Has Chain Reaction Cycles just created the ultimate 'super commuter'?

CRC staff's unassuming flat-bar custom build hides high-end kit

Commuter bikes come in all shapes and sizes but here’s a particularly trick example that’s been built by staff at Chain Reaction Cycles. The bike was built as part of an internal reward scheme for the company’s customer support team; they’re the helpful folk that answer your emails, phone calls or live chat queries on behalf of CRC.

Starting with just the frame and fork, the staff agreed on the complete spec for the bike which was soon known internally as the ‘super commuter’. Deliberately unusual components choices – many of which came from CRC’s in-house brands – were supported by a healthy £2,000 budget. The bike was then built like a jigsaw as each week the highest performer in the team got to complete a stage, until the build was completed.

Energed sapped from the front hub is neatly fed to the 800lumen exposure revo lamp at the handlebar: energed sapped from the front hub is neatly fed to the 800lumen exposure revo lamp at the handlebar
Energed sapped from the front hub is neatly fed to the 800lumen exposure revo lamp at the handlebar: energed sapped from the front hub is neatly fed to the 800lumen exposure revo lamp at the handlebar

The Exposure front lamp dishes out up to 800 lumens of light thanks to energy sapped from the dynamo front hub

At the heart of the build is an alloy Dee 29 frame and matching chromoly fork from in-house brand Vitus. Normally featuring in one of three simple and affordable commuter bikes, the Dee 29 frame isn’t currently sold separately. The frame’s mountain bike derived geometry mean that occasional off-road fun isn’t out of the question and its looks are tougher than most flat-bar commuter options.

As the name suggests, each production Dee 29 rolls on 29in mountain bike hoops, yet this bike gets an upgrade to WTB’s Frequency Team i29 rims. Both wheels are laced onto hubs that are interesting in their own way: up front there’s a Revo dynamo hub from Exposure, an unusual UK-made part that draws up to 800 lumens from a rider’s effort and powers it directly to a compatible lamp. Useful then, that the Exposure Revo 800 lumen lamp is mounted at the wide Nukeproof handlebar – its single wire neatly tucked into the top cap of the matching Nukeproof stem.

We reckon the super commuter could definitely convince us to take the long way home..: we reckon the super commuter could definitely convince us to take the long way home..
We reckon the super commuter could definitely convince us to take the long way home..: we reckon the super commuter could definitely convince us to take the long way home..

A thief may not even look twice; the super commuter does a great job of hiding its considerable value

At the centre of the rear wheel is the Di2 version of Shimano’s Alfine hub gear, a seldom-seen part that offers a 409% gear ratio and transitions seamlessly via a thumb shifter at the bar. For this application it makes a lot of sense – sliding neatly into the frame’s horizontal dropouts, it requires very little maintenance and there’s no derailleur to snap off in the event of an accident. Another benefit of the Alfine setup is the fact it has less shiny parts to appeal to the opportunist thief. In fact, the entire bike does a good job of hiding its considerable value, thanks in part to the matt-black paint finish.

The vitus dee frameset was carefully drilled to accept di2 cables: the vitus dee frameset was carefully drilled to accept di2 cables
The vitus dee frameset was carefully drilled to accept di2 cables: the vitus dee frameset was carefully drilled to accept di2 cables

The frame was carefully drilled to accept Alfine Di2, the electronic transmission you probably forgot existed

Elsewhere, Shimano’s Deore XT mountain bike brakes are a useful if slightly overkill addition, particularly with the heat reducing finned pads and Ice-Tech rotors. The build rolls on Schwalbe’s Thunder Burt tyres, which should excel in off-road hardpack conditions without being too draggy for tarmac mileage. The rest of the bike’s finishing kit is mostly mountain bike kit from in-house brand Nukeproof. The build totals 27.4lbs/12.1kg including front and rear lights.

We reckon the super commuter could definitely convince us to take the long way home… what do you think? Let us know in the comment box below.

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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