CX commuting bike

Variado Posts: 107
edited April 2010 in Road buying advice
Hi guys. I'm looking for a year-round bike for commuting about 7-8 miles each way, mostly on poorly-maintained country lanes (potholes aplenty, but more of a problem is a cheap 'reskim' that's now disintegrating making it generally very rough going). I'm a roadie at heart, and want to ride something light that feels sharp and responsive like a full-on road bike, but need some concessions to commuting in wet weather, mud, potholes and occasional ice. It'll also double as a winter training bike for 2-3 hour weekend rides when the weather is too poor for the road bike.

I'm thinking that a cyclocross bike is likely to do what I want, and I've got a pretty good idea of the specs i'm after:

- ten-speed 105 (or Ultegra, I guess), 50/36 at the front, 12-25 at the rear.
- disk brakes (prefer these to standard ones in poor weather)
- fixing points for mudguards (at a minimum) and maybe a rear rack, although i'm more likely to use a backpack
- light, high quality frame
- robust wheels that'll stand up to the crap roads without deforming and can take 28/30 slicks in the summer and full-blown 32/35 CX tyres in the winter for more grip.

But i'm having a tough time finding anything that ticks all the boxes, so help welcome. Main issue is the disk brakes, I understand the UCI rules mean that most CX bikes don't have them (I guess you could say no "real" CX bikes have them).

Budget is £1200-£1500, selling the car so worth spending a bit to get it right. Something like the Focus Mares Pro comes close, but doesn't have disks or mudguards. Maybe worth trying to find a good LBS and talking about a custom build?


  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    for commuting year round, make sure it can take get proper, full length mudguards.
  • Variado
    Variado Posts: 107
    moonshine wrote:
    for commuting year round, make sure it can take get proper, full length mudguards.

    Yeah, exactly - don't want to use the clip-on ones, which i've never found very effective.

    edit: just to add that it doesn't have to be 105, it's just the range i'm familiar with. Campag/SRAM equivalents are fine.
  • Variado
    Variado Posts: 107
    Anybody? Have I asked in the wrong place?
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,289
    Have you looked at the Genesis Croix de Fer? Steel frame, disc brakes, eyelets for mudguards and a rack and, with a mix of Tiagra and 105, sounds like it ticks all your boxes. ... fications/
  • Variado
    Variado Posts: 107
    Thanks Andy, that's a good suggestion - plus my LBS is a stockist
  • Pirahna
    Pirahna Posts: 1,315
    Get a test ride on a crosser before buying. You might find the brakes aren't up to road use. :shock:
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,289
    Eh? Those discs will outperform any rim brake if set up properly.
  • Wappygixer
    Wappygixer Posts: 1,396
    This has pretty much what you are looking for
    The only thing missing is the disc brakes and mudguard mounts.I have this same bike and use P clips to mount my guards.The standard Tektro Oryx brakes are OK but I upgraded to Tektro 720's which are much better.Disc brakes may be better but I think they are overkill.If you can lock a wheel then you have more than enough power.
    The wheels are bomb proof with full cartridge bearing hubs, the rear contains 4 bearings.
    I use it for commuting but have used it around the park with my dogs and its been fine.
    For the money I don't think anything could touch it.
    If your near Decathlon Stockport fell free to pop into the store and have a look at mine ( I work there)
  • incog24
    incog24 Posts: 549
    Is it just me, or does that decathlon bike have a huge spoke guard behind the cassette??
    Racing for Fluid Fin Race Team in 2012 -
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    FWIW don't worry about disc brakes if riding your local cross league - it's only a problem if riding UCI points registered races, like National series. Most come fitted with Avid BB7 discs which are superb - will certainly outbrake any regular road brake - I've a disc-shod, custom titanium cross frame that I use as a commuter, but also indulged myself with a Kuota Kross full carbon cross-rig - the brake performance on that is best described as 'adequate'
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • I'd look into either a Chris Boardman, and customise it with drop bars and shifters or take a look at the Condor range. I have their Bivio CX bike. Not sure about disc brakes but you can always ask them.
    Summer - Cannondale Six Ultegra
    Winter - Condor Bivio - cyclocross bike for commuting, cycle paths & rainy days - brilliant

    LBS - Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick - Simply the best LBS
    Stolen - 2001 Specialized Allez Elite :-(
  • tigerben
    tigerben Posts: 233
    Snap - I have exactly the same search requirements. The Genesis is about the only bike i have found that matches the spec - unfortunately I am miles from any local stockists so have never seen one in the flesh. I did hear that the lead time for Genesis bikes is quite long as well.

