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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 09-21-07, 09:40 AM   #1
pino pomo
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Road racing on a cyclocross bike?

Other than being made fun of, what are the disadvantages of road racing with a cross bike?

I can only really afford one geared bike. My current road bike is sized slightly too small so I am buying a new frame in January and will do a parts swap. Right now I'm trying to decide between getting a road racing frame or a CX frame (Fort Storm vs. Fort CrossMax). I'd have a spare wheelset so I could swap between tire sizes/gearing. I'd like to start racing next year in the local crit series, but I don't know how much riding on a CX frame would hinder me or if it's even allowed. I would also like to start racing CX next winter.

Just wondering if anyone else here is in the same boat or has any ideas.

Thanks.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:45 AM   #2
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I don't know if this is going to be of much help to you as I haven't actually raced on my 'cross bike, but lately I've been riding it a lot on the road with road tires (622-23).
I ride the weekend group rides and don't feel that I'm at any disadvantage on the 'cross bike. Also on my midweek training rides where I do intervals and time myself, the 'cross bike and road bike times are very similar (given the power output and wind conditions).

If I were limited to one geared bike it would definitely be a 'cross bike. By the way my 'cross bike is a Trek XO2.
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Old 09-21-07, 12:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, gobes.

I think this is the direction I'm leaning.

I also found these two threads interesting:

Road & Cyclocross
Road Racing on your cross bike?
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Old 09-21-07, 12:53 PM   #4
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I would hate to do a crit with cantis...
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Old 09-21-07, 12:55 PM   #5
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I would hate to do a crit with cantis...
Why is that?
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Old 09-21-07, 01:01 PM   #6
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Because even good cx cantis (I've run Spookys and Froglegs) offer only mediocre stopping performance compared with most road brakes. You're going to be inches off the rear wheel of someone that can and will stop in much less distance than you.
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Old 09-21-07, 01:13 PM   #7
pino pomo
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Ouch. I didn't know the difference in braking power was that great.
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Old 09-21-07, 01:18 PM   #8
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I think in one of the threads you posted someone mentioned getting a complete bike and a second inexpensive frame. A used cx frame can be bought for a couple hundred dollars. Move the parts over after road season from a road bike as most are good for both. I'd run road brakes on the road, tho, and I would run different pedals too.
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Old 09-21-07, 02:01 PM   #9
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I'll probably just stick with a road frame for training this winter and through the next road season. If I save up enough, I might be able to afford a cyclocross frame and a cheap component group by the beginning of next September.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-21-07, 02:33 PM   #10
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I would hate to do a crit with cantis...
Cantis will stop the bike fine. If you're using a lot of stopping power in a pack then you're going to have a lot of angry riders around you.
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Old 09-21-07, 02:34 PM   #11
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Some cross frames/forks can mount road brakes too. I know my X-01 can, although long reach calipers may be needed (105's would probably work).
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Old 09-21-07, 02:42 PM   #12
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Cross Bike in crit

No reason that you can't do it. Braking is not an issue in crit's. The whole point is to NOT use your brakes. Set up properly, canti's will stop just fine. I have a friend who used to race with mafac cantilevers on his cross bike in crit's in Davis, CA, back in the early 80's.

Main problem you will face though, is in swapping your chain ring (cross setup typically runs 38/46) to a road setup (39/53). Bottom Bracket height is NOT an issue. Another is switching to a more crit friendly 12-23 from the 12-26 or 12/27 that you would run during cross season.
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Old 09-21-07, 04:37 PM   #13
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Really? You guys remember the 5s? Sure, you shouldn't be slamming on your brakes in a crit, but in a cat 5 crit or RR you sure might have to...
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Old 09-21-07, 05:08 PM   #14
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I'm currently shopping for a bike that can do both, as I can barely afford to buy one race bike. Th eowner of a shop around here says he frequently ends up using his cross bike in road races because he's so familiar with it, having used it all winter.

I'd never considered not having enough stopping power...

If it's bad, I'll just use long reach calipers. Most cross bikes have holes drilled for calipers, at least on the rear. A canti up front and a caliper in back should be fine, right?
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Old 09-22-07, 08:50 AM   #15
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The holes that are frequently in the fork and in the seat stay bridge, are they actually strong enough for a caliper brake? I've always been under the possibly mistaken impression that they were only for securing fenders.
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Old 09-22-07, 08:54 AM   #16
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honestly, i think the main reason not to ride a properly specced cross bike on the road is that they look less cool/appropriate (just like tight clothes and shaved legs), and more "fred" than your buddies on road specific frames.

