cyclocross vs 29er for commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    cyclocross vs 29er for commuting?

    I currently commute 13 miles one way on an early 90's aluminum trek 1100 with suntour 7sp/downtube shifters and converted to flatbars. its decently fast but the drivetrain(almost everything on the bike actually) is completely shot and the frame is not worth upgrading. So I have been thinking about getting a new commuter. I want a bike that is not going to be good for only one thing, such as a road bike however fast they may be. since my commute is kinda long i want a bike that is pretty fast. obviously a cyclocross bike can be just as fast as a road bike when you throw a 700x25 tire on, and I have been thinking about racing cross again. but then I got to thinking(uh oh), I do not even have a real XC bike either, my main mountain bike that i do everything from XC to light DH is 6", coil shocks, single front ring, big brakes, 34lbs etc. so I was thinking that a decent 29er hardtail with a 3x9 or 2x10 and a suspension fork could still be a pretty haul ass commuter bike with the right tires and more rallyable than a cross bike, and could make longer XC rides more doable. I would want to run full fenders regardless of what bike i get(seattle) and possibly a rack. what do you guys think?
    also, what is the narrowest, most road-like 29" tire available? I currently ride on 700x25's at 100psi on the horrible roads here and am ok with it.
    Last edited by sonic reducer; 08-18-2011 at 09:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    My cross check rides on 700x38 Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires. I've ridden 50+ mile trips on them, rooty singletrack, mud, snow, etc. I vote CX bike! Very versatile.
    Jason
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  3. #3
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    If I had to ditch all my bikes and keep one...it would be the CX bike for its versatility. Not to mention a blast to ride.

  4. #4
    Kaishingo
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    If you're only going to buy one bike, I think you need to think about what you want to do more. A CX might be more versatile, but if you know you're going to put in 50+ miles of cross country rides every weekend, it might not make sense. At the same time, if you're planning to go pro with CX, then a 29er might not make sense.

    Both will be a good replacement for your current commuter; CX might be better in the long run, but I wouldn't want one to be my regular cross-country rig.

    Maybe check out a Salsa Fargo...

  5. #5
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    I'm building such a bike for myself.

    After considering many options, I have gone the "rigid specific" all-terrain capable route.

    Singular Gryphon. $599 for frame and fork, new model will have braze-ons for rack/fenders. Marty at Prarie Peddler is taking $300 deposits now for the next batch.

    Other than that,
    Singular Peregrine (very classy, but max tire size is about 2.0)
    Salsa Fargo
    Surly Karate Monkey
    Jones Diamond Frame

    Personally, I like CX bikes but find the tire options limiting - I prefer a rigid 29er with the capacity to run 32mm road tires, 2.35 Big Apple street tires, or 2.4 knobbies depending on my mood.

  6. #6
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    I've commuted on a cross bike and a 29er with drop bars...currently riding a 29er with Big Apple 2.35's. For a ride as long as you describe I'd go with the 'cross bike...light, fast...just not as 'cadillac' as the big 29er.
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  7. #7
    ride the moment
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    Well as far as 29er tires go, as long as the rims aren't super wide you can put whatever size 700c tire on them you want. The stock wheels of my On-One Inbred 29er (Alex Rims something) are now on my SS commuter with 700x25's on them. I had 29er Nevegals on the same rims with no problems. Even my Stan's Arches I have on my MTB would accommodate 700x35 I think.
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  8. #8
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    Don't know how much you use your bike to run errands or if you use a city bus as part of getting about town, but I discovered that my HT 29er would not fit into the bike rack on the front of a city bus. (These are the drop down racks on the front of the bus that holds two bikes).

    Thursday evening the rack was full with two bikes. The bus driver very kindly let the third cyclist bring his bike on board and stand with it in the aisle, which I thought was pretty cool, especially since it was the last bus of the evening and it was (conservatively) about 103 degrees.

  9. #9
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    thanks for the input everyone.
    just got to try out a 29er offroad and I didn't like the handling of the bigger tires. they do roll a lot smoother and carry speed better but i felt like i was driving a tractor. I think a good solid cyclocross is what i need and can fit many uses.

  10. #10
    jrm
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    Cx bike

    especially if you find yourself having to shoulder or lift the bike to get up stairs, carry it or lift it into a bus rack in work clothes while wearing a heavy pack/bag.

  11. #11
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    I use my 29 19" cobia Gary fisher and I love it. 65-120 km daily. 700x38c schwalbe marathons. Heavy as **** and caryr it up stairs. Average 24-28 km per hour with loaded panier and 30 km ride.....

  12. #12
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    I've always wanted to swing a leg over a Trek Portland.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    Don't know how much you use your bike to run errands or if you use a city bus as part of getting about town, but I discovered that my HT 29er would not fit into the bike rack on the front of a city bus. (These are the drop down racks on the front of the bus that holds two bikes).
    I thought the same thing the first time I tried with my 29er (and my wife's). That time we rolled 'em on the bus. The next time, the bus driver came and helped me out. If you give a *hard* shove, they'll pop right in. I think a lot of the issue comes from the girth of the tires right up front where the racks narrow. Once you pop the knobs past the edges, the bike will probably settle in nicely. Mine is such a nice fit that now when I put my CX bike on, I worry since it wobbles so much in comparison.

