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  1. #1
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    Most upright/comfortable bike

    Hi all,

    I'm trying to find a CX that has the most upright/comfortable (don't know if they are related) position.

    I have sort of weak back.

    I went to a LBS and tested a Cannondale Caadx and it felt like very low posture. I then tried an Specialized Tri Elite and it felt much better.

    The guy at the store (seemed like knoweledgable) kept on saying that you will get used to it but i'm concerned that my back will hurt.

    Which bike would you recommend and do you really get used to this position?


    p.s.

    I used to ride a Specialized Crosstrail Sport and it felt very comfortable. I do around 30-50km per day job commute, with many stops.

  2. #2
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    Cyclocross is a type of race. The bikes won't have an upright posture. You will have better luck looking at a commuter like the Jamis Bosanova

  3. #3
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Find a shop that is willing to help set up your riding position when you buy a bike. You can start with most any bike and add spacers to the headset to raise the stem (if the fork steer tube is not cut short), and/or add a different stem with steep rise instead of a flat or shallow rise stem. It also helps to use shallow drop bars (like 125-130mm drop) so that the riding position while on the drops is not so low, encourages more use of the drops rather than just staying on the tops 100% of the time.
    Pay attention to the height difference between the handlebars and the seat. A high bar position would have the tops of the bars nearly level with seat. More drop from seat to bars is a faster and more aggressive riding position, more suitable for smooth riding but you likely will be better able to handle rough riding better if the bars are high and give you better control.

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    The Jamis Bosanova, Salsa Vaya and Casseroll are all rider friendly with upright positioning and steel frames.
    "If life were logical, men would ride sidesaddle."
    Rita Mae Brown

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    Well you'll have to find bike frame geometry that is "upright/comfortable".

    It might be better if you look for Commuter or Touring bikes instead. Most of those bikes are made for comfort.
    If you are like me, who wants a racy looking bike but you aren't really going to use it for racing, then yes, CX is your last option. Well most of the times, you can convert any bike into more comfortable bike by setting up your seat heights and handlebar heights as long as the bike is the right size for you.


    I have 2012 Kona Jake. It's an aluminum frame so it hurts my ass when I ride for too long on a little bumpy ground. Otherwise, it's a good bike.
    I've got 2012 Kona Jake

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    like post #2, Cyclocross is not about comfort,
    about getting around the Mud, turf and stairs, race course faster.

    Some what "barking up the wrong tree"
    you need the Hybrid types..
    that may share the same wheel size.. 622-35 ish.. 700c touring.

    Rack fitting Mudguards, pretty straight bars
    then change the handlebars, and saddle..

    most of the controls are already on the straight bars ,
    you may like a different bend, than what came out of the Box.

    maybe even a suspension seat post?
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-10-12 at 05:10 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ar.Pi View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to find a CX that has the most upright/comfortable (don't know if they are related) position.

    I have sort of weak back.

    I went to a LBS and tested a Cannondale Caadx and it felt like very low posture. I then tried an Specialized Tri Elite and it felt much better.

    The guy at the store (seemed like knoweledgable) kept on saying that you will get used to it but i'm concerned that my back will hurt.

    Which bike would you recommend and do you really get used to this position?


    p.s.

    I used to ride a Specialized Crosstrail Sport and it felt very comfortable. I do around 30-50km per day job commute, with many stops.
    If you're still set on a cross bike after reading the responses above, I found that the Motobecane Fantom CX/Fantom Cross CX (Bikesdirect) tend to have top tubes that are a couple cm shorter than some other cross bikes. However, these still wouldn't be considered upright by most people. I have a little shorter stem on mine than many cross bikes come with, and that helps. If you look at the geometry charts of the readily available/affordable choices, a lot of them are pretty close to each other. You might need to go out of this category if an upright position is really important to you.

    EDIT: You could also consider dropping down a size.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    When you say you have a weak back, does that mean you have an injury or just weak muscles? If it's the latter, you probably could get used to it (especially if you feel just a little more stretched out than you want to be rather than a lot). Working on flexibility might also help.

  9. #9
    Delusional Laserbrain Germanicus's Avatar
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    Specialized Tricross has a pretty relaxed riding position.
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/tricross
    tricross.jpg

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    Im surprised that this hasn't been asked yet, but what exactly are you going to be using the bike for? Are you actually planning on racing cyclocross or just looking for a multipurpose bike, or just something more comfortable than a road bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ar.Pi View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to find a CX that has the most upright/comfortable (don't know if they are related) position.

    I have sort of weak back.

    I went to a LBS and tested a Cannondale Caadx and it felt like very low posture. I then tried an Specialized Tri Elite and it felt much better.

