I am really going back and forth on the whole Cyclocross vs. Roadbike deal for my near-future commuting escapades. Is a Cyclocross bike going to be more durable than the average Roadbike? I already understand it will be a bit slower (not much) and the tires and wheels are a bit beefier. I am wanting a cyclocross bike with Carbon front forks and carbon bar and other choice carbon pieces. The frame will be aluminum and Cyclocross purpose built. Any suggestions?
Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
I really don't know much, but I'll comment anyway...
Which CX bike are you looking at?
The frames and wheelset are generally stronger. The components are generally the same as on roadbikes and therefor no more durable. For example STI shifters are delicate not matter what frame they are on and likely to get broken in a crash, bar ends are more robust and very often used on CX bikes. Also keeping the bike simple (i.e. single chainring) can keep things more robust.
My sense is that in CX one builds on a robust frame/wheelset then replaces the add ons as they get broken.
I gave my road bikes for a Gunnar Crosshairs, Reynolds 853....very light and responsive frame. I really cannot tell that uch of difference except the geomerty is a bit more comfortable. I have it decked out with XT all around and ultergra barcons for the shifters. I use it both for commuting and fitness.
A CX Bike will make a great commuter because they are indeed more durable and you may be able to fit it with racks for panniers if you get one with braze ons. The only thing that will make it slower is the fatter tires, but you can always put road tires on it and viola you have a fast road bike.
I have a jamis nova. Carbon fork, steel frame. It's lighter than I thought it would be. It has avid shorty 4's for brakes and shimano 105 levers and derailur. It's a real fun bike to ride! I know you said aluminum but I just thought I would mention it in case someone else wondered about it.
Before I bought my Axis back in June, I test-rode the Trek XO, Kona Jake and the Cannondale CX. They were all really nice but they didn't seem as solid or agile as the Bianchi. I take it off-road all the time, on some fairly nasty new hampshire trails, and it performs about as well as any mountain bike I've owned. And on pavement I can still fly. The only thing I would change is the front brake, which, when the rims are wet, shudders like crazy unless you squeeze the hell out of it. However, re-toeing the pads has helped this somewhat.
It has butted reynolds 631 tubing. It might not be light compared to other bikes but I was expecting it to be heavier. Even the bike shop folks seemed surprized. It has eyes so you can put a rack on it. I have one to put on it but I hadn't yet cause it looks to cool to do that right now. I even like the color and I don't usually like dark bikes, I like to look like a neon peacock when I ride! The specs say 23lbs which really isn't very light I guess. It's my back up/ rain / comfort bike so I didn't care as much about the wt.
Jamis Nova, Fisher Tassajara, Indy Fab Crown Jewel; Titan NOS fixed
I have a Nova too, and I'm happy with it, I commute on it and I pass most other commuters. Its not as light as some aluminum road bikes, but lighter than others. Steel can get really light too. Check out Independent Fabrications if you are interested is some serious steel.