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  1. #1
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    Looking for CX (and other) commuter options

    I'm looking for an all-season commuter which will be faster than my Redline monocog 29er. I don't really know anything about road/CX bikes, but I'm looking at CX bikes because I want to be able to run wider tires for comfort. I'm open to something with flat bars like the Raleigh Tripper, although I'm uncertain about that 3-speed hub.


    I did find the Raleigh Furley and Roper yesterday. They're almost what I want, but not quite ideal.


    What I like:
    steel frame
    fender mounts
    disk brakes
    orange color!


    What I don't:
    heavy @ 26lbs for the Roper
    "dead" feeling frame (according to this review: Review: Raleigh Roper | Bicycle Times Magazine)


    I'm leaning towards the Furley, since there's one locally and I can run it geared or SS, which I like. But it's still a heavy, overbuilt tank and I already have one of those. I'd like a more lively, responsive bike for a change.


    I've seen recommendations for CX commuters (Cyclocross Bikes for Commuting | Urban Velo/) but there's no mention of ride quality or weight.


    In short, I'm looking for something steel, a lively ride, fender mounts, and around 22/23lbs. It would be really nice if it also had disk brakes and could be run SS or 1x.


    I know the SF bike expo is coming up...maybe I should be on the lookout for something?

  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    So, you like orange?



    2013 Specialized TriCross. Currently being used as a road/commuter for me. Not sure if it is in your price range or is what you are looking for, but so far, it has been a great bike. Currently looking for either a single speed or looking to convert this to single.

  3. #3
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    I know you are looking for steel, but just to comment that my aluminum cross bike (Fort Race) with a carbon fork is comfier than my steel road bike (Bianchi Veloce). Hard to say how much is the wider tires, the carbon fork, or the geometry, but there you have it. The aluminum one has some paint chips, and no rust, which is nice too.

  4. #4
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    I've been on the search, too, and am giving serious consideration to a Cannondale Quick CX1 if I can find one at a decent price. Flat bar and aluminum frame. I was also looking for a steel frame, but I agree with mtbxplorer that a good aluminum frame can be just as comfy, and won't have rust issues.
    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
    Retired: 97 C-DaleSuper-V, 05 C-Dale R5000

  5. #5
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    Nice! Did you do the orange paint yourself?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne View Post
    I was also looking for a steel frame, but I agree with mtbxplorer that a good aluminum frame can be just as comfy, and won't have rust issues.
    I'm biased, coming from a MTB perspective. I can't stand aluminum hardtails, but road tubing is much thinner. My brother is picking up an aluminum roadie today, so I'll give that a ride and think on it.

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    Have you considered a Surly Straggler? Based on the Cross Check but with disc brakes and the geometry has been tweaked a little.

    Instead of looking specifically at cross bikes, look at what the industry is calling gravel grinder bikes. IMO, they're more like the older all-around type road bikes. Disc brakes and clearance for fatter tires is pretty much standard across the segment. Of course, lots of carbon is showing up now that it's become "popular". But steel is still relatively common.

    I went with a Salsa Vaya for my most recent commuter build. Also steel, has more tire clearance and is disc brake only. It's a little more of a relaxed geometry bike because it's built around touring/adventure riding so not sure if the handling would be what you want. I like it, it handles the way I want a commuter to handle. Mine as a 1x10 with stronger wheels than most would put on a road bike plus rack, fenders, and lights is 31lbs. So that puts it mid-20's pretty easily without all the bolt-on bits. Less if I went with a lighter wheelset and tires.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tychoseven View Post
    I'm biased, coming from a MTB perspective. I can't stand aluminum hardtails, but road tubing is much thinner. My brother is picking up an aluminum roadie today, so I'll give that a ride and think on it.
    My steel MTB hardtail rides like a tank, but it's also fairly plain cro-mo, probably not even tapered wall or anything. My CAAD9 frame that was crunched by a car rode very, very nice, stiff and efficient, but not as harsh as one would think, really miss that frame. That's why I'd like to find a CX to test ride.
    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
    Retired: 97 C-DaleSuper-V, 05 C-Dale R5000

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Have you considered a Surly Straggler? Based on the Cross Check but with disc brakes and the geometry has been tweaked a little.

    Instead of looking specifically at cross bikes, look at what the industry is calling gravel grinder bikes. IMO, they're more like the older all-around type road bikes. Disc brakes and clearance for fatter tires is pretty much standard across the segment. Of course, lots of carbon is showing up now that it's become "popular". But steel is still relatively common.

