Mountain Biking - Cyclocross vs hardtail???
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08-30-02, 12:58 PM
Forgive me if you've seen my similar question on the road cycling. I'm interested in hearing the "mountain" opnion as well. Here goes: I'm a roadie wanting to get into a little off road stuff. 'm torn between your basic mountain bike and the cyclocross, aka Jake the Snake, type of bike. Is there a situation where one works better than the other? I'm thinking the cyclocross set up is more of a road positioning and that might not be good on the dirt. I also wonder if it looks odd to see a "road bike" coming at you on the trail. I want to be comfortable and I don't want to look like a dork. Any suggestions???
Originally posted by jerseybikergrl
Forgive me if you've seen my similar question on the road cycling. I'm interested in hearing the "mountain" opnion as well. Here goes: I'm a roadie wanting to get into a little off road stuff. 'm torn between your basic mountain bike and the cyclocross, aka Jake the Snake, type of bike. Is there a situation where one works better than the other? I'm thinking the cyclocross set up is more of a road positioning and that might not be good on the dirt.
I think that would depend on the type terrain you plan on riding. I personally would be a little skittish to ride a cyclocross bike on rocky singletrack but it would probably be a great choice for fast fireroads and open rolling XC.
I also wonder if it looks odd to see a "road bike" coming at you on the trail. I want to be comfortable and I don't want to look like a dork. Any suggestions???
I remember Greg Herbold running drop bars way back. I don't think it was a full-fledged cyclocross bike though. I think it was still a 26" wheel MTB just with dropbars. As for seeing a roadbike on the trails... hell, I'd be damn impressed to see a "road bike" on the trails.
08-30-02, 01:07 PM
I don't see how cyclocross can be as effective as a mountain bike. But I suppose this depends on your terrain and the style of riding you intend to do. Personally I would go with a mountain bike. My favorite setup is a freeride setup where the seat is even or lower than the handlebars. This makes for clean and easy drops, jumps and downhill riding. A little harder for xc but it still works. But again this suits my style and size. :)
I did finally see a cyclocross yesterday. I thought it looked dumb he had trouble in easy sections with his tire getting rutted. It looks like a wicked workout but I would get frustrated.
CX bikes are fine for off-road but they require more skill for difficult terrain. If you are doing fireroad and moderate singletrack type riding and alot of road then the CX bike is perfect.
If you are planning on a more specific off-road ride where you are tackling DH, rutted switchbacks, steep climbs and generally technical areas, a mountain bike is alot better. A CX bike will pinchflat alot easier.
On fireroads and easy terrain, a CX bike is faster but I would only get one if you don't plan on doing serious mountain biking.
Having said all that, CX bikes can go pretty much anywhere. I chase my friend on my full suspension when he's on his CX bike!
CX bike is a compromise- it does everything ok but nothing excellent. Tires are too fat to be fast on road but too skinny for technical off-road. If that fits you though, they could be the perfect bike.
08-30-02, 01:43 PM
Considering you already have a road bike, I would go with a mountain bike. They are much more stable off-road and you'll have more fun.
I say get the bike for what you want to do. If you want to do off-road, get an off-road. On road, you have an on-road. It's like getting knobbies and slicks for your mountain... one for dirt and one for road, rather than somewhere in-between where you're always suffering. Get a hardtail or FS bike with knobbies and go smash it. If you want to do roadbiking, use your road bike.
09-01-02, 12:09 PM
Hardtail. You already have a road bike.
09-01-02, 01:50 PM
On the other hand...
Since I crossed over to cyclocross. I haven't had much use for my MTB [which is actually a very nice MTB... but I digress...]. I find that I my 'cross bike is ideal for singletrack and fire roads. It's much lighter and more nimble than my MTB and I find that I can get up to speeds on grass and hardpack that I could never have dreamed of on the MTB.
On the other hand...
My cross bike isn't exactly ideal when the going gets rough. Technical descents can get a little sketchy and, though I can blow past MTBers going up on the fire roads, going down can be an exercise in shoulder pain and fear. Having said that, I've never been much for the really technical stuff, anyway, so I'm happiest off road on the 'cross bike.
RacerX makes some very good points, but I disagree where he says that a 'cross bike is a compromise. It isn't. It's a well-designed bike for a specific kind of riding. It's happiest on rolling terrain of various surfaces, excelling in hardpack, mud and snow [I live in a wintry part of the world, so there you go], and climbs better than it descends.
The position is similar, but not quite the same as a road bike -- a bit more upright and not quite as flatbacked. Nevertheless, with the fat knobby tires swapped out for rskinny oad tires, it makes a perfectly satisfactory road bike. With fat knobby tires inflated to 50-60 psi, on the other hand, it's a great dirt machine.
If I had it to do over again, I would go straight to the 'cross bike and skip the MTB... But then, I don't do North Shore riding...
Both Velocipedio and Racer's points are worth noting, cross bikes are pretty good off road so long as the type of terrain is not too technical.
The main downpoint of a cross bike is going downhill where your weight is much further forward than on an MTB.
I personally like both bikes, but if I had to choose, I'd go the MTB way.
Cheers, and let us know how you get on :D
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