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  1. #1
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    Good compromise cyclocross bike

    I'm essentially after a compromise bike. I like a bike to be a functional commuter and decent at light touring duties. I like decent handling off-road and on poor quality roads, but I spend most of my time on roads. You may say a tourer would be ideal. However, I don't lug that much around and I can't stand their sluggishness. I'm also after something nippy and capable, after a change of tyres, of holding its own on a roadie club ride.

    I think cyclocross disc bikes are the best fit here. Not an extreme race machine, lacking a mount and eyelets. But not a glorified hybrid either. I'm probably going to have two different wheel sets for cross/winter commuter use and road use.

    Here's a shortlist. I'm finding the whole thing a very much information overload. Does anyone have any experience with these bikes, know about them, or can make any recommendations?

    Pinnacle Arkose Three :
    Pinnacle Arkose Three review | road.cc
    Seems like a versatile bike made for the commuter market.

    Cube Cross Race Disc:
    Cube Cross Race review - BikeRadar
    Versatile and light. I've heard the brakes aren't great and it's not good for difficult off-roading (which is something I think I'll have to accept with my requirements).

    Specialized Crux Elite:
    Specialized Crux Elite review | road.cc
    Seems like a great CX bikes, but one that makes too few compromises to utility. On the other hand their Tricross seems too much of a compromise.

    Genesis Croix de Fer
    Genesis Croix de Fer review | road.cc
    Seems like a great nippy tourer. It's probably a bit too heavy and sluggish, but I may still be tempted by its sensibleness and good ride quality.

    Kona Jake:
    Kona Jake review - BikeRadar
    Kona's disc option. Perhaps not the same quality as the others?

    Boardman CX Team:
    Boardman CX Team review - BikeRadar
    Seems very well reviewed. I don't think getting it a Halfords is compulsory? Might be worth upgrading to the pro.

    Cannondale CAADX 105
    Cannondale CAADX 105 review - BikeRadar


    Sorry if I'm casting a bit of a wide net. I'm feeling a bit of information overload. But I also reckon that my requirements are pretty typical of a do-it-all cross bike so it may be useful to cover the main bikes here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Obviously bike design involves trade offs. Still if I had your needs, I'd be tempted to say none of the above and look at bikes like the Kona Rove, Surly Straggler, or Salsa Fargo.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorryslorrys View Post
    Specialized Crux Elite:
    Specialized Crux Elite review | road.cc
    Seems like a great CX bikes, but one that makes too few compromises to utility. On the other hand their Tricross seems too much of a compromise.

    Kona Jake:
    Kona Jake review - BikeRadar
    Kona's disc option. Perhaps not the same quality as the others?

    Cannondale CAADX 105
    Cannondale CAADX 105 review - BikeRadar


    Sorry if I'm casting a bit of a wide net. I'm feeling a bit of information overload. But I also reckon that my requirements are pretty typical of a do-it-all cross bike so it may be useful to cover the main bikes here.
    I looked at the above 3 bikes for a commuter that I could also use for cross racing if I wanted. I ended up buying a 2010 s-works tricross. It's reasonable light and has fender eyelets. I don't think the Crux would be suitable as it doens't come with fender or rack eyelets. The Caadx and Kona Jake also look good but I wanted to use a powertap on the rear so didn't wan't a rear disc brake.

    None of these bikes would have a problem keeping up on group ride with appropriate tires.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Good compromise, a cyclocross bike.

    In general Yea they are..


    happy shopping .. enjoy all those test rides when you are not working, and asking the forum about stuff while still there.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dvsjes28's Avatar
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    I got the All City Macho Man Disc and love it so far. I currently have some Continental Gator Hardshells on it for street use and its been awesome.

    1982 Trek 613 - 1983 Trek 500 - 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp - 2010 Mercier WT5 - 2013 All-City Macho Man Disc

  6. #6
    Senior Member hodag's Avatar
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    +1 for the CAADX, I got mine last year when the disk model was only available with ultegra. I would have saved the coin and got the 105 and just upgraded as parts broke. I commute road, trail and muck. Rode it in four cross races after I stripped it down and changed the tires. Getting ready to do a gravel endurance ride. I just love the fit. Very comfy for me. Can hang on the road but club riders will leave me in the dust with the current gears/tires.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nick The Beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvsjes28 View Post
    I got the All City Macho Man Disc and love it so far. I currently have some Continental Gator Hardshells on it for street use and its been awesome.

    I know that overpass.

