Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Road & Cyclocross

Old 02-04-07, 02:28 PM
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rudetay
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Road & Cyclocross

So, I'm a poor college student hoping to begin racing. I am most interested in cyclocross, but will also race the road season. Are there any cyclocross frames that near road geometry or would work decently for both styles (perhaps a different wheelset for each)?

Before I invest in a road bike that may require me to buy another bike later, I thought I would see what the "do-it-all" options were, if any.

I'm going to race for fun, and this will be my first season, I doubt I will be very competitive for the first few years here, so cost effectiveness and overall performance is really more important to me than getting a bike that will shave 1.5 seconds off a crit lap.

Any ideas?
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Old 02-04-07, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rudetay
So, I'm a poor college student hoping to begin racing. I am most interested in cyclocross, but will also race the road season. Are there any cyclocross frames that near road geometry or would work decently for both styles (perhaps a different wheelset for each)?

Before I invest in a road bike that may require me to buy another bike later, I thought I would see what the "do-it-all" options were, if any.

I'm going to race for fun, and this will be my first season, I doubt I will be very competitive for the first few years here, so cost effectiveness and overall performance is really more important to me than getting a bike that will shave 1.5 seconds off a crit lap.

Any ideas?
Depends how serious you are, but most cross bikes will do well in road races, up to about 85-90% of what a good road bike with similar weight / componentry can cover. If you're in it for the sport of it and not necessarily for the winning gear, you'll do fine. And you'll be able to switch out a wheelset and go off the raod for some real fun. The other advantage is that your bike will be a little tougher than the typical roady.

I use a Kona JTS this way, and have two wheelsets -- one with 38 semi-knobbies for trail / dirt / commuting use and another with slick 25s for the road rides. All you need to convert back and forth is 20-30 mins with the bike to switch the wheels, check brakes and shifting, take off any fenders etc.

As usual, the real challenge is to ride them back-to-back. Find a good LBS and tell them what you're planning on. Ask them to ride a road bike and a cross bike from the same manufacturer (same price / componentry class) and then ask if you can try the cross bike with the road bike's wheelset, and see how different it feels (I'm guessing it'll feel less flimsy and less lively in acceleration and sweeping downhills).

A final thought -- some cross bikes are biased towards MTB...with MTB hubs and gearing (I think Bianchi's Axis falls into this category). Others are biased more towards road (like my JTS). Obviously, you'd be looking for one that is more road-biased.
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Old 02-04-07, 08:43 PM
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Basically you're looking for a cross bike with a typical European setup. They run 130mm road hubs which allows you to use all available road wheels. Usually American build cross bikes take 135mm MTB hubs - which seriously limits your choice in wheels. If the wheelbase is kept short the bike - when equipped with 20c or 23c road tires - will handle everything a good road bike can. Due to the slightly higher ground clearance you'll even have an advantage in crit races (cornering). Main disadvantage are cantilever cross brakes usually found in a European setup. No matter how well they are set up, they do not provide the stopping power needed when riding in a pack or going downhill.

Hope this helps,
Timo
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Old 02-05-07, 02:33 AM
  #4  
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I think the big difference between a cross bike and a road bike is the fork (yes, I mean besides the obvoius brake setup). the fork on a cross bike is much more durable and this is reflected in the weight. if you got a corss bike (with canti brakes) you would have the clearence for big tires and powerful brakes for the dirt, then when it was time for the road, switch out the fork for a road fork with a front road brake and road tires. keep the rear canti brake...might look kind of weird, but it should work! you get a lightwieght front setup and a bike that could completely live in both worlds without any real performance penalties.
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Old 02-05-07, 01:29 PM
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You can ride your cross bike on the road but you cannot ride your road bike on the cross course. Old road bikes perhaps but it's hard to find a road bike today that you can fit a cross tire in. So I'd say get the cross bike.


Another thing to think about is to goahead and get a nice road bike and a cross frameset. You can get cross framesets pretty cheap these days. Then after the road season switch all your parts over. Thats what I did this year and it's worked out well. It's a good excuse to strip down and clean the bike anyway.
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Old 02-05-07, 06:05 PM
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I gotta disagree. Don't worry about switching parts and this and that. Find a racing-oriented cross bike with 130 spacing, buy some skinny tires for the summer and go! No, it will not handle as well as a Trek Madone, but it will do 95% else just as well. Bikes are much more versatile than you might think. But the bike companies would never make any money if everyone realized they didn't need 7 different bikes.
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Old 02-06-07, 10:53 AM
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The major issue you will find in Crits will be the stopping power of the brakes in close quarters and quick changes in speed in cornering. Everyone else has great ideas. You should have a lot of fun.
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Old 02-07-07, 07:55 AM
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cross vs road frames

Originally Posted by rudetay
So, I'm a poor college student hoping to begin racing. I am most interested in cyclocross, but will also race the road season. Are there any cyclocross frames that near road geometry or would work decently for both styles (perhaps a different wheelset for each)?

Before I invest in a road bike that may require me to buy another bike later, I thought I would see what the "do-it-all" options were, if any.

I'm going to race for fun, and this will be my first season, I doubt I will be very competitive for the first few years here, so cost effectiveness and overall performance is really more important to me than getting a bike that will shave 1.5 seconds off a crit lap.

Any ideas?
I'd go with the cross bike. I've used a road bike outfitted with 29c cross tires in races: it works, but not a great way to go. As far as riding your cross bike on the road , I will second the comment on the braking. Cantilever brakes just don't have the same kind of modulation as the standard dual-pivot road brakes. They have more of the on/off feel. Nice and strong for a muddy off-road race, but a bit much when it comes to bleeding off speed heading down a twisty road descent. Jerky would be the best way I can describe it.

