Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - Cyclocross v. Hybrid
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I have just started to ride again. I have a 20year old road bike in perfect condition that I bought in college. I also have a Giant Option Hybrid that my father-in-law gave me. It is old and too small but works great as a beater bike/old railbed/trail bike. Within a mile of my house is 2 different accesses to a 26mile limestone/dirt recreational trail and so I spend a lot of time using the Hybrid on that as my road bike only has 25c tires.
I was originally looking for a bigger hybrid frame to put some of the Giant Option's components on so that I can have a little more room. However, after reading and researching I am wondering if a Cyclocross frame may be a better investment.
I would certainly use it on roads as that is how I get to and from the trail, however, for rides that are all roads, I would probably use my old Raliegh Technium.
The Giant Option is currently running 700c x 38Cs. I will start with those wheels, but would probably move down to 32s as I upgrade over time - assuming I build a Cyclocross. I like to ride a little bent over rather than straight up like most people use their Hybrids. I also think that a Cyclocross can be a cool looking set up. So I am leaning in this direction. I also like the idea of having this type of bike that could double as a touring bike if I decide to do something like that someday.
What does everyone think? If I need to present more information just let me know.
Thanks in advance,
06-07-07, 04:09 AM
Many would suggest a Surly cross check because of its versatility.
If you plan to ride a lot on dirt or gravel trails, would suggest tires
at least 38 mm. Currently have 42 mm Marathons on my cross check,
handle the soft muddy/sandy spots much better than 38 mm tires did.
With the cross check, you could install a LHT fork to have the
capability to add front racks for touring.
06-07-07, 10:06 AM
i say save some $$ and convert your old roadie into a cross. Depends on whether or not you want to go compete / race.
If you are just taking it out to the trails usually a hybrid is great and most LBS will tell you the same. Mind you, it is all up to you. What I mean is that if you already have your mind set on buying another bike, just buy the other bike and ride it. If it doesn't suit your bill then return it within the acceptable return time that your LBS will allow, or keep it and sell it off or trade it for something you are more looking for.
I am finding that my first bike is a hybrid mtb / bmx that suits me nice as a commuter / trail bike. I bought it new condition used for 225$ CAD, and now I'm building my cross bike more suited to what I want to do. Building your own bike will always get you what you want, but you have to accept it as a project and realise it can take some time and might go above your expected budget on what you originally bugeted for a new bike. Sometimes not.
I asked around a lot at all the LBS in my area, asked all the cyclist enthusiasts I could find. They all agreed 'find a cheap old roadie bike, ala PEUGEOT or GT or Norco or whatever, and build on it. Get only the pieces you feel you need on it. Best off, if you want to really work out, convert it to a single speed.'
Luckily I found a PEUGEOT, ironically as if it were a gift from the god(s), abandoned at a construction site behind my apartment. It has some (key word some) good parts on it. Thus making my fixie job a lil easier. Mind you I have a lil bit harder of a time finding some compaitble parts for my PEUGEOT (because french bikes usually don't have standard part sizes) but all in all I am finding this to be very decent cost wise. so far I have spent on average a max 20$ USD per component (shimano 105 brake set) 8$ for bullhorns + 6$ for dura ace right bar end shifter, + 40 for the shimano 105 compact double(new, yes new) crankset, 6$ for shimano 105 downtube shifters. I still need to get my cables, tires, hubs, maybe replacement rims & spokes, a new cassette (5 speed).
Like I said, it really is a matter of if you want to put the time into building custom or have the budget for new. Most LBS stores will advise also to just get a new bike and swap out parts that you don't want for ones you do want. WATCH OUT THO!!! Ususually they do this to catch you on the labor charges so they can make a buck on you aside from just selling product (cause otherwise they would just be any other store if they just sold product).
Weigh out your choice of build vs buy. By experience, I would say you would most likely go for the straight buy if you are not intending to race / compete.
I am not interested in converting my old road bike because it is in such great shape. It is also an Epoxied Aluminum frame with a 126mm rear spacing. Using a 130 or 135mm rear wheel could be a bad thing. So I am going to keep it as is.
That said, I am interested in turning an old road bike into a type of CycleCross. This seems easy(matter of persepctive perhaps) and best of all LOW COST. I don't know if I want to spend $ 400.00 on a frame at this time - I am hoping I can find a used one on the cheap - but easier said than done. Chosing to build up an old steel road bike as an optional solutions has crossed my mind but many questions come forth:
1) Most of the older road bikes I have seen have road style brake calipers, not Canti's or posts for Canti's. Can you use a road caliper on a 38mm or wider tire? I do not think the AeroComps on my road bike would fit. Or do you have to braze posts onto an older frame?
2) I know that you can spread the rear of a steel frame from 126mm to 130mm to fit wider hubs/more grears. Can you stretch it to 135mm without much problem if needed?
3) If a bike originally has 700c x 25mm tires can you just slap on 32mm or 38mm tires or are new rims/wheel sets required?
Obviously I am a newbie to much of this. I am not opposed to trying this and I love to tinker with stuff anyway - which is why I want to build/build up/rebuild a bike.
06-07-07, 12:42 PM
as far as i know:
1.) yes, but from what i have seen, either a job you don't want to do, or the calipers that can allow for the wide spacing are a lil harder to find...
2.)I wouldn't suggest it for fear of frame stress (just me and my luck speaking ;) ). But www.parktool.com (http://www.parktool.com) shows you how to do it also so does www.sheldonbrown.com (http://www.sheldonbrown.com)
Don't forget 400$ might be exactly what it costs to convert your fixie. Great places to look for used frames: want ads, kijiji.com, garage sales, craigslist.org
with that said, ride on !
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