    The guy at the store (seemed like knoweledgable) kept on saying that you will get used to it but i'm concerned that my back will hurt.

    Which bike would you recommend and do you really get used to this position?


    p.s.

    I used to ride a Specialized Crosstrail Sport and it felt very comfortable. I do around 30-50km per day job commute, with many stops.
    It seemed like you're contradicting yourself. First you want an upright bike, but the Specialized Crosstail Sport has an abnormally "longer" tope tube (about 30 to 40mm) longer than a typical normal hybrid would be for each size. This to me suggest that you like a stretched out upright riding condition. I think what you are looking for is the correct frame sizing that provides you with the best riding position in a way that does not stress your back so much.
    Back usually hurts because most people ride in a skeletal position using back muscles to keep the posture upright. Whereas a more stretch fitness riding position will use the core muscle groups (typically the lower Transversus Abdominus) to bear some of the load (up to 50% or a bit more of that, so your back only has to bear some). If you feel good on a Specialized Tri Elite, this means that your body fits good on Specialized bikes.

    Typically, a CX cross bike fits about 1 to 2 cm shorter on the reach and 1 to 2cm shorter of the seat tube, so yes it feel weird at first but you will get used to it since you are used to riding flat bars on the Crosstail and now you will be riding on the drops which gives you a different hand position.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by roburrito View Post
    Cyclocross is a type of race. The bikes won't have an upright posture. You will have better luck looking at a commuter like the Jamis Bosanova
    Actually, cross bikes typically has a 1 to 2cm shorter reach, which translates to a more upright riding position compared to a standard geometry road bike. Probably not as upright as a hybrid though.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    like post #2, Cyclocross is not about comfort,
    about getting around the Mud, turf and stairs, race course faster.

    Some what "barking up the wrong tree"
    you need the Hybrid types..
    that may share the same wheel size.. 622-35 ish.. 700c touring.

    Rack fitting Mudguards, pretty straight bars
    then change the handlebars, and saddle..

    most of the controls are already on the straight bars ,
    you may like a different bend, than what came out of the Box.

    maybe even a suspension seat post?
    You obviously had not ridden a Masi Speciale CX. It's as equally comfortable and more compliant than my Trek 5000 carbon bike. The Masi is unique because it is one of the few cross bikes that comes with both front and rear rack braze-ons plus fenders and with a classic sport touring road geometry which is kind of rare and which also also unlike other higher performance cross bike like the Raleigh RX 1, Kona Jake or Motobecane Phantom CX.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
    Masi Speciale CX touring bike
    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

  14. #14
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    Thank you for all the replies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    When you say you have a weak back, does that mean you have an injury or just weak muscles? If it's the latter, you probably could get used to it (especially if you feel just a little more stretched out than you want to be rather than a lot). Working on flexibility might also help.
    I don't have injury. Just when, for instance, I bend down (walking with small children) for a while it starts to hurt. I just don't want to spend 1500$ to realize its a pain to ride. When i tested the 2 bikes i talked about, my back was fine, i'm just wandering after 2-3 hours ride what will happen...

    Mondo734

    Im surprised that this hasn't been asked yet, but what exactly are you going to be using the bike for? Are you actually planning on racing cyclocross or just looking for a multipurpose bike, or just something more comfortable than a road bike?
    I'm intending on going about 30-50km per day with multiple stops in Brooklyn (not the best roads, with bumps and stuff).


    The reason I want to move from my Crosstrail Sport (and I wouldn't have if it wasnt stolen!!!! ) is I thought on getting a bit more speed, but I dont want to sacrifice comfort.

    It seemed like you're contradicting yourself. First you want an upright bike, but the Specialized Crosstail Sport has an abnormally "longer" tope tube (about 30 to 40mm) longer than a typical normal hybrid would be for each size.
    I guess it wasnt as upright as my wife's bike i ride right now which is completely upright (some entry level Schwin Hybrid). I need to rephrase, not "upright" but rather "comfortable".

    Even when I started biking on the Crosstrail in the beginning my back was hurting just a bit but I got used to it and little by little I got more miles every day.

    If you feel good on a Specialized Tri Elite, this means that your body fits good on Specialized bikes.
    I guess you are right.

    So what else can I try out that is similar to the Specialized Tri Elite with disc brakes? (I would try them all but my time is limited :/).

    Thank you all again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ar.Pi View Post
    Thank you for all the replies.




    I don't have injury. Just when, for instance, I bend down (walking with small children) for a while it starts to hurt. I just don't want to spend 1500$ to realize its a pain to ride. When i tested the 2 bikes i talked about, my back was fine, i'm just wandering after 2-3 hours ride what will happen...