    I have considered going the self build route - but not many frames can take disc brakes.

    I am in not great rush so will keep searching. Would be very interested if anybody knows any alternatives or has hands on experience of the genesis.

    This spec seems to be a popular request on this forum - so hopefully this may be picked up in next years models.
  • mroli
    mroli Posts: 3,622
    Boardman bikes are going to start doing a cross bike - it was reviewed in a recent cycling plus. Like the road version - there is a £999 one with Sram Rival groupset.

    I think £1200 to 1500 is more than enough for what you want (I bought a second hand Crosslight frame and fork) and with bits and pieces is doing the job you want for under £400.

    I would also look at a light tourer - if you are in London, the Agio and Fratello are worth a look at in Condor, if for nothing else to get a feel for what you really want (Condor are expensive, but the bikes are nice). They also let you do the Halfords Cycle2Work scheme and go over the £1000.

    At a lot cheaper, the Kona Dew Drop had disk brakes and mounting points and mudguards etc - worse groupset, but maybe some of the higher range bikes (Jake the Snake etc) might be worth looking at.

    If you are using it for commuting look at cycle to work - it will save you a fortune.
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,289
    There are other disc brake cross frames available such as the Fixie Inc Pure Blood (from Mosquito), the Focus Mares Disc, the Orbea Diem Drop Disc and the Trek Portland.

    You can also build a bike using a frame like the Cotic Road Rat or the Singular Peregrine.

    There are lots of disc brake options out there now.
  • Variado
    Variado Posts: 107
    Thanks everybody, some good leads to follow up there - the Mares Disk would have been good (although not drilled for mudguards) but doesn't appear to exist this year, 2009 model out of stock at Wiggle.
    I would also look at a light tourer

    I thought about tourer/audax-type bikes, as there are some out there that fit the disk/mudguard requirements. But i'm really looking for a race/sportive-type feel for the bike (with a nod to the practicalities of commuting) and wonder if a tourer would be too 'relaxed' and maybe heavy? - plus they tend to come with a triple, which I don't need. But i'm interested in thoughts here too, not an area I know much about
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Well I went for a Kinesis racelight Tk (now sold as the Tk2 with a new paint job)

    It's designed as a winter trainer, so it's not at all relaxed or upright, and it's pretty light.

    Takes full mudguards with 25c tyres and long drop caliper brakes, so it stops effectively. Even has mounting points for a rear rack if ever you fancied a bit of lightly laden touring.

    Talk to Epic cycles; they'll put whatever you like on it in terms of groupset, wheels etc.

    I got to choose every component on mine, which is why I'm not having to 'upgrade' anything till it breaks.
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,289
    Variado wrote:
    Thanks everybody, some good leads to follow up there - the Mares Disk would have been good (although not drilled for mudguards) but doesn't appear to exist this year, 2009 model out of stock at Wiggle.

    It still appears on the Focus corporate site; ... 080&do=idx

    It might be that Wiggle don't import it unless requested so it could be worth asking them.
  • tigerben
    tigerben Posts: 233
    Andy P - Thanks for the suggestions! I had seen the focus and noted that it was out of stock . Not sure the orbea/ fixie have rack fittings (although the fixie is a smart looking bike).

    Is the Trek Portland a new model? I had not noticed it on the Trek site before - it certainly ticks all the boxes (and would be easiest option as my LBS is a trek dealer).

    Will check out the Cotic Road Rat or the Singular Peregrine.

    I like the look/ price of the kinesis & service of epic - but ideally am looking for disc breaks.
  • ridin8ude
    ridin8ude Posts: 88
    I've been watching the Wiggle site and they had a Mares Disc in size 60 come up.
    I got it last week and it's superb. It's a bit on the big size for me so I'm not 100% sure I'm going to keep it.

    Everything about it is nice though, my concern was about no rack/guard eyelets but having ridden it I could live without them!
    Overall the Mares feels exactly like a road bike (after I dialled it in) and I did a 70 mile ride on it this weekend and had no issues. Even the bog standard tires are ok and I was able to keep up with my group up Toys hill even though it does weigh a ton.

    If this doesn't work out and I can't get the Mares in a 58 size - then I'll likely build up a Kinesis Decade Tripster (frameset orders only).

    Disc brakes are an absolute requirement for me.