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  1. #1
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    commuter questions

    Hello people of mtbr,

    Long-time lurker here, first time poster. I've got a couple questions that I'd appreciate some input on. General background, I used to own an older cross check, which I loved to death, but it was far too large for me. It measured ad a 56, I've got about a 30" inseam, turns out I should be riding a frame 5 sizes smaller than that. But that frame ignites my passion for surlys. I've got two karate monkeys at the moment, one of which was an impulse buy and is now on its way out to make room for a proper commuter.

    Now for my questions.. I definitely want a cyclocross bike, I'd like to be able to ride some dirt, though I won't be doing anything too crazy. I'm looking at another cross check, a new one in my size, I've got a carbon fork I'd like to install, however it's rake doesn't match. It's got a 45mm rake whereas the Cross check is 44mm, my first question is, will that make a huge difference in handling? Next question is, I'm looking for a lighter bike for commuting, but I do have a fondness for steel. Is there any real serious agreement that could be made for finding a aluminum frame to match my forks rather than steel?

    Thanks for looking! I look forward to hearing from everyone and continuing to post and what not!

  2. #2
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    I was pretty surprised how comfortable my aluminum cross bike is compared to my steel road bike. Part of the credit goes to the geometry, the carbon fork, and the bigger tires, but the bottom line is that I would not exclude aluminum bikes from the running.

  3. #3
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    1mm rake difference wont be noticable.

  4. #4
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    I haven't completely excluded aluminum frames. I would have bought an almost new 2010 salsa chili con crosso, but someone picked it up before me. The other factor is money, I can pick up a Cross check for around 350. I would rather buy new, I haven't found much in that price range for aluminum frames.

  5. #5
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    The rake shouldn't be noticeable. You can change the feel of the handling of the Cross check with the adjustable dropouts to fine tune any changes the rake makes. That said, I have a cross check set up for commuting with fenders. I also got a felt F4X that I choose every day over the CC when the roads are dry. The CC feels like a tank now. I use to be a "steel is real" guy and still ride my vintage steel road bike quite a bit. The more I ride, and I ride a lot, the more I enjoy my carbon bikes.

    The bottom line: I think you should explore other frame materials before jumping back to the CC.

  6. #6
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    Does anyone have any suggestions for an aluminum Cross frame that won't break the bank? Call me vain, but looks do matter a little to me. I'm not super interested in anything too crazy colorful and racey. It's going to spend some of its time locked up outside, one of the reasons I really like the cross check is its nice and discrete.,

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirrazzal View Post
    Does anyone have any suggestions for an aluminum Cross frame that won't break the bank? Call me vain, but looks do matter a little to me. I'm not super interested in anything too crazy colorful and racey. It's going to spend some of its time locked up outside, one of the reasons I really like the cross check is its nice and discrete.,
    Cheapes bikes are found at stolen bike auctions or on kijji....

    At the back of my LBS they have a rack of used bikes for sale....saw a four year old cervalo tri bike for $700 bucks in ride away condition.

  8. #8
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    To be difficult I will say a KM is a proper commuter. Put some big apples on it and taller gearings and it's a go getter.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  9. #9
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    I like steel "just because", haven`t had enough time on anything else to have any comparison, though. Experimenting a little bit might not be a bad idea if you`re wondering which way to go for your next frame. Yeah, I can`t imagine 1mm rake being very noticeable. And if the extra fork is a different length, it might actually change the head angle enough to cancell out that rake difference... or double it. I dunno, geometry confuses me so much that I go back and forth between stressing over it and totally ignoring it

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    To be difficult I will say a KM is a proper commuter. Put some big apples on it and taller gearings and it's a go getter.
    Yeah, that sounds like the obvious answer to me too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    You can change the feel of the handling of the Cross check with the adjustable dropouts to fine tune any changes the rake makes.
    That could make for some interresting playing. Does moving a wheel for and aft by a cm or so actually make moticeable differences?
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    To be difficult I will say a KM is a proper commuter. Put some big apples on it and taller gearings and it's a go getter.
    Essentially what I have right now, Randonneurs and flat bars. Tried it with drops for a while. Nothing feel quite right, it's a bit too large for me. And it's definitely not the lightest frame.

    I've had a couple aluminum road bikes in the past. Kona Deluxe and a Cannondale CAAD 5. They were both pretty harsh, but I was also riding 23c's. I haven't had any experience with aluminium cross frames. I assume they'd be a little more plush, as mtbxplorer stated.

  11. #11
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    I'm a big fan of steel because steel bikes are inherently overbuilt and thus tough as nails, literally. Aluminium actually has a higher modulus of elasticity then steel so it could be made more compliant. Aluminium gets a bad rap based on the way it primarily used, to achieve the lowest weight, but some AL frames are very comfy, and light to boot. That being said it can be hard to determine which bikes will feel right to you without some experimentation, and the CC is still a great bike.

    Also, I would bet that all but the most discerning rider could tell a less the 5mm difference in most spots.

  12. #12
    jrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirrazzal View Post
    I can pick up a Cross check for around 350. I would rather buy new, I haven't found much in that price range for aluminum frames.
    There's the on one kaffenback and soma double cross. They include better tubing and geometry as well as being in the same price range.

  13. #13
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    I commute ~4mi on a cross-check (9 months) and a Pugsley (3 months). I really love the 'check; it's my favorite bike to ride. Unless you're lucky to have inside security on your bike, one additional benefit of a steel frame is that it doesn't look too swank next to all the other bikes in the rack at work. I routinely find my bike parked next to cheap wallmart mountain-bike-with-full-suspension bikes, and a few specialized frames, none of which have more than a cable lock (often on their front wheel). Way faster for thieves to take the splashier rides.

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