/ Cyclocross or road bike?

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I'm looking for some quality UKC Advice please. I'm looking to buy a bike for commuting, the odd long road ride, and that I can occasionally take off road on tracks. My budget is £850. Do I go for a road bike and get a set of wider tires for off road, or get a cyclocross and buy a set of skinny tyres for the rare long road ride? At the price I'm looking at (high end of low price/low end of medium price), is there really any difference between these options? Perhaps it's worth adding that the city I live in is perhaps tw worst for potholes in Britain. Or to ask a different level of question, what sort of things should influence my choice? So, just from one seller, two bikes at the same price...at this price is there really any huge difference? Thanks for taking time to reply. Nick

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/trek/crossrip-2013-cyclocross-bike-ec042111


http://www.evanscycles.com/products/trek/15-c-h2-2013-road-bike-ec040343
beardy mike - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: This is a no brainer. If you genuinely want to go off road, then Cyclocross. Might be marginally slower than a road bike but not by much if you have slick on... If you want alu, take a look at the Kinesis 5T crosslight - lovely bike. My missus has one...
PeterM - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Hi Nick, I too live in Edinburgh and bought a Specialized Tricross on the Cycle to work scheme a few years ago. I use it to commute sometimes and the odd long run (have since bought a pure roadie for etape's e.t.c)I use(d) it to commute out to Livingston. the roads are awful and bigger tyres are great. I run Schwalbe marathon Plus's - 32's. They're bulletproof as a puncture on the A71 would be a right pain in the butt. The biggest thing I've noticed is that he CX chainsets seem to be less than roadie one's but the Tricross has a 50/39/30 so much better for road work than something nearer a mountain bike setup. Of the 2 bikes, the roadie actually looks a better spec with full Tiagra. You could always chuck on Conti GP4 Season tyres (25's) which seem to help greatly with the roads as they are.
HTH
Peter
In reply to mike kann: Thanks. What is the advantage of alu? What are the options other than alu? Apologies if this is daft question!
In reply to PeterM: Thanks v much for your thoughtful reply. Out of interest, I commuted to Livi for a while, were you heading to SJH by any chance?
andy - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
> (In reply to mike kann) Thanks. What is the advantage of alu? What are the options other than alu? Apologies if this is daft question!

At that price not much of an option - look for a carbon fork if you can as that'll take the worst of the road buzz away. You can start getting a carbon frame at just under a grand, but the groupset (gears and brakes to the uninitiated) and wheels will be pretty bottom end. Tricross is a nice bike but heavy - also have a look at the Boardman CX - that has a more "road" gearing yet has disc brakes and plenty of room for knobbliness when you want it.
PeterM - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
Used to go to the Alba campus, but now we're in an office near SJH.
biped - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Hi Nick. Aluminium is cheap, that is about its only advantage. Perfectly good material for a budget crosser/do-it-all bike.

I've got a alu Kinesis crosser and am looking to sell the frame and fork. You are welcome to try it out whether or not you're considering buying, it fits me at 6'1". PM if you want a shot of it, I'm in Morningside.

If you are buying new, I'd advise disc brakes.
quirky - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I have both road and cx bikes. CX is used for my commute and pretty much everything else. So versatile and hardly any slower than the road bike. It is nice to have the option of road and trail whilst out and about. |Carbon fork will make life a bit more plesant as will a carbon rear end which you may just get for your budget. CX in my opinion is the best ike you can get if you can only get one bike, excells and nothing but very capable of everything!
beardy mike - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: Well you could go steel or carbon. Carbon is above your price point but steel you could look at various bikes. I'm just about to invest in a Cotic X as it's got really big tyre clearances so you can really offroad with it. CX is a great compromise and you'd be surprised what you can get away with on them. I bought one thinking I'd road ride on it, maybe a gravel track or two and that soon enough I'd build my MTB back up, but I found it so much fun I just didn't bother! Alu is lighter than steel, but also stiffer which makes acceleration snappier but the ride harsher. Steel is more flexible so you get a nice plush ride.If you go Alu, definitely look out for carbin forks as it'll take the edge of the road buzz. Also don't even consider anything with cantilever brakes - they're much worse than memory leads you to believe. You end up with juddery useless braking. Other brands worth a look are on one/planet x and Genesis - the CDF is around your price point and a lovely bike...
In reply to mike kann: Hmmm.....the CDF looks great, might pop to the local place that stocks it tomorrow to have a look. Thanks very much to all replies, looks like am heading for a cross with disk brakes.
Dave Kerr - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Crosser every time. Not much slower on the road and much more versatile. Look at Boardman and Cotic.
stouffer on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I've been mulling over a crosser for a while with exactly the same set of requirements, commute, weekend bridleway blasts and the odd road ride. Cross bikes seem to be all the rage and for a while I wondered whether it was just marketing hype but when you think about it it really can do all that stuff with very little compromise. As Mike said if you have any off road ambitions a road bike seems a bit pointless really, with a change of tyres a crosser can be almost as good on the road and likely to be more practical for the commute.

