Question: I’m looking for a cyclocross/winter/beater bike. I’ll consider any combination of the three categories. What are the current value buys in bikes that fit this description? — Dave C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Sorry Dave, at RBR our steadfast policy is not to answer questions like you pose. We don’t know anything about you, your riding characteristics, your price range, which brands your local shops carry, and so on. When in the market for a new bike, you need to visit shops, discuss your cycling desires and price range, then test ride several bikes that fill the bill.
The popularity of cyclocross these days means that more manufacturers are coming out with new models. I can tell you about two bikes I bought that work well for me. But there is no guarantee they will work for you.
One is a Gunnar Crosshairs. It has a Reynolds 853 steel frame, enough clearance for 700x35C tires, and Ultegra components with a triple crankset for touring and dirt road riding. It’s a great bike except for one problem: There’s too much toe/front-wheel overlap for my tastes. That may not be an issue for you, depending on the length of your feet and the frame size you ride.
The other bike is a Rivendell Atlantis. It’s more of a touring bike or mountain bike with road geometry than it is a ‘cross bike. It has monster clearance — mine will accept 26×2.1-inch tires. With skinny tires, it can be ridden on the road for touring or training in bad weather. With fatter tires, it’s an adventure bike for mixed pavement/dirt riding.
Of course, there are other choices depending on your situation. My preferences are swayed by living in western Colorado where we have lots of dirt roads and singletrack. My beater bikes need to be at home on that terrain as well as on pavement.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.