    I went with a Salsa Vaya for my most recent commuter build. Also steel, has more tire clearance and is disc brake only. It's a little more of a relaxed geometry bike because it's built around touring/adventure riding so not sure if the handling would be what you want. I like it, it handles the way I want a commuter to handle. Mine as a 1x10 with stronger wheels than most would put on a road bike plus rack, fenders, and lights is 31lbs. So that puts it mid-20's pretty easily without all the bolt-on bits. Less if I went with a lighter wheelset and tires.
    Thanks for the tips. I'd never heard of gravel-grinders before.

    Is 22/23lbs a reasonable weight (excluding fenders, lights, racks, etc.)? I've seen road bikes around 16lbs, but I assume that's the extreme end of things rather than the norm. I'm guessing anything under 20lbs is considered "light"?

  10. #10
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    I think low 20's is going to require a budget for higher quality steel and components than you find on most steel bikes (like Surly). Salsa, IIRC, uses a slightly better steel alloy and it shows in the pricing. Mid-20's should be pretty easy to accomplish, even with lower end steel.

  11. #11
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    it has orange trim does that count ? lol

    Specialized Bicycle Components

  12. #12
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    A light steel cross bike is going to cost you. What's wrong with alum/carbon fork? My Caadx does just fine on my 30 mile commute. With 37mm (or bigger) tires, I doubt you'll any difference between frames.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    A light steel cross bike is going to cost you. What's wrong with alum/carbon fork? My Caadx does just fine on my 30 mile commute. With 37mm (or bigger) tires, I doubt you'll any difference between frames.
    I'm a steel snob. And a wuss; I like cushy rides. I figure if alum/carbon is good, steel/carbon is better.

    My current commute is very short, a little over 6.5mi roundtrip. I'm moving soon though, and it could go up to around 30mi roundtrip. I can't see myself riding more than 50mi/day, so I'm looking for a commute/around town bike that is comfortable but with a more nimble attitude than a touring bike.

  14. #14
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    I am riding a Pake C'Mute. I think it's in the high 20-pound range (28?) with a cheap, hybrid) carbon fork and without rack and fenders. no disc brake option though, but it has lots of room for big tires. I did a 45 mile road ride on it today.

  15. #15
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    Traitor Cycles has something steel with disc brakes. Reuben? Not sure if it's orange...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Haha! I really don't care if it's orange or not. I have access to sandblasting and powder coating equipment, so I can change up the paint if I really hate it.

  17. #17
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    Look for one of the 2012 Salsa Vayas. Steel, disc brakes, fender and rack mounts and it's orange.

  18. #18
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    I'll second the recommendation of Surly. I have a Cross-Check which I bought last Februrary, before the Straggler was announced. It's my go-everywhere bike, and has been a near daily commuter. My commute is a tad shorter than yours (4.5mi each way), but if I head up to the grocery store after work, which I do occasionally, then I hit 12 miles total. The CC doesn't have disc brakes, but the newly announced Straggler does. Up to you which you prefer... having ridden the rim brakes in the rain, they do get affected more than disc brakes, but they're still completely useable. Personal call there.

    One suggestion I will add is to seriously consider dynamo lights. The convenience of not needing to worry about batteries, EVER, is really, really nice. A Shimano dyno-hub paired with some nice B&M lights won't set you back much more than battery-powered lights. A lot of people seem to wonder about how good the dyno-lights are, but the newer LED ones are quite bright. Peter White cycles has some comparison pictures he took in the dark that you can use for reference, if you're interested.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking for CX (and other) commuter options-cross-check.jpg  


  19. #19
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    Dynamo lights may be the next upgrade I do on mine. Not worrying about batteries would indeed be awesome. Only drawback would be getting my front wheel rebuilt around a dynamo hub.

  20. #20
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    I do like that Surly Straggler....sparkle pony purple is almost as good as safety-vest orange. Plus then I'd be part of the Surly cult, and I could die a happy man.

    Re: lights, I'll probably just stick with battery powered lights. I've got a couple P60 hosts running on 18650s, I'll use one of them. That way I can swap light engines if I want different modes, a different tint, or whatever. They're all way brighter than a commercial light anyway....

  21. #21
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    That TriCross that I have is the factory color for 2013. Available in silver or orange. The '14's don't have the orange available any more.

  22. #22
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    I know you stated a CX bike, but Charge Bikes has a steel frame 29er, red and black frame, good components and brakes. It also has a RockShox Silver fork. Just throwing out options????

  23. #23
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    I'm sure the Charge is a good bike, but I already have a Redline Monocog 29er with RS Reba Team fork. I've been commuting on it, but at 90RPM I'm only going a little over 12MPH.
    Yeah, I could get by with it if I had to, but a geared CX bike will be lighter and faster, and besides, it's an excuse to get another bike.

  24. #24
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    There is Kona Rove and Jamis Bosanova but I don't think they're much lighter than the Roper and not really a cross bikes.

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