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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 12-06-08, 10:15 PM   #1
td.tony
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Is a Cross bike for me?

Well i just got a windsor hour about 2 months ago. Since then i have fallen in love with cycling, but am feeling that the limitations of a SS outweigh the benefits of its simplicity. I do most of my riding on the streets or on flat paved bike trails, but i LOVE doing climbs. albeit i've only done the easier ones since im on a SS, i would love to climb some of the big mountains around here. So, i thought a road bike would be perfect for me, but this past weekend i road on some dirt trails with my friend using his g/f's new 49cm fantom cx bike and i had tons of fun. Im actually thinking of trying a cross event or two now.
The thing is, even if i get a cross bike, i would probably be doing 90% of my riding on paved asphault.
I'm also in the process of negotiating a deal on a used Motobecane Fantom Cross bike for around 400 bucks.
my question is, how much of a compromise is it riding a cross bike on the streets compared to a road bike? the only difference in the geometry is that the BB is slightly higher right? also would i need to change out the tires for long distance hill climbs on pavement or are cross tires ok for long distance pavement rides?? im just worried about a cross bike feeling sluggish compared to my SS because of the added rolling resistance of wider cross tires.
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Old 12-06-08, 10:27 PM   #2
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Geometry is a little more slack, which for long rides is a benefit. Hill climbs may show the limitation of the gearing, but this can easily be taken care of by changing out the rear cassette with something like a 11/32. My main bike is a cross bike (Specialized Tricross Comp) and I love riding it. I'd suggest taking that Moto out for a spin and if it's in good shape and feels good when you ride it, then go for it.
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Old 12-06-08, 10:36 PM   #3
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Geometry is a little more slack, which for long rides is a benefit. Hill climbs may show the limitation of the gearing, but this can easily be taken care of by changing out the rear cassette with something like a 11/32. My main bike is a cross bike (Specialized Tricross Comp) and I love riding it. I'd suggest taking that Moto out for a spin and if it's in good shape and feels good when you ride it, then go for it.
I dont know if agree that the geometrey is more slack as that is really the difference between road and touring bikes. The geometrey is usually for more responsive steering at slower than average road bike speeds. For a pure CX bike you dont need to design it to handle well at 50+mph you just need to good handling at 5-15mph which is not usually associated with slacker angles. The bikes are certainly designed for a more upright riding position, but that is not accomplished via slackened angles.
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Old 12-06-08, 11:40 PM   #4
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any grip issues with cross tires on pavement?? are there any kind of hybrid cross tires you guys would recomend?
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Old 12-07-08, 12:56 AM   #5
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For riding on pavement, I would definitely swap out the tires. This isn't a big deal -- $70 will get you a set of Gator Skins. You can get other tires cheaper, but I doubt it will benefit you in the long run. I run my cross bike on pavement 90 percent of the time too. During cross season I keep cross tires on it and remove the fenders, rack, bottle cages, mirror, etc. The rest of the year I run Gator Skins. On my commute at least, my cross bike seems to be about 1 mph slower with the cross tires, given the same perceived effort.

If you do put an 11-32 cassette on a cross bike, chances are you'll need to change the rear derailleur too to get everything working properly. I've done that on mine, although I prefer the road gears for most rides. Also no big deal, although these little things add up. You probably want a triple crankset for climbs if you're a relatively new cyclist. You can run a standard 50-39-30 crankset with a 12-27 cassette and get reasonably low gearing.

Regarding the Motobecane Fantom, which one are you getting for that price? A Fantom CX is only $550 new (you probably know that, having bought a Windsor), so it wouldn't be an amazing deal at $400 used. The Fantom Cross with Tiagra components would be pretty good at that price. Whatever you get, of course, make sure it's the right size.
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Old 12-07-08, 01:44 AM   #6
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its the fantom cross with the tiagra components. are the rims on cross bikes wider, or can i still fit a 700x25 tire on them?
would a 11/32 cassette be better for road biking?
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Old 12-07-08, 08:07 AM   #7
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any grip issues with cross tires on pavement?? are there any kind of hybrid cross tires you guys would recomend?
I maintain two wheel sets, one is a light weight wheel/tire combination for faster road cycling, the second is a stronger wheel set with fat tires for commuting and the occasional off-road use.


