Cross bike for Road / Commute / Training

lee789 Posts: 4
edited January 2008 in Road beginners
Having never owned a road bike before, I was hoping to get a bit of advice.

My main focus of cycling is MTB. Last year I started taking things a bit more serious trying to get the miles in, training for a few enduro events 100kmish.

During the winter my main cycling is road, I basically put slicks on my MTB. This training is mainly a 16mile commute to work and back every other day and weekend blasts around the local back roads.

As I am spending so much time on the road I am looking at some kind of road bike. I am looking for a bike which will be OK for a commute but also be at a decent standard should I wish to take road riding more seriously, doing sportives etc as I can't afford to buy more than one.

My budget is around 1,000 and I have looked at the Focus Cayo and Planet X. Both seem great bikes for the money - my only concern would be durability for the commuting I do, any thoughts on this?

The second bike I have looked at is the Focus Cross Pro ... Pro%202008
The spec on this seems great with good groupset and wheels.
My thinking is this would be more durable? Also, given my MTB background I could potentially do Cyclocross races next winter.
Would a cross bike like this be OK for general road riding and sportives etc or not?

Basically I want to get a decent quality bike that would suit a few purposes and would improve on my current MTB with slick option - any advice would be greatly appreciated. :wink:


  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Cant go wrong with a good genesis. hard as nails.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    lee789 - Excellent choice, a good cyclo-X bike can do everything you want it to do.
    I like bikes...

  • lee789
    lee789 Posts: 4

    One last question if anyone could help. The gearing being 46/34 - the large chain ring on my MTB is 44, compared with most road bikes the 46 is small (road usually 50-53).
    How much time do people spend in the large cog small cassette?
  • Lee you may find the following webpage interesting.
  • Steve I
    Steve I Posts: 428
    Lee, a cross bike makes a good do it all bike. In road bike guise it's best to use 25mm or 28mm tyres, I found 23mm to be a bit harsh, possibly due to the stiff frame. The bike is acceptable on the road, but doesn't feel as sprightly as a true road bike. It's ideal for sportives with 28mm tyres fitted, giving all day comfort. If you go for a cross bike, make sure it's got eyelets for bottle cages, racks and mudguards. Some of the race oriented bikes do without these, including, I think, the Focus cross bikes.

    46x11 gives you a gear of 113", should be well enough for most situations unless you want to road race or go with the local chain gang.
  • ...If you go for a cross bike, make sure it's got eyelets for bottle cages, racks and mudguards...

    Such as

    Swap the tyres as suggested, if you are looking at country back lanes then a heavier weight puncture resistant tyre such as the 25mm Continental 4 Seasons (now for the Conti debate) should do the job.

    Being used to MTB you possibly may question the merit of mudguards, but they do benefit yourself, your bike, fellow cyclists etc. Also makes the option of commuting that much ‘cleaner’.

    If you do ride cyclocross, pop the mudguards off, swap the tyres and away you go.

    I don’t say the following to put you off, I’m a fan of cross bikes and the versatility they offer, but…

    Cross bikes with carbon forks and cantilever brakes can suffer from fork vibration under heavy braking i.e. stopping when going downhill, carrying a generously proportioned rider etc. It’s a generic issue, not specific to one make of bike. No two bikes (even from the same manufacturer) are the same and many are fine. Off road in the mud it’s not a problem, but on tarmac (especially in traffic) it can be a very frightening experience.

    It’s usually cured in one of two ways.

    Option 1 is a bit trial and error that doesn’t always work. Toe the brake blocks so they are at a slight angle to the wheel rim i.e. the front of the brake block touches the rim first. You need a bit of patience and the willingness to keep on adjusting but your LBS should be able to show you how.

    Option 2, swap to V brakes. This requires an understanding of how the brake cables work. A simple job for a LBS and something you should be able to get done at the time of purchase for next to (if not actually) nothing.

    Mind you, considering your MTB background you might fancy a bit of cyclocross in which case you may decide to leave the brakes alone, agreeing with your LBS that if you do have a problem they will swap the brakes at a latter date. This would give you the opportunity to see if it’s actually an issue.

    As I say, info to your arm, not an excuse not to buy.
  • lee789
    lee789 Posts: 4
    Thanks for those comments.
    The focus does have eyelets for one bottle on the down tube but not for rear mudguards. So would go for the clipons which I am hoping should fit ok. I run crud catchchers on my MTB to commute, as I agree it does get messy!
    I think that is the bike for me, just need to convince the Chancellor of my Exchequer!
  • acorn_user
    acorn_user Posts: 1,137
    if you are just looking for an all round bike, you should consider audax and touring bikes too. Dawes Galaxies are great bikes, as are their audax models. Ellis Brigg in Yorkshire will sell you an audax bike for around 800 with nice kit. Plus the frame is UK built. Bear in mind that 1000 pounds will buy you a very serious bike of any kind. You could get a Guerciotti or Alan cross bike for that kind of money!

    If you are not considering cyclo cross racing, or using the bike on muddy bridle paths, I would recommend a different kind of bike. I dislike canti's, and you will not need the extra clearance etc. If you plan on doing those things, get a cross bike, but make sure it has the necessary braze ons. You might like a Kinesis Crosslight also.
  • Lee, cyclocross bikes have been getting a good amount of publicity lately as good all-rounders and they certainly can be - I'm about to order a Spec Tricross triple for use touring and some off-roading. As a road bike, especially for sportives, I'd be a bit wary though, often the gearing is a bit limited - as you've seen, the top gear may be a bit low, you may only get bosses for 1 bottle and I think you need to be able to carry 2 for long rides. The tricross (as with other cross bikes) is also a bit heavy for a road bike.

    Audax and touring bikes tend to be a bit heavier (steel frames) and can be hard work compared with a more road-orientated 'sportive' bike (see Specialized's Roubaix range for an example of this sort of thing).

    As you've probably gathered, there's no perfect 'do-it-all' bike - you've got to decide what your main usage will be, how important other options are and if you will ever really use the bike for these reasons. For commuting and 'crossing, a cross bike would be fine, but it's the mention of sportives that makes me wonder if a cross bike is right for you.