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Cross bikes for commuting

On_WhatOn_What Posts: 516
edited March 2014 in Commuting chat
Looking for real world experiences of the above, I am thinking of swapping my faithful PX for something a bit more commute friendly with better brakes. I have something a bit tastier for the weekend so it will be purely for winter road riding and commuting year round.

Did anybody notice a weight penalty, would you go back to a road bike for day to day?
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  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Nope and nope.

    Although my road bike is a full carbon jobbie and do tend to cruise about 2-3mph faster on it

    The advantages of a "go anywhere" (ish) bike outweighs the minor penalties.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,789 Lives Here
    I'm very happy with my Kinesis. Would I go back to a road bike? No, because I couldn't. I had a Kona Jake before that and an MTB before that. To my mind the Kinesis is plenty light enough for me and more than fast enough with the right tyres. Brakes are great, BB7 on mine, and I can go almost anywhere depending on which tyres are fitted.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I got rid of my CXer (Boardman) when I got my Volagi (disc and guards) road bike. It's much faster partly because it's much lighter. For me, pretty much the only consideration that a CX has over an appropriate road bike (like the Volagi) is tyre clearance for something knobbly. That's what you're currently trading.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • For me the determining factor was disc brakes - the cantilevers on my old Boardman CX Pro just stopped working when wet. Now my winter commute is a Stevens Vapor with BB7 cable discs and the stopping power and reliability is unbeatable and very appropriate for wet slippy commuting....
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    I use a CX for commuting, and it's OK but has STI levers and V-brakes; and those brakes are rubbish. I wouldn't worry about any weight difference, but make sure the brakes are good.

    (Did have "Travel Agents" but they didn't help much.)
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,961
    Agent57 wrote:
    I use a CX for commuting, and it's OK but has STI levers and V-brakes; and those brakes are rubbish. I wouldn't worry about any weight difference, but make sure the brakes are good.

    (Did have "Travel Agents" but they didn't help much.)

    mini "V"s work much better on STI levers, only downside is that you can't fit full size mudguards with them, which is why I went the flat bar; front disc and rear V brake route
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.

    There are loads of road/audax style bikes that will take plenty big enough tyres!
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.

    There are loads of road/audax style bikes that will take plenty big enough tyres!

    Beyond 25/28? Most Audux bikes seem to top out there, CX claim a fair bit more namely at least 35mm, and fast tyres you can get to 32mm gaterskins and the like.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052

    Beyond 25/28? Most Audux bikes seem to top out there, CX claim a fair bit more namely at least 35mm, and fast tyres you can get to 32mm gaterskins and the like.

    Plus 'guard clearance, and the option to fit nobblies / spiked... (with the aforementioned 'guards)
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • bunterbunter Posts: 327
    I secretly kind of prefer my Kinesis Crosslight to my road bike. I have 28mm tyres and full guards on there. I like the ride and find it climbs surprisingly well. I am perfectly happy taking the panniers off and taking it out for a weekend ride. Disc brakes are pretty great for the 51 weeks of the year when it's wet here in Lancashire.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Weight's irrelevant; at 7.8kg, my cross bike (with hydraulic discs) is barely heavier than my road bike. If I put road tyres on it, it might even be fractionally lighter.

    My next commuting bike is almost certainly going to be based around a CX frame (Kinesis Pro6) with disc brakes.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,689
    I commuted a few times on my CX with studded tyres over a 1000ft of climbing each way, it left me utterly broken, however when I switched to normal conti tyres there was no difference in speed to my normal ribble Alu commuter so I'd suggest that actually a CX bike is the perfect commuter, especially now disc brakes are widely available.

    do eeeeet 8)
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    If you want a perfect commuter; Single Speed CX.

    I love mine.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    I've been holding out for hydraulic discs because I've a - probably ill-founded - belief that mechanical discs aren't much better - if any better - than standard brakes.

    There do seem to be a fair number of disc-based CX options these days though.

    Ideally I'd like hydraulic discs, STI levers, drop bars and a hub gear. =)
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I used to have mechanical discs, sti levers, drops and hub gears.

    Couple of things let it down; the hub gear and the mechanical discs. Afine hubs are heavy and you can feel it, even on moderate ramps. Having all that weight stuck out the back affects the handling as well. Also, the stepping isn't great, using 7 or 8 gears to cover such a spread leaves some big gaps. I'd want closer gearing coupled with a Schlumpf SpeedDrive.

    I found mechanical discs to be poor, but YMMV.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,789 Lives Here
    I find the cable discs are fine, but I'd like hydraulics when the price comes down. I got discs hoping for a vast improvement over the cantis on my Jake, which I got. They have as much power as any other brakes I've tried on a road type bike, and they are more consistent in bad weather.
    With road tyres on the bike is as fast as any road bike would be with me on top of it, but I have the option of fitting significantly larger and knobblier tyres if I want to.
    If I could only have one bike, it would be a disc braked cross bike. I now consider using it for rides that previously would have been mountain bike only. I often only use the MTB because my mates are on MTBs and I already have to wait for them, so there's not much point in going even faster.
    You know you want to.
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    tumblr_lqkaa0cc7Z1r25534o1_500.gif
    Location: ciderspace
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    I've been riding a Planet X Kaffenback 2 for a few months now and it is perfect for the riding that I do. Steel framed road bike with disc brakes (BB7s), loads of clearance for wide/knobbly/spike tyres (up to 32mm), mounts for mudguards and panniers.

    At the moment it needs a bit of love (cleaning and lubing) as I've been commuting along a very muddy canal tow path but then I come off the tow path and I can still lay down a serious amount of awesome on the roads.
    I've taken it into woods for a laugh and feel comfortable giving it abuse that I'd never give a out and out road bike.