    I was looking for the same thing minus discs and went with a Surly Crosscheck. I'd recommend the Straggler for you.
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    Hi, what size is that all city macho disc frame? Thank you.

  9. #9
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    I don't think I'd suggest a cross bike at all really. Something like the Soma ES comes in either a frameset or a complete bike. ES (Complete Bicycle) | SOMA Fabrications

    I really like mine and it does a good job as a road bike, light tourer, can go off road with the right tires and has typical caliper brakes.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  10. #10
    Senior Member UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorryslorrys View Post
    I'm essentially after a compromise bike. I like a bike to be a functional commuter and decent at light touring duties. I like decent handling off-road and on poor quality roads, but I spend most of my time on roads. You may say a tourer would be ideal. However, I don't lug that much around and I can't stand their sluggishness. I'm also after something nippy and capable, after a change of tyres, of holding its own on a roadie club ride.

    I think cyclocross disc bikes are the best fit here. Not an extreme race machine, lacking a mount and eyelets. But not a glorified hybrid either. I'm probably going to have two different wheel sets for cross/winter commuter use and road use.

    Here's a shortlist. I'm finding the whole thing a very much information overload. Does anyone have any experience with these bikes, know about them, or can make any recommendations?

    Sorry if I'm casting a bit of a wide net. I'm feeling a bit of information overload. But I also reckon that my requirements are pretty typical of a do-it-all cross bike so it may be useful to cover the main bikes here.
    I'd say Surly Straggler is the ringer for a Jack of All Trades ride... Surly's ad copy for the Straggler mentions all the requirements you list...


    If you'd like, talk to the folks at 718 Cyclery, they build a few Straggler commuter configs but I'm sure they could stretch an accommodate your purposes.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member macca33's Avatar
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    Have you considered a Specialized Diverge??? It has room for wide tyres, discs and has rack mounts. It can also be as quick as you want it to be...

    cheers
    CAAD10 Berzerker Ultegra6800 - CAAD10 Team Ultegra6800 FOCUS Mares CX Ultegra6800 Jamis Xenith Elite DA9000

  12. #12
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    An actual cyclocross bike will do any of those things (commute, rough roads, roadie rides with skinny tires), but do none of them particularly well. That is because the geometry and gearing is designed for cyclocross racing, which is really quite a bit different than general mixed riding.

    IMO, skip a cyclocross bike unless you want to race cyclocross. The combination of a high bottom bracket, short headtube, and short chainstays make them good on CX race courses, but the riding position ends up being a bit to aggressive for all-day riding, while the gearing (46/36 cranksets) is not ideal for a fast roadie club ride. Also, if you commute with panniers, you may get heel-strike due to the short back-end on the panniers.

    If you plan on doing a fair amount of fast road riding, can afford it, and have the room, get a road bike and then a second bike for rough roads and commuting. Buying a second nice wheelset and tires (say $700) is nearly half the cost of buying an actual road bike (say a Giant TCR at $1500 - or a CAAD10 105 at $1700).

  13. #13
    Senior Member UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
    An actual cyclocross bike will do any of those things (commute, rough roads, roadie rides with skinny tires), but do none of them particularly well. That is because the geometry and gearing is designed for cyclocross racing, which is really quite a bit different than general mixed riding.
    Some good general statements here but certainly not the rule. It definitely makes sense to stay away from a pure CX machine but, many bikes designed as multipurpose rides tend to be incorrectly marketed under the CX moniker and they would better fall under a mixed-riding category. It's just not as flashy sounding.

    Surly's blurbage for the Straggler: "it's ready to take you just about anywhere. It’s a day tripper and a weekender. It’s a ‘rough road’ road bike. It’s a cyclocross bike with no pretense about racing. It’s a utilitarian townie. It’s a light-duty touring bike. It’s an all-weather commuter."

    Nails the OP's requirement list. The All-City stuff is quite similiar as well.


    and...46/36 is plenty for typical road riders. I'd drop the small ring to a 30 for a really flexible all-rounder. You may spin out the 46 on descents but I don't know too many folks who can spin 46/11 on the flat sustaining 30mph solo for a significant amount of time. Anyone that serious is already going to have a dedicated road bike.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorryslorrys View Post
    ... Going to have two different wheel sets...

    Two or three different wheel sets are like having two or three different bicycles... It's a very smart move, especially if they have the same rims and gear set. Then you don't have to worry about derailure adjustments. My old ChroMo Univega has a set of road tires and touring tires that I switch out frequently. One of the most popular set ups in the Austin Central Texas area is the Light weight CX bike with compact crank, road tires and a 34T bailout gear on the freewheel...

