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  1. #1
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    CX bike right for me?

    I wish to start riding a bike to work. The main reason I was considering a CX bike is that I can put nobbier tiers on it and can put fenders on it. I live in a climate where in the winter it gets pretty cold (minnesota) so i probably won't ride it in the winter, but I would like to ride it when its above freezing and there is just a little bit of snow on the ground. Am i better off with a general road bike and just put some different tires on it?

    The other thing that i want is a brake & shift system integrated (STI). I don't really have a rational reason other than that when I was a child all the fancy bikes had it and i was always curious to own one.

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    A CX bike will do exactly what you want. The fork and brakes are designed to accommodate larger/wider tires than a conventional road bike.

    A typical road bike comes with side-pull, short-reach caliper brakes and a low-clearance fork that are far more aerodynamic, but can usually only fit up to 700x28 tires. Fenders often have to be jury-rigged - even if they will fit at all.

    A CX bike equipped with skinny road-racing tires is fast enough to take on group rides and is more comfortable for long-distance riding (like centuries, etc.). It will also have a longer wheelbase than a conventional road bike, thus making it a bit more stable and better able to take a rack and panniers.

    I have a racing bike. I have a CX bike. Guess which one is better for 90% of the actual riding I do?

  3. #3
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    One more thing...

    Go ahead and fulfill your desire for STI with a 105 or Ultegra-level group. They work very well.

    A lot of CX racers and commuters use bar-end shifters because mud and dirt are the bane of STI and similar style brifters. If you're not gonna play in the mud then STI's are awesome. Enjoy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    CX bikes are a good for everything bike. Obviously not road racing or single track MTB but everything in between. I run mine with knobbies (32) and ride trails and mud, 28's (cross) in the winter months and 23's (slicks) in the road season when I want to go fast. I also throw on road chainrings for the summer and go back to compact in the fall/winter. I ride centuries weekly in the summer and throw some aerobars on for longer rides. They are a tough, versatile and comfortable bike. I also have a race and MTB for the other extremes but love the versatility of my Tri Cross.

  5. #5
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    I'd suggest taking a look at the Surly cross check. Not the lightest of bikes since it's steel framed, but it's one of the more versatile of bikes out there. You can pick up a brand new one off Internet shops for around $1k. Supports huge tires and you can even run single speed easily for Winter riding if you wanted. I don't own one, but I like them.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  6. #6
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    are cyclo cross frames heavier than road frames? I have decided i don't care what the material the frame is made out of, but since I won't be rough with my bike wondering if a steel road bike is less weight than an aluminum cyclo bike

  7. #7
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    I've found that a typical $1k road bike is really no more lighter than a $1k cross bike. My Specialized Tricross comes in at about 20lbs. It's a pretty beefy frame and has a very beefy carbon fork. But this is a $2k bike. I would say a $2k road bike is probably 2 to 3 lbs lighter than a $2k cross bike. Not much when you're not racing.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

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    There's not that much difference, honestly. An aluminum frame might weigh a pound less than a steel frame of similar design and size (and that might be a stretch). The real differences in weight between particular bikes is due much more to the other components (especially wheels and tires).

    Generally, a steel frame will have a more compliant, smoother ride than aluminum, but this is not always the case. At the cheaper end of things it can be a crapshoot. Many riders will pay the small weight penalty to get the better ride of steel.

    If I were you, I would not worry about weight at all. I would look for the best fitting, most natural handling STI-equipped CX bike I could find in my price range. It might turn out to be aluminum, or it might be steel. Or, if you really want to spend, it could be titanium or carbon fiber!

    It might not be obvious, but a $1000 bike that fits like a glove and handles like a dream is going to make you happier than a rig that costs twice as much but is only marginally comfortable and a pain to maneuver.

  9. #9
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    A cross bike can take the wider tires like a tourer but will be lighter. Smooth tires would be nicer riding on the roads. I would use a 1970s Craigslist 10 sp during the period when they put salt on the roads.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nooladno View Post
    I live in a climate where in the winter it gets pretty cold (minnesota) so i probably won't ride it in the winter, but I would like to ride it when its above freezing and there is just a little bit of snow on the ground.
    No need to put the bike away for winter. I also live in a cold climate (Alaska) and ride a cross-check all year. A cross-check fits the Nokian 700x40 240 stud tires with fenders and does a good job on ice and hardpack. I only switch to the mountain bike when we have more than a couple inches of fresh snow.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I've found that a typical $1k road bike is really no more lighter than a $1k cross bike. My Specialized Tricross comes in at about 20lbs. It's a pretty beefy frame and has a very beefy carbon fork. But this is a $2k bike. I would say a $2k road bike is probably 2 to 3 lbs lighter than a $2k cross bike. Not much when you're not racing.
    Dear nooladno: I second the motion. I have been owned by Tricross Comp for about 4 months after riding a big-box special, and still can not get over how stable and maneuverable it is at low speed, when I need to time red light or ride around the car at the side street. That said, Tricrosses run tall for the size declared, which suits my body type just fine. I do need shorter top tube.
    Weight issue - as long as I can lift it to the back of my car, I am not going to worry about 2 to 3 lb either way. This bike engine can stand to lose 10 times that much. Priorities, people, priorities....
    When I ride, I do not go after every pothole in town, but not afraid of them either. That leaves me free to watch out for the big, bad vehicles instead of cracks and pits to save the rims. With racks attached it is a perfect fast commuter - 18-20 on city street.
    Have bike fitted. My entire body felt like Gothic vault - springy, elastic arches across my core, from hand to hand, hand to foot, foot to foot, no pressure points, no strain, all perfectly balanced. I floated over it, I felt like I can steer the bike by mental effort alone. OK, by tilting the head That said, when having to choose between two sizes, go by upper body comfort.

    Have fun and Good Luck

    SF

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