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  1. #1
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    One bike for everything

    I recently found a good deal on a custom made (for somebody else) cyclocross bike. It is steel, canti brakes, currently an 8 speed with a double crankset. I've been looking for a bike that would be able to handle light touring, but would also work for mid-paced group rides with roadies (20mph or so). It seems like the bike would be light enough that road rides would be ok with skinny tires, but with fenders and a rack, the bike could also be good for some light touring. Is it possible I found the perfect bike?
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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  2. #2
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Maybe so... until the next one comes along...

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I'm not a huge fan of having two bikes for every day of the week, it's a little bit too materialistic for me. Then again, that's probably because I barely have room for my two folding bikes in my apartment...

    I use my Swift folding bike for 90% of my riding: daily rides, light tours, centuries, the occasional group ride. It happens to be a very versatile and simple (8-speed) bike.

    So that said, there is merit to getting bikes for specialized purposes. It makes sense to use a junky bike for a daily commute, a relaxed frame with lots of braze-ons and medium-width tires for tours, or skinny tires and aggressive geometry for group rides, and so forth.

    Personally I'd want slightly different geometry and positions for light touring and fast group rides. Part of it is that I like to sit somewhat upright for tours -- handlebars even with the saddle -- so I can soak up the view. For fast rides you likely want to lean forward more. For example, it seems like the Swift isn't great for fast group rides and am still figuring out if it's the best choice for centuries.

    If it's easy for you to switch back and forth between touring and roadie setups, and you've got all the braze-ons you need, then you're all set. I'd try it with those two functions, and see if you still think it's an easy switch and that the bike's position suits both those functions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    the "one bike for everything" is my current mode of bike existence. i went from having a LHT for touring, a fixed gear conversion and a mtb/commuter. i sold the fixed and the mtb and the LHT is ready to be sold once i get a few new parts. All three bikes were replaced by a Surly Cross-Check which i am currently using as a fixed gear all weather commuter, a trail bike, my first rando bike (we'll see how it does), and a touring bike (with a LHT fork). I currently have one wheelset and 3 sets of tires (commuting/rando tires, Nokian studs and 35c cyclocross tires) with a derailleur and lighter wheels I could see it going pretty fast. I have 2 saddle set-ups as well, a brooks with a carradice nelson strapped to it on a crappy seat post and then a thompson with a Flite on it (which weighs less than just the Brooks). I run a On One midge bar which seems to be very versatile. I have a huge amount of spacers on my uncut steerer tube. this allows a ton of height adjustment for fast agressive riding ad relaxed touring. I had an adjustable stem but it's quality was too low for my 220lbs, but i miss it's versatility.
    I like the simplicity of it all, and i like not feeling too greedy about my bike consumption, but it is really tough to resist the urge to buy new bikes. But, unless you freeride friday, TT saturday and tour Mozambique sunday, a single bike such as the one you described should be great fun and super usefull. The only one you need. I definitely feel quite a bond growing for this bike, as i must no longer spread the love between 3 bikes. Resist the urge to buy more bikes, not easy.
    Which bike should i ride today?? HA! ...one less thing to think about. just ride.

  5. #5
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    Used to have one bike for everything, but then when I decided to continue commuting through the winter, I needed to be able to mount 26" studded tires, so I needed a mountain bike. Yes, I know there are 700c studded tires, I own a pair -- you can write to me about how wonderful they are while you're recuperating from your broken wrist :-) As for me, the Nokian Extreme's with four rows of studs are the minimum that can be used successfully on the bike path, which can vary from spiky refrozen rutted ice, to slushy-on-the-top-icy-underneath, to icy-on-top-and-slush-underneath, to bare pavement, all within 100 meters. Having bought a mountain bike, I eventually got a second set of wheels, shod with road tires. And then I finally came around to deciding it just doesn't make sense to put my good randonneuring road bike through 4000+ miles of commuting every year, wearing out expensive components.

