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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 08-01-07, 03:17 PM   #1
okuengineer
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Road vs. Cyclocross bike question?

Hello All:
I am new to cycling and have been borrowing a friend’s road bike for a few rides this summer and I am now ready to buy my own bike (I have about 1200US). I am going to use this bike as a commuter (Atlanta 4 mi) and would also like to do some road training 3-4 times a week (20 – 60 miles). I am a bigger guy ~270lbs and I am worried about commuting with a road bike, so I thought a cyclocross bike might be a better option. I was hoping to get a beefier commuter, but still do road training. I have a few questions for those of you who ride cyclocross and road bikes or anyone for that matter.

1. Can I take a cyclocross bike on a 50 – 70 mile ride, and keep up with the road bikes (15-25 mph) without killing myself?

2. As I progress, can I do a century road ride on a cyclocross?

3. What cyclocross bike is most “road-like”? I have been considering the Specialized Tricross but have not read much about it on this sight.

4. How much slower is a cyclocross bike, and will it matter for a new rider?

Thank you all in advance for you answers. You have no idea how helpful this forum is to new bike riders, and those of you that respond to us newbies are more helpful than you can imagine! Thank you so much

Scott
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Old 08-01-07, 03:43 PM   #2
idcruiserman
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A road bike will be fine. Pick one based on features on want (rack/fender mounts, etc.). Tires have the most effect on speed for me other than wind resistance.
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Old 08-01-07, 06:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okuengineer View Post
Hello All:
I am new to cycling and have been borrowing a friend’s road bike for a few rides this summer and I am now ready to buy my own bike (I have about 1200US). I am going to use this bike as a commuter (Atlanta 4 mi) and would also like to do some road training 3-4 times a week (20 – 60 miles). I am a bigger guy ~270lbs and I am worried about commuting with a road bike, so I thought a cyclocross bike might be a better option. I was hoping to get a beefier commuter, but still do road training. I have a few questions for those of you who ride cyclocross and road bikes or anyone for that matter.

1. Can I take a cyclocross bike on a 50 – 70 mile ride, and keep up with the road bikes (15-25 mph) without killing myself?
- yes, unless they are racing...and it would be a lot easier if you change out the tires for something more road-like.

2. As I progress, can I do a century road ride on a cyclocross?
- sure, assuming it fits and is comfy

3. What cyclocross bike is most “road-like”? I have been considering the Specialized Tricross but have not read much about it on this sight.
- tricross, proprad...in fact, most of them are pretty road-y. I have a JTS and ride with roadies all the time

4. How much slower is a cyclocross bike, and will it matter for a new rider?
- very little with the right tires, perhaps a litte more so under braking. And no.

Thank you all in advance for you answers. You have no idea how helpful this forum is to new bike riders, and those of you that respond to us newbies are more helpful than you can imagine! Thank you so much




...

Scott


...
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Old 08-01-07, 07:30 PM   #4
MrCjolsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okuengineer View Post

1. Can I take a cyclocross bike on a 50 – 70 mile ride, and keep up with the road bikes (15-25 mph) without killing myself?
Yes. I do it all the time. I pass far more road bikes than ever pass me.

Quote:
2. As I progress, can I do a century road ride on a cyclocross?
I did my first century on a Surly Crosscheck with no problems. Plan to do another this fall. If I had a road bike, I'd probably still use the Crosscheck.

Quote:
3. What cyclocross bike is most “road-like”? I have been considering the Specialized Tricross but have not read much about it on this sight.
That I don't know. However, from a geometry standpoint, the only major differences are gearing, wheels and tires, and a slightly more upright rider position. The first does not affect speed that much. Tires can be swapped, and should be if you are going to use a cross bike on the road. And the last makes a cross bike a good choice for a new road rider.

Quote:
4. How much slower is a cyclocross bike, and will it matter for a new rider?
A cross bike might be minutely "slower." I doubt that the average rider would even notice. I know I don't notice when I go from my crosscheck to my fixed gear bikes which are on road bike platforms. I also didn't notice when I switched from a road bike to a cross bike. The only thing a cross bike will not be good for is racing (except cyclocross, of course). However, for general road riding, I think a cross bike is actually a preferrable bike because of it's versatility and ability to accept racks, fenders, and wider tires.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:03 PM   #5
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Slap some road tires on a cross bike and go for it. Ive done centurys, week long tours fast club rides ect on mine.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:04 PM   #6
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+1 for the versatility of a Cross Check,
plus a comfortable ride for commuting,
perhaps a little slower than a lightweight
road bike. IMO a more pragmatic choice
for mixed riding. 2500 km so far on my
Cross Check this season; including a 680 km
week long trip, plus commuting and plenty
of pleasure riding.
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Old 08-02-07, 07:29 AM   #7
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From your description it sounds like a touring bike would be more appropriate than, for example, than the Specialized cross race bike.

Soma Smoothie ES and Surly Pacer come to mind. But they come only as framesets, building them up from scratch might exceed your budget.

