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Cyclocross bike - best all rounder?

GEPCGEPC Posts: 123
edited March 2008 in Workshop
I am thinking of buying a cyclocross bike although I don't ever expect to ride in a cyclocross race. 80% of the time it will be used for commuting the rest will be for weekend rides and it is essentially for this that I am thinking of going for cyclocross bike.

I want the flexibility to be able to ride on tracks or off road which a road bike clearly wouldn't allow, but given all the commuting I don't want a mountain bike and the bike I will be replacing is a hybrid which has served me well but I want something a be more high performance.

My question for the forum as many of you have far greater cycling knowledge than me is am I doing the right thing? Is there another option I am not aware of?

When I take the plunge I will spend in the region of £1000 and have several bikes in mind. If any of you have suggestions I would be happy to hear them. However I am most interested to hear if people think this is the best type of bike for what I want.

Thanks in advance.


  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,331
    In general terms, yes, sounds sensible. Cross bikes do seem to vary quite a lot in terms of versatility - I suspect the more expensive, the more "race" specific. For example, I happened to look at the Voodoo X'er on sale at Halfords today. Lovely bike, but inconsistencies would I think make it e.g. a poor commuter: 'grd eyes on the fork, seemingly none on the rear. (And for a X'er to route the FM cable under the b/b seems shoddy!)

    Just a thought!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    You're right about crossers being great all-round bikes - with road tyres, they can be as foast on the road as a race bike and yet they can be surprisingly capable off-round on all but the trickiest terrain. The important things to look for on an all-rounder are things like bottle-cage bosses and mudguard eyes - stripped down 'cross bikes dispense with such fripperies. Things like cable routing are secondardy - many bikes stick with under BB routing because the hassle of top-tube cable-routing and pulleys doesn't provide any real advantage.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • marmitecpmarmitecp Posts: 203
    Specialized Tricross is usually recommended. I like the look of this though. Disk brakes are the future. ... isc%202008
  • jpembrokejpembroke Posts: 2,569
    Kinesis cross frames - perhaps the most popular cross frames in the UK - have the front mech cable routed under the bottom bracket, as does the Planet X Uncle John. Having a front mech cable routed under the BB is not a big deal in 'cross races so I doubt it'll make any difference to you.

    Personally, I think that 'cross bikes are for racing. For anything else they are a compromise. For your needs, the Planet X Kaffenback may be worth a look. Alternatives are the Kinesis Crosslight 4T and Planet X Uncle John. Both have mudguard, rack, and bottle mounts.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
  • check out , chain reaction have the frame for £180, put a cross fork on for £70 and you have a good start. This frame has it all, you can fit mudguards and has two bottle cage mounts which not all cross frames have.
  • Gary DGary D Posts: 431
    I think if you are 100% sure of what you will use the bike for now, and more importantly in the future, then it is probably a good decsion.

    The reason I say that is that I went down exactly the same route - and got it wrong :?

    I started off on a hybrid and was just pootling around the park with the kids. I started getting in to cycling a little more and thought I need another bike! I was at this time also inhabiting (read: lurking) various forums and a number of posts about the Spesh Tricross appeared. I thought to myself, this appears to be the ideal bike, as it can go on-road and also cope with light off-road as well. Therefore, one evening after a couple of glasses of wine I bought one off Ebay :oops: .

    All was well for about 9 months. I loved the bike and it was certainly easier and more fun on-road than my hybrid. I then started getting fitter and even more enthusiastic, and I also realised that, in actual fact, I had never ridden the Tricross off-road. I therefore started hankering after a "proper" road bike.

    The conclusion, is that with 20:20 hindsight I should have bought a road bike in the first place instead of the Tricross. I shall still keep it however - but have just ordered a road bike as well :P :P

    The major difference in my circumstances to yours though, is that none of my bikes will be used for commuting in my present job. The Tricross, or something similar, would be great for that as it would take guards and rack and could be run with wider tyres. The Focus also looks very good value, but I would check about mudguard clearances though.

    Hope this helps.

  • Ken NightKen Night Posts: 2,005
    marmitecp wrote:
    . Disk brakes are the future.

