Cross bike - suggestions?

daveb Posts: 4,137
edited August 2012 in Road buying advice

I am looking to buy a cross bike as my work location has changed and I have a good opportunity to get in a mix of road/off road trails on my commute.

It will mainly be used on 20 - 30 mile commutes about 60% off road (Pentlands in Edinburgh). I would also like to use it for touring so something that took panniers would also be a great benefit. I have a road bike but it is just for racing etc but that also means that this wont be used for road racing or anything like that.

I would prefer a bike with hydralic brakes as a lot of its use will be the winter months in very muddy conditions. My budget is up to about £2000. I dont think i would be bothered about a carbon frame but would prefer steel over alu.

I was thinking about the Genesis Croiu De Fer but think a lot of the components are rubbish, had thought about buying anyway and just replacing as they fall apart.

Any help/advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.



  • bendertherobot
    bendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    Which bits are rubbish?!
    My blog: (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • daveb
    daveb Posts: 4,137
    The drivetrain, pretty basic. It also has mechanical disc brakes, they may have improved but when I used them years ago I much preferred hydralic. I am not too up on cross bikes though so these types brakes may just be the norm.

    Another option I had thought of was just buying a frame and building it up but may struggle to keep it under the £2k budget.
  • bendertherobot
    bendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    Basic drivetrain? Tiagra 10 speed is excellent. Heaps better than old 105 and just as good as the old Ultegra (2009) I had. Not as good as SRAM Force but works very cleanly, positively and very good. Tidy chainset, good levers. Nothing basic about it at all.

    The brakes are fine. You either choose rims or go discs. They are the best of the mechanicals. They can squeak a bit on occasions but you pays your money etc. They're not neccesarily the norm, Cannondale go rim brakes. But if you want a tourer/crosser/commuter etc then the fit in very well.

    The wheels are heavy but reasonably strong. It's really an excellent bike.
    My blog: (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Hydraulic brakes on CX are a rarety - unlikely you'll find a stock bike with them fitted at this time. Avid BB7s are more than adequate for CX/ touring and anyone that says different is talking bollox- but avoid Shimano shifters with BB7s because their cable-pull is different. You won't go far wrong with a Planet-X Dirty Disco - was ridden to break to round-the-world cycling record so no problems regarding durability.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • raymondo60
    raymondo60 Posts: 735
    I've just replaced my 2009 Boardman CX Comp after covering over 3,000 miles on it. Great bike, but couldn't live with the Cantilever brakes anymore - I called them 'speed adjusters'. Have replaced it with a Stevens Vapor; Alu frame, Carbon fork, Ultegra Groupset, Easton XC wheels, Scorpio Stem Bar & Seatpost - absolutely fanstastic, a real 'Cross Racing' bike. Rides like a road bike, and my average speeds along the towpaths have shot up. ain't got no mudguard/rack eyelets, and I'm really missing those now. Nor does it have the 'suicide' levers on the top of the bars like my Boardman, which I sort of got used to after a while. Although I love the Stevens, there is a part of me that wonders why I didn't buy that Boardman Team CX for £899.00..................

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • tigerben
    tigerben Posts: 233
    If you can wait the 2013 specialised crux look sweet with disc breaks.
  • cooper.michael1
    cooper.michael1 Posts: 1,787
    You wont find hydraulic brakes on many drop bar bikes as shimano/campag/sram dont make hydraulic levers yet. Therefore you need an after market cable to fluid converter which sits under the stem. These are both a bit ugly, not widely tested yet and bloody expensive. Disks for cross racing were only legalised a year or so back, so technology has not really caught up yet.
  • uzubairu
    uzubairu Posts: 12
    Monty Dog wrote:
    . You won't go far wrong with a Planet-X Dirty Disco - was ridden to break to round-the-world cycling record so no problems regarding durability.
    I''m picking mine up tomorrow and I can't wait!

    Commuting and a little bit off road.
    The people at Planet X have been very helpful.
  • carrock
    carrock Posts: 1,103
    tigerben wrote:
    If you can wait the 2013 specialised crux look sweet with disc breaks.

    and SRAM rather than tiagra, carbon frame option, etc. ... kes-34581/

    Should have had a full crux range last year like the rest of the world

    I will be buying one....
  • You can get the CdF frame and fork for about £339, 105 groupset ~£400 (ultegra £600) and probably a very reasonable set of wheels hand-built for ~£300. That's well within your budget unless I'm mistaken.

    I had my CdF built up with some handbuilt wheels and managed to rescue most of the components from my Vapour disc and only cost me about £560 all in! That was at Picton Cycles in Liverpool in case you're interested.

    Take a look at this from Edinburgh Cycles
    Looks like someone's had one built up in touring trim with an Ultegra triple and some pretty decent wheels and that was ~£1800!
    Roadie: Cannondale CAAD10
    Commuter/everything else: Custom build Genesis Croix de Fer
  • daveb
    daveb Posts: 4,137
    Thanks for all the feedback.

    Probably going to go with the Genesis, will decide on full build or frame/fork and do a custom build.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Note the rear disc location. The chainstay is far more rack-friendly than typical MTB style seatstay fitting.