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  1. #1
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    Cross bike or a mountain bike? and Why?

    My town just had a big Cyclo cross race today. It looks neat but why not just get a mountain bike? Wouldnt that road bike with knobbies be rough in the woods?

    sorry im just a roadie but im thinkin about some woods ridin.

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    Horses for courses.

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    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle View Post
    Horses for courses.
    ++


    For CX racing (not just riding), you want a CX-specific bike, because you need to dismount and carry your bike. Think about 6 or so laps slinging around a 30-lb MTB versus a 20-lb (or so) CX bike and you'll get the picture.

    For general off-road riding, a MTB is probably more versatile and comfortable. If you were buying a whole new bike for non-road riding, and were not planning to race CX, I'd get a MTB, not a CX bike.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  4. #4
    M_S
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    Might I add thought that racing is just one thing I do. I would not have been able to justify the purchase of a 'cross race bike if I didn't use it for other things. I would say that riding a cross bike on mountain bike trails is harder but also a little mor eintense. Otherwise tame trails can become interesting. Also, I ride to trailheads. Much more fun doing that on a cross bike than a mountain bike. And of course it makes a quite adequate road bike with the right tires. In non racing applications a cross bike is prety much the thinking man's hybrid.

    It should also be noted that some cross bikes are set up more as racers (Ridley, Kona Jake the Snake and Major Jake, etcetera) and some are set up less as racers (Cross-check, Kona Jake, and the Bianchi Axis is somehwere in between)--just like not all road or mountain bikes are made to be raced.

    But yes, race a mountain bike in any but the most poorly designed (technical singletrack-y) courses and then do it on a cross bike. You'll understand.
    Last edited by M_S; 12-05-07 at 05:55 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    But yes, race a mountain bike in any but the most poorly designed (technical singletrack-y) courses and then do it on a cross bike. You'll understand.
    Exactly. After 4 cross races on my Asylum dual suspension 29er, I'd had enough. I put my old Gunnar Crosshairs (a real tank) back together and my finishing position improved about 30 spots in races with 75 or so starters.

    On the cross courses I've raced, my mtn bike was only faster than the cross bikes in a few short sections (some fast corners, sand).

    To the OP: unless you're cross racing, get a mtn bike for your woods fun.

  6. #6
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    cross bikes are faster

  7. #7
    Opus PATH's Avatar
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    I like the CC becauseI am a Clyde and I like the beefier construction. I find that CCs can do better than 90% of what a flat out roadie can do. The MB is great for taking off on trails and broken road with potholes etc...

    I really don't do heavy off road so I went with a Spec. Crosstrail a compromise of sorts.

    CCs I went with the Spec. Tri Cross Comp, the Bianchi Cross Concept, and the Bianchi Axis. Change out the tires and you can really fly on these bikes. Granted you won't be a road racer but I think you get the picture.
    Go raibh an chóir ghaoithe i gcónaí liom!

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    2006 Bianchi Cross Concept, 1989 Miyata Sportrunner, 2006 Bianchi Axis, 2008 Specialized Crosstrail Expert







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  8. #8
    Portland, OR i_r_beej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_heath View Post
    My town just had a big Cyclo cross race today. It looks neat but why not just get a mountain bike? Wouldnt that road bike with knobbies be rough in the woods?
    Because almost every contemporary "mountain bike" is overkill to the "X-Treem".

    A couple of years ago Grant Peterson, of Rivendell, wrote an article in the Rivendell Reader about "underbikes vs. overbikes". (At least I think it was Grant that wrote it...)

    Anyway, the gist of the article was that most bikes today (and indeed for the past 15 or so years) are "overbikes" that is they are overbuilt and over-featured for their eventual, real use. Take a trip to your LBS and see how many bikes are totally over done and over spec'd. Take, for instance, Dual suspension MTBs. How does all that tech really help Joe Q. Public? All that suspension and shock absorption certainly does add a degree of comfort but at what cost? Weight, complexity, and a certain insulation from development of bike handling skills.

    Let me take a moment to acknowledge those riders that are routinely featured on the pages of "Bike" magazine getting big air. I'm not disparaging that type of bike nor those riders that use them. My point is that, due to marketing, many bike buyers buy a bike that is "too much" for the type of riding they ultimately do.

    How about super-duper feathery-light carbon-composite road bikes? How many guys do you see on a bike that is really just a full-on ProTour level race bike made available to the general public? But the rider is just a citizen racer?

    I'm starting to stray here. My point is that you don't just go and get a mountain bike because a mountain bike is the wrong bike for the job. The point that in a race, "suitcasing" a 30-lb MTB over barriers is an onerous task on lap one and sheer punishment by lap four.

    From a racing perspective, I've raced my MTB and 'cross bikes on the same courses in short-track MTB races during the summer and cyclocross races during the winter and in both cases the 'cross bike was the better (for me) bike. It was light and responsive wheras the MTB was heavy, sluggish, and the front suspension (I have a "hardtail") seemed to suck my pedaling energy during hard efforts.

    On the other hand, I have also raced the 'cross bike in 20+ mile XC MTB races and have been thoroughly hashed by the high gearing, less voluminous tires, and lack of suspension.

