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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 07-31-08, 02:32 PM   #1
TexasKid
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Cyclocross vs Hybrid

Is there a difference between a Cyclocross bike and a Hybrid? To me, new to all this, it looks like a cyclocross bike is like a road bike but with hybrid tires. Are these tires a little thinner than what I see on a hybrid bike? Are they about the same width as road tires but with a little hybrid kind of tread? AND, I think of a hybrid bike as basically a mountain bike with thinner tires. The cyclocross bikes I've seen have racing style handlebars.

Would it be unwise to use a cyclocross bike with a group of road bikes on a long ride? The cyclocross bikes I have seen look like a road bike, just different tires. Oh, the brakes look a little differerent, too. They look like mountain bike brakes. Somebody give me some advice, comments, suggestions! BTW, the cyclocross bike I am looking at is one on the Bikes Direct website... it's a Motobecane "Fantom Cross".

Check it out: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ntom_cross.htm
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Old 07-31-08, 03:04 PM   #2
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1) What's the Problem with BikesDirect?

and

2) http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/11/30...s/30cyclo.html
Try doing that ^ with a 30 lb hybrid.

$800?!?!? Please don't give BD $800. You may be able to find a used poprad or new cross check.
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Old 07-31-08, 09:16 PM   #3
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Hybrids tend to have a touring bike geometry with cheaper frames and parts. Slacker angles, longer wheelbases, etc. than cyclocross bikes which handle much quicker. You're right about it being mountain bike stable with thinner tires.

Hybrids are furthermore aimed at a lower price point and therefore have more liability issues in mind. The tires they come with tend to be thick, hard, and long wearing as are the brake pads. Peformance is secondary if the target audience doesn't know what to look for or doesn't keep up on the maintenance.

The difference between my road racer and my cyclocross commuter adds up to all of about 0.5 mph if I have 700x25c tires on the cross bike. It's much higher with the 700x32c's or 700x35c's that I usually have on it.

Personally, if I'm going to have a touring bike geometry, I'll go all the way to a touring bike.

If you want a comfort oriented road bike geometry, I'll recommend a flat bar road bike.

I must admit that hybrids can be a lot of fun though if properly spec'ed and set up for what you really want to do with them. I still have one set up with knobbies and it's much more forgiving on rougher trails than my cyclocross bike is.

Last edited by cachehiker; 07-31-08 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:04 AM   #4
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Hybrids tend to have a touring bike geometry with cheaper frames and parts. Slacker angles, longer wheelbases, etc. than cyclocross bikes which handle much quicker. You're right about it being mountain bike stable with thinner tires.

Hybrids are furthermore aimed at a lower price point and therefore have more liability issues in mind. The tires they come with tend to be thick, hard, and long wearing as are the brake pads. Peformance is secondary if the target audience doesn't know what to look for or doesn't keep up on the maintenance.

The difference between my road racer and my cyclocross commuter adds up to all of about 0.5 mph if I have 700x25c tires on the cross bike. It's much higher with the 700x32c's or 700x35c's that I usually have on it.

Personally, if I'm going to have a touring bike geometry, I'll go all the way to a touring bike.

If you want a comfort oriented road bike geometry, I'll recommend a flat bar road bike.

I must admit that hybrids can be a lot of fun though if properly spec'ed and set up for what you really want to do with them. I still have one set up with knobbies and it's much more forgiving on rougher trails than my cyclocross bike is.
Thank you for the straight-forward reply. I've been lurking on this thread and your reply has been very helpful. I have an mtb and a hybrid. I'm looking for a third, faster bike.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. I think I'm going to go all the way with a road bike. But, I did see a cyclocross that looked pretty tempting. It looked like a road bike with some knobs... but I'll hang on to the old Raliegh MB for getting off the asphalt.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:48 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input. I think I'm going to go all the way with a road bike. But, I did see a cyclocross that looked pretty tempting. It looked like a road bike with some knobs... but I'll hang on to the old Raliegh MB for getting off the asphalt.
Cyclocross always seemed like a "jack of all trades" type of bike. They're good at everything but great at nothing. I would say they're a great bike if you race or only want 1 bike. Other than that, a road bike and MTB are probably a better choice.
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Old 08-01-08, 04:41 PM   #7
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TexasKid, I think you will enjoy a cyclocross more than a roadbike. Chipseal is the road serface of choice through most of Texas, and 23mm road tires are an awful rough ride. You will not have any touble keeping up with roadies on a cyclocross bike with 28 or 32mm tires, If you do it's not because of the bike. At the end of a 100 mile ride you will feel much better than them also. The Fantom Cross looks like a pretty good deal, everyone I have met riding a bike from bikes direct has not had any bad things to say about them.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:19 PM   #8
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Cyclocross for me

Recently I purchased a cyclocross bike. For years I had always wanted a higher end road bike, then one day I saw Raleigh bikes offering of their cyclocross bike. I read more about the cyclocross bikes and then decided I had rather have one of those than a full fledged road bike.

