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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 09-26-06, 12:28 PM   #1
mjwarner
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Cyclocross Bike on Singletrack

So, can a cyclocross bike hang with a mountain bike on technical trails? How technical can the trails be?

Here in Lynchburg, VA we have a plethora of trails, to simple hard-packed dirt single track to unmaintained super-steep singletrack with lots of rocks, ruts, and roots.

It may be hard to describe, but what I want to know, is how much off-roading can a cyclocross bike handle?

If you are familiar with Lynchburg (i.e. Blackwater Creek, Peaks View, Candlers Mountain) make specific references to what it can/can't handle.

Thanks so much.
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Old 09-26-06, 12:42 PM   #2
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I've taken my Kona Jake on some pretty tech trails. I felt more limited by what my arms could soak up then the bike. No big drops or anything, but logs and roots didn't seem to be a problem.

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Old 09-26-06, 12:57 PM   #3
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I'll second 3dw.

I've taken my cross bike everywhere my mountain bike has been. I just do a little more running and jumping with the bike on my shoulder.

Which means: Mountain bikes have evolved into bikes that are designed to be ridden over/through/up/down anything. Cyclocross bikes are not. When the going gets too rough or technical or tricky-- you WILL have to get off and carry the bike.

To me, this just adds to the fun. Reminds me of what mountain biking USED to be like before the advent of full-suspension and terms like "freeriding", "all-mountain", and "hucking".
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Old 10-02-06, 10:39 AM   #4
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I have started riding my Bianchi Axis off road and it's alot of fun. I think it's MORE enjoyable and challanging with a lightweight bike w/drop h/bars rather than a heavier DS bike with wide tires. My bike performed admirably going through tight singletrack, around trees and even over some small logs as long as there is not any steep dropoffs. Besides I'm too old for all that hucking and heavy hitter stuff!

With my front wheel having 15g bladed spokes and aluminum nipples I would occasionally hear a "doink" noise which can be a little unnerving but no harn has been done.
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Old 10-02-06, 10:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_r_beej
I'll second 3dw.

I've taken my cross bike everywhere my mountain bike has been. I just do a little more running and jumping with the bike on my shoulder.

Which means: Mountain bikes have evolved into bikes that are designed to be ridden over/through/up/down anything. Cyclocross bikes are not. When the going gets too rough or technical or tricky-- you WILL have to get off and carry the bike.

To me, this just adds to the fun. Reminds me of what mountain biking USED to be like before the advent of full-suspension and terms like "freeriding", "all-mountain", and "hucking".
Exactly. It's like riding a '92 Bridgestone 29er if they ever made such a thing...
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Old 10-02-06, 06:50 PM   #6
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Another 'issue' is that on technical, rough and fast decents you will have to take it a lot slower than a mtb, unless you don't mind taking a hammering.
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Old 10-03-06, 08:41 PM   #7
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That's the one place I don't take the cross bike, is on the rocky stairsteppy downhills. I'm sure it could handle it mostly. But. I ride single track for fun and it isn't fun sweating whether I'm gonna eat a rim and getting myself beat up in the process. Otherwise, let'r rip.

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Old 10-03-06, 09:44 PM   #8
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My Crosscheck reminds me of the mountain bike I had in the late 80's and I ride it pretty much the same.
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Old 10-06-06, 10:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Emerson
My Crosscheck reminds me of the mountain bike I had in the late 80's and I ride it pretty much the same.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing- my Crosscheck seems pretty much like my old Gary Fisher Aquila. The wheels are going to be a major limiting factor. The Mavic CXP33's I have on mine right now can certainly handle anything a reasonable trail dishes out.

With a bit thinner tires than the typical mountain bike tires it won't 'float' over the bumps quite as smoothly, but will still make it. I've actually began to enjoy riding singletrack on my Crosscheck more than my mountain bike in a way, due to the more soulful feeling it provides.
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Old 11-08-06, 07:38 AM   #10
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What about the CX bikes with the carbon fiber forks? Can they handle a few bumps from not too gnarly singletrack? I am in South Korea and am considering buying a cyclocross bike to ride all of the great trails around here. Everybody rides at least a hard tail here, if not full suspension. I borrowed a bike to do a ride with a group and the terrain wasn't so rough, mostly gravel fire trails.
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Old 11-08-06, 10:46 AM   #11
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I put 45's on my crosscheck and pass cats on FS bikes.
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Old 11-08-06, 06:47 PM   #12
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I put 45's on my crosscheck and pass cats on FS bikes.
Yeah, I have bee nlooking at the cross check. Have you ever ridden a carbon fork on these trails? A lot of the other bikes come with carbon forks.
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Old 11-08-06, 09:50 PM   #13
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I saw a dude on a cross check at a race once, he was beating on people since the course was pretty easy terrain.
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Old 11-09-06, 09:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonelesschicken
Yeah, I have bee nlooking at the cross check. Have you ever ridden a carbon fork on these trails? A lot of the other bikes come with carbon forks.