    At the price, the Focus bike is stunning-and you could lash out on a carbon fork and still have a reasonably priced bike

    Despite other comments about not going off road with a crosser, the fact is that you can go on sh*tty lanes (and we have them in quantity here in Devon), tow paths, light trails on your fat tyres, much faster than an MtB, 'guards if you want, and a nice relaxed geometry (most crossers have heat tube angle of 72 deg or less meaning sure steering) Change the tyres, and hey presto, you have a good Audax or touring bike, and one to tool about with.

    Monty Dog has a made to measure Ti disc braked crosser. I've just converted my Airborne Ti to discs. I love the frame so much it was worth the time and effort

    “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best..." Ernest Hemingway
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    all bikes involve compromises. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't thought it through.

    A crosser is a good mix for a lot of people. Fast enough for road work yet tough enough to go offroad.

    All the big (and small) manufacturers are realising there is a market for them.

    Planet X Uncle John
    old Airborne Carpe Diem (ti or al)

    the list goes on....
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    jpembroke wrote:
    Personally, I think that 'cross bikes are for racing. For anything else they are a compromise.

    Yes you are right.....but that's the whole point isn't it? If you want to go both on and off road, you need to make a compromise somewhere.

    Which is better/more efficient both on and off road? Road bike, Cross bike or MTB?

    In my opinion I think they are better than hybrids for commuting and weekend training rides.
    I like bikes...

  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,331
    "I've just converted my Airborne Ti to discs."

    And excellent it looks! Got to be one of the most versatile and just plain NICE bikes around IMO!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • sps137sps137 Posts: 247
    Having just bought my second one I'd recommend Planet X's Kaffenback. I've used mine for a couple of cross seasons and plenty of commuting/light touring rides. Nice and comfortable, not too heavy, fast enough on the road and just about enough clearance for some very muddy races, plus rack/guard mounts. For a grand you'll get Ultegra plus some nice Planet X wheels/components.
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    one like this?

    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • GEPCGEPC Posts: 123
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the comments and input so far. Please keep it coming, there is plenty of food for thought here.
    Certainly there is some compromise in what I am suggesting but essentially I am tryigng to establish the best compromise to make and so far my thinking that a cross bike is the way to go seems to be borne out by most of your comments.

    Most of my short list have been covered and a couple more have been thrown up that I hadn't considered. The Focus is clearly great value and will be very hard to beat. I hadn't really considered the Kaffenback as I had it down for more of a hybrid type bike but I had the Uncle John on my list. Another one that I liked the look of which hasn't been mentioned is the Felt F1X. Does anyone have one of know anyone that does?

    Kenesis is the new comer to my thinking that this has thrown up as I hadn't realised before I explored their UK website that they do complete bikes. I don't have the space or expertise to build one up from frame myslef but the EVO3 in black could be worth breaking my budget for!

    Please keep the comments and suggestions coming. They are really appreciated.
  • jpembrokejpembroke Posts: 2,569
    I know someone who races on a Felt F1X. It's nice but not as well specced as an equivalent price Focus.

    Remember that the Kinesis EVO3 does not have any rack, mudguard, or bottle mounts. It is an out and out race frame. This is the same for the Focus bikes. The Felt has bottle mounts but no mudguard/rack mounts.

    The Kaffenback is a hybrid frame I suppose but it is tough as old boots. I used to own one and the new ones have more clearance for bigger tyres.

    What about the Kona Jack the Snake? Nice bike.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
  • Here is what I'm thinking of doing, the bike will be used primarily as a winter bike, second for touring, thrid for cross and forth for commuting. Some parts I will pick up online and others from my local bike store. The LBS will put most of it together.

    Kinesis Crosslight 4T Frame £180
    ITM Visia Cross Carbon Fork £70
    FSA Headset £20
    Ritchey Comp Bars £25
    Ritchey Comp Stem £18
    Veloce Compact Groupset minus brakes £250
    Avid Shorty Brakes £20
    CSN Carbon Seat pin £22
    Veloce Hubs with Mavic Open Pro Rims built with DT comp spokes £150
    Labour £50

    That comes to about £800 minus seat, pedals,bar tape, mudgards tyres and cages.
  • jpembrokejpembroke Posts: 2,569
    Avid Shortys squeal like a stuck pig. I'd go for Tektro Oryx or Shimano BR-R550. Also, I'd consider CXP33 rims instead of Open Pros - stronger and will shed mud better. And would you be better off getting a good quality alloy seatpin rather than a cheap carbon one?

    Other than that, nice set up.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
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