Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking - What's easier: road to cross bike or cross to road bike?
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10-14-11, 04:55 PM
I wanna purchase a new bike. I usually ride road, but am interested in trying cross, too. My current roadie needs to go. What's the better way to go: purchase a road bike that can be converted to cross when necessary (what does this entail?), or purchase a cross bike that can be converted to road when necessary (just changing to slicks? pedals from mtn to road, maybe?)
I guess the weight of a cx bike might be an issue?
10-14-11, 05:10 PM
Most road bikes these days have trouble fitting 27mm slicks, much less cross tires.
A cross bike converted to road bike can be as rad as you want it to be. Just slap on some different tires, more or less.
In general, new road bikes cannot be converted for CX use. They typically do not have enough clearance for CX tires and the brakes are the wrong type.
CX bikes can easily be converted for use on the road -- mostly it's just a tire change.
You can use MTB pedals and shoes for road riding. The brakes are different, and the handling will be slightly different. Cross bikes are typically geared a little lower, but not so low that you can't use them on the road. In fact, unless you're very fast CX gearing tends to be more useful on the road too. A CX bike might be a little heavier, depending on how much you spend and what bike you choose, but you can get a really light CX bike if you're willing to spend enough money.
10-14-11, 06:20 PM
If you have to own one bike: Own a cycocross bike. It's ideal for the road, but it'll be like riding a rally car on the road instead of a sports car. (Still very fast).
10-18-11, 03:29 PM
I bought an All City Nature Boy for this same reason. I have the ability to have a fixed/SS road/trail bike or Geared road/trail (Thank you Alfine). I also live along the bluffs of the Mississippi where there aren't always gradual climbs to get up them but I can just rest my bike on my shoulder and carry it up the stairs.
10-18-11, 04:36 PM
If I was trying to be competitive racing on road, I'd have a bike for each discipline. That said, the CX bike is going to be much more versatile, and still quite fast. The lower gearing means you'll either be freewheeling more and have a slower top speed than if you had a road bike, but it can still move. It makes hills easier, and will really help you get a smooth and even pedal stroke.
Converting a road bike for CX use entails major metalwork, whereas converting a CX to road use means a slick set of sneakers. You can go farther, but it's really not worth it. You can buy a good used bike for less. For a one bike stable, the CX bike wins hands down.
There are lightweight wheels still strong enough for CX use. However, I find that switching wheels is about all the work I'm willing to do for a given bike to prep it for road conditions-- I wouldn't dismount/mount tires that frequently.
So in summary my suggestion is get a CX bike and then if you find yourself wanting a set of wheels, cassette and slicks for the road then get that additionally.
You don't have to spend a ton on this if you shop carefully. For example on ebay you can find a 105 or Apex cassette, Open Pro rim + 105 or Ultegra hubs, and 23mm Rubino Pro Slick for a grand total of $340 plus shipping. (I just looked, and used 105 cassette and hubs.) My main point, obviously, is that optimizing a CX bike for road use is easy and cheap. It's not a road bike, but it's at least 80-90% of one at that point.
10-19-11, 05:19 PM
Road racing is at the top levels a Half day to knock out 100 miles at 20+ MPH,
Cross is like running uphill for an hour , and riding thru a soft peat-bog, and beach, ..
Cross bike you can fit a skinny tire , , though a 32 wide tire is nice rolling
road bike you cannot fit a wider tire ..
at $3000 level cross bikes for racing are pretty light.
10-20-11, 12:23 AM
that's what i did, purchased a cx swapped out the wheels w/ some slicks and i'm rolling on the road
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