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Thread: Road or Cross?

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    Road or Cross?

    I've been riding my hybrid on a mix of rails-to-trails paths and paved roads. I'm now looking for a bike with drop bars. I keep going back and forth between a cross bike and a relaxed geometry road bike (think Giant OCR). At my current fitness level I need a triple (trust me) but both of my local shops will configure a new bike however I want. So what do you think? Buy a cross bike and swap to road tires for long paved road rides or a road bike and swap to heavier tires for the trail? I do plan on doing some centuries in the future. To give you an idea of where I'm at, I can do 10 miles on the trail averaging 14 MPH. Ten miles on the road with what most of you would call small dips I can average about 15 - 16 MPH. I have ridden 30 miles on the trail averaging about 12 MPH and that's my longest ride to date. My current bike is an old Trek Multi-Track 720 steel frame.

    Thanks for your input.

    Joe

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    What's the surface of the trail like? If it's hard and smooth, you can do it with a road bike without problems. Otherwise, a cross bike might be the thing.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    The trail surface is usually VERY good. It's normally gravel over hard pack but the gravel is usually swept away by the traffic. You can run into deep gravel at areas that have been repaired but it's usually not bad. I ride mostly on the Katy Trail in Missouri and a few smaller connnecting trails.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    In that case, you could get away with either. Pick the one that fits and feels best.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Pick the one that fits and feels best.
    ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!! Why won't anyone make up my mind for me?

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    I do a lot of mixed riding on a club-style road bike/light tourer with long drop calipers. It has clearance for 32mm tyres + fenders so can cope with pretty rough surfaces but I find that the calipers are much better than cantilevers on my tourer, they have all the stopping power, lighter action and better modulation.
    Make sure the bike has threaded eyelets for rear rack and front fenders , this will be really useful some day.

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    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    I was stuck in the same dilemma as you. I'm into mtn bikes but wanted something with less resistance, lighter and designed to go faster. The deciding factor was when my nephew told me (he's owns a shop) "Cross bikes don't make good road bikes, nor do they make good mountain bikes." I ended up getting a road bike. You can always put semi slicks on an mtb for those times you want to do a little of both.

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    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Ill put my say in for the Cross bike. I find myself riding my xo1 as often if not more then my 5200. I have raced it cross, done fast group rides on the road includeing town line sprints. Week long tours and centurys. A cross bike and 2 sets of wheels its all you really need.

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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    cross

    Quote Originally Posted by markhr View Post
    The cheapest option is just convert your existing bike but that never stopped anyone from buying a new bike for the sake of it - and don't let it stop you

    cyclocross with disc brakes - I am biased

    try voodoo, redline, salsa, kona, opus, cannondale, mountaincycle, lemond, norco, etc





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    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    You might even consider a touring bike, especially if you have serious hills. They're somewhat similar to a cross, but more gear selections, at least on the bottom end, and typically have a slightly longer top tube.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nermal View Post
    You might even consider a touring bike, especially if you have serious hills. They're somewhat similar to a cross, but more gear selections, at least on the bottom end, and typically have a slightly longer top tube.
    Unless you like laid back, sloow handling, turn to steer bikes avoid touring bikes. They're nice to ride long distance. However, comparing them to cyclocross bikes is like comparing a pickup truck and a motorbike.
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    siu and milice are both right

    it depends on what you envision yourself riding mostly

    If you're doing 40%+ r-2-t, then you probably want to get a cyclocross bike and buy a set of tires that will work for you. I'm partial to these avocet cross tires even though they are old-school:





    If you're doing mostly road riding, buy a nice road bike. I promise you that, if you do, you'll forget about dirty and dusty trails and fall in love with the smooth roads in your area. Then you can keep your hybrid for the dirt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    I was stuck in the same dilemma as you. I'm into mtn bikes but wanted something with less resistance, lighter and designed to go faster. The deciding factor was when my nephew told me (he's owns a shop) "Cross bikes don't make good road bikes, nor do they make good mountain bikes." I ended up getting a road bike. You can always put semi slicks on an mtb for those times you want to do a little of both.
    I'm coming from the other end of the spectrum. I'm into road bikes. I was kinda set on adding a cyclocross to my collection, but then one of my friends, a MTB'er, says that I should get a MTB instead. Oh the dilema. I had it narrowed down to 2-3 cyclocross models, now mt bikes are in the mix.

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    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclon View Post
    I'm coming from the other end of the spectrum. I'm into road bikes. I was kinda set on adding a cyclocross to my collection, but then one of my friends, a MTB'er, says that I should get a MTB instead. Oh the dilema. I had it narrowed down to 2-3 cyclocross models, now mt bikes are in the mix.
    just test ride the bikes - you (and your wallet) can always walk away.
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

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    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclon View Post
    I'm coming from the other end of the spectrum. I'm into road bikes. I was kinda set on adding a cyclocross to my collection, but then one of my friends, a MTB'er, says that I should get a MTB instead. Oh the dilema. I had it narrowed down to 2-3 cyclocross models, now mt bikes are in the mix.
    But once you get a taste of dirt, you may want to be a little more adventurous and go places that a cross bike can't! I'm talking about rocks and roots, perhaps some small drops. Something you might need a nice front suspension on. You will be amazed at what an mtb can do.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    I was stuck in the same dilemma as you. I'm into mtn bikes but wanted something with less resistance, lighter and designed to go faster. The deciding factor was when my nephew told me (he's owns a shop) "Cross bikes don't make good road bikes, nor do they make good mountain bikes." I ended up getting a road bike. You can always put semi slicks on an mtb for those times you want to do a little of both.
    How exactly do cross bikes not make good road bikes? The handling differences between cross bikes and road bikes won't make an iota of difference to the majority of the cycling population. Cross bikes aren't for weight weenies, but again -- that's not most of us.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    I have a road bike and a (slick-tire) mountain bike.

    Get the cross bike.

  19. #19
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencejm View Post
    So what do you think? Buy a cross bike and swap to road tires for long paved road rides or a road bike and swap to heavier tires for the trail?
    Most road bikes won't accept very wide tires. I think 28 mm tires is max for most road bikes, and many can't even accept those. It's also a pain to install fenders or racks on road bikes (that's why I bought me a cross bike and not a roadie). I think a cross bike with thinner tires or a touring bike would be a good choice for you.

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    I have a Surly Cross Check and it feels not much different than the road bike that it replaced (Specialized Allez comp - hit by a car). Honestly, I feel like, unless you're racing, you don't necessarily need a road bike. I like 'em, but I like my Cross just as much, and I feel like the speed difference is very minimal (and I even have bigger touring wheels on it).

    I have also owned mountain bikes and again unless you're doing DEDICATED mountain riding a lot, you'll probably be fine with a cross. BTW, once, while trining for an AIDS ride I did eighty miles on my MTB with slicks one day (just showing that it's possible).

    What you get with a cross bike is a lot of flexibility. How you set it up will obviously determine A LOT. Get some drops and a lighter pair of road wheels and you have a perfectly good road bike with slightly relaxed geometry. Get some bigger wheels and a straight bar and go tackle some pretty crazy trails. If you're handy with a wrench, you can do whatever you want, practically whenever you want. I make mine different depending on the seasons.

    I hope this helped, rather than confuse more.

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