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What commuter road/cyclocross bike to buy? (budget £1,000)

jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
edited July 2012 in Road buying advice
Hi all!

Firstly I want to say hi as I'm new to the forum. Been reading the main site for a while now but felt it was about time to get advice from you guys, as I am very soon to take the plunge and buy a new bike.

I am looking for an all purpose bike, and after a lot of reading I feel the cyclocross category fits my needs. The bike will mainly be used for my road commute to work, but will also be used for longer rides. These rides are likely to take me off road (around the New Forest etc); so thought the Cyclocross category would be the best bike for my mixed needs.

Even though I have been riding bikes for years, I have never purchased a decent bike - and have always had cheap run arounds for occasional use. For example at the moment I have a bike that I bought for £20 off a mate, and it is falling to bits. Now I am commuting to work every day, and wanting to start cycling as a hobby, it is definitely time for me to invest.

I would still class myself as a beginner to cycling, so a bike that needs minimal upgrading for a few years would be great. The lighter the bike the better too, as it will most likely have to be carried up stairs to my flat every time it is used. This is where i need your help. I haven't really got a clue what to look for when it comes to bikes and their parts/specifications - and have only really been going on what I have read on reviews (here, and other sites) when I have been researching. All that I know is that I have a budget of around £1000.

Does anyone own anything cyclocross in this price bracket that they would recommend? The bikes that have caught my (beginner) eye are:
Boardman CX Team - http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_777731_categoryId_165710_langId_-1?cm_sp=Intelligent_Offer-_-Product_Details_Zone_1-_-Blank&iozone=PDPz1
Genesis Croix De Fer 2012 - http://www.evanscycles.com/products/genesis/croix-de-fer-2012-cyclocross-bike-ec030771
Planet X Uncle John SRAM Rival Bike - http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CBPXUJSP/planet_x_uncle_john_sram_rival_bike
Specialized CruX Elite 2012 - http://www.evanscycles.com/products/specialized/crux-elite-2012-cyclocross-bike-ec039023
Kona Jake 2012 - http://www.evanscycles.com/products/kona/jake-2012-cyclocross-bike-ec034494

Are there any clear 'better' or 'worse' bikes from the above? Any other cyclocross bikes in my price bracket that may be better suited to my needs? If there are any bikes that are recommended slightly above my budget, I am willing to look at them too. Also when are the 2013 ranges due for release? Is it worth me waiting if it's not too long?

Thanks in advance for any help :)
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Posts

  • jamesy0rkjamesy0rk Posts: 9
    You could try a Cannondale Caad X. I bought one on C2W and love it. It gets some good reviews.
  • jamienortonjamienorton Posts: 182
    ive got one these http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/rose ... aid:532649 had it about 6 months now, great bike, great value, only problem is you have to buy blind.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Love my Uncle John - I've not even bothered with my road bike since I got it. Thin tyres for the road and thicker ones for the off road. Perfect.
  • beancounterbeancounter Posts: 369
    I can tell you from experience that non-disk brake cyclocross bikes make very poor commuting bikes, if you plan to commute through winter or in generally poor weather.

    Firstly, because cantilever brakes are poor at best in the wet, and secondly because it is difficult (although not, I've now found, completely impossible) to fit a decent set of full mudguards to a cyclocross bike (things like Race Blades really don't work very well at all in comparison to proper mudguards).

    bc
    2013 Colnago Master 30th Anniversary
    2010 Colnago C50
    2005 Colnago C40
    2002 Colnago CT1
    2010 Colnago World Cup
    2013 Cinelli Supercorsa
    2009 Merckx LXM
    1995 Lemond Gan Team
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    High-end,race cx bikes are designed for light weight and to avoid mud collecting. They ditch many useful features such as:
    waterbottle mounts
    rack and mudguard threaded eyelets
    Chainstay and seatstay bridges (for attaching mudguards)
    Look for disc brakes located on the horizontal rear chainstay, NOT the (usual MTB) seatstay position. This will free up the threaded eyelets for easy fitting of rack and mudguard.
    Discs are much better than cantilevers.
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    110396.jpg
    http://www.probikekit.com/uk/genesis-cr ... e_base_gbp

    Looks cool and has everything you need

    Definitely not worth waiting for 2013 bikes, you'll just be paying more for the same thing IMO
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    Thanks for all the responses so far. Very helpful :)

    Glad I've heard about the disc brakes being a lot better at this stage in my search. Good brakes in all weather is a necessity on my commute, due to some awful drivers around these parts! Think I'll go back to the drawing board, and look at disc brake only cyclocross bikes. Looks like the budget will have to slightly increase.
    ive got one these http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/rose ... aid:532649 had it about 6 months now, great bike, great value, only problem is you have to buy blind.

