Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
So, I though I had decided to get a Vivente World Randonneur. Today I went out to get prices on the bike plus accessories (security skewers, lock, shoes etc). Three of the four stores that stock it in Melbourne were closed.
While adventuring around I spotted another store open which stock Merida. I test rode the Cyclo Cross 4 and I really like it.
Now I am deciding if I need the ruggedised, touring bike or the cyclocross bike more. In a way, I suspect that the cyclocross might be the better way to go based on the fact that I might not persevere with the cycle commuting thing, but can still use it as a fun bike.
I am an office worker who has the potential of leaving clothes at the office, so panniers wouldn't be essential.
The commute is 20kms each way, so potential for sweat is high.
2014 Merida Cyclo Cross 4
I am a Merida Ambassador - ask me why I love them enough to volunteer for this!
I used panniers and then moved to a messenger bag (only because it was cheaper than any waterproof-ish backpacks, although I prefer messenger bags now). Just less hassle all round. Doesn't require a rack on every bike you own - your commuting bike will be out of action at some point, so you can just jump on the other bike instead.. If you stop at shops on the way home it is much easier to carry with you etc.
Sweat. Meh. You are not going to be riding 20km in your suit anyway.
IMHO... as an average rider...
If you only want one bike a CX is a very good choice.
But, they are a jack-of-all-trades master of none - except CX and, IMHO, commuting.
They are not road bikes that can do the same thing as a MTB - you will spend a lot of time running technical sections. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the MTB thing. No suspension is hard work.
They are not MTBs than can be road bikes with a simple change of the tyres - they are probably heavier than a roadie of equivalent cost = slower. This can be ok, but if, like a fat & unfit me, you do the odd group ride where you need every advantage you can possibly get to just stay on as long as possible a, CX will show it's deficiencies in this role. If it doesn't, then you likely have wheels which are not going to last if you take the bike off-road/race CX much (which is ok, I guess, if you are a sponsored rider and not buying your own wheels, but...). However, they can make slightly slower group rides and social rides more exercise worthy (and are still a bit of a talking point on said rides). You could also get a second lighter "road" wheelset which would probably allow this though.
Then again, as a commuter for a 20km commute, they rock.
"My bicycle masters boardwalk and quagmire with aplomb. Those that doubt me... suck THUMB by choice."
I have one bike I ride 95% of the time - my CAADX 105 CX bike. I ride trails, gravel, touring, and road. I swap wheels/tyres as required ranging from 35s for trails and gravel (and a little single-track) down to light road wheels/25s for longer and/or faster road rides. I no longer commute but if I did I would ride this bike.
I have toured with panniers and 35s, and with a back pack and the road wheels/25s. I do bunch road rides and have no trouble sitting on 40kph in the bunch.
The weight (alu frame) with the heavy wheels/tyres and mudguards is about 9.5kgs. With the lighter road wheels/tyres it's about 8.8 kgs and the difference is all in the wheels, obviously. As i'm about 7-8 kgs over ideal weight there's not much point in me paying extra for a lighter bike.
If you want to use one bike most of the time, or can't afford/be bothered with having several bikes then a good alu framed CX bike and a spare set of light road wheels is the go.
Here's my blog - A bit of fun
"Riding not racing...."
Plenty of cyclocross bikes out there that have rack mounting points. That way you can get your fun bike and still use it with panniers if you so choose. My experience is different to Simonn's though, in that I started with a backpack/ messenger bag and have since moved to panniers. I found backpacks/ bags much sweatier and hotter making for a more uncomfortable ride. Panniers are also nicer on the body thanks to less strain on your neck and shoulders, and are more versatile in that you don't worry about weight if you do have to take the computer home from work/ pick up a bit of shopping etc. Both myself and SWMBO cycle commute, me with panniers and her with a backpack. I've lost count of the number of times I've been loaded up with her stuff because her backpack is too heavy (we work close to each other, and yes she has a rack and panniers but chooses not to use them for some unfathomable reason).
Another subtle difference is from a safety perspective. 99% of the time I ride with only one pannier, mounted on the road side. I find drivers tend to give me more passing room as the pannier sticks out further making you a larger object, especially at night thanks to the reflective rear facing triangle it sports.
Having a backpack/ bag is faster due to less weight and better aerodynamics, but in the grand scheme of things it's not a great deal of difference. I do a 60km a day commute. With a backpack on my roadie instead of my flat bar commuter it works out at only about 4-5 minutes faster in each direction. That difference would undoubtedly be even smaller if I had a drop bar rather than a flat bar commuter.
Last edited by rangersac on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
the bike I've owned the longest is a CX bike, a cross check. It's not the coolest bike on the block but it can do just about anything- as long as you don't want to go super fast- commuting, gravel, cx, light touring. has rear rack mounts and the front can take a rack too.
I've heard the local important has stopped bring them in, someone correct me if I'm wrong, so they could get hard to find soon.
+1 for roadside mounting. If overloaded, it encourages you to lean left rather than right. If the bike falls, it protects the rear derailleur.
A vote here for the CX over a tourer.
I commute on a CX 40kms approx per day. Backpack only.
I like the flexibility in the surfaces you can ride, that back pack means that gutter hopping & stairs is do-able without mashing your work-provided laptop.
A bike and a place to ride.
I think the message is loud and clear: CX & backpack for the win!
My commute is 22km each way. There is sweat... even on the coldest days.
A CX bike is an excellent choice for an all-rounder. Have fun with it!
