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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-15-11, 03:58 AM   #1
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Cyclocross Bike vs Road Racing Bike, Much Difference Between The 2?

Pardon my ignorance/stupidity here, watched 9 ball Diaries, was wondering just how different the bikes are, compared to a road racing bike? Price/durability/etc? Also, are these OK(long term) for road use? Please keep in mind, I'm 6'6 & 235, if cyclocross bikes are built sturdier/stronger than road race bikes, wouldn't it be more beneficial for me to buy one of those instead of going w/a road bike(due to my size)?

Thanks for any info gang.
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Old 10-17-11, 12:06 AM   #2
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well.. the bikes themselves are pretty similar. cross bikes are generally no sturdier than road bikes, they've just been tweaked for racing cross (accommodations for wider tires, canti's instead of road calipers, and maybe slight tweaks in geo). Everything else is pretty similar - groupsets, bars, wheels, etc etc.

keep in mind that you can always retrofit one bike to do the job of the other, but to make things easiest:
if you want to do road riding/racing, get a road bike. cross gearing will probably be too short, and depending on the geo of the bike, your position and bike handling characteristics wont be optimal for road.

if you want to race cross, or commute by bike, get a cross bike. For racing, I think it goes without explanation. For commuting, lower gearing/bigger tires help for hauling stuff and tackling all sorts of weather conditions. Also, most manufacturers realize the usefulness of cross bikes for commuting purposes also, and entry to mid level bikes tend to come with a whole host of eyelets for rack, pannier, fender options. A road bike will do, but tighter clearances might limit your tire size, and a more aggressive position and lack eyelets might limit commuting options.

prices will be comparable for comparably spec'd bikes.

you may be a heavier guy, but you're certainly not out of weight limits for a road bike. if you want a road bike, get a road bike.
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Old 10-17-11, 05:21 AM   #3
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Don't worry about your size and a road bike. My dad at 250 rides a Giant road bike with 23s on it and has no problem. That said, the wider tires of a cross bike will be more comfortable. Other than a higher bottom bracket, cross bikes are very similar to road bikes. The angles might be slightly slacker, but overall very similar. Tire size and clearance tend to be more on cross bikes too, but unless you are going through mud, it's not an issue

The biggest difference as seejohn said, is the componentry. Cross bikes are geared lower for offroad use and have cantilever brakes instead of calipers for greater stopping power. If you think you might ride unpaved areas, a cross bike is definitely the way to go, but if you're riding on pavement only, a road bike will serve you well. Whether you get a touring bike or racing bike, is a totally different matter though.

The main thing is to get the bike that you like and that feels good to ride. Try to ride some at your LBS.
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Old 10-18-11, 07:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by seejohnbike View Post
A road bike will do, but tighter clearances might limit your tire size, and a more aggressive position and lack eyelets might limit commuting options.
tire clearance definitely will affect the availability and types of tires. many road bikes fit a max of 25 or 28mm tires. (some aero designs only fit 23, but this is not typical.) cross bikes typically can fit 32 or 35mm tires, and a lot of interesting knobbies are only found in 32 or bigger.

unless the bike was specifically intended for commuting, many road bikes lack eyelets for fenders and panniers, I agree.

OP, I would consider a chrome-moly or aluminum cross bike. Cross gearing is generally not a problem unless you are a very powerful rider or spend a lot of time pedaling downhill. You can do >30mph on a 46T big ring. And then you'll have a bike that can do dirt roads, mild singletrack, commuting, and short and long distance road.
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Old 10-18-11, 01:14 PM   #5
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If you are wanting 23mm wide tires, and will not need mudguards, road race style will do.
6'6" means you have a need for a larger frame size , taller and a bit longer..

there are also commuter oriented bikes now, disc brakes, rack mounts,
capacity for fenders on 35 wide tires..

pretty much what I read people who will not be racing
buy a cyclocross style bike for.

or touring bikes .. those up the tube wall thickness for bearing the added weight
of bringing your camping gear with you.

visit one of the several Pasadena bike shops.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-18-11 at 01:20 PM.
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