I'm in the process of upgrading my front fork to carbon. The Surly steel fork is great, I just want the carbon for weight.
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Old 11-09-06, 10:16 AM   #15
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the Redline conquest has an AL fork and a great component set.
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Old 11-09-06, 07:21 PM   #16
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Yes. I use my Gunnar Crosshairs (with Gunnar steel fork) on trails frequently.


Click for video of the Gunnar and my brother's Poprad on gravel and single track. (Set to Weird Al)

Last edited by 251; 05-27-11 at 05:52 AM. Reason: bad links
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Old 11-10-06, 06:38 AM   #17
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Great video!

Hey 251,

I usually just lurk here but I want to say a big thanks for the video. Very cool. I sent it to some friends (MTBrs) who just don't get my passion for riding my Hakkalugi on all surfaces. You explained it better than I ever could.
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Old 11-10-06, 10:56 AM   #18
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My Las Cruces has a carbon fork and I really don't think about any differently than I would an alu or steel fork. It's definitely stiffer than the alu fork on my old Jamis.
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Old 11-10-06, 04:15 PM   #19
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Mountain biker here that bought a Road bike earlier in the year. Had it out on a few rides in the summer and ventured onto the Dry offroad trails for a few miles. Not technical singletrack but some pretty rough tracks that were breaking up and across rutted grass tracks. Boy do these "Road" bikes sail uphills. Have a triple so a 15% uphill for 1 mile was not a problem but 30/26 on a 19lb road bike is a lot faster than 22/30 on a 26lb Hardtail MTB. Did not chance the downhills and this is a road bike.

Made me realise that I got the wrong type of Road bike. Offroading is my game so looking for a cyclocross for next year. Then I will be able to stay with the others downhill aswell as leaving them uphills. (Reverese of what my normal offroading is like on the mountain bike.)

I do a 100 mile offroad event each year and a few years ago One cyclocross was entered. Rough tracks and 10,000ft of climbing. He had a back up vehicle with him- so did we- and the only problem he had was Tyres. He shredded about 4 of them on the flints that abound in our chalk but he was not slow anywhere.
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Old 12-03-06, 10:31 AM   #20
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I think I'm going to take the other side of this one. I tried some ore of the technical rides in my area and almost killed myself.....or had to do a lot of walking (level trails are no problem). So I invested in a 29er for those days where the trail is more vertical than flat.
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Old 12-05-06, 12:01 AM   #21
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I've been riding some decent single track all year and the Salsa LC stands up amazingly well. The carbon fork handles well, even on very abrupt dirt humps. I find that I have more control on the top of my Salsa Bell lap bars.

I go much slower comming down on my SLC, then on the GF x-caliber, hardtail. Problem is the root bounce, and that the 45m tires suck on leaf covered, mud. But that makes for a challenge. I figure that single-tracking th CX improves technical ability on the mountain bike.
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Old 12-08-06, 10:38 AM   #22
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mjwarner .... You have a private message........ Triffid
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Old 12-08-06, 07:07 PM   #23
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Remember this 1993 Bicycle Guide article?
http://www.adventurecorps.com/way/whoneedsatb.html

I've done a little dirt road riding on my '92 Bridgestone RB-1 (same bike used by the author of that article) with 28c road tires. Worked better than I would have expected. I think a CX bike would be a lot of fun on singletrack. I know I enjoy riding my rigid MTB on technical trails.
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Old 12-09-06, 08:20 PM   #24
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Here here!

Trails simply aren't as hard as all that, and I had a lot of fun reading that article. I did a crazy singletrack ride in moab--with a touring bike that had a silly little seatpost shock, tires somewhere in-between a road and mountain bike (can't remember the size, sorry) and toe-clips (Bike shoes? What are those?). Yes, the road was rocky and I beat myself up on the downhills, but it was the most fun mountain biking I've ever done. The only really annoying part is that we got stuck in some really deep dand at the beginning and had to walk our bikes a few hundred feet.

We were on a leisurely bike trip around parts of the west, and wanted to try out this trail. We considered renting mountain bikes from one of the 10,000 shops in Moab, but didn't want to spend the money. I'm glad we didn't. I love the idea of breaking down ridiculous barriers about which specific bikes should go on which specific terrain. The surface of the earth isn't black and white, so your bike shouldn't be either.
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Old 12-11-06, 12:49 PM   #25
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I routinely ride my cyclocross bike on trails that are fairly mountain-bike specific. A lot of guys on FS bikes will say "How's THAT thing handle on this terrain." I too like breaking down the barriers that people have set up for cycling. I can do everything on a cyclocross bike those guys can do on an FS bike except leave the ground.
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