    Try wrestling yours in next time and see if it works. If you can find a bus at a transit center/end of route, the drivers are usually pretty good about letting you fiddle with the racks while they kill time.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    OP - did you end up choosing a bike?

    IMO, if you didn't like drop bars on your last bike, you won't like them on a new one either. So I wouldn't bother with a 'cross bike.

    If Cannondale hadn't been detuning the Bad Boy every season, it would be more-or-less purpose-built for you. It comes out of the box as a 26" hardtail with 700C wheels and slicks, but can accept 26" wheels and MTB tires. So you have your badass commuter with road tires now, and you're a wheel swap away from having a mountain bike when you want it. Current models run a little short, by my expectations in a flat bar bike, but then if you liked a road bike converted to flat bars, you may like that.

    Looks like they ship it now with a 50mm fork. If it's a good fork, that's probably okay. If it's not... bummer.

    Some things to keep in mind with dual-mode bikes - a big chunk of the diameter of a typical 26" wheel with 2.1" tire is the tire itself. The outside diameter is a close match to the outside diameter of a 700C wheel with a road tire, which is why concepts like the Bad Boy work. 26" bikes with skinny slicks can feel a little funky. I'd expect 29ers with slicks to feel a little funky too. With rim brakes, the location of the brake arms and brake pads limits a bike to one wheel size, unless you're just swapping for something close. With disc brakes, that incompatibility is gone. Finally, 29er rims are 700C rims by another name. They'd typically run a little wider, but a 29" XC rim is not much wider than a typical 700C rim, and should be fine with most 700C tires, although possibly not a super-narrow one. (Like less than 23mm.)
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  15. #15
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    I think I would look at something like a Surly Troll which can fit a 700c wheel in it but is very capable in the dirt. Or go with the Ogre which is a 29er.

    I ride a cross bike myself but also have other bikes for other things and while I do rip up serious singletrack on my CX bike it is much more fun on my MTB in the long run.
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  16. #16
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    My 2011 Monocog 9er came with Alex DH 19 32H rims, and I have Kenda Nevegals on her right now, but wondering if anyone has experience with these rims and throwing some 700c Schwalbes on them. The largest I have available without a wait are some 700x40 Landcruisers, which definitely have less rolling resistance than the Kendas but are by no means slicks. It's snowing time here in New Mexico and I'd like to be able to ride on the roads when the trails are muddy, icy, 2 foot deep in snow, etc. I understand it can be done with a 29" rim, but wondering about this combo specifically.

  17. #17
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    I've commuted with my Redline Monocog 29er with Panaracer Rampage (only twice when going on after work trail ride) and Redline R550 commuter with 700 x 25. The bus racks don't do well with 29er's IMO. Wheel base is a little long, but you can squeeze it in. The hardest part is that the pull bar doesn't extend far enough to get over the front tire all the way. I just shoved it over a few knobbies hope it stays. Bus driver was kind of freaking out, but I convinced him it would be fine.

    If I had to choose between Cross and 29er for commuting though, definitely a Cross bike. I like the 2012 Redline Metro Classic.

  18. #18
    lgh
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    CX for me

    I got rid of 5 or 6 frames this year. The steel Soma Double Cross stayed. I upgraded from downtube shifters to brifters and have Midge bars. It takes fenders and rack, is reasonably fast, and I can do training rides with it on my way home. I rarely do anything to it maintenance-wise, thanks largely to the fenders. I could throw it down a hill and still pick it up and ride it. It's getting major league lighting in the spring.

    Larry

  19. #19
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    Just bought a Fargo since my commute is pavement, fireroads, singletrack. Put some Race King 2.2"s on there. Awesome. It's the perfect compliment to my single speed and even though it's the generation 1 (the generation 2 is apparently better for singletrack) it is still very well suited to all sorts of trails and very capable. I take it trail riding all the time when I want gears. Drop bar mountain biking is quite fun.

  20. #20
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    Just did a shakedown run tonight running 61 gear inches on 29x2.4's, full rigid 29er. I think the gearing is too tall - 34x16. Maybe 32x16 would be better so I can spin with ease and still climb with torque.
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  21. #21
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    After much consideration, Santa brought me a close out EMD frame for Christmas. It is a 13 mile commute, but, it takes me through the heart of a 20+ mile trail system. My road Ike has served me well for many commutes, but at 250#'s, I'm not about to take my carbon forked roadie on single track! I will update y'all as the (VERY slow) build progresses. My spinergy wheels will have to serve double duty for now as the wife's roadbike was WAY overdue for replacement. Thanks for all info on this page! Look for my monstercross early spring!
    "The good news is you're still conscious, the bad is that you're too heavy for me to carry. You gotta ride it out bro."

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