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  1. #1
    Portland, OR, USA pdxtex's Avatar
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    Roadie wants to ride trails. Info please ;)

    Just what it says. I don't intend on doing big hits or even really rocky terrain. I just want to ride cross country on semi packed dirt trails, maybe some old logging roads too. Anyone ride some pretty rough conditions on their cross bike. Any advantages/disadvantages to just getting a traditional mountain bike over a cross bike? My last mountain bike was a 96 Fisher Aquila and I'd really like something that can handle occasional trails and still roll fast to the grocery store. Ideas?

  2. #2
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    CX bikes aren't meant for any type of eal mountain biking. Maybe what you'd put a hybrid through. No jumps, rocks. We're talking mostly flat courses that are mudded up. Hills are limited to about 100 feet and are often scrambled cuz they are completely mudded out. The gearing just doesn't go down to what a mtb does either, so nothing real steep.

    Google for some CX videos.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxtex
    I don't intend on doing big hits or even really rocky terrain. I just want to ride cross country on semi packed dirt trails, maybe some old logging roads too.
    This is exacly what I use my cross bike for. Handles it no problem. Advantage over a mountain bike is that you can have much longer rides to the dirt, and then do longer rides once you're there.

    I have a mountain bike too and ride it for fun, but even on the mtn bike I was never into the super technical stuff. Would rather just get some miles in.
    Lemond Poprad: Cross/Road
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    "the feel of steel"

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    As KeatonR says - this is REALLY what CX bikes are perfectly designed for.

    I've done a great deal of mountain biking and now that mountain bikes are so sophisticated there's little fun in riding them offroad.

    I was riding packed trails and fireroads on road bikes but the problem is that with smooth tires you have trouble braking enough. To put in enough tire to slow you down where it's important to slow down, you need a lot more clearance than road bikes have these days. You also have to have cantilever brakes (V-brakes suck because they're too powerful, they wear altogether too fast and they look like they were designed by a weenie.) You also need more crotch clearance if you intend to keep your manhood on the side of a steep slope when you need to put a foot down.

    I put a triple and BIG gears on my CX bikes and I'll take them just about anywhere you would have taken and old unsprung MTB. And as for the stuff they do with full-suspension mountain bikes today? Only an idiot rides on stuff that could get him killed. That's for stupid teenagers and mindless morons.

    But the FUN part of being offroad - not having to race every fool who thinks he's Eddy Merckx, being able to relax and ride at your own pace, being able to see and experience QUIET and PEACE? Hey, that's there in spades.

    I stopped at the stone bridge to wait for some friends to catch up. As I was sitting quietly a grey fox walked right by me without noticing me.

  5. #5
    SpecOps-27 Emerson's Avatar
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    I also use my cross bike, a Surly, on just the sort of trails you mention--and somewhat rougher ones. It is a primary reason I bought and love my bike. I've got 700x42 knobbies on it for the trails and it does pretty well. It reminds me a lot of my first mountain bike from the 80's, and I ride it in a similar fashion. I also have it geared more like a mountain bike than a true cyclocross racer--granny gear triple up front and 11-34 cassette. Then for the weekday commute I toss some 700x35 Pasela's on it and zip off to work.
    -----------------
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    I ride my Conquest on trails all the time. There's some rocky downhill stuff and deep sand I avoid - otherwise it's the same trails as the mountain bike.

    Ron

  7. #7
    Portland, OR, USA pdxtex's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies. do you guys ride with drop bars too or flat mtb bars. i was thinking of buying a bianchi san jose and putting some moustache bars on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxtex
    thanks for the replies. do you guys ride with drop bars too or flat mtb bars. i was thinking of buying a bianchi san jose and putting some moustache bars on it.
    I ride with drop bars and I think that you'll find that just about everyone on a 'cross bike has drop bars too.

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    Like everyone said, a cross bike will probably be just fine for what you're proposing. I have drop bars on mine, even had drop bars on my mtn bike for a long time. Give them a try before you buy moustache bars, you might like them. What I REALLY want is an On-One Midge bar, probably for my mountain bike.

    One thing to watch out for is pinch flats - with a mountain bike, you can roll over rocks and roots and stuff without thinking about it because the tires are so big. But just one sharp-edged rock on a xc trail can pinch flat a cyclocross tire, especially if you're running the air pressure low for traction. Unless, of course, you get tubulars... but that's a different discussion.

  10. #10
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    As for bars, you'll actually find that the drop bars are really good for control. I'll ride on the hoods a lot, but as soon as things get dicey at all (e.g., loose gravel, sand), I'll go straight to the drops and feel much more in control of the bike.
    Lemond Poprad: Cross/Road
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  11. #11
    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    I take my LeMond Poprad up into Forest Park (PDX) all the time! My Cannondale F700 is gathering dust. So is my road bike!

    There are a couple of places where i've gotten off and run the bike-- but that's usually just for fun. Riding a corss bike off road is like mountainbiking USED to be. Remember this? "If you ain't hiking, you ain't mountain biking!"

    Now that just about every serious MTB has suspension, it seems that EVERYTHING must be ridden. Feh!

    Anyway-- i totally dig tackling ANYTHING with my cross bike-- if i can't ride it i'll just hike it!

    I'll second the pinch-flat peril. Just got one this weekend-- was running maybe 40 PSI? And tackling Firelane 3 full speed ahead. Pow! PSSSSSsssss. Seems like maybe 50 PSI minimum for rough off-roading.

    As for bars? Do yourself a HUGE favor and get some On-One "Midge" bars. They're a "dirt-drop" style handlebar and are incredible! Forget moustache bars-- those are for the road.

