Urban Velo

Cyclocross Bikes for Commuting

Redline Conquest Classic
Cyclocross racing and commuting have a few things in common. Both are for the hardy, attracting cyclists who don’t mind riding in foul weather, over imperfect terrain or in adverse conditions. Although many commuter bikes are patently unsuitable for cross racing, with some exceptions, cyclocross bikes are excellent for commuting. They all accept high-volume tires (typically 32mm or higher) and some manufacturers have even created commuter-specific cross bikes that do double duty. Here are a few examples—feel free to suggest others in the comments below.
soma_double_cross
Frameset Only
Soma Double Cross – $375
Van Dessel Hole Shot – $650
Gunnar Cross Hairs – $800
Santa Cruz Stigmata – $850

Complete Bikes
Kona Jake – $899
Specialized Tricross Triple – $940
Giant TCX 2 – $975
Felt F95X – $999
GT GTR Type CX – $999
Surly Cross Check – $1050
Giant TCXGary Fisher Lane – $1099
Redline Conquest Classic – $1149
Masi Speciale CX – $1150
Raleigh RX 1.0 – $1200
Rocky Mountain Solo CX – TBA
Schwinn Fastback CX – $1300
KHS CX200 – $1399
Jamis Nova Pro – $1575
Trek XO 1 – $1650
Salsa La Cruz – $1680
Terry Valkyrie Cross – $2518
Bianchi Cross Concept Race – $3499

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33 Comments

  1. KyleSeptember 9, 2009 at 9:32 am

    What about Cannondale?

    http://www3.cannondale.com/bikes/10/cusa/model-0XRUC.html

    And we can’t forget Vanilla!

    http://www.vanillabicycles.com/frames/cross/

  2. KyleSeptember 9, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Found the other I was looking for. Another made by Vanilla.

    http://speedvagen.com/

  3. sjSeptember 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Anyone else have a problem with treksicle naming a model XO-1.

    Grant Peterson should be rolling over in his croks.

  4. FJMSeptember 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Swobo Crosby

    http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product_info_b.php?cPath=201_1472

  5. the other AdamSeptember 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    The cross-check is available as a frame only, too. Lots of different style builds from fixie to porteur to upright roadster in the “surly bicycle builds” flickr group:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/417924@N22/

    The Steelwool Tweed is rather nice and not too expensive.
    http://steelwoolbicycles.ca/bikes/tweed.html

  6. hokanSeptember 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Bianchi makes another cross bike, the Volpe. That’s my commuter.

  7. Tony BullardSeptember 9, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I’m with Hokian. I ride my Volpe to work every day. Love it.

  8. DwainedibblySeptember 9, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I’m commuting on a highly modified Bianchi San Jose (single-speed cyclocrosser) with a SRAM iMotion-9 gear hub, fenders, etc, etc. I decided that the headwinds here made single-speed commuting a royal PITA, so I built up a new wheelset with the 9-speed hub & Mavic A719 rims. Mine even came with rack braze-ons on the fork legs, but I haven’t seem many that way. Perhaps Bianchi ran out of forks & did a mid-production run change and substituted forks from a different model? I very much agree that a CX bike is a great platform for a commuter.

  9. william brownSeptember 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    sling shot bikes makes the dd-x and it is made in the U.S.A

  10. jamesmallonSeptember 9, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Some cyclo-cross bikes have higher bottom-brackets. I don’t own one, but can anyone comment on handling issues/differences?

  11. Ghost RiderSeptember 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Many years ago, I used to think that a converted mountain bike was the ideal commuter…but over the past couple years I am convinced that CX is the way to go. Now, how to justify ANOTHER bike in the fleet?

    James, I just read something about bottom bracket drop and how it affects handling, but I can’t remember where. But I did scare up this article that may be of interest to you:
    http://cxmagazine.com/bottom-bracket-height-dropping-in-cyclocross-bike-geometries

  12. jamesmallonSeptember 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks for that link: just what I thought I’d remembered. “A higher bottom bracket moves the seat higher for a given rider… almost a full centimeter higher than a road bike… and raises the racer’s center of gravity. There is a growing consensus that a lower BB improves handling in that the bike will track better through tight turns.”