    That looks great. Bit sceptical about buying completely blind though - and I hear they are based in Germany which means that warranty issues and having to return/replace anything can be a long wait. This is definitely one to consider though, thanks.
    PeteMadoc wrote:
    110396.jpg
    http://www.probikekit.com/uk/genesis-cr ... e_base_gbp

    Looks cool and has everything you need

    Definitely not worth waiting for 2013 bikes, you'll just be paying more for the same thing IMO

    Love the look of this bike - and is one that I was seriously considering. However I have read that it is on the heavy side (due to being steel) - which means it is likely to be a no from me.
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    Think I have narrowed my search down to these five (unless anyone can recommend something better in the same price range!):

    Boardman CX Team - £899.99 - http://www.boardmanbikes.com/cx/cx_team.html

    Genesis Vapour Disc - £1,011.99 - http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/cross/vapour/vapour-disc

    Rose Pro DX Cross 2000 - £1,061.65 - http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/rose-pro-dx-cross-2000-4636/aid:532649

    Whyte Saxon Cross - £1,149.00 - http://www.whytebikes.com/2012/bike_page.php?ModNo=W-1-038-12

    Specialized Tricross Elite Disc - £1,200.00 - http://www.specializedconceptstore.co.uk/detail/12TriCross/TriCross

    What would you guys recommend?
  • springtide9springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    jimmm wrote:
    Think I have narrowed my search down to these five (unless anyone can recommend something better in the same price range!):

    Boardman CX Team - £899.99 - http://www.boardmanbikes.com/cx/cx_team.html

    Genesis Vapour Disc - £1,011.99 - http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/cross/vapour/vapour-disc

    Rose Pro DX Cross 2000 - £1,061.65 - http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/rose-pro-dx-cross-2000-4636/aid:532649

    Whyte Saxon Cross - £1,149.00 - http://www.whytebikes.com/2012/bike_page.php?ModNo=W-1-038-12

    Specialized Tricross Elite Disc - £1,200.00 - http://www.specializedconceptstore.co.uk/detail/12TriCross/TriCross

    What would you guys recommend?

    On looks, the Whyte Saxon Cross gets my vote! :D
    Simon
  • samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
    My favorite would be the boardman, but do some long test rides and most of all get the one you like the look of, as you are more likely not only to ride it but also feel better about it.

    In my naive opinion you can't really go wrong with any of them.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    I can tell you from experience that non-disk brake cyclocross bikes make very poor commuting bikes, if you plan to commute through winter or in generally poor weather.

    Firstly, because cantilever brakes are poor at best in the wet, and secondly because it is difficult (although not, I've now found, completely impossible) to fit a decent set of full mudguards to a cyclocross bike (things like Race Blades really don't work very well at all in comparison to proper mudguards).

    bc

    I don't agree with the above. I think it must depend on the bike. I own a Genesis vapour CX as a commuter/bad weather bike and it has been great. I have full mudguards fitted and I have never found braking to be an issue - I have even used it for descending mountain passes in the Alps.
  • I have a 2011 Specialized Tricross Sport - used that all winter, brakes worked ok and fitted full length mudguards no problem. Although disc brakes will be much better & I would recommend them if you are going down the XC route.

    It isn't a bad spec bike, but I am glad I didn't pay the rrp of £1k for it. I only paid £650.
    It isn't too heavy, has rack & guard fittings, two water bottle mounts and with the MAvic CXP22 rims fitted as standard to this yr bike an running 700 x 25 Vittoria Rubino tyres - has improved the speed on the road a lot without much sacrifice in comfort over the stock 700 x 32 tyres.

    I do not use it off road, only on roads, although a lot of these are narrow, country lanes that are rough,pot holed & resemble off road tracks when wet & muddy!!

    Wait for the 2013 models to come out, later in the year & then buy a 2012 model at a discount!
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    I'm confused - a lot of differing advice from different places! Just as a recap. This bike will be used for road commuting every weekday, and hopefully will be used on rides (on road and off road) every couple of weekends. The bike is to be used in all weather conditions, and will need to be future proof. As I'm a beginner the better spec the bike is now - the less upgrading I will have to do in the short term. So where the differing opinions I have found lie are in the disc brakes, and whether to wait for the 2013 ranges or not?

    Disc brakes - limits my choices in the Cyclocross ranges, and ups the budget by a couple of hundred - are they worth it?