    I replaced the Bontrager Race CX bars with the Midge and WOW! Due to the design-- a short reach and shallow drop-- i spend most of the time in the drops. I can reach the brake levers very easily and the sense of security is fantastic. A very "connected" feeling with the bike.

    I'm entertaining thoughts of replacing the Magura hydraulic brakes on my F700 with Avid BB7's just so i can put some Midge bars on my MTB.

    I got the On-One bars at veloshop downtown. I'd recommend that you call and see if they have any in stock before dropping by. Check out the bars at www.on-one.co.uk. The company is in England but they have US distributors. I've found the bars at pricepoint.com, too.

    Enjoy!

  12. #12
    +++++++++++++++ xccx's Avatar
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    another vote here for a cx bike off road, and i'll second the on-one midge bars. i'm a devout crosser but just wanna present you with another option...a 29" mountain bike such as surly's karate monkey. lots of options with that bike and it will take drops, flat bars, moustache...whatever. i say go for it and you will be hooked. i used to be a hard core mtb-er and now i never ride my mtb. i'm currently racing xc on my cross bike! i suck on the rocky downhills but i can haul ass on the hills and flats. have fun!

  13. #13
    Honking drivers see you noriel's Avatar
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    I'll second the 29er option as well. I used to ride my old Schwinn Cross-cut on some rocky San Antonio trails. All it did was make me a better rider.
    Noriel
    ----------------
    Geared-->SS-->Fixie.
    Somewhere between I got a dual slalom and mod trials bike.
    I think I'm through with derailleurs.
    I guess uni's are my next step.

  14. #14
    Portland, OR, USA pdxtex's Avatar
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    sweet, sweet, and sweet. yeah, for some reason i just cannot get into mountain bikes with any kind of suspension. it just seems like i lose momentum when climbing from all the bob. granted, i don't ride on really rocky stuff. for now, bombing trails on mount tabor or up on leif ericksen will suffice. if i ever graduate to more technical oregon trails then i'll probably take the plunge and buy a mountain bike with suspension. my bike wet dream is to load up a cross bike with paniers and such and find some old ass logging road on mount hood and ride to the end and camp for a few days. i hike plenty of remote places but i wouldn't mind switching gears and go camping via bike. concerning the On-One Midge bar, those bad boys are sweet. appears to be the "every" bar. wonder what one on one of my road bikes might be like.

  15. #15
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxtex
    Just what it says. I don't intend on doing big hits or even really rocky terrain. I just want to ride cross country on semi packed dirt trails, maybe some old logging roads too. Anyone ride some pretty rough conditions on their cross bike. Any advantages/disadvantages to just getting a traditional mountain bike over a cross bike? My last mountain bike was a 96 Fisher Aquila and I'd really like something that can handle occasional trails and still roll fast to the grocery store. Ideas?
    Perfect excuse to buy a cross bike. I bought mine as a do it all road bike, but increasingly I've been using it as a mountain bike as well-my MTB spends a lot of lonely days in the garage. I ride steep, technical MTB singletrack on my CX bike, and I *love* it. It is not quite as fast through the roots and rocks as my mountain bike, but I find it way more fun. On hardpack climbs it flies. I occasionaly take it on group MTB rides with no real problems. I find my CX bike makes riding technical trails so much more visceral than plowing though on a fat squishy MTB. Grab one and tear it up, you won't regret it.

  16. #16
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    (off topic) Has Darkmother been riding the don trails again? I've actually seen a fair number of cross bikes in there lately, which is odd because I've stopped riding my XC mountain bike in there in favour of my freeride/DH bike... that is to say I'm migrating in the opposite direction in terms of equipment.

    The odd thing with the Don trails (the ridge, anyways) is that the varied nature of the trail (you name it, there is a section of it) tends to spawn bikes of almost every dicipline... I'm still pondering taking my road bike through there, look pedals and all, just to see what happens. No stunts though... it was scarry enough coming down off the skinny on my XC ride with the nasty noise my SID made, much less a carbon road fork.

  17. #17
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
    (off topic) Has Darkmother been riding the don trails again?
    Yeah, I'm usually in there 3-4 times a week on the CX. Lately I've been riding my MTB because I was preparing myself for a race on it, and I wanted to get a feel for the bike, and now I'm riding it because I'm waiting for my shoulder to heal from a recent crash (note to self-I am not 19 anymore....no more jumps).

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
    I've actually seen a fair number of cross bikes in there lately, which is odd because I've stopped riding my XC mountain bike in there in favour of my freeride/DH bike... that is to say I'm migrating in the opposite direction in terms of equipment.
    I'm seeing more CX bikes in there too, maybe it's a new fad. Anyway, I sometimes wish I had a freeride rig to mess around on, those look like fun. Do you ride that crazy new high skinny near the motor cycle teeter totter? That thing makes me laugh-it is way beyond my skill level for sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
    The odd thing with the Don trails (the ridge, anyways) is that the varied nature of the trail (you name it, there is a section of it) tends to spawn bikes of almost every dicipline... I'm still pondering taking my road bike through there, look pedals and all, just to see what happens. No stunts though... it was scarry enough coming down off the skinny on my XC ride with the nasty noise my SID made, much less a carbon road fork.
    You can definately do the south side of the train tracks on your road bike, and I suspect even the north would be doable-although your gearing may be the limiting factor. You also might pinch-flat, but that's all part of the fun. I've ridden road pedals and shoes in there, it's great-until you have to walk up hill.

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