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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross vs. Dedicated Tour Bike

    I'm looking to buy my first cyclocross bike, It'll also be the first bike I purchase brand-new in a number of years. It's a big investment for me, so I have some questions ...

    1) Urban: I've already gathered that a cyclocross bike can be a great daily urban commuter, that's the main reason I want to try one. It'll be maybe a tad slower than a road bike but can take more damage? (sketchy road surfaces, maybe jump a few curbs, etc.). While the steel bikes I'm using for my 20-25 km daily commutes right now - a 1989 Centurion Ironman Master and an early 80s Nishiki Continental - aren't dainty, I'm looking forward to riding the CX bike a little harder

    2) Touring: I've used both the Centurion and the Nishiki on a few bike tours with lots of hills; they were splendid while on the road, not all that fantastic when I had to detour on gravel or logging roads. Do any of you have extensive touring experience on a CX bike? I would love to hear some comparisons of cyclocross against a dedicated touring bike - relative speed, how they handle different road surfaces, bike geometry / posture, load weight balance, etc...

    Right now, I'm leaning towards this Civilian Le Roi Le Veut - it's the most affordable CX I found at around $850. I also like the idea of going to disc brakes and the bike's looks. I guess I'd have to throw on some gears when I take it on tour. My other options are the Surly Cross Check and the All-City2011 Nature Boy SSCX.
    * Road: 1989 Centurion Master Ironman
    * Tour/Commute: 1980s Nishiki Continetal

  2. #2
    自転車整備士 oldskoolwrench's Avatar
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    IMHO (read:humble) it really depends on what you want to use the bike for. You mention 'touring'... if you mean loaded touring then the Surly is the
    only bike that will give you that option; both the Civilian and the All City do not have frame or fork mounted eyelets for racks, fenders, etc. so that
    might be a factor. Typically C-X bikes are somewhat shorter and steeper than true 'touring' bikes, for responsive handling. Touring bikes aren't as
    quick; they're designed to be stable for carrying loads.

    A cyclocross bike won't necessarily handle the roughs and toughs of urban riding/ commuting any better than either your Nishiki or Centurion
    would; that's a matter of the wheels and how you ride. If you're looking for an all-around bike out of the three you have chosen, I would lean
    towards the Surly purely by default since, as stated earlier, the other two are dedicated C-X rigs.

    Bottom line? What are you going to be doing with the bike...


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolwrench View Post
    IMHO (read:humble) it really depends on what you want to use the bike for. You mention 'touring'... if you mean loaded touring then the Surly is the
    only bike that will give you that option; both the Civilian and the All City do not have frame or fork mounted eyelets for racks, fenders, etc. so that
    might be a factor. Typically C-X bikes are somewhat shorter and steeper than true 'touring' bikes, for responsive handling. Touring bikes aren't as
    quick; they're designed to be stable for carrying loads.
    I mean somewhat loaded, a rear rack + possibly rear panniers as well; for tent/sleeping bag/small amount of supplies. Though I was thinking the eyelet thing might be an issue, I've remedied it in the past on my Centurion (also lacks eyelets) by using those clip-on type ones that attach around the stays.

    A cyclocross bike won't necessarily handle the roughs and toughs of urban riding/ commuting any better than either your Nishiki or Centurion
    would; that's a matter of the wheels and how you ride. If you're looking for an all-around bike out of the three you have chosen, I would lean
    towards the Surly purely by default since, as stated earlier, the other two are dedicated C-X rigs.
    I thought CX bikes have more clearance to allow for wider tires than my two existing bikes? And are designed for more impact?

    Bottom line? What are you going to be doing with the bike...
    80% commuting, 15% touring (weekends), 5% trying some CX tracks hopefully.
    * Road: 1989 Centurion Master Ironman
    * Tour/Commute: 1980s Nishiki Continetal

  4. #4
    自転車整備士 oldskoolwrench's Avatar
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    Based on your response, I would still choose the Surly out of the three bikes you listed.

    Yes, C-X bikes do run wider tires than a traditional road bike... but wider tires don't make one bike more 'impact resistant' than another;
    one can tweak a C-X wheel just as easily as a road or MTB wheel in an urban setting. Like I said; it's a matter of how you ride, tire
    pressure, etc.

    The Civilian is a 1 x 9; to make it even halfway capable as a '15% touring' bike you'll need a F DR, crankset, BB and LH shifter, for starters.

    The All City has Track/ SS style dropouts; same adds as the Civilian, and also a R DR and a DR hanger (if they even make one).

    The Surly gives you the best combination of equipment and frame features to have a true 'all around' bike... commuter, light touring rig,
    and a C-X bike for those times you want to get muddy.

    Now of course, if the real reason is... you want a SS style frame and/ or disc brakes, then that's a different story altogether.


  5. #5
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolwrench View Post
    IMHO (read:humble) it really depends on what you want to use the bike for. You mention 'touring'... if you mean loaded touring then the Surly is the
    only bike that will give you that option; both the Civilian and the All City do not have frame or fork mounted eyelets for racks, fenders, etc. so that
    might be a factor. Typically C-X bikes are somewhat shorter and steeper than true 'touring' bikes, for responsive handling. Touring bikes aren't as
    quick; they're designed to be stable for carrying loads.

    A cyclocross bike won't necessarily handle the roughs and toughs of urban riding/ commuting any better than either your Nishiki or Centurion
    would; that's a matter of the wheels and how you ride. If you're looking for an all-around bike out of the three you have chosen, I would lean
    towards the Surly purely by default since, as stated earlier, the other two are dedicated C-X rigs.

    Bottom line? What are you going to be doing with the bike...

    +1...not to mention that many cross bikes have CF forks. I'd rather have a steel fork for dally commuting. Another issue is the rear chainstay length; cyclocross bikes will likely have a shorter chainstay which can lead to a rack heel clearance issue. As is usually the case, it's about the specific bike and your specific needs. For the bikes I use as commuters most often I paid attention to heel clearance and went with quicker builds on frames that were maybe a little less quick. Thrilled with the results and both are better commuters than my old Jake the Snake (by far).

    As far as good on roads and gravel, you have to compromise a bit. I have no issues taking my 28c Panaracer Ribmos over gravel and they're quite nice on the road as well.
    Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 07-31-12 at 06:03 AM.

  6. #6
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    All of what you've said makes sense... a more versatile CX bike is better for me so I'll be leaning towards the Surly Cross Check.

    Another question - how does this Fuji 3.0 CX bike stack up against the Surly Cross Check? (and other bikes I mentioned)
    * Road: 1989 Centurion Master Ironman
    * Tour/Commute: 1980s Nishiki Continetal

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