    2013 range - is it worth waiting for these to come out (not sure on dates?) - as I then 'might' be able to pick up the 2012 bike I want in a sale, or there will be a better spec bike for the same price? I could wait the extra few months for the 2013 range, and would also be able to test ride, and research in a lot more detail. But if the waits not worth it - then I might as well take the plunge now.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    No one has mentioned the Kinesis crossers, the Crosslight Five T with carbon fork comes in at under a grand, then add some discs later on ....

    http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/crosslight/five-t
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    Thanks for all the advice guys is much appreciated. Think I jumped in too deep with all the research - that's why I've got so many ideas floating around in my head. Going to take a step back, and make a more informed decision.

    What I am going to do - as suggested - is test ride a some bikes. Cyclocross is definitely the route I am going down - but not sure what brand or whether to have disc brakes yet. I have found that there are bike shops around here that stock Boardman, Specialized, Whyte and the Genesis. So plenty of options for me to check out in the flesh. 

    I'm guessing by the time I've finally taken the plunge the 2013 ranges will start being leaked - making the decision even harder!
  • cooper.michael1cooper.michael1 Posts: 1,787
    I got rid of my road bike and MTB and now I've got two cross bikes basically because like you I like all round performers.

    I've got a Planet X Uncle John and a Cotic X, both are built with Campagnolo Veloce, Mavic Wheels and FSA finishing kit and are well within your budget.

    The Uncle John behaves slightly more like a road bike, and is in fact only a fraction slower than my old Pinarello that it replaced. I would not swap this bike for anything, ultra comfortable, climbs and decends well, and I think i looks ace.

    The Cotic is a little more sturdy, full steel frame and fork. Not quite as quick off the mark or as lively as the planet X but it is a great cruiser. On the rough streets of Manchester you can weave in and out of traffic, hit massive potholes not problems, and it will cruise along at a good pace.
  • OfficerDigbyOfficerDigby Posts: 110
    Ditto to above UJ mudguards and rack. Brakes are good enough -if set right.

    Check the bike is rack compatible if you want that too.

    Obviously disk's are better brakes period. And coming more on road/cross in future.

    Like my UJ as use it as commute/winter hack/off-road/touring and can soup it up to go fast enough with the roadies!
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Yes my uj brakes fine - it handled a v dodgy and massively steep descent on a sportif that had a few top of the range road bikes crashing off the road.

    I doubt the brakes are as good as discs but you're limited by the grip of the tyres aren't you - no point in locking up a tyre ? It climbs well too.
  • cooper.michael1cooper.michael1 Posts: 1,787
    cougie wrote:
    Yes my uj brakes fine - it handled a v dodgy and massively steep descent on a sportif that had a few top of the range road bikes crashing off the road.

    I doubt the brakes are as good as discs but you're limited by the grip of the tyres aren't you - no point in locking up a tyre ? It climbs well too.

    Yeah exactly, you can lock the wheels on mine with mini v brakes, 95% of the time it is going to be lack of grip which limits your breaking power. Mini V's with Koolstop pads work fine with Ergolevers.

    That is why cross bikes make better all round bikes, as you can vary the tyre size dependant on your requirements. On my UJ at present I've got slicks, a 25c on the rear 28c on the front, as I find the bigger tyre on the front aids grip, stability, comfort and braking performance for a very marginal drop off in speed (if any on dodgy roads).

    Modern road bikes, even at the cheap end have such small clearances. 23c tyres to me make cycling not pleasurable, as the quality of the road surfaces and the UK weather in my opinion require slightly larger tyres.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Modern road bikes, even at the cheap end have such small clearances. 23c tyres to me make cycling not pleasurable, as the quality of the road surfaces and the UK weather in my opinion require slightly larger tyres.

    Agree totally there - need to be able to put 28s and mudguards on at least.
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    So my bike search continues. If you've read this thread you'll know that I was searching for a cyclocross bike - so I could commute on the road, and go on bike rides at the weekend which may take me off road from time to time.

    After a bit more thinking (and riding) I have decided that it is unlikely I will be going off road on my rides - so I'm leaning towards getting a road bike now - that can handle the day to day commute - and also have clearance for mud guards etc.

    After a bit of searching I came across the Ribble winter training bike, which looks great - but I really want to be able to get fitted to a bike down a LBS. Can anyone recommend some models to look at? - so I can then check my LBS stores to see what is stocked and where. Budget is around the £1,000 mark.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I've got a Boardman CX Team, very please with it. I sold my road bike because I just couldn't justify having 2 bikes that (for me) did the same thing to almost exactly the same level. The only noticeable difference was that the CX felt stiffer when stomping on the pedals, the CX stopped better and the CX was more practical for my commute.

