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  1. #1
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    cross bike as a crit bike.

    i plan on picking up a cheap BD cross bike toward the end of the year to do cross in the "off-season". ive been trying to figure out what im going to do my first few cat 5 races on this year because im deathly affraid of crashing and snapping my Felt into 8000 little pieces. so i thought i might get the cross bike a few months early to race on it. do any of you guys see a problem with putting some road tires on a cross bike and racing crits with it? im not talking from an asthetic point of view because im a ****** and will look like a joke regardless of what bike im on, but from a functional stand point would i be ok?
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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    It's been said on this board before, so I'll pass it on: If you're afraid of crashing, you shouldn't be in a race. I understand people not wanting to take a high dollar boutique bike to a Cat 5 race, but other than that I believe in just going out with what you have and doing your best. As common as crashes are in the beginners classes, it's still not that likely that you'll be in it, and frames are not always victims when they do crash. I'm pretty sure bar tape, brifters, and rear derailleur are the more common losses.

    Besides, statistically, you'll be off the back and away from any crashes your first race anyway But seriously, stay alert and know who to avoid and you'll find yourself far from most of the crashes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    It will be fine, just make sure your gearing is appropriate for your terrain and go for it.

    that's a yes, BTW. :-)

    -L
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  4. #4
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Or why don't you just get a used 200$ used bike from craigslist or fleabay? Race that horse until you're in cat4?

    At least that's what I'm going to do. I know I'm going to look funky in my downtube 14 speed steely, but honestly, I don't give a flyin' F.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    It's been said on this board before, so I'll pass it on: If you're afraid of crashing, you shouldn't be in a race. I understand people not wanting to take a high dollar boutique bike to a Cat 5 race, but other than that I believe in just going out with what you have and doing your best. As common as crashes are in the beginners classes, it's still not that likely that you'll be in it, and frames are not always victims when they do crash. I'm pretty sure bar tape, brifters, and rear derailleur are the more common losses.

    Besides, statistically, you'll be off the back and away from any crashes your first race anyway But seriously, stay alert and know who to avoid and you'll find yourself far from most of the crashes.

    I dont think he's afraid of crashing, generally, just afraid of destroying a really nice bike in a crash. As a not-so-rich racer myself, I understand this and is why I love my aluminum C-dale all the more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    Besides, statistically, you'll be off the back and away from any crashes your first race anyway
    that will definatly be the case. as for the bike, i dont have the money to replace my Felt if i kill it, so ide just rather be on something i care less about. i understand what your saying, but ide rather just not risk it, you know?
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    Senior Member jkizzle's Avatar
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    The 4/5 race i did last saturday had several guys with old bikes that were much faster than me. its about the engine, not the steeringwheel. get a cheap bike if you are worried about it.

    that being said, dont race what you cant afford to break, thats what i was always told. besides, its a bike, not a baby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
    Or why don't you just get a used 200$ used bike from craigslist or fleabay? Race that horse until you're in cat4?

    At least that's what I'm going to do. I know I'm going to look funky in my downtube 14 speed steely, but honestly, I don't give a flyin' F.
    ive considered that. ive also thought about asking my dad to use his 70's motobecane too. haha.

    but if im going to be buying a cross bike anyways...... im just trying to see if i can kill 2 birds with 1 stone. sounds like i should be able to.

    as for gearing, my road bikes top gear is 50x11 and the cross bike would be 49x11, so ill be fine.
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    1) There are crashes in every category, even Pros go down sometimes. In fact, I would argue that while marginally fewer, the crashes in the faster categories are likely more destructive to bodies and bikes. And keep in mind that there are more crashes in crits in general, so if want to avoid crashes, you should think about avoiding crits.

    2) That being said, there a guy that shows up to the A training crits around here with a single-ring Kona cross bike and has no problems hanging on. I wouldn't bother changing chainrings or anything - I doubt you'll spin out on the standard cross gearing (46 x 12 seems to be the top end standard these days.)

    3) And please, don't be in such a hurry to get out of the 5's. It's not just about having the 10 starts, you should really feel comfortable racing your bike. There's no sense in being a sketchy 4. Hell, there so many more people around you that your chances of going down may even go up in the 4's.