I've ruled out the Crossrip and Tricross (both heavy). There's the aforementioned Boardman and the Whyte King's Cross. A mate got a Cube Cross Race but I don't think it has mudguard eyelets. The standout for me was the Cannondale Caadx Tiagra. Almost road bike light. £950 but it didn't take much for the Lbs to offer 10% and the 2012 model is still kicking about at nearer 800.

Sadly mine might be on hold since the missus just found out she's going to have to reapply for her job :-(
stouffer on 22 May 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: Dave I think you said what I was trying to say in about 400 less words!
andymac - on 22 May 2013
In reply to mike kann:

I find cantilever breaks to be fine .

Got Avid Shorty`s and they stop my bike dead every time.
elsewhere on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
My *very limited* experience is that 700x25c is too skinny for commuting on potholed roads. If you get something with frame clearance for 700x32c you'll still be able to fit skinnier tyres on the rims if you want to.
beardy mike - on 22 May 2013
In reply to andymac: Don't think it's so much the brakes as the forks they're on. My missus has Tektro foggleg style brakes on carbon forks which judder like crazy. I've got v-brakes with long pull levers which don't judder. But if you off road then rim brakes are pap in the wet too - discs are just better all round...
andymac - on 22 May 2013
In reply to mike kann:

the disc brake thing did not occur to me at bike purchase time.

Intrigues me rather now.

I got a Scott Addict CX (2013) ,which ,at 3 grand,is Scott`s top CX bike.

Intrigued now ,how the Addict CX had not evolved into having disc brakes
as standard.
beardy mike - on 22 May 2013
In reply to andymac: Because if it was the top end CX bike it was designed for CX racing, and seeing as the UCI have only just changed the racing rules to allow discs, not everybody thinks discs are the way to go yet. Add to this canti's are lighter and if you are actually racing properly you'll be carrying your bike lots so it kind of makes sense. For general all round use discs make sense - less set up, less grime, they don't cog the wheels with mud, you can run bigger tyres... if you use a CX bike like I do, i.e. 70-80% off road on long MTB lite rides discs are the way to go for sure... if I was racing I'd have a super light carbon bike with mini v's...
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I've got the Boardman CX Comp which for reasons I don't get, they don't sell in the UK. Rather similar spec to the Trek you're looking at. I've had great fun with it, commuting, riding in the woods, even doing some CX races but I think the BB5 brakes that come on a lot of CX bikes around that price are a bit crappy. Having had deore level hydraulics on my hybrid that preceded the CX Comp as my commuter, the BB5s are fiddly and don't work as well. Riding on tricky single track, I've also found the limits of shifting capability (Sora mainly on mine) - it might be similar with other CX bikes at that price point. So don't expect miracles from the components.

People always say "think about the frame" which is fair enough, but no one wants to spend 8 or 9 hundred quid then immediately start swapping out components!
beardy mike - on 22 May 2013
In reply to TobyA: You know Sora has changed now and is basically the old style Tiagra shifter but with the capability to pull enough cable for linear pull brakes and mtb mechanical calipers... once I've got my cotic sorted I'm going full MTB calipers - the pads are larger than the road version of the BB7's and I picked up the shifters for 90 quid on fleabay...
Gene00 - on 22 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CBPXUJFOR/planet_x_uncle_john_sram_force_road_bike

This is all you need in your life Nick.
galpinos - on 23 May 2013
In reply to mike kann:

Mike, why did you go for the Cotic over the Croix de Fer? I'm assuming the CDF was discounted due to weight? Are you getting the carbon forks?

Iím keen for a steel crosser for my commute to work (50/50 on/off road) and am undecided. I really like the Croix de Fer but am put off by the weight, which pushes me towards the >X<.