    On Commuting Chat there's a huge thread for Boardman CX owners.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    So my (rubbish) commuter died today - with the chain snapping. I know that's more than repairable, but I promised myself that I would spend no money on it. This means I need to pick up a bike relatively quickly - should be ok for a few weeks - but don't want to be out of action too long - and it would be great to have a bike for the summer, if it ever arrives!

    The Boardman CX Team as mentioned above looks absolutely great. Fits my needs perfectly - as it can be used all year round, mud guards can be fitted, and it can be used as a road bike or off road if needed. But (as with everyone) I am put off due to the staff in Halfords having a bad reputation. Being a beginner myself I do not want to be missold to - especially as I am looking to spend around the £1,000 mark! Does anyone have any experience with Halfords in either Bournemouth, Poole (Ringwood Road) or Christchurch? If so - was it good or bad?

    Also can anyone recommend any local bike shops in the Bournemouth/Poole/Christchurch area? Looking for a shop where the staff will be very helpful and knowledgable; and will ensure that I leave with the right bike that fits me.
  • gmaczgmacz Posts: 343
    http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... b0s23p3538
    Here is a giant tcx at a big discount, great looking bike, good company to deal with as well.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    I would go with the Boardman - its an awesome spec and an awesome bike. If you are worried about the Halfords staff then get it boxed and take it to an LBS for them to assemble it, or get Halfords to assemble it and take it to LBS for them to do a basic safety check.
  • springtide9springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    I would also suggest the Boardman or more probably the PX Uncle John.

    Pretty sure the new 'Uncle John' frames have mounts for proper mudguards as well as posts for disc brakes (if you decide to swap then out later).

    Although it might not be the best bike for CX racing, it is very well loved (and targeted) at commuters. PX full on CX bike seems to be the Dirty Disco.

    The obvious downside of the PX is the ability to view/try, unless you live near PX or one of their (small) set of dealers, which I would say is the Boardman's advantage.

    I've seen both the Boardman and Uncle John in the flesh but haven't ridden either. The Boardman is definitely the 'flashier' looking CX racer where as the Uncle John looks more like a hard working commuter.
    Simon
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    As others have said, you can get Halfords to set the bike up (for warranty purposes, it just maeks it easier) and then get it checked over at an LBS.

    The only thing that can really go wrong then is sizing. Halfords will almost definitely try to put you on the biggest frame that you're able to stand over, rather than one that fits when you're riding it. It's like choosing a pair of trousers because they fit in your wardrobe rather than because they fit you!

    I'd certainly recommend disc brakes for a year round commuter. They're very low maintenance and they work so much more consistently wether it's wet, dry, muddy or icy compared to rim brakes.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    Thanks for all the advice guys. Is really appreciated. Being 6foot 1 what size Boardman CX Team would people think would be suited to me? I have never been fitted to a bike before, and have never used drop bars - so really don't know what I should be looking out for!?

    Also I understand that there can be a few problems with certain parts of the Boardman CX Team (bearings if I remember correctly?) - is there anything else I should look out for?

    As for getting the Boardman CX Team at the cheapest possible price - what's the best way to do this? If I sign up to British Cycling, would I still get a 10% discount at Halfords? I also see that I can get 4.5% cashback with Halfords in store using Quidco. So that's a possible 14.5% off.
  • jimmmjimmm Posts: 202
    edited July 2012
    Visited my local Halfords on my lunch break, and have to say although the Boardmans looked great (didn't see the CX unfortunately), I was put off by the experience.

    I am going to go down to my LBS tomorrow and hopefully the experience will be a lot better! They have a large stock of road bikes, and also a few Cyclocross bikes too. I know I will end up spending more that I would have with the Boardman CX Team - but I don't mind having to pay a premium if the service is great.

    Does anyone use a road bike here all year road? My commute to work is only 2-3 miles each way, and is all on road. Weekend cycling is just going to be on the road too, so I'm thinking a road bike will be more suited to my needs - rather than a cyclocross bike that is going to be slightly heavier - and not as built for speed (I could be wrong here - so I do apoligise if I am!).

    The only problem with a road bike I can see is going to be clearance/eyelets for mudguards for the lovely English weather. But from a bit of research it does appear that there are some road bikes out there with eyelets - or mudguards that can be fitted without the need for eyelets. I'm also under the presumption that grippier road tyres are available (for use in winter months)?
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,421
    Charge Filter!

    Filter-hi-2012-zoom.jpg

    It's what I'd get, comes with guards too.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
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