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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 10-09-06, 12:06 PM   #1
bayareawheeler
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mtb okay in cyclo-cross races?

Hi Guys

quick question

how much of a disadvantage of racing a hard tail mtb in cyclo-cross races is there?

I'm itchin to race but dont have the funds for a cyclo-cross specific bike at the moment but i do have a nice mtb...there is a race next weekend im thinking about trying.

Or would I be better off trying to find a budget bike to race

tia

baw
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Old 10-09-06, 12:51 PM   #2
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It really depends on the type of course. If it's flat and fast then you're s.o.l.. If there's a lot of gnarly singletrack, and steep but rideable climbs, then you might do alright. In general, however, the courses are such that a cross bike is the optimal tool.

The chief disadvantages of a mountain bike in a cross race are the weight, the small main triangle, which hinders shouldering, and the non-aerodynamic riding position.

I would say to go ahead and try the race on your mountain bike. A cross bike makes the race a bit easier, and arguably a lot more fun, but even with a mountain bike, you'll know after your first race whether or not this is the sport for you.

I remember a few years back seeing some guy racing the C races with an old boat anchor steel mountain bike. He totally decimated the competition. Left them way behind.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:16 PM   #3
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First things first ...

First get out and race. Race what you have. If you already have a hardtail mtn bike, there's no reason to wait until you have a 'cross bike. In fact, if you've not raced 'cross before, it probably makes sense to get a race or two to see whether it floats your boat before investing in a 'cross bike. If you like it, as your funds allow, you can look at getting a 'cross specific bike if you think that your courses aren't well suited to your hardtail. If you don't like 'cross racing (I almost can't imagine this) you're only out your reg fee. There are lots of deals out there on used bikes and if you keep your eyes open you should be able to find a budget bike.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:57 PM   #4
i_r_beej
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Last winter was my first season racing 'cross. I did so on my Cannondale MTB. After the first race i went out and bought a set of the skinniest MTB tires i could find. I was hooked!

(In May of this year i bought an actual cyclocross bike.)

So-- race your MTB. But i would recommend getting a set of cheap, narrow tires. Fortunately the narrowest tires also tend to be the cheapest (and wire-beads... bleah). Typically the knobbiy tires that come stock on low end "mountain" bikes tend to have a less agressive, shallower tread on a 1.25" or 1.5" wide tire. This is EXACTLY what you want. I found a set of Kendas for about $25 for a pair.

I believe that there are some actual 26" cross tires out there, but you'll pay about $30-$40 for each tire. Meh.

Still, the typical 2" to 2.5" tires are just too wide. They gobble up mud and are like slugs on faster sections-- many 'cross races feature paved sections.
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Old 10-09-06, 02:57 PM   #5
bayareawheeler
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many thanks!

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Old 10-09-06, 06:45 PM   #6
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I've raced 2 cross races this year on my full suspension Santa Cruz Blur. The frame design makes it impossible to shoulder, and at 28 pounds, it's HEAVY. I'm running 2.1 tires. Needless to say, it IS a bike, and I had a ton of fun. I placed 4th in the Junior class, racing against real cross bikes and hardtails.

Moral of the story: Go out and have a ton of fun. If you get bitten by the CX bug, go out and buy a cross bike.
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Old 10-09-06, 09:07 PM   #7
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wow, cross riders are so different than other sects of riders. Imagine asking if you could do a road race on a hydrib...lol.
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Old 10-09-06, 09:41 PM   #8
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I think it would be much worse if you said let me road race on my 1972 Nishiki with bull horns
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