Race Prepping my Commuter Bike

Since purchasing my Opus Adagio commuter bike in 2010, I’ve mainly used it for… commuting! Yay! It does what it’s meant for really well. It’s a nice, fast, comfortable, sturdy commuter “urban performance” bike in the $600 price range. It’s exactly the bike I needed when I bought it, which is the best bike you can get. That’s what a good bike salesperson will give you: the exact bike you need at the time you buy it. Yes, one can argue that you can “grow into” a higher-end bike than what you need right now, but that’s another discussion. Or another blog post idea. Still, a commuter bike for a commuter in the price range I could afford is what I wanted and it’s what I have. And it’s great.

But the other thing I started using this bike for over the last couple years is CYCLOCROSS!!! My favoritest sport ever! I don’t really have the money for another bike, and I don’t really need another bike.  (again, discussion for another time). I don’t have the marital capacity for another bike. So, every fall (five years running) I turn this everyday commuter (Honda Civic) into a not-too-serious race worthy cyclocross machine (Honda Civic with racing stripes). OK, maybe it’s a Honda Civic with no bumpers and racing stripes. If you’re at all interested in keeping your spouse but shedding some weight and making your bike legal and able to race, here’s how I do mine and what I get out of it.

When I started this post (3 yrs ago), I was going to go through all the details of race-prepping a daily commuter, complete with weight savings, but I think the following pictures show the general idea. Dusting off old posts from the “drafts” folder to bring you real content without the hangups of perfection! Yay to my new life philosophy!

Here’s what my commuter rig looks like on a typical spring to summer day. Add lights, panniers (with change of clothes and a lunch) and fenders and you have it at full commuting weight. Probably close to 50lbs. The bike in the picture is 35lbs as shown.

My Commuter Opus Adaggio with all of its fine commuting accessories.

My Commuter Opus Adagio with all of its fine commuting accessories.

Getting rid of all that extra commuting weight and non-race-legal components.

Getting rid of all that extra commuting weight and non-race-legal components.

I like to remove everything not absolutely necessary for racing. Lock, rack, brackets, speedo-mounts, bell, fenders, bottle cage. Some of these items are not legal for racing (such as a rack), and some of them are completely impractical (you can’t shoulder a bike for a run-up with a bottle cage or a lock in your front triangle. Water is not needed for under 60 minutes (my races are 30-40min) of activity and it only adds extra weight (100ml of water is 100g, remember). DO NOT USE FENDERS. IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Kenda Kwicker Tire

Kenda Kwicker Tire

The only addition to my commuter bike is a basic cross tire. I found the Kenda Kwicker tire to be a great and inexpensive all-around tire for cyclocross or gravel riding. I run mine at 25-28 psi for 140lb rider.

At one event I found the bike that my Opus Adagio is trying to be: The Opus Spark cyclocross!

The final result: Opus Spark

The final result: Opus Spark

My Adagio has a 'cross cousin to look up to.

My Adagio has a ‘cross cousin to look up to.

My race-spec commuter after a fairly muddy CX Open Race.

Opus Adagio in full muddy glory, Oct 2012.

Opus Adagio in full muddy glory, Oct 2012. Weighs in at about 26lb.

That’s basically it. Strip it, put some decent tires on, run low pressure and above all have fun! After all, that’s what the sport of cyclocross is all about.

By the way, my best result so far, with this bike: 4th place. Not that it matters. Just sayin’.

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About Kurt (Lightning) Bredeson

I am a married man, a follower of Jesus, a Mechanical Engineer, and a lover of cars, cycling and music. Things haven't always been easy; things haven't always been hard. I'm just trying my best in this life to enjoy what's been given to me by God and make the most of it.
This entry was posted in Cycling, Cyclocross and Racing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Race Prepping my Commuter Bike

  1. Francie says:

    enjoyed reading this post & like your sense of humour. your cousin’s not too bad, either, haha! nice to see you’re back posting!

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