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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm looking for a cyclocross bike as a "do everything my road bike can't do" option. I mean gravel, light trails, beginning / end of season riding and also a bit of light touring. Hence I need eyelets for racks and fenders and clearance for fat tires.
My main problem is that I'm 5'4 with a 77cm inseam, which means I will have to make a compromise. If you had to chose between:

1) too long a frame
2) toe overlap
3) too small a head angle

..which compromise would you chose?

For my road bike, I chose number 2. But I am told that for touring and riding in mud, I may have to turn the bar more and it may become a problem. I was also told that 650s were a bad idea because of limited wheel and tire options, as well as tubes eventually while touring (but maybe 26' would work better? :confused: ). Of course, the closer the handling can be to that of my road bike, the better.

That sums it up. I'm hoping you can help me so that I can make a better choice with the (few) bikes that are out there for people my size :)
Thank you for any comments / suggestions that you can make

S
 

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You may want to take a look at the Surly crosscheck or Long Haul Trucker frames (www.surlybikes.com). Both are avaliable down to 42cm size and a touring frame like the Long Haul Trucker should have a longer wheel base with a more relaxed position. (note that the Long Haul Trucker is a 26" wheeled bike at the smaller sizes).

The Soma Fab Double Cross might also fit the bill (www.somafab.com).

Good luck with your search.
 

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the bike i ride the most is my "cross" bike that is my commuter, cross racer, (occasional) mtb racer, (not too technical) trail rider, bad weather road bike, etc.

personally i would really avoid #1 (too long a frame) at all costs as this is generally the starting point for a properly fitting frame - especially considering you'd like to keep the handling as close to your road bike as possible (as i did - and i think it was a great call).

i would try to avoid #3 (too small of a head angle) because you would probably end up with a bike that handled wrong. for such an all purpose bike i'd imagine you'd want to stay away from either extreme on this frame measurement.

with my fatty commuter (or trail/race) tires and fenders my everything bike has some serious toe overlap. imho it's not really that big of an issue - you just learn to avoid it 95% of the time. it's like riding an mtb on a really bumpy/technical trail: if you just pedaled as you wished you'd be mashing your pedals on stuff all day long, losing your momentum and/or falling. you learn to freewheel/backpedal/time things to avoid it and it becomes second nature.
 

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one more thing...

and if you have the means, i'd get the input of a good frame builder as part of a custom frame. they can be had for a fairly reasonable amount. i chose curtlo and have been amazed at the sheer utility and breadth of capabilities for the frame he built me. i didn't have extreme requirments (would have "fit" on many stock frames) but still, a good builder can give great advice in this area and then turn it into a great frame.
 

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I would not worry much about toe overlap, many of us live with it in cyclocross and it never is an issue that I can remember. Look at the standover ht dimension also, a properly fitting cross bike will sit you up taller, which is not great for loaded touring. From your usage patterns, a touring frame might be a better fit and a better bet if you can live with the slugish handling.

Now, If it were me, I'd buy a classy used steel race bike from somewhere around the Bush I - Clinton first term era, mount 25c tires and fenders with strap mounts and pull one of those Bob trailers. Make mine a Merckx Corsa, please, extra chrome.

The other option is one of those trashy old Euro steel cross frames like a Pinarello--they are useless for cross, but would be perfect for what you describe and should be nice and cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your answers!
It seems to be unanimous, toe overlap it will be.
I heard Surlys were great. But I live in Canada. Here the only cross bikes that make small enough sizes are the Trek X01, the Jamis Nova and the Specialized Tricross. Even the Bianchi distributor pulled out of Canada now unfortunately.
Any advice on those 3 bikes would be welcome. There is also the custom way, it would be Marinoni, and I really like them. Harder to stay in budget there though, but I am tempted...
Thanks again all for the advice. And I am always looking for more :)
S
 
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