Help me pick a nice steel CX

I’ve had my trusty cross check for about 6 years and we had many great times together. I went from this jack-of-all-trades that can do a lot but not very well, to having several bikes that are excellent at one job. I reckon it’s time for me to get a proper cross bike. Also I want it to be steel.

I’ll use this bike to ride my local singletracks and do the couple cross races happening in Canberra. In recent years cross has grown quite a bit here with more and more people doing the races and coming to watch. The bike won’t be used as a commuter so I don’t need eyelets for fenders/racks. I’ll probably take it on longer gravel rides as well. Overnighter duties will be taken on by the Kumo, and if the Kumo is really not suitable for some harsher roads on an overnighter, I can always go with bikebags on the CX if I end up getting a frame without eyelets/mounts.

So far I’ve got my eyes on the Ritchey Swiss cross, which looks like a good buy ATM (well discounted at Pushy’s). But there may be other options, people have suggested the Singular Kite and the All City Space Horse.
Also, I’m really keen to hear swiss cross owners’ experiences with that frame (Dayne? maybe others?), and those who have other comparable frames.

space horse i think is a little heavy/slack for a cx bike,
Try the macho man but still not real light but you could ditch the fork and try grab an enve.
Swiss cross are great i love mine, Geo is great but the new (2014) run a Ritchey carbon fork and suffer terrible brake shudder,
The 2015 i believe changed forks but still not perfect, so best to run a mini v front but a canti rear as they don’t have a cable stop,
You could run a seat post or tt clamp on one but i personally don’t like mini v on the rear.
Have not ridden or had much to do with the singular.

I have a Singular Kite, and I’ve recently bought a Swiss Cross Disc to replace it.

As soon as I bought the Swiss Cross, I found out that the disc version of the Kite is coming out - this has been in the works for years. Sam has apparently just placed the frame order with the factory in Taiwan. I might have gone with the new Kite if I’d known earlier, and if I hadn’t found a second hand Ritchey for a bargain. Might be a good option for you if you’re not in a hurry.

The new Kite is going to be a close match for the Swiss Cross Disc - lighter steel tubing that the original, a carbon fork, and of course discs. Not sure about the price.

There will be some differences in geo between the two. The Kite has quite a low BB (70mm drop) which I think contributes to it handling so nicely. The Kite also has a taller headtube, and a bit less slope on the top tube. The Swiss cross has a 63mm BB drop, so not exactly high either.

Both have double bidon mounts, neither have rack or fender mounts.

The main reason I’m switching to the Swiss Cross is for the discs. I’m sick of cantilevers not working on steep rough descents, or in the rain. The skinny steel fork on the Kite is awesome for the ride quality, feels like spring steel, but means if your canti setup is a bit off, it resonates/squeals like crazy. Mini Vs fixed that, and were fine for CX, but I’d still prefer discs for rougher off-road stuff. Also my Kite was a bit too big for me - I thought a long top tube would be good for stability on gravel, which it is, but it sucks for popping the front off the ground.

This is my Kite, set up double-single speed:

If for some reason you’re interested in the Canti Swiss Cross, bear in mind that the carbon fork is a super lightweight one, and I’ve heard a lot of stories of juddering/squealing brakes. Again, the disc version fixes that.

There are other options out there too. Wraith Paycheck, Curve Grovel for example.

Your old kite was bloody nice,
Did you get the 54 disc Swiss cross off eBay? That was a great buy.

I really like the look of the Wraith Paycheck’s, with the added bonus of their branding being done by a couple of my favourite Artists/Designers

While no doubt totally capable of being a CX bike, the Grovel could be seen as steering back towards a bike that’s designed with more versatility in mind? In saying that, I really like how Andy’s is built.

Off Fb, but probably the same one. It’s still in plastic - will be a few months til I build it up.

The Grovel looks great. I especially like the SS option. If you already have a practical bike for longer dirt road rides, I think a SSCX bike is a great choice for local racing. Beats standing on the sidelines with a broken derailleur watching everyone go past. Most courses are fairly flat anyway, or the pinches are short enough that you’ll smash up them faster than someone spinning with gears.

I too have a singular kite, with mini-motos, but setup 1x10, and with a carbon fork - which may be getting taken off shortly to put the original steel one on.

This is a great bike, and I echo a lot of things Alex/eTomato has said. I’d love for it to have discs, but realistically it is a great bike which rides incredibly well with the brakes it has. I would recommend wholeheartedly, if you can find one.

