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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 07-04-06, 10:14 PM   #1
eyefloater
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Cross bike + compact crankset ... easy switching from cx to road?

Note: my riding history is mountain, single speed, fixed gear and road ... no cross yet, so I apologize for the noobisms.

I've been thinking about a new bike build for next season, namely a cross bike that I can also use for long road rides. I work for a shop that sells Lemonds, so I'll probably end up w/ a 2007 Poprad frameset or a 2006 canti frameset if those are still available (not too likely). Aside from the difficulties of finding a well-priced disc compatible wheelset for pure road useage (I'll likely just end up building my own), I've been trying to figure out a good drivetrain setup that will convert nicely from cross to road.

Right now I'm considering the Shimano R700 (http://tinyurl.com/hmekw) due to the fact that it's a nice crankset that will work w/ standard front derailleurs. It comes stock as 50/34. So that with an 11-23 cassette will be a nice enough setup for road useage. I'm wondering though if a simple cassette swap (either on the same wheelset or on a cross-specific one) will set me up with decent gearing options (say 12-27 for cross). Or ... maybe I'm just going about this the wrong way and I should be looking at a chainring swap. I don't want to deal with swapping chains if at all possible, but I'm not sure what the least-hassle solution is for my needs.

Basically I just want to be able to ride the bike offroad on Saturday with some friends who are much better at cx than I ever will be, go out drinking and still be able to slap my bike back together in time to do a hung-over century ride on Sunday. Commuting isn't really a concern becase I rotate through all my bikes depending on ... well, whichever bike ended up w/ the ATACs on it last.

Opinions/recommendations would be appreciated.

- eyefloater
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Old 07-05-06, 10:59 AM   #2
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Hey, fancy meeting you here I've got a campy centaur compact 50-36 on my cross/road bike-and I used to ride an FSA gossamer 50-34 until it messed itself up. I've also used a road triple, and a standard road crank on the same bike. I am very happy with the compact crank, it does everything I need it to with little compromise.

I have two wheelsets, one for road, with a 13-21 stack, and one for off road with 12-30. This works really well for me. I find I rarely use the small chaninring on the road, unless I am really tired, and rarely use the big ring offroad. I have wished for one gear higherr on the road once or twice on training rides (12 tooth at the back would do it for sure, 11 would be overkill for me), but it has never been an big problem-there are really not enough steep downhills to need a 53 tooth ring up front. The cool thing about compact is the range of chainrings you can get for that size, essentially anything from 34t to 55t, so you can change it if you don't like your gearing. With a big jump, like 50-34, the front shift quality may be a little less than optimal (I am running bar cons, so it doesn't matter for me, but with STI or Ergo you may notice).
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Old 07-06-06, 09:46 AM   #3
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If you swap between different cassettes, make sure that your derailier can handle both ranges.
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Old 07-07-06, 11:58 PM   #4
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my friend runs a record compact 50:34 on his cross bike that also gets used like your desired description. he runs a 12:25 cassette and finds the gearing to work well for both on and off road situations. he doesn't find it a compromise in either situation, especially due to the compact crank gearing. have you considered a single setup for both uses?

as far as a disc compatible wheelset, have you looked at the velomax sagitta's? i run them on my 'cross bike and think they're great... i run canti's though.

darkmother, what bcd did your gossamer's have? i have gossamer's, but mine are 130, so i am running 48/38. i'd rather go compact, but eh...
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Old 07-10-06, 07:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by isotopesope
darkmother, what bcd did your gossamer's have? i have gossamer's, but mine are 130, so i am running 48/38. i'd rather go compact, but eh...
They are 110mm BCD. I would think you could use the right arm and spindle with your setup. You can have it if you like, just pay shipping cost. 170mm cranks btw.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:08 AM   #6
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aw crap. thanks for the offer, but i'm running 172.5 cranks.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyefloater
Note: my riding history is mountain, single speed, fixed gear and road ...
If you're used to riding single speed and fixed gear, you probably won't mind having smaller chainrings up front for long road rides - I'll bet your high rpm spin is pretty good.

