06/23/2014 02:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Commuting Machine: Cannondale SuperX Hi-MOD Black Inc.

Cyclocross bikes provide maximum range and utility for workaholics with limited time to spare

Working at a startup company demands a lot of time. We routinely work 60+ hours per week. In the first years of getting MomentFeed off the ground, I left no time for health and fitness. I've made a recovery since then. But if I could do it all over again, I'd buy a cyclocross bike and transform my daily commutes -- the need to get from one place to another -- into full-on fitness sessions.

A cyclocross bike is designed for cyclocross racing. These are fast-paced circuit races with a combination of pavement, dirt, and obstacles. It's effectively a triathlon of road riding, mountain biking, and running...with the bike on your shoulder, of course. Which is not so different from commuting back and forth to work in a city like Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco.

The Cannondale SuperX Hi-MOD Black Inc. is one of the top cyclocross bikes available. If you've had a successful exit (a wealth-creation event), then this is the model for you because it costs more than $5,000 and weighs a svelte 18 pounds with pedals. Five Gs buys you a full carbon frame with disc brakes, top-of-the-line SRAM 11-speed drivetrain, and tubeless wheels. For those still working on that first exit, the entry-level SuperX 105 runs just over $2,000.

The big benefit of a cyclocross bike is its tremendous range. With road-style handlebars and narrow 700c wheels, it's well suited to asphalt. But with knobby tires and more relaxed frame geometry, it can handle all but the roughest dirt roads. This range also means it is well suited to the urban jungle, where you have to dodge traffic, hop medians, and pretty much handle whatever rush hour has in store. On the West Side of Los Angeles aka Silicon Beach, we have trails that are easily accessible from Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu. So adding a few recreational miles to a commute is always an option.

In test-riding the SuperX, though, I discovered it has potential to be that one bike -- the one bike that does everything. If you added an extra disc wheelset with road tires, it becomes a viable road bike. And if you beefed up the tires and added lower gearing to the off-road wheelset, it can charge any dirt-road route with gusto. I logged just over 280 miles, and more than half of that was pure pavement with road tires.

As with any tool that provides maximum versatility, though, cyclocross bikes don't excel any single discipline -- road, off-road, or even commuting. In the next few posts, we'll review dedicated road bikes, mountain bikes, and commuter bikes to see what you get when you make a narrow commitment. But if you want to burn calories on your way to work and have a ton of fun on the way home, wherever that happens to take you, you can't go wrong with a cyclocross bike like the Cannondale SuperX.