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  1. #1
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    Does this Clyde Need a Cyclocross Instead of a Road Bike?

    Hello all,

    I'm 6'2"-6'3" and about 240 lbs. I'm looking to get rid of my hybrid for a "real" bike. Would I be better off buying a cyclocross bike, with its fatter tires, etc., than a traditional road bike? I'm worried about crushing wheels, blowing tires, etc.

    The bike would primarily be used as a commuter on some rough roads in Philly (lots of potholes, strewn with debris, etc.), although I also plan on riding a number of miles on regular, smooth roads.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    A cyclocross bike would better fit your needs, yes.

  3. #3
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    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    "need"...well, no. But it would likely be best.

    Cross bikes are built heavier for tougher treatment, and bigger tires will help smooth the ride. A cross bike will be a little more upright, and if you get a mid-level one (aroun $1200), odds are you'll have lots of flexibility for racks, panniers, fenders etc. if that's your thing.

    Be sure to get one that fits, and with a good wheelset.

    There's a running joke that within a few hours you'll have 5 models recommended. That doesn't bug me -- it means people love their bikes, whcih is a good thing. Let me jump the line here:

    Kona Jake the Snake
    Jamis Nova / Super Nova
    Bianchi Volpe (sorta half-cross, half-touring)

    I have a JTS, which also comes with a clyde-appropriate wheelset (mavic open sports).

    Sugegst that you find a good LBS, and try a few. Also -- be ready to ask them to switch out the tires from full knobby to semi. I'd suggest something in the 32-38 size.

    Finally, figure out triple or compact double.

    And...let us know what you end up with.

  5. #5
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    Surly Crosscheck

    I just built up a Surly Crosscheck with 36H Salsa Delgado rims with Shimano 10 spd triple and 700 x 40cc tires. Yeah this bike is heavier than my old Trek Portland but the ride is better which results more time in the saddle (brooks b17) which = move miless. Take a look at the Surly.

  6. #6
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    Ouch!! Very few bikes are truly dual purpose if you want higher performance for each function. I think Adrien nailed it. What I mean is that if you want a nice road machine you will have to take real care of it on dirt. Fine road bikes are not really built for dirt (AT ALL). Components wear quicker, wheelsets are not made to leave the ground, can't accept bigger rubber, seatposts not made to absorb big hits, etc. Great dirt bikes are not made to be ridden at pace for hours on end, long climbs, aero postion, etc. Now if you don't really care much about riding at pace with a group and are out to enjoy the scene and get a good workout, you got lots of options. In my road club, I am a regular in the 16-17 mph group going 40-50 miles on Saturdays and I can't remember the last time someone showed up on a cross or mtb and could hang and my group is a slower one. I am sure they are out there however.

    Cdale Bad Boy can handle road and dirt track with a wheel change, ditto for Surlys, some 29ers, etc. Specialized makes a really nice looking cross bike. That Jake the Snake looks really cool. Marin also make some good flat bar bikes that look like they could handle light trail work and still burn the road pretty well. A poster named Matty has an interesting custom bike from NYBIKES (i think) that looks like it might fit your needs. If you are looking at some extended miles on the road (2+ hours at a time) I would imagine you will have to be creative to get comfortable. Take note of the differences in gearing between road and cross (cassettes and cranks). I don't know how that translates on the road?

    After a quick visit to the Cyclocross forums, this looks like a real road bike that has been made to handle some light trials. This would probably be my choice but I bet it ain't cheap.

    http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/c...del-7XR1C.html

    I'd get the best road bike I could afford and then buy a used mtb Or join a roadie club and you might not make it to the 2nd part of the last sentence!

    Good luck on your search. You will be riding something somewhere and having fun and that is most important.

