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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 10-28-07, 05:03 PM   #1
DML66
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Cyclo-Cross bike as a Road Bike?

Intermediate rider (raced in the 80ís; been running since; want to get back on a bike) looking for input. Iím considering a 2007 Cannondale Optimo 3. I donít ever see myself getting competitively into Cyclo-Cross, but this bike feels pretty good. I will use this bike to ďtrainĒ on with an outside chance that I eneter one or two raod races a year. One thing Iíve noticed is the braking seems a little off compared to what I would expect from a true road bike. Other than that, after a few 30 minutes rides, the bike feels great. I can accept that there are those who feel a cyclo-cross bike is just that- strictly for cyclo-cross. Are there folks out there who use a cyclo-cross as a road bike only? Opinions and advice appreciated.
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Old 10-28-07, 05:07 PM   #2
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This topic comes up a lot and the general consensus seems to be that a cross bike will do most of what a road bike will. The braking may not be quite optimal, but should be fine. I myself plan on using my cross bike for a few road races.

That said, if you don't want to race cross, you may be better served by a true road bike. Unless you want to go off road.
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Old 10-28-07, 06:37 PM   #3
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I have narrowed down my stable to two bikes and it was hard. But my redline is my cross bike in the fall and my road bike every other time of year. Brakes and gearing is different, but considering I don't road race, I have no problems. It is nice being able to run knobbies, 23s, and fatty slicks all on the same bike. There is a desire for me to run a single chainring in the front for weight savings as well as simplicity purposes so I guess that is my one problem, my gear range for road use will be greatly diminished if I chose to go this route. Sorry for being wordy and using "I" alot, I am really not self absorbed.
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Old 10-29-07, 08:53 AM   #4
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I've been riding an '03 Fuji Cross since, well, '03. I have never ridden cyclocross. I bought the bike because (1) it was the most comfortable of what I tested in my price range and (2) I like the option of putting bigger tires for occasional rides on packed dirt and crushed rock trails, even though I only do that maybe once or twice a year.

I started this spring telling myself that if I put in enough miles and lost some weight that I would allow myself to buy a true road bike. But 2000+ miles (including the three longest rides of my life up to a century) and 20+ lbs later, I've become satisfied with the Cross. I just got new wheels instead.

The one change I did make just this year that has made road riding more pleasurable was to switch the crankset from the cross-type 48/38 rings to a compact crank with 50/34 rings. Gave me both a little more top end for downhills and more importantly I got some lower gearing for getting up the hills in the first place.

I'm so used to my canti brakes now that I'd probably fly over the handle bars if they got switched to road calipers without my knowing. As with anything, even canti brakes can be upgraded. I don't know what comes on the bike you are considering, but just new pads made a big difference on mine. There are also v-brakes (like a mountain bike) that are now made that can work with regular road STI brake levers. Don't know if these would ever be as good as a good road caliper, but I also know that I haven't run into anything in five seasons.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:41 AM   #5
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I hear that cantis are not as powerful as the calipers. I really don't get this I have cheap oryx cantis on mine and have no problem locking up both wheels, how much more braking power is needed? Am I missing something here?
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Old 10-29-07, 10:22 AM   #6
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cantis are more powerful than calipers, it's the fine-tune modulation that's better for calipers. the light touch of calipers sure can be nice if you're just learning how to ride in a pack, you definitely don't want to get grabby with your brakes when you're surrounded by a group going 25+ mph. still, i don't find canti's unsuitable for this type of riding, just less ideal than calipers.

that being said, the best way to ride in a crit or road race is to modulate your pedaling and pick your lines such that you rarely need to use your brakes. practice, teamwork, and luck all factor heavily.

i'll probably be using a cross bike in a few road races this spring.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:36 AM   #7
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I have both a road and a cross bike and routinely choose the cross bike over the road bike. It's more comfortable for me and I like the more ruggedness of it. If you go this route, I would suggest picking up another set of wheels. I have a set with 25's on it and the stock set with the cyclocross tires on it. I switched out the standard cross crank out for a standard double also. Much better for road riding IMO.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:50 AM   #8
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I have both a cyclocross bike and a road bike. The CX bike frame is aluminum and the roadie is full carbon fibre. I've been riding the road bike for 2 years and recently added the CX bike to my collection. The biggest difference I've noticed so far is the brakes. The front brake on the CX bike is pretty grabby and causes various amounts of fork shudder, depending on braking intensity. I'm currently working through that issue - others in this forum have had lot's of advice to correct it. Different brake pads and possibly a beefier fork may work.

However, braking issue aside, I probably wouldn't ride the CX for very long road rides. For a century or double century ride, the aluminum frame would be too punishing. I rented an aluminum cannondale earlier this year in Hawaii for a few 65+ miles rides. There was a BIG difference between it and my road bike. The Al seemed harsh compared to the CF bike. Although some may not like to dampened feel of full CF - it sure saves on the back. I've got the CX bike primarily for a little off-road fun, camping with the kids, and an occasional cross race (which is a blast in the pants btw.)

