Cyclocross - Help for new racer
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11-04-07, 09:36 PM
I am brand new to ANY type of biking, but I raced my first cross race today with a freind who introduced me to the sport a week ago (we're in Louisville, and I helped him pit for Adam Myerson and Chris Jones of NERAC racing at the GP event and I was hooked). I don't have a bike, so I bought some shoes on Saturday and raced today on his mtb (didn't really do that poorly, really). Anyway, I loved it (knew I would) and am ready to put a little into it -- although, I don't really have all that much to put into it (money wise). I am fortunate enough through a connection, however, to have a brand new (once ridden) TREK 7.5 FX at my disposal.
I was hoping for some advice on how to most efficiently convert this bike for cx. It has road tires on it, so I'll need some new tires (easy), but my biggest concern are the bars and shifters. It has carbon (I think) mtb style bars, and I'd need to put drops (trying to throw in some terms of the trade), which aren't that expensive either, but I'll need new shifters, too, right? My buddy said I'd be fine, especially as a beginner with Shimano 105's, but even they are expensive on eBay, it seems $150 or so (?).
Is there a way to use the existing shifters with drops, or will bike stores take the brand new mtb/hybrid shifters in as trade?
Anything else I'm missing (the saddle looks great, the pedals accept my SPD cleats, 27 gears (3 front, 9 rear)? Is this a bike that will be well suited to the sport once converted?
Any help, review of the 7.5 FX as it relates to cx, and/or advice is appreciated.
11-05-07, 05:41 AM
first off, you could ride it with flat bars. try that for a while and then go save money for more stuff if you need it.
11-05-07, 05:43 AM
There is no need to change the bars, so don't. I'd be surprised if they were carbon, they are probably black anodized aluminum.
IIRC the FX line is a commuter/hybrid line, it will work great. It will be heavier than a racing bike, which will make portaging a bit harder, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. If any cable runs under the top tube, you might want to run a plastic housing to protect your frame and jersey.
The gearing is fine, but you'll probably just keep it in the middle chainring for the entire race.
I keep hearing good things about Michelin Mud tires, and they seem reasonably priced.
If you really get bit by the bug and want to buy a cross-racing-specific bike, it turns into a buyers market after Christmas. So instead of sinking money into the FX, start squirreling away some money.
11-05-07, 03:31 PM
Thanks for the great advice! I went to the "cross frienly" bike shop here and your advice was seconded. I got new michelin mud tires (and kept the road ones for a duathlon someday). He said to ride it with the straight bar - it's black aluminum (and almost straight), and I could even turn them to get a little lower if I wanted he said. It's pretty dang light, really ( a heck of a lot lighter than the mtb I raced with in my first race), so I'm good to go.
Thanks again. Any issue with the brakes being Direct Pull V-brakes versus Traditional Cantilevers? Still looks like plenty of clearance.
After some research, it appears to be a carbon fork. Any issues there?
11-05-07, 03:40 PM
Many people prefer V-brakes to cantis, no problems there. Nothing wrong with the fork, either. Have fun.
P.S. I think Frischknecht raced cross with flat bars?
Show up, race the bike as it is (with the CX tires, that is). No need to put anymore money into it. Then spend the winter obsessively researching and then buy a CX bike for next season.
You've got 4 races coming in the next 5 weeks that are within a relatively short drive, so some on out, join the fun and lay a good foundation for next year.
11-08-07, 07:33 PM
Thanks Duane. I'll be in Lexington in two weeks, here at the RRCC course for the "storm the greens" (I finally got to play around out there with this bike...it worked great), and at Buckner...all with straight bars.
Better over the winter to buy a cross bike than to manipulate this one? I suppose, if drops and good shifters are going to cost me 400 anyway, I ought to start considering 800-900 for a mid range cx bike, which would leave me this one as a backup in emergencies.
Thanks!! See you at the races (hopefully I won't wreck you).
11-08-07, 08:44 PM
Hey, I also race my hybrid. The best thing I did was too buy some cross tyres. I got some Challenge Grifo clinchers, which are 100% awesome.
My hybrid is no lightweight though. Re cabling. If the rear brake cable is routed underneath the top tube, portaging the bike is painful. I find that I just pick the bike up (suitcase) or push it along with all my might. I had to do this for 3/4 lap in one race, but it does work.
On a fast course, you might lose some time to real cross bikes, but most of the time, the disadvantage is not huge, apart from the weight, in my case.
What scuppers me is my poor technical trail skills, not the bike!
11-12-07, 11:06 AM
The cabling is already on the top of the bar, so I'm good there. I got Michelin Mud2's, and turned down the stem and handlebars as much as possible to get lower. It is doing as well as I need for the end of this first season, for sure.
So much other stuff I could think about doing -- of course I'd love drops and brifters, I'd like to get at least one of the 3 gear rings off the front (it's a 3x9 now), I'd like centerpull higher clearance brakes (it has V-brakes) -- but then again I may just shop over the winter for a full fledged cx bike.
Just like you said, these minor adjustments are not what costs me time. My LOFT does (lack of F%$#ing talent), so better to concentrate on that for now. I seem to have an endurance advantage over a fair number of participants, so at least I can run by some of them on the runnng portions of the course on the final lap, to avoid finishing DFL (knock on wood).
Good luck with your racing. It sure is a blast, huh?
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