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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 10-12-07, 12:47 AM   #1
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Question about Cyclecross Racing

I race motocross and I am heavily involved with road biking for training. I figure combining offroad challenges and road biking would be a fun new hobby for me to look into. My question is after looking around at some cyclecross course photos, why isn't a mountain bike common in this type of racing. I mean I understand that the speeds are pretty high, and it seems that during the races there are sections that require you to dismount from the bike, so what are the advantages of the cyclecross bike vs a hardtail mountain bike with gearing changes? Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-12-07, 05:45 AM   #2
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1. tradition
2. weight - particularly when you're carrying it

and i'm sure there are a lot more reasons...
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Old 10-12-07, 06:19 AM   #3
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Horses for courses. Or more accurately, courses for horses. Any course that would favor a boingy mountain bike would be derided.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:40 AM   #4
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Typically there are paved sections, any good course has a nice paved section. This favours a cross bike where you can really hammer, make some passes, and even draft a little. There are no rock gardens or other such mountain bike obstacles. Even on the well manicured lawns you can draft and sprint and such which is not conducive to MTB's.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:47 AM   #5
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i sure wish i had a mountain bike for my last cx race. christ my arms are teeth are still sore from the bumpy course.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:57 AM   #6
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here are some big diff.

when there is some deep mud or sand on a CX course, a skinny wheeled 700c
will cut through that stuff like butter

obstacles are mandatory. you can jump the first one, but #2 is tough. cx bike is easy to pick up

roots and chatter ? deal with it, the race is an hour or less. won't kill you

very often there are paved sections, and of course you want to be on a cx bike then

there is no real problem riding an MTB on a CX's just nice to fit in and have a cx bike.

I race a CX bike and throw one of my MTB's in the pit as a spare bike.

in CX, if you flat or breakdown, you must at least complete the lap with no assistance,
then if you make it to the pits, you can grab anything..a wheel, a complete bike, and you are
back in action
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Old 10-12-07, 07:59 AM   #7
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Mountain bikes are allowed in many local non-UCI cyclocross races. I think this is great becuase it brings more people into the sport. Unfortunately, around here the poor folks on the mountain bikes are often the ones who end up being lapped by the field. Either these people are slow, or more likely, they're at a disadvantage because of their bikes. Most, but not all, cross race courses favor a bike with the ability to go fast. The technical or rough areas where a mountain bike would be an advantage are minimal, and are more than compensated with fast sections.
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Old 10-12-07, 08:33 AM   #8
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for me it's all about the weight and shape of the bike. i can pick up and run with my mtb, but it sucks. i think the speed differential between cross and mtb at my level is negligible. i haven't found myself actually drafting anyone at races yet, but it hasn't been that windy yet.

i regularly get beaten by at least one mtb.
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Old 10-12-07, 08:24 PM   #9
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For me it seems that 700c wheels spin up faster and cut through grass and sand much better than 26" wheels, even with skinny tires. Also, there's a lot of short sprints as you get out of the corner or close up gaps and, at least for me, the bar setup of a CX bike lends itself to this better than the flat bars of my MTB.

I did 5 CX races last year on a hardtail MTB, this year I'm on a CX bike and wouldn't go back.

FWIW, I ran a 12-25 cassette and Hutchinson 1.3's on the MTB last year to try and equalize things a bit. Close, but not quite. Now a 29'er with CX tires? Might be another story. But to me the hand position for out of the saddle sprinting makes a big difference.

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Old 10-13-07, 01:36 AM   #10
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Did Cross once a mountain bike. What killed me was the weight of the bike trying to carry it. The corss guys were definately working less to maintain the same speed. Size of the wheel and tire width. I run some 1.9 Kenda semi slicks on my SS MTB which is what I am planning to use this year for at least one race.

I kinda view cross as something that fun that keeps me in shape without having to sit on the trainer. I know I aint gonna win but its fine racing.

You can use your MTB bike in a UCI race with one exception: no bar ends. You dont see them too often anymore, nut no bar ends.

CX is HUGE here because we have a pretty good MTB points series in the summer and a huge road racing base. Tons of racers at the events. I am still in the C's or CAT5's...
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Old 10-14-07, 08:06 PM   #11
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Did my first cx race on a mtb, yikes! But I had a blast. I shelled out for an old Miyata Triplecross with science project setup. Not a flyweight but much better. It may come down to $$$ and how much you enjoy cx. There are plenty of guys here that regularly use mtb-s and do well. In fact, I was bested by one just today.
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