    4) Most of all, stay smooth and have fun. I'm looking forward to you race reports. Good luck!

  10. #10
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
    I dont think he's afraid of crashing, generally, just afraid of destroying a really nice bike in a crash. As a not-so-rich racer myself, I understand this and is why I love my aluminum C-dale all the more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edonis13 View Post
    that will definatly be the case. as for the bike, i dont have the money to replace my Felt if i kill it, so ide just rather be on something i care less about. i understand what your saying, but ide rather just not risk it, you know?
    Maybe that's the difference. I must be poorer than you both, as I couldn't afford to replace even a $100 frame if I wrecked it. All I'm saying is that doesn't stop me from racing. I only own 1 bike and it's not a fancy anything, so I ride what I have because anybody who can afford to have a second bike to race in place of their expensive one is more well off than I am. So my policy is run whatcha brung and you both could afford to wreck more than I could!

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    Maybe that's the difference. I must be poorer than you both, as I couldn't afford to replace even a $100 frame if I wrecked it. All I'm saying is that doesn't stop me from racing. I only own 1 bike and it's not a fancy anything, so I ride what I have because anybody who can afford to have a second bike to race in place of their expensive one is more well off than I am. So my policy is run whatcha brung and you both could afford to wreck more than I could!
    so imagine if a nice, new-ish carbon bike were to fall into your lap. would you want to race cat 5's with it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitterken View Post
    1) There are crashes in every category, even Pros go down sometimes. In fact, I would argue that while marginally fewer, the crashes in the faster categories are likely more destructive to bodies and bikes. And keep in mind that there are more crashes in crits in general, so if want to avoid crashes, you should think about avoiding crits.

    2) That being said, there a guy that shows up to the A training crits around here with a single-ring Kona cross bike and has no problems hanging on. I wouldn't bother changing chainrings or anything - I doubt you'll spin out on the standard cross gearing (46 x 12 seems to be the top end standard these days.)

    3) And please, don't be in such a hurry to get out of the 5's. It's not just about having the 10 starts, you should really feel comfortable racing your bike. There's no sense in being a sketchy 4. Hell, there so many more people around you that your chances of going down may even go up in the 4's.

    4) Most of all, stay smooth and have fun. I'm looking forward to you race reports. Good luck!
    1. i know there are crashes at all levels, but ive heard rumors about the "crash 5's"
    2. good to know there is nothing wrong with using one (that was my main question), ive got a lot of work to do on my motor.
    3. im in no hurry to get out of 5's. its about the journey not the destination IMO.
    4. thankyou! im going to need all the luck i can get.
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  13. #13
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edonis13 View Post
    so imagine if a nice, new-ish carbon bike were to fall into your lap. would you want to race cat 5's with it?
    Nope. I'd sell it and get two aluminum bikes. Then I'd have a spare bike.

    It's probably just a matter of opinion, but I wouldn't bother with a nice bike if I couldn't race it, unless I already had a race bike and the nice bike was either a super comfy bike for doing centuries on, or some collectible vintage bike.

    Anyway, if you're getting a cross bike anyway, go ahead and race it. It's legal and it works. I've just always been the type to race the best bike I could afford. Then again, the best bike I can afford is rivaled by many people's rain bikes so it's still no big deal. Give me a new-ish carbon bike and I may change my tune

  14. #14
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    btw I've seen just as many aluminum and even titanium frames wrecked in crashes as I have carbon. In 10 years and many witnessed crashes, the count is still only 3 carbon, 3 aluminum, 1 titanium, and 2 bent steel frames. 2 of the carbon ones and the titanium one weren't even in crashes, but cracked because of the deep rain gutters! Like I said, broken frames aren't common in crashes, but I think the big fear in racing carbon is that you never know if the frame is compromised after a fall. That's my reason for favoring aluminum and titanium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
    I think the big fear in racing carbon is that you never know if the frame is compromised after a fall.
    exactly.
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  16. #16
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    So what would you do if you fell while riding on the streets, or had a clipless moment, or got hit by a car? Now's the time to point out that you probably put more than 95% of your miles on in training, which is why it's no surprise that crashes are still more likely to happen during training than in a race. I have crashed four times in 10 years, and neither of those cases were in a race... or with anyone else involved for that matter!