Look at Bianchi Volpe (Eros and Strada too). The Bianchi steel frames are nice.
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Old 08-02-07, 09:41 AM   #8
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Similar answers as above....just feel like typing in my own for you:

Quote:
1. Can I take a cyclocross bike on a 50 – 70 mile ride, and keep up with the road bikes (15-25 mph) without killing myself?
No problem. I use 700x23 tires on my '03 Fuji Cross. I have no doubt that it's my legs that make me slow; not the bike. One thing to consider is the gearing on a cross vs. road bike. My Fuji came with 48/38 rings and a 12-26 cassette. I have a 50/34 compact crankset on order to be able survive hills better. The 50 ring might come in handy once in a while, but I'm happy with the 48 big ring.

Quote:
2. As I progress, can I do a century road ride on a cyclocross?
Yes.

Quote:
3. What cyclocross bike is most “road-like”? I have been considering the Specialized Tricross but have not read much about it on this sight.
When I bought my Cross, the most important thing was overall fit. I liked the idea of the cross bike as I occasionally will ride on some crushed gravel/packed dirt trails and it's nice to be able to put on the x32 tires with some cornering knobs. But, I was looking at more true road bikes than cross bikes. What finally sold me on the Cross was that it was just the most comfortable fit for me. So I'm not sure that "road-like" would mean more than good fit. As an example, the compact Giant frames are different from a more traditional Lemond frame, and yet you can't say that one is more "road-like" than the other. But you can probably ride them both and decide which one fits you better.

Quote:
4. How much slower is a cyclocross bike, and will it matter for a new rider?
With skinny tires, you will never know the difference. Before the Cross I had a '99 Specialized Allez Comp. That was about a pound lighter with full Ultegra except for a Specialized crank and BB. (A car decided to turn in front of me at 30mph which resulted in cracking the frame and hence my needing a new bike.) The only time I think I can tell the difference between the Cross and the Allez is if I accelerate into a sprint....my perception is that the Allez just immediately jumped while the Cross seems to accelerate a bit slower. But I stress that this is just my perception as I have no way to test this.
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Old 08-02-07, 12:18 PM   #9
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Thank all of you so much for your fast and informative responses. Looks like the consensus says cyclocross + skinny tires = almost raod bike. I will start test riding today!

Thank you again, the fact that you all take the time to respond in such depth, make this site so great, and indispensible for the new biker.

With a community like this, It also tells me that the decision to get out of the running shoes and onto a saddle is the right one!

Thanks a million!

Last edited by okuengineer; 08-03-07 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 08-03-07, 12:07 AM   #10
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I ride an older Torelli Cross bike and have 2 sets of wheels one with 23s road tires and the other with 35s knobby cross tires. Although I have a state of the art road bike I ride the cross bike with my friends because it is a better workout...don't have much trouble keeping up...unless it is a hammer group and in that case I use my roadbike.
The Torelli is an old bike and is about 5 lbs heavier than a Poprad or other newer Cross bike, however it rolls along quite nicely.
I commute on the Cross bike and usually take the long way home to get in some good miles. I have a rack with panniers to carry my work stuff for commuting.
I also take it off road on some pretty rough trails and dirt roads. That is the added dimension that makes it a better buy.
Good luck and good riding.

Last edited by Deanster04; 08-03-07 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 08-05-07, 09:58 AM   #11
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I agree with the things everyone has said in this thread. If you have a Cannondale dealer by you, I highly recommend going in and trying out their cyclocross models. I road a crosscheck, tri-cross and the cannondale just kinda jumped out at me as the best. I bought mine for right around $1200 and use it 90% as a commuter and pseudo road bike.
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Old 08-12-07, 02:38 PM   #12
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Just a thumbs up for the Specialized Tricross. You can add fenders and Specialized actually offers a rack set made for the Tricross although it's not on their web site but in their 2007 catalog.

No racing of any kind for me but cannot complain on road performance which is where I ride 98% of the time. Assuming fit is key with any bike, I seldom have any sore anything after a ride with the Tricross. I prefer the Cyclocross geometry for my aging bones.
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Old 08-12-07, 08:18 PM   #13
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I haven't ridden a TriCross, but I have looked closely at them with an eye towards buying a bike I can use for cyclocross and also for major hill climb road rides.

I think that either the specialized or the trek cyclocross bikes would be an EXCELLENT choice for you.

They are sturdy and designed to take abuse, but they are still VERY road worthy bikes. Replace the slower CX tires with some road slicks appropriate for your weight, and go for it.


RE: Can I take a cyclocross bike on a 50 – 70 mile ride, and keep up with the road bikes (15-25 mph) without killing myself?

As for keeping up with roadies, your weight and fitness will be the only factor. And at 270 lbs there's a good chance the more upright position will be better for you too.

And yes, you can do 50, 70, even 100 mile rides on those bikes. I was thinking specifically of a CX bike for a 130 mile ride with 14,000 ft of climing, some on gravel roads.

If you buy either the specialized or the trek cyclocross bike, you will never actually "need" another road bike. Although you might eventually want one.

Last edited by nycphotography; 08-15-07 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 08-14-07, 11:26 PM   #14
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Lots of good advice here. I might just add one more tip that most new riders don't consider. Buy an extra set of wheels for the greater versatility. For under $250 you can buy Mavic OP rims on Ultegra hubs that are very durable in all applications (touring, commuting, CX etc..). Mount up alternate tires and you can quickly switch between a CX/commute tire and a road tire in seconds. Plus you will have a spare wheel in case you need to get one serviced.
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