Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - Best cross bike for road rides as well
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12-06-07, 11:34 AM
I am looking to purchase a new cross bike but the only stipulation is that it has to have an aggressive enough geometry to be good for road rides where I will swap out wheels (and possibly brakes during the summer). I don't do any road racing anymore but like the ability to train/ride on the road. During the summer I will mainly be doing mtb races and during the fall/winter cx. I have been bitten by the cx bug and had a felt f1x in 55cm but found it was just a tad bit too small. I am a student so I am on a budget but I can get some good deals on Felts, Kona, Scott, Cannondale, Redline, or Salsa. For those brands I can get employee costs (or right around there).
I am leaning heavily towards the Scott Cross Comp as I love the looks, aggressive geometry and the 48-34 may be a better option for combined road and cross race use. Not only that, but I like to push a bigger gear off road sometimes. My only concerns with the Scott are 1) The geometry for an XL only has a 56cm top tube...seems a bit short to me...I ride a 58cm CAAD9 with 58cm TT. 2) At 1400 retail it seems to be the worst deal with a tiagra/105 mix.
The Felt F1x was great when I had it but I would need a size bigger. Nothing in my price range from cannondale interests me. The redline conquest pro looks awesome and comes with sram (big plus!) but may be out of my price range. The Kona JTS seems like a great deal but I am not attracted to the fact that it comes with aksiums instead of open pros, cxps, etc. In addition, the geometry doesn't seem as good for me and it has the highest standover of any of the bikes I am looking at.
If anyone has any suggestions for me, I am all ears!
12-06-07, 12:52 PM
I have a Giant TCX that i commute on with skinny 700x23 tires... If i were to trim the steering tube (remove spacers and lower stem) and flip the stem, i think it'd be almost as aggressive as the Giant TCR i have.
The TCX frame and welds are definitely beefier and heavier but so far it has functioned very well as a road bike.
You probably wouldn't even need to swap brakes or pads, just adjust the pad position to accomodate different wheels.
I have a Trek XO2 that I race on and ride on the road. It has gotten to the point that my road bike is not even in working order, I just swap wheels and ride the XO2 on the road, including group rides.
What Psydotek said.
I'd look for something without a hugely raised bottom bracket and also with 130 rear spacing to accomdate road hubs, not mountain, though it seems almost every cross bike falls into this category lately. I suppose once road wheels are on the biggest differences between the cross and normal road bikes will be chainstay length and brakes. Some brands like specialize spec relatively long chainstays (Specialized comes to mind). This may not be something you want. I think prety much any cross bike can accomodate an aggressive riding position with the right stem/spacer/handlebar combo.
I would look for a bike with a geometry similar to a road bike. For instance, my 07 Poprad has a 74mm BB drop, which is lower than 99% of all cross bikes. My bike is only marginally more sluggish compared to my Cannondale Caad8.
If you are trying to race (which it doesn't sound like) and long wheelset simply doesn't feel as fast as a short wheelbase crit bike like the Caad 8. Cross bikes will generally have longer wheelbase than a road bike because the chain stay is about 1" longer to accomodate bigger tires.
12-16-07, 08:24 AM
I had an ridley crosswind 2 seasons ago...... and it behaved very well as a road bike. Also had a Cdale Caad 8 at that time and was not overly impressed with it overall as a frame.
Right now I have a Kaffenbach and it rides like a road bike, the geometry is somewhere inbetween...... but can seillt be used for cross..... but will only take tires up to 700/34.
12-16-07, 10:09 AM
My only concerns with the Scott are 1) The geometry for an XL only has a 56cm top tube...seems a bit short to me...I ride a 58cm CAAD9 with 58cm TT.
For cross you normally ride 2cm shorter so you are more upright and compact. But since you are using it for more of a do it all bike, get a longer stem.
12-16-07, 12:54 PM
I got my '03 Fuji Cross because it was the most comfortable ride in my price range. It has lived most of it's live with 700x23 tires on it. I'm just a guy who likes to ride, doing 100-150 miles a week during the summer. The Fuji works great all the way up to a century ride.
Last weekend was the first time in five seasons that I took it out on a muddy, rocky, tree-rooted trail. Of course I now want to get new CX tires and KoolStop break pads.
I don't know enough about frame sizing and dimensions to be able to say whether one brand will work better than another. But if you're comfortable on the CX bike, then buy it. Also, if you ask nicely the shop may allow you to switch to regular road tires for a test ride.
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