Here's my opinion: Off road and on the 'cross course, you won't use the 50 tooth chainring at all, and on-road, you can get by without it unless you're sprinting or trying to stay with a group in the mountains.

My cross/commuting/touring bike has 44/34 chainrings up front, and I don't really miss having the big ring. Off road, it's nice to have the extra small gears to choose from.

110 bcd cranks are great, because you can experiment with lots of different size chainrings to find what you like.
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Old 07-13-06, 07:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by same time
If you're used to riding single speed and fixed gear, you probably won't mind having smaller chainrings up front for long road rides - I'll bet your high rpm spin is pretty good.

Here's my opinion: Off road and on the 'cross course, you won't use the 50 tooth chainring at all, and on-road, you can get by without it unless you're sprinting or trying to stay with a group in the mountains.

My cross/commuting/touring bike has 44/34 chainrings up front, and I don't really miss having the big ring. Off road, it's nice to have the extra small gears to choose from.

110 bcd cranks are great, because you can experiment with lots of different size chainrings to find what you like.
I'm with ^..

I have a compact on my JtS and keep up with my roady buddys when I run my Krsyruims with no issues...with your background, I'd not worry.
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Old 07-14-06, 08:20 PM   #9
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I'm doing this exact same thing with my x01 right now... just got an FSA energy 50/34 crank (although I'm going to change the 34 out for a 36) and am keeping the 12-26 cassette I have on my offroad wheels and road wheels (same cassette on each set of wheels).

I was thinking of keeping the 46/38 crankset I had running (I've done 70 mile road rides with it no problem), but need some more top speed and a little more on the climbing end too... I think the 50/36 will work well on and off road.

I also considered just leaving the 46/38 and changing the just the cassette on the road wheels to achieve this, but felt I'd be better off with the crank change to get just what I was looking for (needed shorter crank arms anyway) so I figured do it all at once).... plus if I went with 2 different cassettes, I may end up with RD issues everytime I change the wheels out.
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Old 07-15-06, 04:55 PM   #10
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Ok.. I just (literally) finished switching out the crankset and took it for a test ride... so much different. I put on an FSA energy crank (172.5mm) with 50/36 chainwheels (came with a 54 but I swapped it out). So much fast with the big wheel on flats, and climbing feels like I have much more room to spare (didn't hit my last cog like usual)... so all in all I'm happy with the change (from a 46/38 cross setup) and keeping the cassettes at a 12-26 seems like it'll work well.

Good luck if you decide to switch it up.
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Old 07-15-06, 07:05 PM   #11
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Yep, I think it's definitely going to happen. I've been mulling it over for the past few days - the positive feedback from this forum was a nice bit of encouragement as well. The only matter now is which frame to use. The 2007 Poprad frameset will certainly be nice (and cheap-ish, since I work at a shop that sells them), but I just have to commit to disc-specific, which I haven't been able to do yet. It's just a matter of wheelsets, really ... but I suppose I need the practice building my own wheels anyway.
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Old 07-19-06, 04:30 PM   #12
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i just bought the 06 lemond and since i wanted 172.5's for road riding/to mimic my road position (the 52 is stock with 170's) i got a slight upgrade to a compact truvativ external bearing setup. -so now i've got a standard compact double up front and the stock sram 12-26 that came with it.

where i live there's two kinds of off-road riding: flat double-track/one-lane roads, and technical and steep mountain trails. while i of course do better on the former, i can handle the steep stuff but i find myself wishing for a little more gear as i spend very little time in the big gears. on the other hand, having that 'standard' compact range is great for road riding and long-distance commuting through stuff my fixie can't handle.

basically, if i were you (or if i had it to do over again) i'd probably go for a cassette with a wider range as i wouldn't want to go any smaller in the front since i'm doing road riding as well.
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