Cx bike for commuting (and sportive rides eventually)

by johnaird123   March 30, 2014  

Hi All,

I'm new here and new to cycling and looking for some advise on my first proper bike. I'm due to get a bike via the Cycle2Work scheme, but as yet I'm torn on which bike to get. I have chosen cyclocross as they are a bit more rugged for the commute, and hopefully I'm able to put some slicks on it for the odd sportive road ride in the future.

I have been looking at the following (i'm stuck to Evans Cycles):

Norco Threshold A3 2014 (Sora 9 speed 11-32T, 46/36T chainset) £650
Fuji Feather Cx 1.3 2014 (Claris 8 speed 11-32T, 50/34T chaiset) £700

From what I understand the Norco has the better gear set but I think it is a good bit heavier (over 1kg more) than the Fuji (11.14kg). Should this weight difference matter much given that i'm not intending on throwing the bike over my shoulder for CX races?

I also like the fact that the Fuji has a compact chainset which is better for on the road, is it possible to fit a 50/34T to the Norco?

Finally, I'm open to some suggestions other than these, but I don't really want to go above £800. I've also read that cantilever breaks aren't the best so would like to stick with discs if possible.

Many thanks,
John

6 user comments

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I'm about to order a Boardman CX TEAM as my next commuter when our cycle to work window opens this week. The timing couldn't be better as my old commuter is effectively a write off after my recent crash.

None of that is any use to you though!

You'll notice the weight difference going up hill, but only if you are able to jump from one bike to the other to compare. The heavier bike may make hills marginally harder. The gearing on both those bikes though, should, allow you to climb almost anything.

Both those groupsets are low end, but in fairness thats no bad thing as with a commuter bike you will go through several chains and a cassette or two every year - 8 or 9 speed versions can be had very cheaply. Sora is probably preferable to claris

Cantilever brakes are fine, but for city commuting in all weathers, you are much better off with discs.

You should be able to replace the 46t chainset without the need for a new front mech and if you shop around you'll get one for buttons. You may also be able to replace the chainrings. I would try the 46 for a while first though.

Invest in some good 32mm slickish tyres like the schwalbe marathon supremes and you will turn the Norco into a great commuter bike. When you are ready for sportive, you can revisit tyres.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [305 posts]
30th March 2014 - 23:35

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In all seriousness - there is no need to go for a CX bike for its ruggedness alone. Modern road bikes can take an amazing amount of punishment (see the cobbled sections of the spring classics!).

If you want to go CX for mudguard and rack mounts, or to be able to fit bigger tyres, then that's a different matter.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [860 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:10

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Gizmo_ wrote:
In all seriousness - there is no need to go for a CX bike for its ruggedness alone. Modern road bikes can take an amazing amount of punishment (see the cobbled sections of the spring classics!).

If you want to go CX for mudguard and rack mounts, or to be able to fit bigger tyres, then that's a different matter.

Yes they may well be fine for some cobbly riding in a special event lasting a few hours but on a daily basis, probably less than an ideal ride. Still, I agree that road bikes are less flimsy than you might imagine but I'm a fan of cx type bikes for the extra beef and versatility. If your commute does or could include going off-road to avoid traffic or create a short cut then a cross bike can open that option up to be a lot more fun.

re: choice - Evans also have the Jamis Nova for £520, which looks similar spec to the others you've posted here but has a few limited sizes.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [815 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:24

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A 46-11 gear will see you comfortably pedaling up to 30mph. if you find that isn't enough then you can just change the outer chainring for a 48 or 50 although you may also need a new chain if there's not enough slack for the large chainring - large sprocket combination.

You've compared the gearing but what about the frames and wheels which are the core of the bike?
(edited for auto-correct typo)

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [815 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:24

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Thanks all for the input

Quote:
Jack Osbourne snr
Quote:
Gizmo_
Quote:
joemmo
,

Gizmo, my commute will involve a small amount of off-road which is why I opted for CX.

Joemmo, I did look at the Jamis but they won't have my size until middle of June unfortunately!

Good to know the 46-11 would see me at decent speed, and can change to a larger chainring if need be relatively cheaply in the future!

Apologies for not including the rest of the spec, I was on my phone last night. I'm not sure what a lot of this means to be honest, all I know is that they are both alloy, but the Fuji has a part-carbon fork. Details on rims isn't great for the

cx.jpg

posted by johnaird123 [2 posts]
31st March 2014 - 14:10

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In all seriousness, if you're light enough for 1 kg to matter, you would be fine with canti brakes, or indeed dual pivot calliper brakes. For commuting the simpler the better IMO - my commuting bike (for 10 miles each way) is an '80s 531 frame converted to fixed wheel, with dual pivot callipers - does exactly what I need, requires minimal servicing, easy to clean, cost a couple of hundred quid, and keeps my nice road bike for summer riding or longer training runs.

posted by oldstrath [146 posts]
31st March 2014 - 14:11

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