though, I would want clearance for wider tires, fenders, and racks.

  10. #10
    Justin scattered73's Avatar
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    I had a similar experience with a shop except he said no on road and cross bikes. His opinion was hybrids were the only city bikes. I just bought else where.
    Do what makes you happy.

  11. #11
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    I think a cross bike may actually be faster for commutting in the city. I fly through/over stuff that I would normally have to slow down for/avoid if I was on a road bike. Riding a cyclocross bike in the city is huge fun. Find a shop that has staff that want you on a bike best suited to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scrifkin View Post
    3) Unless you have a need to go offroad or put on racks (I use a backpack) then there is absolutely no need to get a cyclocross as a commuter, for the same price, they are not any more durable and slower then equivalent quailty road bikes.
    You may not want racks, but you may like:
    - clearance for fenders, which most newer road bikes won't have
    - brakes are not caliper brakes, giving options for mounting wider tires, fenders, and not having snow gunk up the works
    - Many cross bikes have interrupter brake levers; I find these great when going at low speed (such as 5mph around campus between classes weaving through a throng of students) as my hands tend to gravitate towards the tops at low speeds, so I can sit up straight and control the bike easier.

    I have a second set of wheels with 23C tires for my cross bike, and it's nearly indistinguishable from a comparably set up road bike with skinny tires.


    My experience with my LBS was that the shop only carried Trek cross bikes, leaving my options to the XO-1 and XO-2, both very high end and flashy bikes; not what I was looking for (and also not in stock, so I'd have to wait for him to order it); so I ended up buying online. He wasn't against CX bikes, but from his point of view the CX bikes were only for racing CX (and at the cost / setup of the two he offered, I could see why he'd get that opinion)

  13. #13
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    The salesman's points are mostly valid.

    The main argument FOR a cross bike as a commuter is clearance for fenders, IMHO. Most road bikes have clearance for maybe 27mm tires (23's have worked fine for me for a long time), but fenders are very welcome on those mornings after a late-night rain or when the snow starts melting in March. If you are into racks, that's another pro.
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    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearyourtruth View Post
    the guy seems to just be a pretentious roadie

    almost no one who seriously commutes does so on 23's (it's not cm, btw) city riding is just too rough for most. if you look at ANY bike that is sold as a "commuter" it will have larger tires on it (compared to a true "road" bike)
    This is just silliness. How are 23s too rough for "commuting roads" but fine for general road riding? Sure 25s can make things more comfortable but the idea that you cannot commute on 23s is silly.

    As for the mechanics points:
    1: I agree with the pinch flat thing. You won't get them with good tire pressure. I regularly ride 30 psi under recommended without issue (on 23s by the way). Second, I don't believe you will get more flats. You have more rubber on the road but less pressure at each point.

    2: Cornering is insignificant.

    3: I have changed my mind a few times on racks. The option to put them on is not a bad thing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    You may want to look at touring bikes or a road bike that can accommodate racks, fenders ect. but there is nothing wrong with a cross bike for commuting if that fits your needs.
    Last edited by sharkey00; 02-25-09 at 02:32 PM.

  16. #16
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    The question is, what was he trying to sell you? Don't get a hybrid. They are a bad idea, upright geometry leads to a sloppy bike fit and they tend to weigh a ton.

  17. #17
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I went to my LBS last year looking for a road bike for under $1000 that could take a rack and fenders. The sales guy tried to find something that met my requirements, but in the end, he pointed me toward a CX bike (which he didn't have in stock, BTW) as the best bike to do what I was after. A week later, when the Kona Jake came in for a test ride, I bought it.

    It's been a great commuting bike. I usually use it with 25mm tires, but I kept the stock CX tires. It turned out that the biggest advantage was that when fall came around, and I started hearing the buzz about cyclocross racing, I had a bike ready to do it. I'm not a racer, per se, and when I bought the bike I had no intention of using it for that, but cyclocross is such great fun that you shouldn't rule this out as a possible advantage.