If i were to only have one bike for cross racing and road racing (crits and RR's) i'd get the nicest aluminum cross frame i could afford. A 12-25 cassette should be versatile enough for crits/ RR's and an 12-28 should treat you well for cross if you only use the 39t chainring. Brifters are a must and some headset spacers so you can get a bit less aero for cross season. Use the stock wheels for cross and get a cheapish/lightish set of road wheels (neuvations?) with nice rubber (700x23) racing tires. this way when cross season is over, you will have a nice, light set of road wheels to race on and you can train on the crapped up cross wheelset (with some heavier but smooth tires). But you already mentioned the 2 wheelset thing, so I digress.

I'd reconsider the "buying two frames" approach. It seems like a good idea, but practically it may be a bit unrealistic.
I'm a bike mechanic and changing over parts from one bike to another is not a simple/short process even for someone who's done it a bunch.

Also, if you end up loving your road bike, you'll likely hate disassembling it come september and find yourself wishing you had it around.


As far as brakes go: the best brakes i have are the tektro mini-V brakes on my cross bike. Stop on a dime and are easy to set up. better than the dura-ace calipers on the road bike. YMMV.

the wheels are the big thing, get 2 sets, save the nice wheels for the road/races.

one last thing to consider: buy the road bike and find a used cross/touring/mountain bike to ride cross on.

good luck!
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Old 09-22-07, 08:56 AM   #17
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Instead of cantis or calipers you could get some Vs and some travel agents. Or, if you're willing to spend this much, some levers with the pull for Vs

You can get the Tektro road levers with the pull for Vs from aebike for like $22 (the set) and then $19 per brake, it's a cheap upgrade in stopping power.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:15 AM   #18
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The Tektro Mini-Vs sound interesting. Can you use them w/ road levers w/out a travel agent? I couldn't find anything definitive on a Google search.

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honestly, i think the main reason not to ride a properly specced cross bike on the road is that they look less cool/appropriate (just like tight clothes and shaved legs), and more "fred" than your buddies on road specific frames.
Doesn't matter. I figure if they're not making fun of me for riding a cross bike, they'll be making fun of me for being slow.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:22 AM   #19
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Looks more like 22 bucks a lever on the aebike site. Still a few buck lower than the diacompe and nicer looking.
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Old 09-22-07, 10:04 AM   #20
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yup, you can use regular road levers, including brifters/STI's. a very cool product.

there's a thread going on in this subforum, you cant miss it.
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Old 09-22-07, 04:57 PM   #21
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You can road race with a cross bike. Especially a light one like the Fort you mentioned. If you skip the frogslegs type brakes you could probably get better braking using Shimano XT cantis or some other such mtb canti. The advantage of spookies et al is that you can keep the pads well away from the rim for mud clearance.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:03 PM   #22
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The Tektro Mini-Vs sound interesting. Can you use them w/ road levers w/out a travel agent? I couldn't find anything definitive on a Google search.



Doesn't matter. I figure if they're not making fun of me for riding a cross bike, they'll be making fun of me for being slow.
Check out the Tektro RL520 if you're concerned. Still cheap and have the pull for Vs and MiniVs.

I also like the Tektro Oryx for a caliper that's cheap.
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Old 09-22-07, 05:28 PM   #23
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Because even good cx cantis (I've run Spookys and Froglegs) offer only mediocre stopping performance compared with most road brakes. You're going to be inches off the rear wheel of someone that can and will stop in much less distance than you.
If you're inches off some guy's rear wheel at 30mph, and the guy slams the brakes, there's NO WAY you're reacting fast enough to even squeeze the brake lever.
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Old 09-22-07, 07:40 PM   #24
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I think old-school cantis are frowned on because they could gouge flesh in a pile-up.

But we can all dismiss 92degrees' "cantis don't stop quickly enough" deal, right?
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Old 09-23-07, 10:04 AM   #25
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I use my Ridley on road rides (with slicks) with cat2 and 3's. I don't road race anymore, but our 80 mile "training" rides are as fast as any cat3 race I raced in.
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