    REM: 34T bailout will require a long cage derailuer
    Last edited by zandoval; 02-10-15 at 11:52 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
    Some good general statements here but certainly not the rule. It definitely makes sense to stay away from a pure CX machine but, many bikes designed as multipurpose rides tend to be incorrectly marketed under the CX moniker and they would better fall under a mixed-riding category. It's just not as flashy sounding.

    Surly's blurbage for the Straggler: "it's ready to take you just about anywhere. It’s a day tripper and a weekender. It’s a ‘rough road’ road bike. It’s a cyclocross bike with no pretense about racing. It’s a utilitarian townie. It’s a light-duty touring bike. It’s an all-weather commuter."

    Nails the OP's requirement list. The All-City stuff is quite similiar as well.


    and...46/36 is plenty for typical road riders. I'd drop the small ring to a 30 for a really flexible all-rounder. You may spin out the 46 on descents but I don't know too many folks who can spin 46/11 on the flat sustaining 30mph solo for a significant amount of time. Anyone that serious is already going to have a dedicated road bike.
    The Straggler still has kind of a high bottom bracket and short chainstays (430 mm), as well as a short-ish headtube. Not as aggressive as a race CX bike, but still not ideal for general purpose riding. You of course could use the bike for a "everything" ride - but IMO, some slight changes in geometry would make it more stable with a load, more stable at speed, and more comfortable. I do think the Straggler's geometry would make it good for more things like gravel/CX racing and light singletrack.

    BTW - I have an All-City Space Horse (440 mm chainstays) and really like the geometry for gravel and all-day riding. But, it is just not as fast as my CAAD9 on the road, even though it the Space Horse has light-ish wheels. If I only had one bike, it would be the Space Horse, but I would not want to ride it in a club ride - my CAAD9 is probably 6 lbs lighter and has much racier geometry, which makes a difference on a hammerfest.

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    Country bikes/adventure bikes/gravel road bikes have all but replaced CX bikes because they're better built for all round riding than CX bikes ever were.

    They perform as well on fire roads as they do on city streets. They have a lower bottom bracket, compact frame geometry and improved standover height and crotch clearance.

    And they have braze ons for fenders, racks and a headlight, making them useful for commuting and light touring.

    The Salsa Vaya, Trek 720, Raleigh Roper and Marin Lombard are bikes that can substitute for both a road and a mountain bike. In the past you needed to buy two bikes to cover all your activities.

    Now you can do it with one do it-all bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
    Country bikes/adventure bikes/gravel road bikes have all but replaced CX bikes because they're better built for all round riding than CX bikes ever were.

    They perform as well on fire roads as they do on city streets. They have a lower bottom bracket, compact frame geometry and improved standover height and crotch clearance.

    And they have braze ons for fenders, racks and a headlight, making them useful for commuting and light touring.

    The Salsa Vaya, Trek 720, Raleigh Roper and Marin Lombard are bikes that can substitute for both a road and a mountain bike. In the past you needed to buy two bikes to cover all your activities.

    Now you can do it with one do it-all bike.
    Definitely agree on the above - also add the Raleigh Tamland. It has nearly identical geometry to my Space Horse, which I've found perfect for mixed terrain (pavement, gravel, AND singletrack riding).

    However, any of those bikes are a bit heavy for a true roadie hammerfest - but if the OP isn't going to be hammering that often, they'd be awesome for general-purpose riding.

  18. #18
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    Road bikes will have their place for those who like and want a light and fast bike for riding exclusively on the roads.

    But that will be more of a niche market now that what they used to call sports touring bikes have made a comeback.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Jiggle's Avatar
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    I use a CAAD 8 cx for this purpose and it works great. No disc brakes are a BONUS because I can choose from my road wheelsets when I want to ride on the road.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Jiggle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
    Country bikes/adventure bikes/gravel road bikes have all but replaced CX bikes because they're better built for all round riding than CX bikes ever were.
    Most American cross bikes have a lower bb anyway.

    I have cross bikes with high and low bottom brackets. They both work fine on and off road.

    The differences here are mainly marketing.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Johnny Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I don't think I'd suggest a cross bike at all really. Something like the Soma ES comes in either a frameset or a complete bike. ES (Complete Bicycle) | SOMA Fabrications

    I really like mine and it does a good job as a road bike, light tourer, can go off road with the right tires and has typical caliper brakes.
    +1 That's a great do-it-all bike with room for fenders, too. But a nice road bike, too.
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