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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 01-22-10, 07:45 PM   #1
spoon16
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So many bikes... how can I narrow things down?

I am looking to buy a cyclocross bike for commuting and am a bit overwhelmed with all the different brands and options. I've been told by some friends of mine who are avid riders in this area to look for a bike with the following:
  • carbon fiber seat post
  • carbon fiber front fork
  • disk brakes
  • steel frame (not aluminum)
  • fender mounts
  • egg beater pedals

My budget is 1500 dollars. Can someone recommend a bike for me? Or can you point me at a web based tool that will let me put in some different specs and find manufactures that provide a bike with those specs?

If I can narrow down to a few different models I can go around to my LBS and test ride those bikes.

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-10, 12:35 AM   #2
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Might be better off if you list what you can test ride first. For commuting though, carbon isn't needed, nor disk brakes. How far of a commute do you have? You may have better luck with this on the commuting forum.

I'd recommend also looking at touring bikes like the Fuji Touring or maybe something like Surly crosscheck.
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Old 01-23-10, 02:54 AM   #3
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Might be better off if you list what you can test ride first. For commuting though, carbon isn't needed, nor disk brakes. How far of a commute do you have? You may have better luck with this on the commuting forum.

I'd recommend also looking at touring bikes like the Fuji Touring or maybe something like Surly crosscheck.

My ride to work is about 8 miles one way and is a combination of gravel trail, paved trail, and road. There are a number of pretty long hills and I will often be riding in wet conditions.

My understanding is that the carbon seat post and forks will significantly reduce vibration and the disk brakes will really help in the wet gritty conditions that I will often be riding in.

Does anyone know of a cyclocross bike that comes with the items I specified off the shelf?
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Old 01-23-10, 03:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by spoon16 View Post
I am looking to buy a cyclocross bike for commuting and am a bit overwhelmed with all the different brands and options. I've been told by some friends of mine who are avid riders in this area to look for a bike with the following:
  • carbon fiber seat post
  • carbon fiber front fork
  • disk brakes
  • steel frame (not aluminum)
  • fender mounts
  • egg beater pedals

My budget is 1500 dollars. Can someone recommend a bike for me? Or can you point me at a web based tool that will let me put in some different specs and find manufactures that provide a bike with those specs?

If I can narrow down to a few different models I can go around to my LBS and test ride those bikes.

Thanks!
carbon seat post - dont worry about it, at that price the fibre isn't of high quality any way.
carbon fork - i hear this is a recipe for brake shudder (just do a search on those two words) when using 'regular' cx brakes.
disk brakes - I dont have expeirence here
steel frame - i'd say go for AL not steel (al doesnt rust, is a touch lighter, and i doubt ride quality is affected too much coz you're gonna have wider tires which makes most difference to ride quality.
fender - yup, definitely, also rack mounts
pedals - yeah two sided pedals are best, i have shimano m540

I gotta tricross for my rainy day commutes (all-road) and love the comfortable ride (compared to rb). Things to watch out for on CX bike are brake shdder (but if you're getting disk, maybe not applicable, but not sure if cx bikes come with disk, another poster can chime in), and the other thing I dislike is pedal overlap when steering.

Brands to try out: just list some brands at your local shops and see which shops you think are better places to buy, the guys here will help out on brands. I bought a Specialized (the price was good, and I was happy with the brand based on previous purchase).
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Old 01-23-10, 04:10 AM   #5
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salsa la cruz. some cx bikes come with mounts for disc, but with rim brakes stock
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Old 01-23-10, 08:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by spoon16 View Post
My ride to work is about 8 miles one way and is a combination of gravel trail, paved trail, and road. There are a number of pretty long hills and I will often be riding in wet conditions.

My understanding is that the carbon seat post and forks will significantly reduce vibration
Anyone who told you this is not someone you should listen to. The 35mm tyres on a crosser overwhelm the marginal possibilities of shock damping from these sources.

And regular cantilever or v-brakes with Koolstop Salmon pads will stop you adequately in the wet. Discs are nice, but getting them in a crosser in your price range will be tricky. The classic work horse bike is the Surly Cross Check. Built up with bar end shifters, one will cost about $1000.

The big problem to look out for with crossers is fork shudder - do a forum search on this.
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Old 01-23-10, 10:53 AM   #7
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For what you want, get something like a Trek Portland or Raleigh Sojourn. Not cross bikes, but would be perfect for wet weather commuting on these types of roads. Forget what the frame is made out of. Make your ride more comfortable by putting larger volume tires on it like meanwhile said.

To add, cross bikes usually don't have proper gearing for hill climbing which is also where the proper tool such as one of the bikes I listed would be more appropriate. You can pick up either of these bikes for less than what your budget allows.
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Old 01-23-10, 12:31 PM   #8
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To add, cross bikes usually don't have proper gearing for hill climbing which is also where the proper tool such as one of the bikes I listed would be more appropriate.
Good point. But if you do find a crosser you like then a decent LBS should be willing to change the cassette or chain rings for you - it should cost the difference in parts (if any) and a small labour fee.

I really must get my crosser tamed down a notch - it's set just right for hour long races, but getting it back home after the four hour long off road sessions I favour can be a trial. There's one particular gravel covered slope...
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Old 01-23-10, 01:44 PM   #9
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Surly Pacer would make a *****in' commuter.
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pacer_complete/
Fits 28mm tires with fenders.

Or Surly Cross-Check if you really want the bigger tire clearance.

Or build up a Vassago Fisticuff if you really want the disk brakes.

But the Pacer would be the sweetest.
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Old 01-23-10, 04:37 PM   #10
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Disagree with the Pacer. No rack/fender mounts make it a less than optimal commuter. Many better options out there. One would be the Cross Check.

OP, check out the Specialized Tricross Sport. About what price you're looking for, has the gearing to tackle most any hill, rack & fender mounts. No disk brakes, but cantilever brakes work great in wet, muddy conditions. Just change the brake pads....
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Old 01-23-10, 04:55 PM   #11
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Disagree with the Pacer. No rack/fender mounts make it a less than optimal commuter.
It has fender eyelets, front and rear.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:55 AM   #12
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http://www.masibikes.com/steel/speciale-cx/

In my opinion, for the price, probably a better deal than a cross check. Primarily because it comes with STIs for just a slightly higher price. Also steel frame (just like crosscheck) and the color looks cool, if you're into the retro look.
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