Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - First race: Use mountain bike or touring bike?
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10-13-04, 02:58 PM
I'm planning on entering a race this season to check it out... I went to the Stumptown Classic and it really made me want to join in the fun. I don't have a cross bike, but I've noticed that my touring bike (Trek 520) has a very similar geometry as most cross bikes, other than its lower bb.
I have a Rocky Mountain Element (full suspension cross country) mountain bike as well, and was wondering which one would be better for a race here in the Pacific NW? I figure the touring bike would be better for the harder surfaces, but considering how muddy it is around here it seems like the mountain bike might be worth it. I'm just not sure that the tires on the tourer would deal with the mud well enough.
Would there be any considerable advantage/disadvantage to using either? Also, any other advice for a cross newbie would be appreciated!
I've never raced a cyclocross race but have used my Kona Jake the snake in a couple of weeks now and think that if you have to chose betveen your MTB and your touring bike the MTB would be the best choise.
10-13-04, 07:14 PM
I use a touring bike for CX. A 1985 Nashbar Tour XC. The geo is a bit more streched out than a true CX bike but it works great. I have heard people discuss the BB height before. The touring bike typically has a lower BB. I have never had a problem with this. The only thing that I noticed was that on steep grassy decents for example with a tight turn at the bottom it felt a bit wriggly like I needed a tighter wheel base. But on the paved parts you cannot beat it and most good CX corses are going to have paved parts. Good CX corses IMO are designed to put the favour in the road bike category so MTB is at a disadvantage. If you have an old school MTB with no shocks and is light enough than you should be fine. Actually I am buying an old Schwinn Paramount MTB tomorrow to use as a back up in races so that may be something to consider also
10-14-04, 12:27 PM
I use a touring bike for CX. A 1985 Nashbar Tour XC.
Hey man, my first cross bike was also a Nashbar tourer. Saw it in their store and said "Screw it, just needs some knobbies" and off I went. That bike got raced in the Month of Mud races (actually MTB races, not CX) and at a MTB Race in Ohio. Took a hell of a beating.
Full-suspension bikes' big drawback when racing cross is trying to carry them. Usually you can't get your shoulder under the top tube and it's difficult to even carry it by holding it for long. If the course has very short running sections where you can roll the bike, then it's not so bad.
10-14-04, 01:25 PM
I keep meaning to post a pic of it on the show us your cross bike thread but have'nt gotten around to it. It is a great bike and does indeed withstand a beating. I am thinking about getting some NOS Sun Tour 160mm cranks to help out with pedal strike since the BB is low. I got this bike from my brother who got it from Nashbar catalog (pre internet). It was a sort of build your own bike type thing then. The frame is Tange 2 made in Japan.
10-14-04, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the help- one question, though: If I do go ahead and use my touring bike, wouldn't the stock touring tires be too slick (not enough traction)?
10-14-04, 03:03 PM
Probably. You can find decent cross tires for cheap (assuming they are 700c wheels).
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