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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking 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 08-16-05, 11:04 PM   #1
bike_n_Ike
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Is a cyclocross bike good for a city rider?

I was thinking of getting a cyclocross bike- I live in NYC and want a bike that will go relatively fast and is relatively light but am worried about buying a road bike due to the vast amount of potholes and curbs. I currently have a mountain bike and have heard of hybrid bikes but they just look too damn wimpy for my tastes. I read in these very forums that high pressure tires would work best rather than knobby ones in terms of avoiding blowouts in pothole conditions- also that thicker tires would also help. SO, if I just got a regular road bike and had some thicker, higher-pressure tires put on, would I be able to ride that around and not have to worry about my tires popping every day due to landing in a pothole? Or should I get a cyclocross bike for ground clearance reasons and get thicker tires on that? I am thinking in the back of my mind that I may want to get into racing a year or two down the road. If I buy a cyclocross bike, will the frame put me at that big of a disadvantage vs. road bikes in a road race? I would appreciate anyone's thoughts as I am about to lay out a pretty decent chunk of money and don't want to do the wrong thing! Also, if anyone knows of any good used bike store in NYC/surrounding areas, let me know that as well. Thanks!
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Old 08-17-05, 08:43 AM   #2
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I hear ya!

I live in NYC and after giving it some thought, I settled on a CX bike. While I used to race road and mountain back when I was a Long Islander 12 years ago (I've only since returned to the sport two months ago), the CX bike made perfect sense for the riding I envisioned.

My main concern was the terrain of city streets and parks, and also the obstacles. I'm always hopping curbs, veering in and out of slow traffic, and going between dirt and broken asphalt in Riverside Park and Central Park. Also, my riding schedule is so erratic that I wanted a bike that I can tool around on and explore NYC with. If I got a road bike, I'd be tempted to train for racing and then get frustrated that I wouldn't have the time. In the back of my mind, though, I've always had an interest in CX, so the bike was also a present to myself.

I ride a Cannondale Cyclocross. I swapped out the stock tires for some 700x32cc treaded road tires (Specialized Infinity). They're mad heavy, but also very bombproof. I get all of my stuff from Toga on 64th and West End Avenue. Not many shops stock CX bikes so look around. Knowing the abuse CX bikes take, I'd stay away from used ones. Many people with the Cannondale Cyclocross also use it as a second road training bike while still racing CX with it, it's just a matter of wheel and tire choice.
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Old 08-17-05, 09:32 AM   #3
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it works really well in London too - go for a disc brake option especially if riding year round - better braking and no rim wear
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Old 08-17-05, 12:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jpearl
I hear ya!

I live in NYC and after giving it some thought, I settled on a CX bike. While I used to race road and mountain back when I was a Long Islander 12 years ago (I've only since returned to the sport two months ago), the CX bike made perfect sense for the riding I envisioned.



I ride a Cannondale Cyclocross. I swapped out the stock tires for some 700x32cc treaded road tires (Specialized Infinity). They're mad heavy, but also very bombproof. I get all of my stuff from Toga on 64th and West End Avenue. Not many shops stock CX bikes so look around. Knowing the abuse CX bikes take, I'd stay away from used ones. Many people with the Cannondale Cyclocross also use it as a second road training bike while still racing CX with it, it's just a matter of wheel and tire choice.
did you get the cannondale cross with the disc brakes?
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Old 08-17-05, 02:13 PM   #5
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Nah, I went with the cantilevers. The discs are not race-legal (UCI at least). Also, I'm too ol' skool to get into disk brakes. I know they stop well, but I'm not a big fan of having cables run all over my bike. Cantis are nice and simple, and stop well if you set 'em up right.
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Old 08-19-05, 02:27 PM   #6
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I think CX is great for city/commuter riding. Like another poster, I often find myself switching from bumpy asphalt in rural Sonoma County CA and gravel fire roads and bike paths. On smooth flat pavement I find I avg ~18-20 mph during commute, which is a couple or 3 faster than I used to get on a stiffy mountain bike set up with slicks. Maybe not as fast as a racy road bike, but I don't race and prefer the extra comfort knowing I can hop curbs, don't worry about potholes, and get off pavement if I like.

Schwinn Crosscut built up by Egan in San Rafael sold to me at a swap meet in Marin. Can't beat the simplicity of the cantilever brakes (again, set-up right work wonders!) Triple chain ring in front which is a little different than "true" CX, but the granny gear is nice on these steep Marin/Sonoma/Mendocino County backroads.
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Old 08-19-05, 02:38 PM   #7
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I have a LeMond Poprad (live in NYC) and I put 25c tires on them. The extra set of brakes help out (but you can put those on a regular road bike)... the wheels are road bike wheels, though, so it's still no good going over potholes.

Currently I'm just riding my MTBs and can tear through any street in the city with no worries, still can't do that on my CX bike (I'm actually in need of a new rear wheel, but that was due to stupidity on my part, not because the wheel was crappy).
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Old 08-21-05, 09:33 AM   #8
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I ride a SOMA Double Cross as my all-rounder/city bike/commuter, and find it perfect for the job. I am running 700x28 Panaracer Pasela TGs on Mavic T519/XT/DT db spokes, and it seems up to the job.
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Old 08-21-05, 12:14 PM   #9
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I ride a SOMA Double Cross as my all-rounder/city bike/commuter, and find it perfect for the job. I am running 700x28 Panaracer Pasela TGs on Mavic T519/XT/DT db spokes, and it seems up to the job.
I have a few sets of T519(A719)/DT myselves. One of them ceramic. They're sure up to the job.
I can't think of much stronger wheels. The rim can be a bit wide for some canties though
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Old 08-22-05, 04:18 AM   #10
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I have a few sets of T519(A719)/DT myselves. One of them ceramic. They're sure up to the job.
I can't think of much stronger wheels. The rim can be a bit wide for some canties though
I'm using the Shimano BR-R550 cantis, and they work fine with the T519.
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