  6. #6
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Cyclocross bike will not handle well for touring. They are designed for quick-racer-like handling. A touring bike will be way more stable and easier on you on long rides. It's becoming a pet peeve of mine that folks think because a 'cross bike has clearance its suited for long distances and touring. They are a specialty racing bike and will ride like one. Sorry its Monday and I have to work:-(
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
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  7. #7
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit
    Cyclocross bike will not handle well for touring. They are designed for quick-racer-like handling. A touring bike will be way more stable and easier on you on long rides. It's becoming a pet peeve of mine that folks think because a 'cross bike has clearance its suited for long distances and touring. They are a specialty racing bike and will ride like one. Sorry its Monday and I have to work:-(
    My plan was to swap out the fork should I want to do any touring. A bit more trail would make it a bit more stable. I suppose the higher bb and shorter chainstays would still make it more twitchy that an LHT with a 4 foot wheelbase. Then again, cross bikes are designed for stability off-road, so they probably handle more like a touring bike than a road racer would. I suppose I'll just have to take the bike for a test ride and see how it feels.

    I guess I'm more curious as to how it will keep up with a bunch of roadies at 20mph for 30 miles or so.
    Last edited by sivat; 12-18-06 at 01:32 PM.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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  8. #8
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    Been kicking this around myself. Seems it's very hard to do everything with one bike, especially if you're riding different styles like you are doing. I think something like the cross-check might be a good fit for this. I'm considering one myself. Currently, I have a Trek 520 and a soon to be added Eddy Merckx Majestic Ti road bike for fast rides. Talk about fast, I rode my 520 this weekend on a rec ride of 57 miles and got up to 51.5 mph... Good luck on the hunt and let us know what you get and if it fits all the needs.

  9. #9
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    I don't buy the cyclocross can't do touring... I rode acorss the USA using a Airborne Carpi Diem cyclocross bike weighing up to 70 pounds at times. I had no trouble with the handling...

    I even rode it with aerobars and bags

    Today, however, cyclocross bikes are becoming more specific so the issue is not is the geometry suited for touring but can it be used for touring... More and more of them are NOT coming with the mount points for fenders or racks...

    Since the original question was can a cyclocross do light touring and still be used for fast group rides the answer is YES. I do that every time my racer is in the shop.

    The light duty touring will be perfeclty suited to the cyclocross frame. You can run heavier tires if you go medium duty to full touring and the bike (at least many still) has mount points for racks and fenders if you need them.

    The racing heritage of the frame means it will be fairly snappy however it does have longer stays (typically it is in-between the length of racers and traditional touring frames). this means it will be a bit slower coming out of sharp corners and the rear wheel will track a bit further out...

    But if you ride it for a long time you will think it handles just fine (until you get back on your racer)

    I had my Airborne (may they rest in peace) custom made to add a bit more "touring" tid-bits to it (down tube shifter bosses in case I broke my STI I could fall back to DTS, pump pegs, moved the brake cables and set my geometry)... And it was custom made for my first trans-continental crossing. After I converted it to be an S&S so I could travel with it. While not doing loaded touring it is my SERIOUS brevet bike. In super foul weather I mount 28mm tires and speed-fenders.

    It is being fitted for next year's PBP and I think it will carry a mini bike rack and mini bags from nash bar (they are actually a front rack but I'm mounting it on the rear). The rack mounts onto the brake bosses of the canti brakes

    Here it is in medium touring weigth...


    Here it is in "SNOW Day trecking form"
    <img src="http://jnj.homelinux.net/www.JohnAnd...p/IMG_3177.JPG" width=640 height=480>
    Last edited by prestonjb; 12-18-06 at 09:11 PM.

  10. #10
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    The Carpe Diem was their touring frame... no? I remember looking at it while I was contemplating a Trek 520. They are still around, just named Flyte in the US now.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Is it possible I found the perfect bike?
    One aspect of bicycling is the "appreciation" of how bicycles are "perfectly tuned machines." Since you already know the drawbacks associated with riding certain types of bicycles in certain types of situations, namely the difference between touring and club riding -- you'll know doubt become unsatisfied with the bike on club rides immediately.

    "Skinny tires", just won't cut it - riding a bike built for cyclo-cross bike on club ride will be like riding a cruiser with a tick in it's pedal........

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    The Carpe Diem was their touring frame... no? I remember looking at it while I was contemplating a Trek 520. They are still around, just named Flyte in the US now.
    Airborne marketed the Carpe Diem as a "cyclocross/light touring" bike, depending on how you spec'd it out, and I seem to recall some photos of a pro 'crosser racing on a Carpe Diem.