    I am 6’1″, so my centre of gravity is high enough already! On the other hand, the centre of gravity on my Paddywagon (fixed) is higher than on my road or touring bikes, and I ride it happily. However, when I have to throw it into a sustained fast turn, the touring frame comes out tops. The Paddywagon is more nimble in quick turns, but that’s likely the fork’s geometry.

    Who knows? Ride whatever makes you grin.

  13. Elliott @ Austin on Two WheelsSeptember 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    James,
    The trend in ‘cross bikes is toward lower bottom brackets, so check the frame geometries if you see one you like. The high BB was a throwback to the days of toe clips when you needed the extra height on mounting and just ended up sticking. If you aren’t also racing cyclocross or planning on using the bike off-road on more than gravel trails, a good touring bike is probably a better pick for a commuter bike.

  14. JorgeSeptember 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Kona “Major One”. New, complete scandium singlespeed cross beautiful goodness for 2010. Add an internally-geared rear hub if there’s hills on your commute.

    Gary Fisher (now owned by Trek) “Lane”. New, steel complete commuter for 2010 (they also have a new, complete steel cx bike called “Presidio”, but I like the Lane better for commuting right out of the box). Both have clearance for very fat tires.

  15. the other AdamSeptember 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Touring bikes can be good commuters too, but I don’t know about better, unless you have to carry lots of groceries often. I found mine slow, slow handling and heavy without a load (not hugely, but enough to annoy me, and for no good reason if I wasn’t actually touring), which is why I got the ‘cross bike.

  16. Tim RutledgeSeptember 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    The whole Reline Conquest series work great for commuting, but this year see the new 2010 Conquest Metro, a specific commuter using the time honored Conquest geometry. All of the Conquest series frames for 2010 have the necessary fender and rack eyelets along with two sets of waterbottle mounts. Redline was the first to use lower BB heights–now refered to as “BB drop”–The conquest series has a BB drop of 65mm.

  17. DanSeptember 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    A third Volpe. Great quality ‘all-in-one’ kind of bicycle for the price. I bought mine specifically to commute, but have been taking it off-road more and more (something I never had an interest in originally).

    A friend has a Lemond Poprad and they are, apparently, very cheap right now due to industry craziness. Pretty sexy bike in the right colors. Not sure how it rides.

  18. bikin'September 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I just recently bought a Surly Crosscheck to commute here in Yenzberg. I have been riding a Specialized Allez Elite. I rode several cross bikes and from the first ride on a friends CC It just felt right.
    Like James, I did a lot of reading up on the BB issue as well and it has not been an issue for me at all. I’m 6’0 and I usually ride a 56cm but went down a size to 54cm on the CC and it handles every bit as well as my Secialized. Cro-Mo is also so comfy to ride. If you are running fenders you may run into some toe overlap with the CC. All in all I am VERY happy commuting on a cross bike.

  19. flaxxSeptember 11, 2009 at 4:16 am

    don’t forget the BMC CX02, I made a conversion to flat bar from that one and they offer a “urban crossing” as well:
    http://www.bmc-racing.com/en/corporate-website/bikes/road-series/cross-machine/cx02-urban-crossing/story/

    and
    http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=117463&d=1252411100

    cheers, flaxx

  20. stupidfreshSeptember 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    yes i know its bikesdirect.com, but my motobecane fantom cross uno works great and didn’t cost me an arm or a leg at $400!

  21. Pink RobeSeptember 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I slapped a CX fork and road bars on a Trek 8500 mtn bike frame and rode 700C wheels for the last two years – very nice. Clearance for 38C tires + fenders front and rear, BB7 discs too. It handled a lot better than my Bianchi Axis ever did.