    Another thing to consider is riding position. A cross bike doesn't put you in quite as aggressive of a position as your typical road bike, which I think tends to be better for commuting.

  18. #18
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    The guys not just a dork. Most of what he's saying is wrong.

    A Cross bike makes a good commuter. So does a touring bike like the Surly LHT.
    I use a sport bike. Sport bikes, like my Gunnar Sport, have geometry halfway between a touring bike and a roadie.

    Just for giggles, take a look at this, it's Gunnar's new frame. It's got me drooling.
    I like the look of that frame. It has disc tabs I see. Is it spaced 130 or 135? What kind of fork would you use?
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  19. #19
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    +1 on finding a new LBS. Skinny tires are fine for commuting, but running fatter tires with less pressure equals a more comfortable ride. With skinny tires and potholes you really need to be careful about were you are riding because you could get a pinch flat or worse (rim damage). In my last year of commuting I had one flat that was actually a torn sidewall. My coworker riding 3 miles each way (compared to my 10 miles each way) often had multiple flats in a week. He even had two in the same day. He is riding a fixed gear bike with 23 and I am ridding a touring bike with 32s. My commuting duties this year will get split between a vintage touring bike, new touring bike, and two cross bikes depending on my mood and the weather.

    My biggest reason for wider tires is my commute has two miles of dirt roads before I hit pavement. I wouldn't want to ride 23mm tires everyday for that. The smallest I would go is 28 and I find I prefer 30-35mm tires for that (either touring/road tires or cross tires).

    Oh, one more thing for commuting get a rack and panniers. A backpack/messenger bag is fine for short trips and I was commuting with one for a few months before I got a rack and panniers. Since I got them I always commute with them, no more sweaty back and I feel much more comfortable on the ride to/from work.

  20. #20
    Senior Member daintonj's Avatar
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    I use a 'cross bike for commuting, trail riding, audaxes and fast road rides.

    On my route to work I have 7 miles of canal towpath and 3 miles of road and tend to use 37c semi slicks in dryer weather, in soaking weather I switch to Conti Speed Kings in 35c. For audaxes and fast road riding I use 25c tyres and have had no problem.

    Even with a 37c tyre I can quite comfortably average 15mph on my commute.
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  21. #21
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    I like the look of that frame. It has disc tabs I see. Is it spaced 130 or 135? What kind of fork would you use?

    I like that it does not have the word "SPORT" written on the top tube....I always thougth that looked incredibly silly for a frame of it's quality.

  22. #22
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    I've got a Jamis Coda Elite hybrid and a Habanero cross bike. I use them for different things and they are both great in my application for each. I have rack, panniers and fenders on the Jamis. All in, it's well over 30 lbs. Not fun per se, but it carries a ton of stuff and keeps me clean when the roads are wet.

    The Habanero I use on dry days when everything fits in my messenger bag. It's a speed demon compared to the Jamis and I'm glad I have the option of keeping it fast, nimble and fun by not weighing it down with rack, panniers and fenders. Like others, I have a second set of wheels and road tires which turns it into a respectable 18.5lb road bike.

    A cross bike is the best of both worlds, a cross bike and a road bike should you choose to keep a spare set of wheels around. Can't turn a road bike into a cross bike.

  23. #23
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsyptak View Post

    a cross bike is the best of both worlds, a cross bike and a road bike should you choose to keep a spare set of wheels around. Can't turn a road bike into a cross bike.
    +1

  24. #24
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
    Go to a different shop...
    I'd recomend trying at least some of these bikes

    drop bar, discbrake, 700c, off the peg
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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  25. #25
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    I like the look of that frame. It has disc tabs I see. Is it spaced 130 or 135? What kind of fork would you use?
    I would guess 135mm or maybe the between size of 132.5mm so you could use 130 or 135mm spaced hubs. I say 135mm because there are no disc hubs in anything smaller than a 135mm spacing that I know of.

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