    Still-- riding the cyclocross bike on the same trails that I ride my MTB on is great fun. This is where the "underbike" concept come in. A bike that doesn't have quite enough "spec" to handle everything. It'll take you where you want to go, but along the way you may find that the "underbike" meets it's match in the terrain. See, when I hit the trails on the CX bike, I wind up walking more than I would if I'd gone out on the MTB (actually, come to think of it-- I've never walked when I've had the MTB!) but I must pay more attention to the terrain when on the 'cross bike. I can't just bomb right over any obstacle, trusting my suspension and 2.2" knobbies to handle the consequences. I've been forced back in time -- the mid-1980's -- to when mountain bikes didn't have any suspension. Back then you had to "read" the trail. Speed meant picking the right line and avoiding the bumps rather than soaking them up with 100mm of sponge. Furthermore, when you just didn't have enough mechanical advantage, you had to get off and shoulder the bike to get over, around or down the particularly tricky section. We used to say "If you ain't hikin', you ain't mountain bikin'."

    Ah well. I've gone on for long enough I think. You may even think me some old, fat has-been.

    Bottom line-- get a cyclocross bike and ride it off road. It'll be the most fun you've ever had, next to participating in an actual cyclocross race.

    Cyclocross is a state of mind.
    Despite the fact that I constantly recommend Kool-Stop brake pads-- no, I don't work for Kool-Stop. (Although their factory is just a few blocks from my house!)

    I ride drop bars off-road. (The excellent On-One "Midge.")

  9. #9
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    Cyclocross bike because it's just more fun to ride.

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I built up this bike to do nearly anything...it commutes, it tours, it handles utilitarian duties like shopping and if I feel the need it will also handle xc riding and some moderate singletrack with no problems at all.

    With a 2 by 8 drive it has a 29-109 gear inch range.

    On the rack at my shop...


    15 minutes ago after a 13 km winter commute...the pink cork was a base layer to go under cloth tape.


    For more extreme riding I have a Trek 6700 mountain bike that I am also quite fond of but haven't ridden nearly as much since I built up my monster cross bike.

    I ride singletrack in the winter so my 6700 will surely be getting some lovin'...soon.

  11. #11
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
    "In the woods" as the OP describes his target riding?

    No, you're just plain wrong.
    in the woods sure but in most cx races im right

  12. #12
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Most of our trails here aren't terribly technical, and as of late I've found riding my 'cross bike on the MTB trails to be a whole lot of fun. It's actually got me thinking about selling my full squish MTB and getting a nice light hard tail

    I'll also echo the above statements, about the 'cross bike being the thinking man's hybrid. I rode my cross bike on RAGBRAI (500 mile tour), did several days of epic climbs in the North Carolina mountains - on pavement, gravel and trails, raced it, rode it around my neighborhood, and ride it on the fire roads and training areas on Ft. Bragg. If I could only have one bike, the 'cross bike would be it, hands down.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
    Riding my cross bike on some of the same trails is fun. On many of my trails my cross bike absolutely sucks.
    Get some skills.

  14. #14
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    This thread sums up BF in a neat little package.
    Too little information & too many opinions.

    The original post did not state if the track he'd be using was technical or not.
    For trail riding in the woods, a nive cross bike is wonderful. I decked out my cross in all road components (except for the avid shorty's) and love the lighter and better steering for MY type of trails near MY house.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  15. #15
    coffeeeeee p4nh4ndle's Avatar
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    yeah, I own both. mtb for serious singletrack riding and racing, 'cross bike for light/not-so-serious trail riding and 'cross racing. couldn't tell you which one I really enjoy riding more.
    it's purely circumstantial evidence but the third? (maybe second) place finisher in this year's Ironcross was on hardtail mountain bike.

  16. #16
    Rabbinic Authority
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_heath View Post
    My town just had a big Cyclo cross race today. It looks neat but why not just get a mountain bike? Wouldnt that road bike with knobbies be rough in the woods?

    sorry im just a roadie but im thinkin about some woods ridin.
    Lots of replies to this, but here's my "long story short" reply:

    MTBs are not CX bikes, and having raced both, I can tell you they are very different machines for very different applications. The MTB, in general, is a"go anywhere, do anything" kind of machine, and MTB race courses reflect just that. CX bikes are very specific machines for a very specific application, and CX courses, with fast sections, dismounts, and technical demands, also reflect just that.

    Think of the MTB as "macro", and the CX bike as "micro". Yes, you can race the MTB at the CX race and ride the CX bike on the MTB trails, but expect to find challenges and limitations as a result.

    As for the road bike as a quasi-CX bike, well, yes and no is your answer. You can probably fit CX tires on your road bike and ditch the front derailleur and one chainring in the process. But what you will be lacking is the extra beefiness built into a CX frame, as well as the stretched-out geometry and measurements, which allow for all of that mud and gunk which can build up on your bike to fall off and to float easier over the bumpy, underlating, rapidly changing, and radically varying conditions of a CX race course.

    Basically, toss some CX tires on your road bike, and go for a spin in the woods, just take it easy and get an idea of what your bike can and cannot take. From there you'll have a better idea of whether a CX bike or MTB is right for you.
    "Trails are for cyclocross bikes and mountain bikes only. Hiking and Horse Back riding is strictly prohibited. Horses will be confiscated and shot."

    Visit my blog: The Complete Jewish Cyclist (http://www.thecompletejewishcyclist.blogspot.com/)

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