Also, the front cross forks can be very chattery under hard braking - on some forks outright dangerous. This can be corrected somewhat with toe-ing in the front pads - but even then, under hard braking the same control isn't there as you get with a road fork.

As for the different in the cross frame vs. road frame - it depends on which frames you are comparing. In the past I've gone from using a steel Jamis road frame (which I sold) to an Indy Fab steel cross frame in road races. The cross frame, with the additional chainstay length, was noticeably twistier out of the saddle (climbing, accelerating, etc.). Then again, I've used a Ti Indy Fab Planet X in crits and it felt pretty stiff at times (go figure). Wheel choice will have an effect there perhaps. I never had an issue with the cross geometry in group racing, it performed fine in corners with the slacker front end. Just a little less punch out of the saddle.

With all that said, if you can only have on, grab maybe an aluminum cross bike - which would give you better stiffness for the road races.
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Old 02-07-07, 10:24 AM
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If budget is an issue (when isn't it?), look into the Fuji Cross bikes. Good spec at good prices...
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Old 02-08-07, 10:31 AM
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It'll never cease to amaze me nobody apart from the Classic & Vintage forum seems to even consider buying 2nd hand! Look around the various websites, you'll easily find perfectly rideable bikes for 50 $ or even less; you could buy 2 or even more for a ridiculous amount.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:16 AM
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I’d ask myself how many times am I going to race. I live in Chicago where there are lots of cyclo-cross races in the fall. This year I raced 4 times. Had I had the time, maybe I could have added 3 more to the calendar. But you know how life is.

From April to September I raced at least once a week, sometimes twice, and then with Superweek, more than I remember. There are so many opportunities to race that in one month I raced more than my entire cyclo-cross season.

Cyclo-cross is fun, but it’s only fun when compared to road racing. I love putting on my tights and dying for the race to start so I’d warm up, but it’s nothing compared to a 40 mile road race through Amish country on a warm June morning.

I’d buy a road bike first. Cyclo-cross for me will always be a footnote.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by joe v
It'll never cease to amaze me nobody apart from the Classic & Vintage forum seems to even consider buying 2nd hand! Look around the various websites, you'll easily find perfectly rideable bikes for 50 $ or even less; you could buy 2 or even more for a ridiculous amount.
both my cross bikes are second hand

But I did pay more than $50 for them.
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Old 02-13-07, 09:31 PM
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Hey now.
I raced my Fuji Cross in crits last year Cat 3/4 and 4s and during sloppy weather training races. I set it up with 700 x 23s. I tworked fine and I plan to do the same this year, except this year for the spring slop, rain, training races I put on a road crankset 54/39 oppossed to the 46/38 from the cross and I have a 12/23 or 25 in the rear. It works great. As others have said, the braking is not as good but it is good enough. I love riding this bike and ride it on the trainer, etc. When cross season comes I go back to the cross crankset and throw on some cross tires.

With a limited budget you get the best of both worlds.
+1 on the Fuji Cross. The Cross comp is great and comes in around 20 -21 lbs and could be lighteredwith some minimal changes to wheelset (Mavic OP with ultegra). My bike weighed 20lbs with the old Ritchey Cranks/bb and heavier wheels. Now it is under 20 around 19. Can't tell the difference. As long as the tires go round it will be great for cross. Oh, I also switch the pedals and shoes during cross. Look and road for road riding and Time and Nike Carini mtb shoes for cross.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-07, 03:44 PM
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Hi there,
I did many cyclocross races in Europe in my younger days. As most of us were short of cash we rced on our "winter" road bikes (in europe most serious riders have "summer" and "winter" bikes, summer ones being superior) equipped with cyclocross tyres and suitable gearing. Some of us had cyclocross brakes. Tha was just about all. And we had loads of fun. Cyclocross is awsome particularly when raced in snow and ice. The falls are numerous but rarely nasty. The sport requires pretty decent physical condition and is an excellent preparation for the road/track season. That's why so many pros participate in cyclocross. I have recently purchased Canadian bike Argon 18, Galium S-3 (great rig!) and noticed in their catalogue that they also make cyclocross specific bikes. It all boils down to ones financila situation and how much one wants to specialise in this branch of cycling. But as I said little modification to your existing bike should work just right and you may be even winning races. GOOD LUCK! ikolarik
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Old 02-24-07, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by adrien
Depends how serious you are, but most cross bikes will do well in road races, up to about 85-90% of what a good road bike with similar weight / componentry can cover. If you're in it for the sport of it and not necessarily for the winning gear, you'll do fine. And you'll be able to switch out a wheelset and go off the raod for some real fun. The other advantage is that your bike will be a little tougher than the typical roady.

I use a Kona JTS this way, and have two wheelsets -- one with 38 semi-knobbies for trail / dirt / commuting use and another with slick 25s for the road rides. All you need to convert back and forth is 20-30 mins with the bike to switch the wheels, check brakes and shifting, take off any fenders etc.
Ditto on using a JTS with 2 wheelsets - I also have a Trek Madone. JTS is noticebly different, but its sure a fast bike when I switch to the 23s. Big difference between the 2 is in climbing hills. TM flies, and I feel safer taking curves on downhills at higher speeds, but I really like that JTS.
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Old 03-01-07, 09:51 AM
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Allright, well from what I've heard the Lemond cross bikes have a more road oriented geometry. Personally I went with the Raleigh cross bike, and I've been using it this winter on the road and will probably do the first few races this spring on it. It started out at about 21 pounds, but the wheelset it comes with is really heavy. The main advantage is that the Raleigh cx1 is pretty affordable, so you can get that spare set of wheels.
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Old 03-01-07, 12:27 PM
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You can freak your roadie friends out by taking the dirt short cut.
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