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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 10-23-06, 09:09 PM   #1
wireless
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Long rides on cyclocross bike?

Newbie looking for advise from cyclocross experts:

I started biking back in May this year and improved my distance from 8-10 miles / per ride to 25-35 miles. My goal is to increase it up to 60-70 miles next season and may be even do a century. In order to ride longer distances I need to upgrade from my hybrid Trek 7500.
So I am loking for new bike that is better fit for longer road rides ( 5-6 hrs or more).

Being a big guy ( 6'5" , 285lb) I read Clidesdale forum and many people there recommend to buy cyclocross as road bike. ( to handle my big weight).

If I understand it right - cyclocross bikes ( geometry, drive terrain) designed for cyclocross races that are short rides under 1 hour.

My question is - how CX bikes behave on longer rides of 5-6 hrs? Same as road bikes or different?

I tested several bikes , road and CX ( Trek 1500, Kona Jake the Snake, Bianchi Axis) and did not feel any significant difference during short 5 min tests on LBS parking lot ( but Axis is my favorite so far...)

Thanks for advise.
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Old 10-23-06, 09:22 PM   #2
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I suggest checking out steel cross bikes. In my experience, steel is more comfortable over longer distances. There are plenty of steel cross bikes out there. For what you describe, I'd look for one that isn't designed solely for racing. Something with eyelets for fenders or a rack maybe. These are wonderful, all-around bikes.
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Old 10-23-06, 10:06 PM   #3
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Comfort of cyclocross bikes is very good due to the longer wheelbase. I use my crossbikes for all my long rides.
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Old 10-23-06, 11:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Timo
Comfort of cyclocross bikes is very good due to the longer wheelbase. I use my crossbikes for all my long rides.
I am a newbie and was just wondering how does the longer wheelbase make it more comfortable?
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Old 10-24-06, 05:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Electric_Elvis
I am a newbie and was just wondering how does the longer wheelbase make it more comfortable?
I'm pretty noobish too but I'll give this one a go longer wheel base means the handling is much more stable...modern roadbikes are designed around criterium geometry, and are therefor noodly as hell. This is fine for racing around tight corners (and is extremely fun for inner city riding) but for distance riding, it's alot more comfortable to have something with a longer well base, as you'll expend less effort keeping it straight (especially on speedy downhills:O)

that and I think longer wheel bases soak up the bumps better.
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Old 10-24-06, 07:43 AM   #6
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I rode my Gunnar Crosshairs a little over 200 miles in two days on a ('06 MS 150, century option both days). It was a great bike, very comfotable and no major issues. I test rode several cross bikes before going with the Gunnar. Of all of the bikes I rode, I liked the aluminum bikes the least. My top choices were the Poprad and the Crosshairs. In my limited experience, steel bikes are generally more comfotable, but this is not always the case.

I have a Specialized Stumpjumper M2 FS (mountain bike), which is a super stiff aluminum/ceramic frame that I've used three times for the MS 150. While the M2 was not nearly as nice as the Gunnar, it was acceptable. On the flip side, I have a steel commuter bike that I built out of garage sale parts. The frame is a little too small, and on rides longer than 20-25 miles it gets uncomfortable. I'd get a bike with a geometry that fits you, and worry about the frame material second.

From what you've said, it sounds like you may want to look at a touring frame.
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Old 10-24-06, 10:57 AM   #7
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I recently took a tour of Nova Scotia on my Tricross. It was 63 miles of nasty headwinds and crosswinds. The bike was extremely stable. When I was crossing the causeway to Cape Sable Island, the crosswinds were really bad, but the Tricross stayed on course. It was kind of scary especiallly with trying to negotiate the road with cars. The bike stayed on the line I pointed it.

If your 'cross has a long wheelbase and a relaxed geometry, it makes for excellent long rides. I wouldn't hestitate to ride the TriX on centuries and more multiday tours...
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Old 10-24-06, 07:14 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone! Great responses and recommendations. Looks like CX bikes will be staying on my "wish list"... Choices , choices...
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Old 10-28-06, 10:07 AM   #9
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I don't know if the jamis nova counts as a real cross bike but I use mine for long rides. I even slap panniers on it from time to time. I like it cause it's a steel frame and very comfortable for me. I'm short so I have a problem with toe clip overlap but I'm used to it. Good thing cause the 700X38 tires and fenders make it even worse. I know my stem looks funny but believe it or not I'm not really that upright when I'm on the top of the bar. Mostly I ride stretched out on the hoods when I ride the nova. I have short arms or something, the stem police are always on my case. I got the nova cause that's what they had around here, everybody seems to like the surlys.

Here are a couple shots of mine.


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Old 10-28-06, 09:17 PM   #10
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javna golinas explanation is spot on! Exactly what I mean
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Old 10-29-06, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wireless
Being a big guy ( 6'5" , 285lb) I read Clidesdale forum and many people there recommend to buy cyclocross as road bike. ( to handle my big weight).
I suggest you buy a steel framed road bike. There isn't a huge selection but there are enough around to be able to find one without too much trouble.

Cyclocross bikes have just about NOTHING going for them for the sort of use you're contemplating. Newer designs have funny geometry that are ideas of the different designers. In particular cases each one of these geometries have their purpose - for instance - high bottom bracket CX bikes such as Redline work very well in deep mud, low BB bikes work better in ice with their lower CG. But as a road bike used almost exclusively in good weather you are limited by the quirks of a CX design.

This isn't to say that ALL CX bikes are quirky but enough are that it's a crap shoot on your part.