  7. #7
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    I love cross bikes, and I ride mine a lot, but if you really want a ROAD bike, I don't think you'd be happy with a crosser, and I don't think 240 pounds is enough to worry about if you pick sensibly. I'm 6'4" and 230, down from 275 a year ago, and even at my heaviest, I never broke anything but cheap machine-made wheels. Get some decent 36-spoke wheels, mount them with at least 28mm tires and you'll be fine.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    I just bought (well ordered really, it's not in yet) a Jamis Coda Elite. A halfbreed that leans toward roadie if that makes any sense and assuming I'm reading the specs with the right interpretation.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  9. #9
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    I'm seconding the recommendation for a Surly Cross-Check. It's technically a cyclocross but it can do oh so much more. Gears, single speed, fixed gear, internal hub gears, skinny tires, FAT (700x45) tires, it can be used like a "pseudo" mountain bike with the FAT knobby 29'er (700x45) tires, it can be used for road riding if you slap on some lightweight rims with 700x23 tires. You can also ride like those bike messenger dudes by switching to a fixed wheel, which the Cross-Check can do with way less problems than a conventional frame

    And on top of all this, the Cross-Check has braze-ons for fenders and a rear rack, so you can turn it into a good commuter bike too!

  10. #10
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    +1 on the Surly Cross Check I am 6' 4'' and 275 down from 310

    The steel is really nice on rougher trails, wooden trestles, and potholes...eats up the rough.

    Feels great and fast on the road. Built it up the way you want to and will be price competive with JTS et al without the lurid paint job

  11. #11
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    +2 on Cross Check.. You can get a whole bike usually for under 1k.. I have 2 Litespeeds but I just love my Surly.. I can ride the roads and trails.. Put a triple on it and you are good for all terrain.. The more relaxed geometry is very nice when doing longer rides.. Don't forget the universal rear spacing which means you can use road wheels w/ 130 spacing or Touring/29er wheels with 135 spacing.. It is truly the jack of all trades.. Many people in the touring forum also use there crosscheck for loaded touring..

  12. #12
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    I am contemplating the same decision for my next bike and am strongly considering the Bianchi Volpe. Any clydes here ride them?
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputyjones
    I am contemplating the same decision for my next bike and am strongly considering the Bianchi Volpe. Any clydes here ride them?
    I don't, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a few here and there.

  14. #14
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    Were I to have the choice to exchange my Pilot I'd probably only do it for a cross or touring frame...and likely a surly. 28's and a compact geometry aren't the worst thing on the slightly rough roads around here, but I'm sure the next time I take this thing into the shop they're going to ask what kind of hell ride I put it through even though it was just the daily commute.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  15. #15
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Were I to have the choice to exchange my Pilot I'd probably only do it for a cross or touring frame...and likely a surly. 28's and a compact geometry aren't the worst thing on the slightly rough roads around here, but I'm sure the next time I take this thing into the shop they're going to ask what kind of hell ride I put it through even though it was just the daily commute.
    I'm starting to wonder if I should have done the Volpe instead of the Trek. The roads I take on my 2 mile commute aren't the greatest, and I know that + big clyde butt = poor little Trek .

    My next bike will be a cross bike or touring bike, steel framed with nice wheels .

  16. #16
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    I weigh 240 and ride a Trek 1200 on 700 x 23 tires. No problem with crushing wheels, blowouts, etc. However I ride the mean streets of Richardson, TX! Try to dodge the potholes, etc. I think you may want to look for a steel frame and high spoke count wheels. The steel will ride "softer" and the high spoke count wheels will be tougher. A cross bike is well worth looking at, but I do not think you will destroy a road bike if you use common sense and ride it as it was intended.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    You have a number of choices besides cross bikes. Using the Surly lineup...
    touring bikes like the LHT are designed to take a big load, and will allow you to use big tires. Larger tires means lower pressure which means a better ride and fewer flats.

    Next in line are traditional road bikes. The Surly Pacer is a good example of the breed. It will take a good sized tire, and would be a really good choice for you.
    I ride something similar.

    Next up are compact sport bikes like the Specialized Seqouia. The will also take a largeish tire, and can do the job. This could be your most cost effective choice, but upgrade the wheels at the time of sale to something better.

    Actually, all of this depends on your budget.

  18. #18
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    I put this together out of an older steel Specialized crossroads trail frame. It based on a cylcocross/touring idea I had. Perhaps you can take you hybrid frame and adjust it to what you need. I did this for fun and to fill a gap between my mountain bike and my roadie.