    The Kaffenback isn't a out and out CX bike in my opinion but that is mainly because the rear brake's cable guide runs along the underside of the NDS of top tube the top tube EXACTLY where your shoulder is when you shoulder the bike. Also the gear cables run along the down tube and under the BB, so not ideal for constant mudplugging but fine (touch wood) for occasional perversions. The disc brakes are a revelation, I don't think I'll ever own another bike with rim brakes.

    I've not done any really long rides, my longest was last week and that was only about 40 miles (with about 5 miles of that along the muddy tow path) so I can't comment on how it feels on a century, but I came back with a massive smile on my face and absolutely covered in mud (I haven't got around to buying mudguards).

    So, in conclusion, CX bikes for a commuting get a big thumbs up from me, but if I was riding it exclusively on tarmac, I'd get a different wheelset and 23s rather than 28s.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • dyrlacdyrlac Posts: 735
    I've put close to 2000 km on my CAADX commuting since the beginning of November. Canti brakes are nothing to write home about, but full 'guards have been very good to me. I ride it almost exclusively on roads (or what passes for them in London) on 28s and not the stock 32s it came with. Think hard about whether you want CX gearing. I've found that 46/36 with a 12-26 cassette leaves a little too much on the table at the top end even for someone of my meagre talents. No complaints otherwise though i have little to compare it with since it was my first proper bike since my student days. I suspect though that my N+1 will be a more traditional road bike and I'll put fatter tyres back on the caadx.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    DrLex wrote:
    tumblr_lqkaa0cc7Z1r25534o1_500.gif
    itboffin wrote:
    do eeeeet 8)
    Do it.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.

    There are loads of road/audax style bikes that will take plenty big enough tyres!

    Beyond 25/28? Most Audux bikes seem to top out there, CX claim a fair bit more namely at least 35mm, and fast tyres you can get to 32mm gaterskins and the like.

    Still don't get it if you are sticking to the roads. May as well grab a tourer or a hybrid! :P :wink:

    Actually I would consider finding a nice steel touring frame and kitting that out. Balanced for luggage, big tyre clearance and room for guards. But then again I do Audaxes so am probably considered a bit strange!
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.

    There are loads of road/audax style bikes that will take plenty big enough tyres!

    Beyond 25/28? Most Audux bikes seem to top out there, CX claim a fair bit more namely at least 35mm, and fast tyres you can get to 32mm gaterskins and the like.

    Still don't get it if you are sticking to the roads. May as well grab a tourer or a hybrid! :P :wink:

    Actually I would consider finding a nice steel touring frame and kitting that out. Balanced for luggage, big tyre clearance and room for guards. But then again I do Audaxes so am probably considered a bit strange!
    planet x wrote:
    Our steel do-it-all, commuter, tourer, winter trainer...
    The Kaffenback ticks so many boxes that people want.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    menthel wrote:
    Why get a cross bike for on road use? There are plenty of road bikes with road gearing that will take guards, panniers and have disk brakes.

    Clearances for fat (er) tyres is one.

    There are loads of road/audax style bikes that will take plenty big enough tyres!

    Beyond 25/28? Most Audux bikes seem to top out there, CX claim a fair bit more namely at least 35mm, and fast tyres you can get to 32mm gaterskins and the like.

    Still don't get it if you are sticking to the roads. May as well grab a tourer or a hybrid! :P :wink:

    Actually I would consider finding a nice steel touring frame and kitting that out. Balanced for luggage, big tyre clearance and room for guards. But then again I do Audaxes so am probably considered a bit strange!
    planet x wrote:
    Our steel do-it-all, commuter, tourer, winter trainer...
    The Kaffenback ticks so many boxes that people want.

    But it isn't a CX bike, really. Its a do it all bike that doesn't excel at any one thing but is good at lots of different things. I also agree with the point about gearing above, even in the current conditions I am getting up into the top most gears on my compact, not sure I would want to be running a 46 rather than the 50.
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • On_WhatOn_What Posts: 516
    To be fair it may well end up off road at some point - but rarely.
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    On_What wrote:
    To be fair it may well end up off road at some point - but rarely.

    Then get a cross bike! ;)
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    menthel wrote:
    planet x wrote:
    Our steel do-it-all, commuter, tourer, winter trainer...
    The Kaffenback ticks so many boxes that people want.

    But it isn't a CX bike, really. Its a do it all bike that doesn't excel at any one thing but is good at lots of different things. I also agree with the point about gearing above, even in the current conditions I am getting up into the top most gears on my compact, not sure I would want to be running a 46 rather than the 50.[/quote]

    I didn't say the Kaffenback was a CX bike but other than that, I pretty much agree with what you say, Menthel. I definitely agree with with the comments about gearing of CX bikes, too low for regular road use, which is why I'm happy with my Kaff's 50/34 chainset.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    menthel wrote:
    On_What wrote:
    To be fair it may well end up off road at some point - but rarely.

    Then get a cross bike! ;)
    Or a Kaffenback.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,789 Lives Here
    menthel wrote:
    On_What wrote:
    To be fair it may well end up off road at some point - but rarely.

    Then get a cross bike! ;)
    I got a frame and forks so I could build it to the spec I wanted. I went for a road compact crankset, with a reasonably wide spaced cassette. I also went for different brakes to the ready built bike. By careful shopping I got what I consider a better spec for about the same money as the built up bike. There are some great deals on groupsets at the moment so I would look at putting a bike together yourself if you are able to, you can then go for whatever suits you best.
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