For the type riding I do, the cyclocross bike suits me perfectly. Even with the knobby tires, its faster than what I have been used to, and if I ever wanted to just simply go with road tires and perhaps switch to a larger chainring I can.

No, its not as light as some of the road bikes but hey....its much lighter than that Vintage 10 speed road bike I have been riding for a couple of years. I don't have any complaints at all.

Just ride..............
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Old 08-01-08, 10:09 PM   #9
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Since my last post where I was leaning towards a "road" bike, I bought a Specialized Tricross this afternoon. No doubt the best decision. I am so pumped about this bike - I can't wait to outrun a few road bikes at the HHH on 8/23. I love the tires and the bike will be better suited to my needs.

As for Bikes Direct, I wasn't comfortable buying without seeing and from someone with no phone number. I sent a pre-purchase question to their email and got a "I'm away until 8/1" auto reply. Still hasn't answered. It might have been an problem free experience, but they need a person you can talk to if you want, especially if you're about to hand them $800 or more. In any case, they didn't get my business this time. They might have if they had just returned my email.
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Old 08-09-08, 01:55 AM   #10
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I've purchased from BikesDirect before. (twice now) I used to own the Fantom Cross. It was a great bike. I'm awaiting their new titanium cyclocross bike to use as a commuter. It's a little extreme but I want to try the titanium frame with the Ultegra. I think that will be the ultimate commute bike at the rumored price of $1795. You may regret that you didn't wait when you see it if that's in your price range.
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Old 08-16-08, 09:21 PM   #11
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For the type riding I do, the cyclocross bike suits me perfectly. Even with the knobby tires, its faster than what I have been used to, and if I ever wanted to just simply go with road tires and perhaps switch to a larger chainring I can.


I don't know much about chain rings and cranksets. Are they different on cyclocross and road bikes? If they are, even just slightly, does it make that much difference? Can I put a larger chainring on my Tricross and make it faster?
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Old 08-16-08, 09:22 PM   #12
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That last post - the first sentence was a quote from a previous post - I was trying to show the quote before my post. I guess I don't know how to do that.
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Old 08-16-08, 09:34 PM   #13
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Interesting observation today: I rode in a Dallas area ride - the "Red Hot Chili Pepper". There was a 60, 40 and 20 mile ride. Not sure but I'm guessing in the 60 mile ride, there was about 150 to 200 registered riders. Other than 3 or 4 mountain bikes in the shorter rides, I did not see one single bike that was a cyclocross or even a hybrid. I felt a little out of place on my Tricross. Anyway, this made me start really thinking about tires sizes and chainrings... Anybody want to give me a quick education on this subject? Thanks!
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Old 08-16-08, 10:20 PM   #14
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Sure! Have fun with your TriCross, there's one at my LBS I've been drooling over since I first saw it... someday and $1300 dollars it will be mine.

As for the tires, I highly recommend Specialized Armadillos... they are amazing tires. I run them at 125 psi but I've let them get down to 60 psi on occasion and haven't flatted yet. Get some in 700c x 28mm, which is a good compromise between comfort and speed. Mine are 27" x 1 1/4" which is ~31mm. They are fast, yet give me some relief when I go up/off curbs and other obstacles.

Basically anything from 28mm to 32mm will be good, I'd go with the 28mm.

As for cranksets, you have a 50 tooth big ring
(I'm assuming you bought the $1300 Tricross with gears, if not then you have the $800 single speed with a 42 tooth chainring and an 18 tooth cog, in that case just take your cog size down to 17 or 16 teeth and see how it works for you)
and an 11-34 tooth cassette, which means you have a pretty good gear range... my bike has a 50 tooth big ring with 14-32 tooth cassette and I only outspin going 40 down hills.

So anyways if you're not satisfied with your highest gear then get a 52 tooth chainring for the front, and if your lowest gear isn't cutting it, well, you've got a 30 tooth front ring and that makes for a .88 to 1 ratio which is LOW.

I hope this helps you out, if you would tell us the exact model of tricross you have then it would help a bunch... and lastly

this thread is worthless without pics!!!
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Old 08-16-08, 10:27 PM   #15
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I see you said you wanted the bike to be faster... I missed it the first time through.

Switching to some road tires like the armadillos I mentioned will help quite a bit, slicks are so much better than knobbies for most everything, with the exception of mud and serious off-roading. Grass and gravel and dirt roads are fine with slicks.

If switching the tires out isn't fast enough, you can put a larger front chainring on like I mentioned... but if you have the singlespeed Tricross it will be cheaper to put a smaller cog on the back instead. The main thing with that on the singlespeed is that your climbing will be slower, that's why I stay with geared bikes unless I live in Chicago, Kansas, or Denmark.
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Old 08-16-08, 10:48 PM   #16
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Mine is a Tricross "Sport"... 27 speed. I have 700x32c tires right now. Seems like those road bikes blow right by me!