    I'm intending on going about 30-50km per day with multiple stops in Brooklyn (not the best roads, with bumps and stuff).


    The reason I want to move from my Crosstrail Sport (and I wouldn't have if it wasnt stolen!!!! ) is I thought on getting a bit more speed, but I dont want to sacrifice comfort.



    I guess it wasnt as upright as my wife's bike i ride right now which is completely upright (some entry level Schwin Hybrid). I need to rephrase, not "upright" but rather "comfortable".

    Even when I started biking on the Crosstrail in the beginning my back was hurting just a bit but I got used to it and little by little I got more miles every day.



    I guess you are right.

    So what else can I try out that is similar to the Specialized Tri Elite with disc brakes? (I would try them all but my time is limited :/).

    Thank you all again.
    If you're looking for both comfort and a good riding position, steel bikes are more compliant than aluminum. You need to keep in mind that cross bikes were designed with racing in mind and the duration of that is approx 45 to 60mins in length with an average speed of about 18mph; so they ARE NOT designing these frames to be super comfy for longer periods of time. With 18mph on grass and gravel conditions, you really don't need to be as aerodynamic as a typical road bike. If you're coming from a hybrid, then a cross bike will actually be less upright. If you want to go faster, it's the function of the tire size. Most people misunderstood that riding a road bike is faster than a hybrid. It's faster because with narrow 23mm tires are lighter than a typical fatter and heavier hybrid tires so the narrower lighter tire spins up faster giving you that quick acceleration. But narrow tires ride harsher than wider and fatter tires. And unless you are averaging 20mph, then the narrow profile of the 700x23c tires won't give you any better aerodynamic advantage than the 700x35c tire which is much smoother riding on the trails. Also fatter good quality tires provides lower rolling resistance to skinnier tires once you reach up to cruising speed. Lastly, a well designed steel frame that is not cross race specific provides better damping which allow you to enjoy a longer fitness ride with less jarring as you would get with an aluminum race specific cross design. Your back will thank you for it.

    I'm not sure you'll get any specific advantage by riding a cyclocross bike compared to your hybrid other than the lower bar position (less upright) provides better leverage for riding on bigger gears which is what you need to go faster.
    There is no such thing as riding upright and be able to ride as fast as someone riding lower and in a better aerodynamic position because 90% of aerodynamic drag comes from your upper body. More upright, more frontal area exposed to wind hence the slower you go.
    Sorry, but you can't have the cake and eat it too I suppose.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    My experience is that having a stiffer frame (Moto Fantom CXX) makes me a bit faster than other bikes I own, but the 700x32 tires are wide enough to smooth out the worst of the harshness. For me, cross bikes are the best compromise between speed and comfort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    If you're looking for both comfort and a good riding position, steel bikes are more compliant than aluminum. You need to keep in mind that cross bikes were designed with racing in mind and the duration of that is approx 45 to 60mins in length with an average speed of about 18mph; so they ARE NOT designing these frames to be super comfy for longer periods of time. With 18mph on grass and gravel conditions, you really don't need to be as aerodynamic as a typical road bike. If you're coming from a hybrid, then a cross bike will actually be less upright. If you want to go faster, it's the function of the tire size. Most people misunderstood that riding a road bike is faster than a hybrid. It's faster because with narrow 23mm tires are lighter than a typical fatter and heavier hybrid tires so the narrower lighter tire spins up faster giving you that quick acceleration. But narrow tires ride harsher than wider and fatter tires. And unless you are averaging 20mph, then the narrow profile of the 700x23c tires won't give you any better aerodynamic advantage than the 700x35c tire which is much smoother riding on the trails. Also fatter good quality tires provides lower rolling resistance to skinnier tires once you reach up to cruising speed. Lastly, a well designed steel frame that is not cross race specific provides better damping which allow you to enjoy a longer fitness ride with less jarring as you would get with an aluminum race specific cross design. Your back will thank you for it.

    I'm not sure you'll get any specific advantage by riding a cyclocross bike compared to your hybrid other than the lower bar position (less upright) provides better leverage for riding on bigger gears which is what you need to go faster.
    There is no such thing as riding upright and be able to ride as fast as someone riding lower and in a better aerodynamic position because 90% of aerodynamic drag comes from your upper body. More upright, more frontal area exposed to wind hence the slower you go.
    Sorry, but you can't have the cake and eat it too I suppose.

    Thanks pacificcyclist,

    I guess I will be looking for another Hybrid than. I was actually first posting in the hybrid forums and there I was given the idea that I might be better off with Cyclocross bike.

    I was averaging about 18-22Kmh with my Crosstrail and I did feel that my upright position is what denying me from going faster. But I thought there is more to it.

