As you've read in earlier posts, I'm trying to figure out what commuter bike makes sense in San Francisco (no, I'm definitely *not* getting a fixie).
I've tried a road bike (fast, but drop-bar position was a fail for traffic, and didn't have enough brake access while biking with hands on the break hoods) and now also a "Cyclocross" bike thanks to my buddy Nick, which is somewhere between a commuter hybrid/fitness bike and a road bike.
|Specialized Tricross Comp Disc|
It was a pretty interesting vibe. Interesting that Cyclocross bikes (or at least, this one) add an extra set of brakes on the top bar... presumably due to the necessity for faster brake access when commuting. So, that was pretty good. I found this one had a much more comfortable brake hood than the road bike I tried recently, and a bit better brake access.
The tires on this one were 700x32's -- wider than the 700x25's I was riding on a few weeks ago with the road bike. I sure do like the taller 700c vibe, that is awesome and I can feel the speed. These tires were pretty slick, but certainly the 25's ran faster. I suspect this vibe is somewhat closer to the Quick's tires.
The drop bar, as before, was fun and fast on a flat road, but those are hard to come by on my commute. Otherwise, down the massive hills in the Presidio, the drop bars were pretty nuts and I preferred to be more upwards so as to not break the speed of sound.
This bike also had SRAM shifters, which took a bit of getting used to since I am so used to Shimanos. I can see the pros and cons, but I think I am a Shimano guy (too many years of riding with those, I think I prefer them a lot). The ability to double-down on a shift in on direction or another is pretty sweet.
Nick had clips on this one, so I actually tried out real clips. The pull on the up-pedal sure is nice, but I don't like the fact that your feet are locked in. I think those would take a fair amount of getting used to. I could always consider adding that at a later date if I really found I wanted them.
Finally, this bike also had disc brakes. Those supposedly run better in the rain which is nice for San Francisco, but I've also heard that with a bike as light as one of these, it's not super necessary.
So... as much as I liked the Cyclocross, I still don't see myself doing super long-distance rides that would necessitate a drop-bar. Now that I've tried it, I feel like the 700x32 tires are pretty good and still have very good pickup. I think I am zeroing in on a straight-bar hybrid, without drop bars. I think I am still going to be able to get the speed I want as long as I have 700xsomething tires and a frame that is light enough. I may want to try the Quick and the Quick Speed next to see how those go. It's been really a great experience to try these bikes out and I think I've learned a lot about what I want to get from trying them on my actual commute.