Having had a nature boy previously, I’d say the ride quality and geometry are miles ahead on the Kite. If you’re ever in Sydney (and are around a size 54) you’re welcome to take mine for a ride around.

That said, the Wraith looks like a solid choice also. Likewise, the Bombtrack Hook seems to be a lesser known alternative:

Cheers guys that’s some really good info here, and great bikes too.

ATM I’m leaning towards the Ritchey canti. The easier/cheaper option is to flog the cross-check parts on it, and sell the cross-check frameset. I’d ditch my Campy cantis for something better, probably Shorty Ultimates as they seem to be rated highly. I remember that the TRP mini-vees didn’t work out on Dayne’s Swiss Cross. Fork judder - I’ve never experienced it but there seems to be solutions around it, I would probably go straight to a fork crown cable hanger.

Of course the other option is to go for a disc capable frame, either the Ritchey or another one. This blows up the budget but is probably worth it in the long run. Maybe?

Droz: I’ll be in Sydney next Tuesday so would be ace to try out your CX! 54 is about right, maybe on the big side. (Edit: just read about your stack, hope the bike’s OK)

Dayne: what’s your height and which frame size is your Swiss Cross? Any comments on sizing/fit?

Etomato: I’ll let your post decant then will probs come back with questions if that’s okay. Can’t find anything on a disc Kite other than a prototype. I’m set on gears though.

On a side note Wiggle currently has a Kite frameset for under $600. Pretty good buy if you’re a XL.

Bit of a curve to the top tube but should be okay - happy to organise a meet up for you to have a spin.

hold your horses, dayne has an old spec swiss cross with FUCKED UP canti spacing. they are super narrow and don’t meet current shimano (praise be) spec.

current production should have wider stud STAAAAAAAAAANCE and you won’t have to chase down NOS high profile shimano cantis to be able to stop.

shorty ultimates are good, but they’re no mini vees for actual braking. if you aren’t running guards / massive rubber (>40mm) / mudfests, then you can run minivees aok, 85mm plus modern levers will work good and clear any tyre under monstercross.

Disc… sure, maybe, but then you’ll need to pony up for wheels too, how’s your budget?

My S&S CX is exactly what you want, light steel, mini vees, solid 2x10 drivetrain, enve fork. love it.

Fucking around with narrow canti spacing is a nightmare. Trust me, I’ve been there. My old CX bike had it.

The disc kit looks sweet and I like the geo numbers

The disc Kite will be the bees knees. Sam Alison knows his geometry.

To me the determining factor for discs is whether you want to take your cross bike off road onto single track, down steep descents, all day rides with rain, etc. If you’re not doing that, i.e. just muddy/grassy cx courses, then cantis or mini Vs are fine.

If you do go with the canti Swiss Cross, the fork isn’t drilled for a hanger, so you’ll want to go straight to a mini V on the front. I really rate the Paul MiniMotos. Some say they’re ugly, but it’s worth it for the lack of judder/squeal, not to mention the extra stopping power. Stick with a canti on the back though as the cable routing is designed for this.

^ and canti’s just look “right” on steel CX bikes.

I want to do mostly single track with this and the occasional race. Day rides will happen, and so far I’ve handled those with my cross check with cantis in a fairly OK fashion. Having said all that I want better brakes so will not keep my current cantis.

Good point re the narrow canti spacing Blakey, and the lack of centre hole on the fork etomato. I noted that TRPs didn’t work on Dayne’s bike and assumed it’d be the same on the current swiss cross. Hopefully this has been revised with the new fork.

I’m keen to hear more about TRPs vs Ultimates vs Minimotos. From what I read TRPs have more power but less modulation, while Ultimates are the opposite. Ultimates are also twice the price of TRPs, and I might eventually cross them off the list because the fork’s not drilled.

I don’t intend to run mudguards on it and will probably stick to < 40c tires. I love my 42c cazaderos but I doubt they’d go on the swiss cross. I only found oldish info on tire clearance saying 35 mm max at the rear and 45 mm at the front.

Re budget I lean towards the easier/cheaper option, which is transferring my cross-check parts onto the new bike, which means no discs. But I need to do more thinking on cantis vs discs.

Why do you want a CX bike for singletrack when you have your MTB?

Tektro RX5.

I reckon aim for a race bike. Your Kumo is cool for rides like we did in the Brindabellas right?

Cos I like CX, it’s a really fun way to ride singletrack. MTB is great for the more technical stuff where a CX doesn’t cut it but it’s also like riding a tank and a pretty boring vehicle if the track is too tame. ATMO.

The Kumo is gonna be just OK for what we did - it’s got smaller section tires than your rando.