Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - new cx bike impressions
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09-11-05, 04:47 PM
I'll tell you december, though right now I'm leaning towards my current Van Dessel as opposed to the Seven or Novara Element I've been on previously. The Element was a dump truck (just as strong, just as nimble, decent mud bike, not much else), the Seven was a rocket and between the wound up front fork and geometry had the tightest front end, but the Van Dessel is a little more slack up front but the rear is soo much more forgiving than Ti of the Seven, not enough that it compromises performance but actually leads to me trusting it more in those half-assed manuevering situations that cross brings about so often.
09-13-05, 06:06 PM
Remember that I play with cross bikes I don't race. I have a lot of really top end road bikes mostly with Campy Chorus 9-speed:
I usually ride a 61 cm or 62 cm road bike. I have a 39" (from pedal axle BDC) saddle height and 33" to 34" of standover. I'm 6'4" and 190 - 200 lbs depending on the time of year and how many good rides have dropped me at Mexican Restaurants with my buddie Jensen.
I have a 1990 Atala World Champion Cross bike. It is the best feeling of them all. It is built like a road bike but with a slightly lower bottom bracket to bring it up to the same clearance as a road bike when you put the knobbies on it. Bar ends, friction shifting and 6 speed until I wear all of my old stuff out. But it is LONG and so doesn't turn well in tight stuff. So I converted it to a Touring bike and a grocery store bike when I'm not touring. It is a 62 cm bike. The standover is 36" (YIKES) with knobbies and 35" set up for touring. With MTB shoes on it works OK.
I have a 2001 Poprad and it has 9-speed bar-ends and likewise mostly cheap parts. Since everything is under 1/2" of mud I'm not about to spring for new shiny expensive parts when 105 or Mirage will work fine. This bike is shorter and tighter than the Atala it also has a higher bottom bracket. It is a 60 cm bike and feels like a 60. Standover - 34". It handles good but not great. I rate it really well for an all around bike.
I have a 2005 Raleigh Team Cross and set it up just like the Poprad. Well, I had some good parts around and so it has Ksyrium Equipe wheels, Profile Carbon cranks, DuraAce derailers and barends and Radius Cantilevers which are very nice but the pads suck BIGTIME. 59 cm model (hmm, I thought that they only sold 58 on the high end? Oh well whatever.) Standover 33 1/2"
The Raleigh feels pretty fair but the Specialized knobbies are not very good tires and it wanders around a bit. I've set it up with a lot less saddle to handlebar length than I usually use, to give me some more sit-up, and it works really well. Though I might have overdone it a little and will put another cm back into the stem next time I see one.
It does go REALLY FAST. Faster than the other bikes. That might be because of the wheels or because of the greater situp. Or it might be that I'm in better shape than I thought and if I got out on the others I'd do as well. Fat chance - since I don't get out on the cross bikes nearly enough I'm using the best one.
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