    It just that since I lost my Crosstrail I thought to step to the next level in speed and not be too uncomfortable...

    Also, if the difference is only in Aluminum and Steel and lower bars, why CX bikes are significantly more expensive than Hybrids?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ar.Pi View Post
    Thanks pacificcyclist,

    I guess I will be looking for another Hybrid than. I was actually first posting in the hybrid forums and there I was given the idea that I might be better off with Cyclocross bike.

    I was averaging about 18-22Kmh with my Crosstrail and I did feel that my upright position is what denying me from going faster. But I thought there is more to it.

    It just that since I lost my Crosstrail I thought to step to the next level in speed and not be too uncomfortable...

    Also, if the difference is only in Aluminum and Steel and lower bars, why CX bikes are significantly more expensive than Hybrids?
    Part of the reason CX bikes are more expensive than hybrids is the fact that they are marketed as a disciplined racing bike which is raced in sanctioned events. In these events, you have restrictions in what components you can use really and the geometry and tube construction. Hybrid is not a race discipline and so, it's not subjected to any of these restrictions per se and anybody can bolt on parts and tube design to keep the cost down. Typically, CX bikes have nicer components. Bike makers put them on so these bikes can be raced. Nobody is buying a boat anchor to race in the local circuit, though I've seen people riding boat anchors beating people out with nicer bikes! But really, the people with the fatter wallets will want a nicer and lighter race bike. A CX bike is that.

    However with anything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. There's nothing wrong with riding a hybrid. Riding fast is basically a function of the rider being fit and how that's accomplished is to ride lots and rack up some serious mileage. That's how you're going to go fast. I've personally seen people trying to shortcut the fitness building process by buying into the advertisement that if you ride this bike you'll ride faster. Perhaps. But what usually ends up is that, the person does ride faster because of the more aggressive positioning, but because it's less comfortable the person will be riding it less not more. Unless you have a high mileage bike to complement your race bike which most racers do, then what you'll end up is you'll ride fast for a short distance and the trail behind afterwards because the saddle hurts, shoulder hurts and neck hurts etc plus the back which are not conducive to faster riding anyhow. So you can't build up the mileage, then your performance suffers. A little later on, your nice race bike finds homage in the garage and will then get neglected.

    If you want a faster and nicer ride, consider upgrading yourself to a performance hybrid and better and lighter components help make the bike feel nice and speedy while durable enough to withstand trail abuse.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 06-12-12 at 02:48 PM.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    Part of the reason CX bikes are more expensive than hybrids is the fact that they are marketed as a disciplined racing bike which is raced in sanctioned events. In these events, you have restrictions in what components you can use really and the geometry and tube construction. Hybrid is not a race discipline and so, it's not subjected to any of these restrictions per se and anybody can bolt on parts and tube design to keep the cost down. Typically, CX bikes have nicer components. Bike makers put them on so these bikes can be raced. Nobody is buying a boat anchor to race in the local circuit, though I've seen people riding boat anchors beating people out with nicer bikes! But really, the people with the fatter wallets will want a nicer and lighter race bike. A CX bike is that.

    However with anything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. There's nothing wrong with riding a hybrid. Riding fast is basically a function of the rider being fit and how that's accomplished is to ride lots and rack up some serious mileage. That's how you're going to go fast. I've personally seen people trying to shortcut the fitness building process by buying into the advertisement that if you ride this bike you'll ride faster. Perhaps. But what usually ends up is that, the person does ride faster because of the more aggressive positioning, but because it's less comfortable the person will be riding it less not more. Unless you have a high mileage bike to complement your race bike which most racers do, then what you'll end up is you'll ride fast for a short distance and the trail behind afterwards because the saddle hurts, shoulder hurts and neck hurts etc plus the back which are not conducive to faster riding anyhow. So you can't build up the mileage, then your performance suffers. A little later on, your nice race bike finds homage in the garage and will then get neglected.

    If you want a faster and nicer ride, consider upgrading yourself to a performance hybrid and better and lighter components help make the bike feel nice and speedy while durable enough to withstand trail abuse.
    Thanks for all the info! appreciate it.

    I guess I'll just buy myself a Hybrid. Can you recommend some kind of "performance hybrid", or is it something to custom build?

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    You can find hybrids these days in most component levels. Specialized Sirrus, Trek FX 7.whatever. But I would recommend not blowing the bank on one because you might find out after a thousand miles that you would prefer a road bike. Most people do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ar.Pi View Post
    Thanks for all the info! appreciate it.

    I guess I'll just buy myself a Hybrid. Can you recommend some kind of "performance hybrid", or is it something to custom build?
    Along the Specialized line like the Sirrus series would be a good start.
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