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  19. #19
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    I found the Cyclocross to be a much smoother and sturdier ride for me. I picked up the Specialized Tricross Comp Triple and I am in love with the bike! I am currently looking to add another cyclocross to my stable next year. Either A Kona Major Jake or a Bianchi Cross Concept. I am saving my pennies all the time for this treat. As a "Jumbo" Clyde I much prefer the beefier cyclocross to the regular road bike!
    Go raibh an chóir ghaoithe i gcónaí liom!

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    2006 Bianchi Cross Concept, 1989 Miyata Sportrunner, 2006 Bianchi Axis, 2008 Specialized Crosstrail Expert







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  20. #20
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    If you want a road bike there's no reason you can't use one with sensible spec/wheels. I have a steel Gunnar Sport with 36 hole Open Pro wheels and I have ridden it 2500 miles since November on some pretty crappy roads and even a little dirt. This frame is great for rough roads. Also check out Soma for steel frames even cheaper than Gunnar. At your size you might have trouble finding a cross bike that fits. If you buy the frame/fork you can leave the steer tube uncut to get the bars as high as possible.
    BTW, I also have a Cannondale CAAD 5 with 25,000 miles on it and no problems.

  21. #21
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    240 pounder .. I've ridden at 240..340 as well. As the man said : a cycle-cross would be a clear choice..BUT not your only choice. Bianchi and Jamis BOTH have bikes that are in there road cat...a couple/few are even mentioned to suit cyc-cross and touring. Steel is your wisest choice (opinion) You're not THAT heavy. Don't dismiss a bike solely based on the fact that it's NOT cycle-cross. DO make sure the bike 'll accept 28mm. tires. The less expensive bikes have adequate rims. THAT I know from a 240 lb'er' point o' view. My last purchase (yet to arrive) edged-out certain off-the -shelf-choices for bikes more than any other single feature; 1,400 + bikes have wheels that I believe are for 180-200 lbs. riders,,carefull ones at that. Anyway..If I was to get a bike KNOWING/ suspecting that I'd want different wheels, the 2 - 3 hundred for hand-built 32-36 spoke ones 'd get me close to 2 grand incl. wanting a wider handle-bar, better seat, higher-end comps. so.. that's what kept me out of the 1,200 - 1,800 choice of mainsteam bikes. If I wasn't compelled to spend the extra doe, the afformented 800 to $1,000 bikes made the most sense..even for training down to 200. Those "cheap" wheels are no joke. Funny..I've never popped a spoke on a sun rim, then again .I never heard a Nitto or SR bar and stem creak either. I have had delacy issues with some pricier stuff though

  22. #22
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    I love cross bikes, and I ride mine a lot, but if you really want a ROAD bike, I don't think you'd be happy with a crosser, and I don't think 240 pounds is enough to worry about if you pick sensibly. I'm 6'4" and 230, down from 275 a year ago, and even at my heaviest, I never broke anything but cheap machine-made wheels. Get some decent 36-spoke wheels, mount them with at least 28mm tires and you'll be fine.
    +1. And keep the air pressure at the high end of the recommended range.

    Cross bikes generally have a higher bottom bracket height than a road bike in order to clear the kind of off-road crud you find in a cyclocross race. That makes a little bit squirrellier than a raod back, all else being equal. Not enough to make a big difference, but if you are in the saddle for five or six hours, that tiny little bit of extra attention to maintaining your line adds up in terms of overall tiredness.

    I'd also give a +1 to the folks who mentioned Nitto bars and stems. I'm about your size, and I love stem and especially my noodle bar. Nitto overengineers their stuff - it will not break. You can also get Nitto bars that are nice and wide for those Clyde-sized shoulders - believe me, it makes a difference. The "pricier" stuff someone mentioned is likely designed to get rid of that last possible gram - something that should not be on a Clyde's priority list, at least in weight-bearing equipment.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  23. #23
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    I started out at 280 pounds with a road bike, I now weigh 230. the bike handled and handles my weight just fine. My cyclocross has stronger brakes and has a smoother ride but is not as efficient as my road bike is. The difference is not significant maybe 10 to 15%. My only recommendation to you is don't expect a Walmart bike to hold up to a clyde. Get to a LBS where you will get a good bike with service and support.

    Take care, Tom......
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