In reply to the thread in general:

Brakes - When buying a mountain bike all the advice I got was don't touch mechanical discs, they're sh**e. Now, looking at cyclocross bikes, the advice is to get some Avid BB7s. Have mechanical discs come on that much? If I wait a year will hydraulics be available?
SteveRi - on 23 May 2013
I've got too many bikes, but if it were down to one it would probably be a crosser. They're a bit a la mode right now, but for good reason. Whack the tyres up hard or even god-forbid faff around putting different tyres on, and they're pretty fast. They're also immensely capable offroad, and you're more often limited by your bravery and handling skills, rather than the bike. And if you fancy it, the odd cx race is a tremendously ludicrous way to get very very tired for an hour of a winter weekend. Personal preference is for something nimble and modern-trad like the Kinesis, rather than the lumpier crossover 'cross for MTBers' like the Genesis CdeF. Enjoy the dilemmas :)
a lakeland climber on 23 May 2013
In reply to mike kann:

+1 for the Kinesis 5T. I like the look of the Genesis cross bikes but haven't any experience of them.

What are sold as "cyclocross" are often closer to the all-round bike of yesterday than out and out cx racers. They are pretty good at everything and unless you need the specificity of say a racer or an out and out tourer they are as much as you are likely to need. (until the bug bites of course!)

ALC
PeterM - on 23 May 2013

Whatever happened to the Planet X Kaffenbach? Saw a beautiful one on the Etape Caledonia.
Baron Weasel - on 23 May 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I have a Kona Jake 2011 and love it. Wife has Genesis Vapour and that it really nice while a friend has the Genesis CDF which he really likes - so you might deduce that I'm in the cyclo cross camp...

Changing the tyres completely transforms the bike and makes it so versatile. If you only need a one trick pony a road bike will likely out perform a cyclocross by a very small margin.

BW
Turdus torquatus on 23 May 2013
In reply to galpinos:
> Brakes - When buying a mountain bike all the advice I got was don't touch mechanical discs, they're sh**e. Now, looking at cyclocross bikes, the advice is to get some Avid BB7s. Have mechanical discs come on that much? If I wait a year will hydraulics be available?

My wife's mtb has BB5s and they seem to need constant adjustment, as well as never having the same stopping power or control of hydraulics. The BB7s are allegedly superior but for a cross bike I'd rather have hydraulics. Unfortunately we could be waiting years for this to happen unless you're willing to pay through the nose. I am more than happy for someone to point out a sub £1000 crosss bike with hydraulics though...

Escher - on 23 May 2013
In reply to PeterM:
>
> Whatever happened to the Planet X Kaffenbach? Saw a beautiful one on the Etape Caledonia.

they still make them
beardy mike - on 23 May 2013
In reply to galpinos: tyre clearances. The Croix onkly takes a 35mm tyre, whereas the X will take 40. I.E you can run skinny 29er tyres on 19mm rims, and that allows you to slap 25mm road slicks on too on the same wheels.

BB7's seem the way to go. As I say, with a set of Sora 3500 levers you get the extra brake lever pull required to run MTB calipers which are much more efficient than the road versions. Hydraulic shifters are on the verge of coming out but currently they are bulky and a bit rustic. I think the technology is going to need a few years. If you are keen to go hydraulic you can go hybrid and buy either the Parabox system which is quite expensive or the Hope v-twin system at 250ish notes. They basically allow you to trive the calibers from a master cylinder mounted under your stem and driven by a cable from your levers. If I find the BB7's crap, then that's the way I'll go eventually. But in the meantime I can run secondhand BB7 mtb's with my sora shifters for not a vast amount of money - you can pick up calipers on fleabay for 40-50quid...
beardy mike - on 23 May 2013
In reply to PeterM: Still being sold.. that's what happened! But they do only take skinnyish tyres... 30's are Ok but if you really offroad, the 40 is patently going to be better in the summer months... Will still user my 30mm Michi Mud Pro2's in the winter though for slicing through the muck!
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
> (In reply to galpinos)
> [...]
>
> My wife's mtb has BB5s and they seem to need constant adjustment, as well as never having the same stopping power or control of hydraulics.

That's exactly what I've found too, plus mine squeak - I wondered if my wheel has been bumped out of true, and that accounts for it, or whether somehow I've got a warp in the rotor.

Having just one side adjustable seems lame, you must have to bend the rotor to brake, which seems destined to cause issues.
Turdus torquatus on 23 May 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Turdus torquatus)
> [...]
>
> That's exactly what I've found too, plus mine squeak

And that too...
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: Thanks to all the help, in the end I went for one of these:

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pinnacle/arkose-two-2013-cyclocross-bike-ec039562

I tried the Genesis CDF but for 90 quid cheaper the Arkose has Tiagra rather than Sora, carbon forks whereas Genesis is metal forks, 20 gears rather than the Genesis's 18, and the Genesis doesn't have enough clearance to be compatible for mudguards for when I'm an old git and mud bothers me. Even with a pedal upgrade (Genesis comes with SPD, Arkose does not), it still saved money for a higher spec bike.

I recommend it!

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