Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - building from scratch, a few questions
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11-09-10, 03:27 PM
hey guy/gals, i got the itch to build up a SS/Fixed cross type bike and i have a couple of questions before i can start my build, or if its even worth it
first ill start with what i have:
SE Racing Draft ss/fg frame, fork, seatpost, crank
double wall deep v wheels
saddle and pedals
my questions are:
1. will this frame be able to accomodate 32c CX tires, or would i have to find some 28c CX tires?
2. the bike currently accepts road caliper brakes, is there a conversion i can put so i can use v or center pull brakes?(is it even necessary?)
3. if the bike was built up with risers or bullhorn bars would it still be considered a CX bike?
anyway sorry for all the NOOB questions...any info would be greatly appreciated
That frame is going to cause you all kinds of headaches trying to turn it into a 'cross bike. You'll want studs for cantilever brakes (for braking power, and for clearance to get tires through), as well as cable stops, and that bike doesn't have them. Also, I don't know what kind of clearance your frame has for knobby tires, and different manufacturers have different tread patterns/profiles- you'll need to experiment (I suggest avoiding 'mud' tires). You can just deflate knobby tires to squeeze them between road caliper pads, but your braking is going to suffer, and narrow tires will perform poorly on wet courses.
In short, a road frame and a cyclocross frame look very similar but are totally different animals; ditch that heavy clunker of fixed-gear frame and start with a cyclocross-specific or mountain bike frame, or if you want something complete and cheap, a fantomcross uno from bikesdirect.
Also, I know this sounds like a fun project, but I would strongly consider a geared bike. A good cyclocross course is an exercise in a variety of gears; choosing a fg/ss bike for daily use is a balance of pros a cons- a ss/fg bike for a cx race is simply a handicap that I wouldn't suggest to a beginner. Consider a 1x8/9/10 setup if you want something more simple.
Last, they probably would not allow bullhorns in a sanctioned CX race, but you're probably alright in the lower classes with flat bars. I suggest drops.
11-09-10, 04:29 PM
I don't know about that specific frameset, but I raced my first season of cross on a Surly Steamroller. I managed to fit some 32mm file treads under it, and it worked fine with (long-reach) caliper brakes. Another option might be centerpulls, but then you have to mess with cable hangers.
The real issue is clearance on the fork, chainstays, seatstays, and seattube. You can only know for sure by trying.
MTB bars work great for cross. Just run what works best for you. Bullhorns, though, are outlawed because they point forward.
I think the best way to start racing cross is by spending as little money as possible. Then after you get hooked, you spend the off-season saving up all your pennies to get a "real" cross bike in time for next season.
11-09-10, 04:57 PM
thanx for the input guys...maybe its better to just get a cx spec bike
11-09-10, 10:05 PM
We started a cx training race series last week, and for this I repurposed an old hybrid frame (originally from CL) that I had previously set up as a FG.
It had canti brakes, a double crankset, drops with cheap aero levers and cheap fg wheels.
But, thanx to working in a shop, I'll be able to build up an orign-8 cx frame from scratch.
I'm going SSCX for now using a 2:1 gearing (36x18). I rode a 40x18 last week and had a hard time out of the turns. Research I've done suggests that one can do fairly in nearly any race on a SS. That being said, my frame is multispeed compatible and hay see gears later.
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