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Old 07-25-10, 11:10 PM   #1
MacAttack
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Road Bike On Mountain Trails

I am looking for a new bike. I want something light & fast like a road bike, but with the capability to take some beefier tires for riding on logging roads. (no hardcore mtn biking).

Is there something out there that fits this description?

I was looking at the Trek FX 7.3, but I've read it sucks offroad. Why is that? What would be so bad about taking it offroad?

I read an article written a few years ago by a guy that won offroad races with a road bike. Maybe they were more heavy-duty back then.
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Old 07-26-10, 01:41 PM   #2
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It's called a cyclocross bike. Sometimes abreviated as CX. There's a whole sub-forum on BF about them. From a distance, a CX bike looks pretty much like a road bike with similar geometry, 700mm wheels and drop handlbars. Get closer, though, and you'll see space for 700x35 (or sometimes larger) tires, cantilever brakes for mud and tire clearance. Some now also come with disc brakes.

Some examples include Fuji Cross, Specialized Tri-Cross, the late Lemond Propad. Most manufactureres have a couple in their catalog.
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Old 07-26-10, 03:40 PM   #3
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It's called a cyclocross bike. Sometimes abreviated as CX. There's a whole sub-forum on BF about them. From a distance, a CX bike looks pretty much like a road bike with similar geometry, 700mm wheels and drop handlbars. Get closer, though, and you'll see space for 700x35 (or sometimes larger) tires, cantilever brakes for mud and tire clearance. Some now also come with disc brakes.

Some examples include Fuji Cross, Specialized Tri-Cross, the late Lemond Propad. Most manufactureres have a couple in their catalog.
Yes, this is exactly what you're looking for. The big thing is more tire clearance for fatter tires with more tread for genuine off-roading.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:31 PM   #4
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"I was looking at the Trek FX 7.3, but I've read it sucks offroad. Why is that? What would be so bad about taking it offroad?"

Depends on what they meant by offroad. Single track where you only see mountain bikes? Yes, the FX and probably any cross bike will suck because there is no suspension and the tires are skinny by mountain bike standards.

Doing the offroad riding you're talking about doing, the FX and any cross bike would be perfectly suited for. Now, the one consideration you need to make is road riding. A cross bike is going to be much nicer than the FX simply because of the difference in handlebars. Road riding is best served by drop bars due to the numerous hand positions it provides. Plus it's much easier to get out of the wind with the drops. STI shifters are quite nice to have also.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:08 PM   #5
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http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx3.htm

The BD option.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:10 PM   #6
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"I was looking at the Trek FX 7.3, but I've read it sucks offroad. Why is that? What would be so bad about taking it offroad?"

Depends on what they meant by offroad. Single track where you only see mountain bikes? Yes, the FX and probably any cross bike will suck because there is no suspension and the tires are skinny by mountain bike standards.

Doing the offroad riding you're talking about doing, the FX and any cross bike would be perfectly suited for. Now, the one consideration you need to make is road riding. A cross bike is going to be much nicer than the FX simply because of the difference in handlebars. Road riding is best served by drop bars due to the numerous hand positions it provides. Plus it's much easier to get out of the wind with the drops. STI shifters are quite nice to have also.
Yeah, ditto.

I looked up the Trek FX 7.3, and if I'm looking at the right bike -
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/fx/73fx/

It comes with 32c tires. That's not *great*, but you could probably fit a bigger tire on there than what it comes with.

Like the other guy said - if you're doing "real" offroad, riding over logs and rocks, you need front suspension (ok, apparently if you're really skilled you can do without, but for most of us front suspension is a requirement).

For your kind of riding though, you don't need front suspension at all, what you need is a fat treaded tire (most likely with some tread) that can get a grip on the loose-ish ground you're biking over. A road bike that won't take above 25c tires is out of the question (and I say this as someone who rides regularly over grass and crushed limestone bike trails) if you're riding over rocks, dirt, bumps, etc like you find on a real dirt road (or, I assume, a fire road). You need a fatter tire.

The question is how big of a tire would your bike need to accommodate, and I'm not sure. 32's are really a little small, in my opinion. The Trek would probably take 35's, I think 35c is pretty standard for cyclocross (which is similar to what you're doing). Though if you got a bike that could take 2" (50c) tires you really, really wouldn't have to worry about it.

Perhaps someone else could comment who actually rides fire roads?
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Old 07-26-10, 05:11 PM   #7
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I rode my CX bike around Burton Creek SP (above Tahoe City) this weekend with my son. 35mm knobbies. Did super fine on the dirt.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:06 PM   #8
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Check this out:



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Old 04-15-12, 08:16 PM   #9
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Adapting road bike for grass, dirt

I have a related question. I plan to do a lot of camping this summer. I'll be pulling a cargo trailer I converted into a simple RV, so I have room to pack a bike. I have a couple road bikes, and want something I can also ride a bit on hard packed dirt and grass. A CX would likely be perfect, but rather than buy a 3d bike (actually a 4th) I thought I'd put some 28 tires on my rims (or have two sets of wheels, one with 700 x 23, the other with 28 or wider, knobby but ok for the road and relatively puncture resistant.

I'd like your thoughts. I have a compact double and a triple. I'm assuming the triple would be better for dual purpose. I've done a little experimenting, riding on grass, and the only thing I notice is the friction is WAY increased, need more lower gears.
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Old 04-15-12, 08:42 PM   #10
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I ride a crux (cyclocross bike) and I did some gravel trails that were muddy and stuff just last week. My crux is running 33's on it. The tires are a small knob type tread. Most cyclocross bikes should take between 32 to 38mm tires.
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Old 04-15-12, 10:47 PM   #11
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A guy in Utah bought my 1984 Klein Performance aluminum frame touring bike and converted it into a fireroad/double track touring bike. It had room for 35c tires and a long chainstay for real stable load carrying. The original frame had eyelets for rear panniers and the fork I had put on had eyelets for front panniers.

The bike had all Campy Chorus running gear and a triple crank. I'm not sure what wheels or handlebar he used.

I heard from him a year later and he was very happy with the conversion. He had done a number of 4 - 6 day tours in Utah and Colorado - all off road. He carried about 35 - 45 pounds and had no problems with traction or durability.

I, and then my wife, had been riding the Klein for over 24 years and a lot of miles, when I sold the bike.
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