Does a chainring with an extra tooth or two really make that much difference? Doesn't it still get down to how hard you can mash those pedals?

I haven't taken a picture of my bike yet. Shame on me.
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Old 08-16-08, 11:00 PM   #17
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I would say that the tires will make most of the difference. However, if you still don't think it's fast enough, then you may want to consider a larger front ring.

In my situation I'd buy a new cassette, but seeing as yours has the smallest cog possible (11t) your only option is the front chainring.
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Old 08-17-08, 06:38 AM   #18
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Just a question - how long have you been biking? I just bought an 09 Tricross Sport as well, and plan on waiting to upgrade anything until I've used it for a few months. Right now I'm not convinced that simply upgrading a few parts will make too much of a difference to me, as I don't feel my legs are quite strong enough yet. Personally, I'd hold off on the upgrades until your legs aren't the main bottleneck
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Old 08-17-08, 09:02 AM   #19
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Some 25mm Ultra Gatorskins on my Tricross sport made a world of difference, really smoothed out the ride and they seem to roll a lot better on the smooth road's around here.

As for the road bikes flying by you, it's not the bike its the engine
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Old 08-17-08, 11:03 AM   #20
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Yeah, the stock tires on the Tricross will be slow on the road. They work great on dirt roads and hard pack trails though. Like mqurtzweiler, I use the 25mm Conti Ultra Gatorskins on my Tricross Comp. These are some great tires. I've ridden them well over 5000 miles and have yet to have a flat. They also don't look worn either. They are pretty quick as well.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:01 PM   #21
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How long have I been biking? Good question - depends on what you call "biking". The simple answer is... riding a moutain bike twice a week for the last 15 years, and a "hybrid" every day for the last two months between 10 and 30 miles. In the afternoon heat! Also walking/running 4 to 5 miles a day. This takes up a lot of my time, but it's been my training routine. The engine is a '59 model, but it's in pretty good mechanical condition. I've been an athlete all my life. I seem to lose most of my speed on the Tricross going up hills. Still, no doubt I could be in better condition, but I'm getting there.

If I were to switch tires to 25mm Conti Ultra Gatorskins, would it amount to different rims and brake adjustment for the most part? Thanks!
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Old 08-17-08, 08:59 PM   #22
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In regards to the Gatorskins, no. I have two sets of wheels, one with the 25mm Gatorskins and one with some cyclocross tires. I switch between them with no adjustment needed.

Edit: No, you also don't need different wheels. 25mm tires works fine on those stock wheels.
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Old 08-18-08, 04:41 AM   #23
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Go with 28mm Gatorskins not 25's. The 28's will actually only measure 25mm wide, but the extra height really helps soak up the chip seal. Going to a bigger chainring will only help if you are spinning out at over 30mph on the flats (I'm just guessong you are not). It takes awhile to get used to going fast on the road. There will aways be someone faster though. Try going to some club rides along with the charity rides, and when someone is going a little above your comfortable pace, get on their wheel and hang on. You will be surprised how much easier that can make it.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:31 AM   #24
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Does a chainring with an extra tooth or two really make that much difference? Doesn't it still get down to how hard you can mash those pedals?
The size of the front chainring won't matter much unless you're a serious pedal masher. I'm a spinner myself.

The Borough Sport CX tires are a good choice for all around riding with limited off road. You'll want knobbier tires for actual cross races and something lighter and thinner if the 60 mile road rides are going to be a regular occurrence.

I run a 48-38 crank with an IRD 11-28 cassette and it's about perfect. I don't spin out until I'm going close to 40 mph. I don't run out of gears at the other end unless I'm on actual mountain trails that I'll sometimes put an 11-32 cassette on for.

I'd consider a tighter spaced cassette so you're in an ideal gear more often. Some ~300 gram, 700x28c tires will probably get you another few tenths of a mile per hour. And when the budget is available, put the road tires on some faster wheels and knobbies on the originals for another couple of tenths.

As far as cross bikes on long rides like that, I don't see too many either. My road racer usually gets pulled out for rides over 50 miles and the cyclocross commuter is reserved for rides under 40 miles. With the bikes set up in their usual configurations, the road racer is about 1.5 mph faster.

No matter what you do, you'll always be giving up a few tenths to a dedicated race bike. A good engine can almost always overcome that. Overcoming 1.5 mph's worth is something I just can't pull off around Cat. 4/5's.
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Old 08-18-08, 12:35 PM   #25
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Okay you guys - sounds like a lot of good advice and I appreciate it. My last question: Since my bike has 700x32c's on it right now, if I go to 28's or 25's, won't my rims be too wide? Won't I have to get different, narrower rims? I'm assuming the 32,28,and25 all refer to some width measurement? Thanks!
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