CX + panniers for me. I'll commute with a backpack if I take my road bike, but as we have no lockers at work that we can leave stuff on overnight, I have to cart everything with me every day (except my shoes). I could leave stuff under my desk, but then that would require a tedious morning and afternoon routine of riding up and down two sets of elevators multiple times. 6-Star Green Building with 1-Star Building Management. 230 bike racks with zero permanent lockers
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
I use a tourer with Topeak Dynapack on the seat post. For anything else that won't fit in my jersey pockets, I'll (occasionally) use a backpack. It's not needed very often, though. I keep most of what I need at work. Given the length of my daily commute (and its hills), I prefer to travel light.
As you would suspect I have used a Giant TCX for over a year for commuting and general group rides (over 10,000km) with a backpack, having experimented with panniers I hat the way they affect bike handling and don't mind being a bit sweatier with a backpack (and ultimately you have to move it regardless of where it is on you or the bike). I have had no problems in group rides on the flat or hiller rides and found the more stable cross geometry good for downhill sections. The only thing I would say is if you are doing big km (ie regular commuting not necessarily big rides) the stock wheels of all bikes (not just cross bikes)are almost always carp and you should budget better wheels (I went for prolite braccianos), otherwise I have found the bike setup excellent and even better if you can get hydraulic disc brakes (my next commuter in 2014).
In June this year, I discussed with HRH about picking up a disc-brake cyclocross bike to use a commuter when we commute by train. She said okay and I got a good deal on a Specialized Crux - I bought it with the full knowledge that it didn't have mounts for panniers or fenders. Most days I ride in with a backpack (with rain cover stowed away). It can get a bit sweaty but I can live with it. My normal commute is only 4-ish km but I've done longer commute rides via the scenic route (30-ish km) with no problems.
Today, I rode in with just a musette because I was going to pick up my regular backpack from the drycleaners. It took a while to find a drycleaner that will dry clean backpacks! It was starting to get a bit whiffy from all that riding.
I recently bought a Specialized Secteur Disc for a bargain (2013 stock) which is classed as a disc brake roadie for my commute. I've mounted a rack and fenders to it.. Runs on 28's. Have only had it a few weeks but it's brilliant for my commute (Crafers SA/Lofty to Adelaide City). Has CX disc wheels, so could probably put 35s on if you wanted to.
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'12 Avanti Cadent 1.0 (Roadie)
'13 Specialized Secteur Disc (Commuter)
'04 Giant Yukon (MTB)
I have been commuting on a Merida CX4 since the start of 2011. I don't ride it every day because I alternate between different bikes all the time.
I have always used backpacks for commuting as it makes it easier to ride different bikes.
I just picked one up as well this past weekend, great deals at the moment!
Which rack are you running? I just ordered a Tubus Disco, but now I'm not 100% sure on the disc clearance from the mounting point.. I guess I'll find out when the rack arrives!
This weekend past, I did 404km and 5100m on my roadie with a day pack (about 3kg of gear for an overnighter in a country pub).
The weather was around 12-24 degrees.
The backpack straps are stiff and stained with sweat, as are the helmet straps and rest of my gear.
Where you store your gear I suppose depends on the type of riding you do most, and how heavy the pack is. I wasn't that uncomfortable with my backpack over the weekend...and another advantage is that if you have someone else riding in your group without a pack, they can carry yours for a bit....not so panniers.
suppose if I was reconsidering what one bike I'd get, it'd be a roadie. it's not often I ride gravel roads.
2 more considerations:
gearing. I like having 50/34 on the front, and 11/28 on the back. Actually, for any climb greater than 20% for longer than 100 metres, I'd like 30 or even 32 on the back.
rear derailleur cage length. I don't like long cages. I've had too much trouble with them bending/flexing/ too easily coming out of fine tuned state.
I commute on my old steel roadie with backpack. The backpack is giving me the sh**ts (sweat and neck/shoulder issues) and my next bike will be a CX bike with rack mounts.
You won't regret it, PG!
Masi speciale cx 2008 with brooks saddle and carradice camper longflap. No problems with commuting and drag kept down as there is less surface area exposed directly to the wind than a pannier. Also no sweaty back syndrome.
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
Depends on your commute, and your route choice, but I started with a hybrid and just couldn't get the speed I wanted with it. Used a backpack. I moved to a alu road bike with a trunk bag rain hail and shine and have found that to be plenty. Half on the road, half on path. You can't brute it into the gutters, but I think that you're going to pinch 35cc tyres if you are really lazy! If you're doing weight into a rack at all, you do need to be careful about unloading the rear over gutter lips etc, but I've only pinched the commuter roadie when I hit BIG road problems. Ramming the wheel into a hole or into a gutter doesn't seem like it was the bike's weakness but my poor roadcraft.
Rack is so much better, and not that much more pricey if you get a good Deuter commuting backpack.
I too have gone a secteur Disc - I have gone to get my old rear rack (TorTec Ultralite from wiggle) from my giant cypress onto the new bike. It doesn't fit (unless I am doing something wildly wrong). The rear wheels are much wider than the old bike. Bugger.
Any recommendations on what to get to ensure it is wide enough to attach on the back wheel?
(Or I might take this opportunity to get a carridice bag with a seat stem attachement - but I am worried about attaching this to a the carbon seat post)
Sorry for the tardy reply. I'm using a disc - specific Topeak rack. http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks/Ex ... dsc_spring got it from Cell.
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'12 Avanti Cadent 1.0 (Roadie)
'13 Specialized Secteur Disc (Commuter)
'04 Giant Yukon (MTB)
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