  22. Josh PSeptember 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Redline Conquest Classic has a listed MSRP of $1149

  23. sheathSeptember 19, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    i’ve been commuting on a lemond poprod for last three years and it has been great – i too am 6′ and have size 13 shoes that hit fender mainly when trackstanding at lights – i now ride this bike far more than my custom Serotta because its just fun to ride!

  24. Psycho MikeOctober 9, 2009 at 12:57 am

    I’m running a Kona Jake for commuting duties and for riding to and on the more tame local trails.

    After having done a 184 km charity ride with over a vertical mile of climbing and 40lbs of first aid, bike repair and my own gear in the panniers, I can tell you a cross bike can do the job just fine. Not as fast as a pure road bike (which my not have lugs for racks/fenders), not made to lug quite as much as a tourer (but is far more nimble), but far faster than a mtb (while still letting you do some off-roading)…Cx bikes are a good “all purpose” mount for a wide variety of riding, including commuting and actual Cx work. :)

  25. BillJanuary 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Using a very old Witcomb USA frame with cantilevers for commuting. Works fine, but I’ve thought that any complete commuter bike needs disc brakes due to travelling in rain. Is it in fact true that discs have much better stopping power in wet weather? Wanted to make sure of this.

  26. ChoctopJanuary 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Bianchi San Jose with drop bars and Paul Comp canti brakes. Rides like butter on black top or gravel! i love it

  27. bassblokeJanuary 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    I’m a very recent cyclocross convert. My daily commute is between 7 and 10 miles each way, depending on which one of four routes I choose. My main commuting bike is a Specialized Sirrus with very skinny tyres but the recent spate of snowy weather in the UK made it too hair-raising an experience.

    I picked up a Voodoo Limba for a very, very good price in a local BikeHut. I have to be honest, I’d never even heard of cyclocross before picking up this bike, but the weight, chunky tyres and carbon forks make it the perfect bike for a winter commute.

    I need to sound one note of caution, however, and that concerns braking. The reason I got my bike so cheap was that it was returned to the shop with juddery front brakes. I did some research and it seems to be a common problem with cyclocross bikes and it’s a combination of cantilever brakes and carbon front forks. I quickly learned to adjust my braking, but it something people should be aware of.

  28. Hybernating? « For the sake of cycling.November 8, 2010 at 3:53 am

    [...] Heres a good site with some cross bikes easily made into commuters http://urbanvelo.org/cyclocross-bikes-for-commuting/ [...]

  29. velorebNovember 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I ride a Kona Jake as my all-around bike. Overall, it’s a good ride. I really like the triple chainring setup. Having that small chainring is good for the hills. In the last few months of bike commuting, I’ve seen myself get stronger and need (not want) to roll in higher gears. I’ve shaved a good amount of time off my commute as well. This is like a two-wheeled, pedaled version of a Subaru WRX, IMHO. You have most of the speed of a road bike and the toughness and range of gears found on a mountain bike. Cyclocross bikes for commuting and all-around riding? An excellent idea.

  30. KevinJuly 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Does anyone have an opinion on the Tommaso Imola cyclocross, I was considering this for my commute. Thanks!

    http://www.giantnerd.com/tommaso-bestia-cyclecross-bike.html

  31. MotobApril 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I have been commuting on a Motobeane Fantomcross equiped with full fenders and rack for one year now and just over 2,000 miles. Much better than my old 26er Trek for handeling, speed, and the joy to ride factor. Not the handeling and speed of a carbon road bike, but not too bad. I also don’t care about the weather or poor roads with the setup, and I don’t tare up my Cannondale supersix during the week commutes (saves $$$)

  32. Test Ride – Specialized Crux | ridereportrepeatMay 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

    [...] at my computer, I continued to research bikes and brands online. I stumbled on to an article at Urban Velo on cyclocross bikes for commuting. While the post is a bit dated, it turned me on to the idea of [...]

  33. DevinfaceFebruary 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    For those who read all the comments, the Pake C’mute. Probably my next build. Dirt cheap and good steel.

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