A steel frame CX bike would probably be more comfortable than aluminum on your longer rides. My old steel road bike is pretty lively compared to the CF frame, but it also absords more road shock than an Al frame. So, it really depends on what kind of riding you want to do with it. Just my opinion FWIW.
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Old 10-29-07, 10:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Daveyboy View Post
I have both a cyclocross bike and a road bike. The CX bike frame is aluminum and the roadie is full carbon fibre. I've been riding the road bike for 2 years and recently added the CX bike to my collection. The biggest difference I've noticed so far is the brakes. The front brake on the CX bike is pretty grabby and causes various amounts of fork shudder, depending on braking intensity. I'm currently working through that issue - others in this forum have had lot's of advice to correct it. Different brake pads and possibly a beefier fork may work.

However, braking issue aside, I probably wouldn't ride the CX for very long road rides. For a century or double century ride, the aluminum frame would be too punishing. I rented an aluminum cannondale earlier this year in Hawaii for a few 65+ miles rides. There was a BIG difference between it and my road bike. The Al seemed harsh compared to the CF bike. Although some may not like to dampened feel of full CF - it sure saves on the back. I've got the CX bike primarily for a little off-road fun, camping with the kids, and an occasional cross race (which is a blast in the pants btw.)

A steel frame CX bike would probably be more comfortable than aluminum on your longer rides. My old steel road bike is pretty lively compared to the CF frame, but it also absords more road shock than an Al frame. So, it really depends on what kind of riding you want to do with it. Just my opinion FWIW.
hah, just saw the previous post - should also mention that how comfortable you are on any particular bike (i.e bike fit) will greatly affect your desire to ride it.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:50 AM   #10
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hah, just saw the previous post - should also mention that how comfortable you are on any particular bike (i.e bike fit) will greatly affect your desire to ride it.
Without a doubt!

Ya know, my first bike was a Trek 1200 road bike and I hated it. It beat me to death! Couldn't wait to get rid of that bike. I had a bad impression of aluminum after that. My next bike was a Trek Pilot 5.0 carbon. Loved it. Beautiful ride. I got rid of it because I wanted something a little more durable. When I looked at the bike I currently have ('06 Specialized Tricross Comp), I was worried about the same aluminum harshness. I got it anyways and have been very happy. It's every bit as comfortable as that carbon fiber Trek. I've done several centuries on it also. I now have a different opinion about aluminum frames. They aren't all made as equal.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:59 AM   #11
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My aluminum Trek XO2 cyclocross bike rides just as smooth if not smoother than my Trek 5500 carbon fiber road bike. Comparisons made using the same wheels and tires.
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Old 10-29-07, 12:00 PM   #12
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cyclocross bike as a road bike ?

it cannot be done. no one has even attempted it because it is unpossible.

it will reverse the physics of space and time if you try. dogs and cats sleeping together.

please, do not attempt
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Old 10-29-07, 02:05 PM   #13
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I just started riding a few months ago, and I'm a grad student (read: have no money), so of course I only have the one CX bike and no spare wheels. I use it about equal time for road and cross, and I just switch the tires. Are the tires going to become loose or somehow damaged from getting taken off and put on so many times?
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Old 10-29-07, 02:10 PM   #14
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I just started riding a few months ago, and I'm a grad student (read: have no money), so of course I only have the one CX bike and no spare wheels. I use it about equal time for road and cross, and I just switch the tires. Are the tires going to become loose or somehow damaged from getting taken off and put on so many times?
Probably not. I did the same thing on my previous bike with no noticable ill effects. 2 wheelsets is ideal though.

I'm basically in the same boat as you, though I'm undergrad. Gotta have one bike that can do both.
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Old 10-29-07, 06:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dirtyphotons View Post
cantis are more powerful than calipers, it's the fine-tune modulation that's better for calipers. the light touch of calipers sure can be nice if you're just learning how to ride in a pack, you definitely don't want to get grabby with your brakes when you're surrounded by a group going 25+ mph. still, i don't find canti's unsuitable for this type of riding, just less ideal than calipers.

that being said, the best way to ride in a crit or road race is to modulate your pedaling and pick your lines such that you rarely need to use your brakes. practice, teamwork, and luck all factor heavily.

i'll probably be using a cross bike in a few road races this spring.
Ok, makes sense.
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Old 11-05-07, 04:37 PM   #16
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If you end up getting a cx bike, but would then prefer straight bars, let me know, and maybe we could work out a swap of equipment. I'm in the opposite spot, with a brand new TREK 7.5 FX with straight bars that I'm going to ride cx with (deal I couldn't refuse), and can't really afford to put drops and Shimano shifters/brake levers on it yet.
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Old 11-05-07, 10:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by edzo View Post
cyclocross bike as a road bike ?

it cannot be done. no one has even attempted it because it is unpossible.

it will reverse the physics of space and time if you try. dogs and cats sleeping together.

please, do not attempt
tempting fate...
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