    If you're worried about cracking a carbon frame, you can't crash it if you don't ride it.
    Last edited by urbanknight; 02-23-08 at 06:58 PM.

  17. #17
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    No mention of the brakes eh?

    Don't race RRs or crits on cantilever brakes. The stopping power and modulation is not adequate. Aside from somewhat screwy handling from cross geometry (slow steering, higher center of gravity) you'll need to replace the brakes to be safe. That however doesn't have to be expensive. Some 105 brakes will work just fine, and can be had on eBay on the cheap.

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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    ^ I was going to ask about that, but I figured cantilever brakes can't be all that bad. Besides, anybody who uses brakes full force in a crit is bound to be the CAUSE of an accident, right?

    I didn't think about the geometry. The higher cg could actually provide more cornering clearance (for example, Merckx frames with crit geometry had slightly higher bb shells)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus View Post
    No mention of the brakes eh?

    Don't race RRs or crits on cantilever brakes. The stopping power and modulation is not adequate. Aside from somewhat screwy handling from cross geometry (slow steering, higher center of gravity) you'll need to replace the brakes to be safe. That however doesn't have to be expensive. Some 105 brakes will work just fine, and can be had on eBay on the cheap.
    thats the kind of info im looking for. looks like 105 brakes are about 60 new on ebay. that would be easily do-able.
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  20. #20
    Lotion/Basket/Hose Doctor Who's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus View Post
    No mention of the brakes eh?

    Don't race RRs or crits on cantilever brakes. The stopping power and modulation is not adequate. Aside from somewhat screwy handling from cross geometry (slow steering, higher center of gravity) you'll need to replace the brakes to be safe. That however doesn't have to be expensive. Some 105 brakes will work just fine, and can be had on eBay on the cheap.
    I don't know about that.

    Cantilevers stop me just fine, and work well enough for crit racing. I've raced on my 'cross bike before and it worked well – I would prefer to have raced on a road bike, but when you're poor, you do what you gotta do.

    EDIT: I know I shouldn't have to say this, but I switched out my tires for 23C road slicks when I race my CX bike on the road. I also put on a longer stem to get me a little lower on the bike.
    Last edited by Doctor Who; 02-24-08 at 12:23 PM.

  21. #21
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    I haven't raced on my cross bike on the road, but I've done plenty of fast group rides with it (since it doubles as by winter/rain bike.) My Shorty 6's are just fine (I've raced three seasons of cross on it, so I guess I got used to them.) My DA road brakes are much better of course, but I've never felt dangerous on the cantis.

    I would just try riding the cross bike as is and see if it stops well enough for you (including scrubbing speed, etc.) before buying the brakes.

  22. #22
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    caad9 cross frame has bb30

  23. #23
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    There's functionality, and then there's desirability.

    Brakes are an area where saving 50 bucks is ill advised.

  24. #24
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    my cross bike, like most has really slack geometry compared to a road bike and steers really slowly. i would hate to ride it in a crit. to me that would be the biggest problem with try to race it not that it wouldn't work, it's just that it would annoy me.

  25. #25
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    Guys race cross bikes in crits all the time. All the time. As long as you have the gearing (for most crits a 46x11 would be fine, but a 50 or 51x11 would be better), tires (no knobbies or things with flexible tread blocks), and you make any stem/position adjustments appropriate, you'll be fine. If you've been riding the bike regularly till now, it'll handle pretty in a predictable way to you.

    In fact, for someone trying to get early season miles without pressuring themselves into overgearing, a smaller big ring is a great tool to work on pedal stroke.

    Remember, races are simply very fast training rides which cost money. I don't know of any "serious" racer that only does one or two races a year - they're simply part of the Mon-Sun training schedule.

    If the brakes are grabby, the levers and the brakes (and straddle cable) may be mismatched.

    Thinking of crashing a new bike or whatever, that's a different question altogether. I think it's only natural to be a bit leery of crashing, especially with people like me talking about all the big stackups I've seen (at least that's what racers tell me, or rather, they've told my now wife).

    cdr

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