You are big and heavy but you aren't rediculously big and heavy. I just rode today with a guy that's 6'
8" and 245 lbs that rides a 68 cm bike. He FOUND a custom bike in his size! You'd probably be fine with a steel framed 64 cm road bike.

I'm 6'4" and around 200 lbs and ride a 61 or 62 cm bike without a problem. I've found MOST of my large stable on the internet so you can too.
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Old 10-30-06, 01:25 AM   #12
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The 2007 lemond poprad comes in steel and has OEM disc brakes. I'd imagine stronger brakes are more of an issue for clydesdale riders:

http://www.lemondbikes.com/bikes/cyc...oprad_disc.php

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Old 10-30-06, 04:12 AM   #13
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I had a Surly CrossCheck and there was no reason in the world
that that bike couldnt be used for any type of riding, comfortably.
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Old 10-30-06, 07:55 AM   #14
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Two weeks ago I rode a century on my Surly Crosscheck. 113 miles including the ride to and from the start. No problems with comfort.
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Old 10-30-06, 10:48 AM   #15
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Another consideration for CX frame comfort is riding position. Specifically, how far forward you are reaching has a big impact on comfort. This is often tricky with a CX frame for two reasons. First is that CX racers often want the frame smaller than what they might use on a road bike, second is that many CX frame manufactures adjust geometry to adjust for that desire and so have longer top tubes for smaller sizes of frames.

I find that I am comfortable when my arms are bent. If you are all stretched out, that is not going to be a comfort ride.

One way to reduce the length that your arms must go is to cut your fork high. What I mean is that the amount of fork tube that extends above the ster tube is of the order of 3 -4 inches. This has the effect of bringing your bars at or above the seat height. This can work better than using the short 90 mm stems.

So if you are able to specify the fork tube length you might want to make it longer and use spacers to compensate.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:00 PM   #16
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Being a big guy ( 6'5" , 285lb) I read Clidesdale forum and many people there recommend to buy cyclocross as road bike. ( to handle my big weight).

If you are a big guy and you are I would recommend a builder in Boulder Colorado named Lennard Zinn. He is a big guy and specializes in building custom bikes for large people. If you get a nice light steel cross bike you can ride it with either cross or road wheels making the transition to long rides very easy. I recommend steel because it would be a lifetime bike for you. I would recommend against Aluminum (limited life frames and aluminum fails catastrophically), carbon and/or Ti (too expensive). Don't let big fat aluminum tubes and fancy decals fool you.
Steel is real. Lennard Zinn is the author of Zinn and the Art of Road (and MTB) bike maintenance. He is the real deal. Check out his website Google Lenard Zinn or Zinncycles.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:06 PM   #17
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I guess I should have read all the posts before I replied. There are some great bikes recommended. The Gunnar, Jamis, Surly, and Lemond Poprad are all great steel bikes. I don't see any reason why you can't ride long distances on them. I have been riding the Bicycle Tour of Colorado for the last 5 years on a road bike. This next year I am switching to a Cross bike so I can use a rack to carry clothing and food for the very long and highly variable weather conditions on the ride. I will be using road wheels and Continental Grand Prix 4000s for the ride. I am just tired of using plastic garbage bags and electrical tape for protection against the elements. Good Luck.
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Old 11-01-06, 02:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanster04
I don't see any reason why you can't ride long distances on them. I have been riding the Bicycle Tour of Colorado for the last 5 years on a road bike. This next year I am switching to a Cross bike so I can use a rack to carry clothing and food for the very long and highly variable weather conditions on the ride.
There are quite a few randonneurs (self-supported, ultra-long-distance types) who favor 'cross bikes over standard road bikes for that exact reason (plus 'cross bikes have the clearance to accommodate fatter tires for greater comfort/durability, and fenders for those 300+ mile rides in the rain.)
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Old 04-14-08, 04:07 PM   #19
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no cyclocross expert but i am 6'7" with a 39" inseam

Hey,

If price isn't an issue then you should look at zinncycles.com. I know someone already mentioned it, but i think that it is worth mentioning again. He is the only frame builder who really builds frames for us. The main, and most important difference between Lennard Zinn and everybody else is that Zinn builds his bikes around custom crank arms.

When you get on your bike next time, notice how little the circles are that your feet make when you ride. The crank arms on your bike are only 170, maybe 175 mm long and were designed for someone who is 5'7". at 6'5", you need crank arms that are 200 mm long. This will help you to use the full length of all your leg muscles, which means more of your strength getting to the road.

Lennard builds bikes for giant football players and extremely tall basketball players. He knows how to make a bike that is made for you, and he is the only one who does it.

You can get something else for now, because a custom bike from Zinn isn't cheap, but if you are serious about cycling and it sounds like you are, I suggest you start your Zinn Bike piggy bank and put money in it every chance you get.

Russell
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Old 04-19-08, 08:59 PM   #20
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i to am looking for a cross bike that may be suitable for longer rides 50 60 miles or so and was wondering what a good wheel base is fro a cross bike hopefully someday ill be buying the spec tricross single but for now ill have to settle w/ a used build from my bike shops basement. theres a few good looking steel frames down there and would it be out rages to put a front shock on a bike w/ drop bars i guess iv never seen it done so it must not be a great idea
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Old 04-20-08, 04:36 AM   #21
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I have a habanero cross that is the best long distance bike I have.Mark was a great guy to work with and the price was great.Oh it is titanium not sure how that fits for you
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Old 04-20-08, 07:14 PM   #22
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Just another vote for steel 'cross. I have a Bianchi Volpe that I've ridden on numerous metrics and centuries and I must say it's extremely comfy. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to ride distance but not wanting to commit to an aggressive geometry.
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