Cyclocross bikes are a bit underrated if you ask us. Many seem to think that these types of bikes are really just hardtail mountain bikes with drop down handlebars.
It may be true that the Diamondback Steilacoom RCX isn't exactly a traditional road bike, it is definitely one of the fastest and most versatile cyclocross bikes you'll encounter, and also one of the best for the money.
While there are plenty of riders who use traditional road bikes as a commuter bike, this does offer a lot of disadvantages, especially when the terrain gets a little rougher.
The skinnier tires and more rigid ride are not so conducive for rougher roads, and of course any light off-roading. Anything but smooth pavement can be trouble for a standard road bike, that's just how it is.
The Steilacoom RCX is the perfect commuter and cyclocross bike in this aspect, as it retains much of the speed you'll find with a road bike, and offers bigger tires, a more upright riding position, and a much larger sense of durability in general.
This makes it better suited for everything from recreation, to commuting, and even triathlons. Riders who need their bikes to be able to handle more than just flat, paved roads will find a great companion in this bike.
Cyclocross bikes are a bit ambiguous at first thought, but a further examination reveals just how much they really are merely beefed up road bikes.
The frame and components are often the same, with the wheels, tires, and some separate added features being the only real deviations.
The Steilacoom RCX is a great example of this, and that begins with it's highly impressive frame and fork.
The frame is made from aluminum, which isn't so surprising in the road biking world. This gives it a very stable and responsive ride, allowing you to truly feel the ground as you ride.
The fork is actually constructed from DBCX carbon, making the bike not only lighter, but giving it some added comfort from the improved shock absorption.
In the end, you get a light, responsive, and comfortable frame that comes in weighing just under 22 lbs when fully equipped, keeping it more in line with many high-end road bikes that are just a few pounds lighter.
The Steilacoom RCX’s drivetrain is certainly worthy of some recognition.
The pedaling platform consists of a very capable and dependable FSA Gossamer PRO Cross crankset, and Shimano 105 technology comprises the shifters, and both of the derailleurs.
This results in an efficient drivetrain that has lots of pedal response, while also providing fast and precise shifting through any of the bike’s 10 total gears.
This comes in very handy when navigating around city streets, where you may need bursts of speed, or proper gears for steep climbs.
The Steilacoom RCX’s brakes are very crisp and responsive as well, thanks to the combination of Tektro CR710 brakes and Shimano 105 levers.
They provide quick stopping that is also very controlled, and without the dreaded spongy feel that inferior brake pads can cause.
The wheelset is what helps the Steilacoom RCX truly be a cyclocross bike, as it opts for a wider, more heavy-set style of wheels and tires to give the bike its broader sense versatility.
DB Equation CX rims are very rigid, letting the shock absorption duties fall to the 32c John Tomac Small Block Eight tires.
These tires have a perfect amount of tread on them, providing the rider with better grip and traction in off-road situations, but without going all the way over to the overly-knobby style found on a mountain bike.
This helps the Steilacoom RCX strike a fine balance as to its speed and stability in all settings.
The of the Steilacoom RCX saddle is a WTB Valcon race version, giving it a wider seat that is just a little more comfortable than a standard racing saddle. A DBR Performance seat post offers easy adjustments and angling.
The biggest advantage with the Steilacoom RCX is its versatility.
You are truly getting a mostly road bike that has some small tweaks that give it ability to handle certain off-road terrain with relative ease.
The carbon front fork is a major plus, as it’s responsible for bearing the brunt of impact, on the road and off.
Getting nearly a full set of Shimano 105 components for this small of a price is certainly worth mentioning as well. And all of this on a true cyclocross bike that weighs under 22 lbs.
As with most bikes that aren’t thousands of dollars, the major complaints for the Steilacoom RCX center around its wheels.
This is a particularly valid criticism, as the wheels on a cyclocross will go through more wear and tear, and need to be even more durable.
Heavier riders noticed that the rear wheel had the most problems after logging lots of miles on the road.
Also, the tires are certainly meant for true cyclocross riding, so if you’re going to be on pavement 99% of the time, you may want to switch your tires to a more road-friendly version.
You can get the Steilacoom RCX for a very low price on Amazon. The bike will require some assembly when you get it, so if you aren’t skilled in bike mechanics, it’s best to just take it to your local shop to have it assembled and tuned.
You may also want to get a set of true road tires if you plan on using the bike for pavement use for long periods of time.
Overall, the Steilacoom RCX is easily one of our favorite bikes on the market. There’s something to be said for a quality cyclocross bike at a low price point, and that’s exactly what this bike is.
You get a capable and versatile road bike that has no trouble navigating mild off-road terrain, and one that is perfect as a commuter bike as well.
The high-level components, combined with a light frame and carbon fork makes the Steilacoom RCX a great buy.
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This post was last updated on December 15th, 2017 at 09:57 pm
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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