    Prestonjb . . . your post really caught my interest! My main ride is also an Airborne CD, set up more for the "light touring" mode (bar-end shifters, mountain bike rear derailleur, 11/34 cassette.) I love this bike -- I've done a bunch of centuries and three MS150 rides, and I've joined the local rando club and hope to do some brevets this season. I've always wondered, though, whether I could really do a self-supported tour with it; the frame is small (Airborne made me a custom size 48 frame; the smallest stock CD was a 50), so I don't know how panniers would work (although, being short, I have correspondingly small feet ). Figured I might have to go the trailer route instead. I've thought about the S&S coupler thing, too -- that would certainly make air travel a whole lot easier.

  13. #13
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    As for the specific bike I was looking at, it was a custom steel cyclocross bike. I'm guessing early to mid 90's from the components. It has rack mounts on the front fork and the seat stays, so i'm guessing it was made with multiple uses in mind. As for richard's comment, a guy at my LBS (a different shop than the one that has the bike i'm looking at) said he rides his cross bike on centuries and club rides frequently and loves it. To each his own I suppose.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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  14. #14
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sivat
    As for the specific bike I was looking at, it was a custom steel cyclocross bike. I'm guessing early to mid 90's from the components. It has rack mounts on the front fork and the seat stays, so i'm guessing it was made with multiple uses in mind. As for richard's comment, a guy at my LBS (a different shop than the one that has the bike i'm looking at) said he rides his cross bike on centuries and club rides frequently and loves it. To each his own I suppose.
    I often find RC's comments amusing. I think with some smart choices you'll be able to ride your bike on all sorts of events - from centuries to light dirt track to club rides. Pick up the cross bike, and if you want to use it for dirt track use some grippy 35s of it, and maybe buy and extra set of wheels and keep some nice road tires on it. You'll be able to switch it back and forth quick...

    Most of how fast you can go is about the engine, ticking cruiser or not.

  15. #15
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike

    Most of how fast you can go is about the engine, ticking cruiser or not.
    13mph, here I come
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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  16. #16
    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    I use my lowracer for just about everything other than dirt roads. Super fast touring........although I miss quite a bit of the scenery unless I stop to smell the roses. I don't do too much sniffing. Century rides is usually in the 24 to 27mph range solo. I've done a nonstop 200 mile ride and still no rear end pain when getting out of the bike.
    chris@promocycle.net

  17. #17
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    What's that a bent?

  18. #18
    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxine
    Airborne marketed the Carpe Diem as a "cyclocross/light touring" bike, depending on how you spec'd it out, and I seem to recall some photos of a pro 'crosser racing on a Carpe Diem.

    Prestonjb . . . your post really caught my interest! My main ride is also an Airborne CD, set up more for the "light touring" mode (bar-end shifters, mountain bike rear derailleur, 11/34 cassette.) I love this bike -- I've done a bunch of centuries and three MS150 rides, and I've joined the local rando club and hope to do some brevets this season. I've always wondered, though, whether I could really do a self-supported tour with it; the frame is small (Airborne made me a custom size 48 frame; the smallest stock CD was a 50), so I don't know how panniers would work (although, being short, I have correspondingly small feet ). Figured I might have to go the trailer route instead. I've thought about the S&S coupler thing, too -- that would certainly make air travel a whole lot easier.
    That's right though when I had my frame designed I "un-cyclocrossed" it by moving the rear brake cable to be under the top tube instead of on top.. They fitted it with eyelets (and if you went with the touring fork then you could have front bags) but it has the BB height of a cyclocross frame and shorter rear-stays so it isn't a true loaded touring geometry.

    WHen I prepared for my cross usa trip I'd bought the Jandd Expedition rack because the rack is longer (longer rails and top surface is nearly 3 inches longer than standard racks)... Because that way I'd not have to worry about heel strike. Turns out once I got the bike and the rack and experimented with them and with other racks tnat I found the "typical" length rack with bags clears my heels just fine... So I guess what Im saying is that you can probably find a rack that will offset your bags enough to give back that inch of chain stay that it diesn't have compared to a traditional touring frame if you think you will heel strike the bags.,

    As for the S&S I sent my bike to Bilenky cycles for the modification...

    My frame actually appears on their "retrofit site" (first picture!)

    http://www.bilenky.com/Photo%20Gallery-Retrofits.html

    I think it cost me $850 to do the retrofit... There was some extra cost because they had to make a custome conversion tube to get it to fit the ovalized downtube...

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