If you want one wheel/tire to do it all, consider using the Specialized Borough CX Armadillo Elite tires on your stock rims. These tires offer good pavement performance and puncture resistance. See: http://pedpow.com/itemdetails.cfm?LibId=22060
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Old 12-07-08, 10:59 AM   #8
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I dont know if agree that the geometrey is more slack as that is really the difference between road and touring bikes. The geometrey is usually for more responsive steering at slower than average road bike speeds. For a pure CX bike you dont need to design it to handle well at 50+mph you just need to good handling at 5-15mph which is not usually associated with slacker angles. The bikes are certainly designed for a more upright riding position, but that is not accomplished via slackened angles.
I would agree with your statement. I was mainly refering to the Specialized Tricross as it's not necessarily a racing bike, but rather somewhere between a cross and a touring bike. Not that you couldn't race it mind you, but I think it was designed for someone that wants to do anything like road rides, commuting, trails and touring. It's evident by all the braze ons.
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Old 12-07-08, 12:58 PM   #9
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its the fantom cross with the tiagra components. are the rims on cross bikes wider, or can i still fit a 700x25 tire on them?
would a 11/32 cassette be better for road biking?
I use 700x25 on my Kona Jake, but of course it has different rims than the Motobecane. The Motobecane can probably take 700x25.

I find that for most rides, I like a 12-25 cassette better than an 11-32. The 11-32 is spaced wider and so you end up having to work a little harder to get your speed up on flat pavement. The only time I use the 11-32 is when I'm doing a ride that has some really steep climbs.
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Old 12-07-08, 01:18 PM   #10
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I would agree with your statement. I was mainly refering to the Specialized Tricross as it's not necessarily a racing bike, but rather somewhere between a cross and a touring bike. Not that you couldn't race it mind you, but I think it was designed for someone that wants to do anything like road rides, commuting, trails and touring. It's evident by all the braze ons.
I just took a look at the geometries and it seems like they are consistent through the line, at least in the 58cm. 72.5 seat and head is slightly more slack than the usual 73/73. I think the braze ons is more just catering to non racers as the cross bike is like the new sport touring bike and is not indicative of it being a race bike or not. On a side note, thanks for being able to disagree without being disagreeable as that seems to be lacking on BF.
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Old 12-07-08, 01:27 PM   #11
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I'll have to measure my Trek 520 verses my Tricross. It'll be interesting to see how they compare. To the OP, you may want to take a look at touring bikes also. You can do just about everything you can on a cross bike and it handles better when loaded.

To Jonestr: Yeah, I think getting all pissy because some disagrees with you is really showing how immature people are. I'm wrong more often than I'm right.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:41 PM   #12
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Well i just got a windsor hour about 2 months ago. Since then i have fallen in love with cycling, but am feeling that the limitations of a SS outweigh the benefits of its simplicity. I do most of my riding on the streets or on flat paved bike trails, but i LOVE doing climbs. albeit i've only done the easier ones since im on a SS, i would love to climb some of the big mountains around here. So, i thought a road bike would be perfect for me, but this past weekend i road on some dirt trails with my friend using his g/f's new 49cm fantom cx bike and i had tons of fun. Im actually thinking of trying a cross event or two now.
The thing is, even if i get a cross bike, i would probably be doing 90% of my riding on paved asphault.
I'm also in the process of negotiating a deal on a used Motobecane Fantom Cross bike for around 400 bucks.
my question is, how much of a compromise is it riding a cross bike on the streets compared to a road bike? the only difference in the geometry is that the BB is slightly higher right? also would i need to change out the tires for long distance hill climbs on pavement or are cross tires ok for long distance pavement rides?? im just worried about a cross bike feeling sluggish compared to my SS because of the added rolling resistance of wider cross tires.

For me there is no comprimise on the street. I can go over and through stuff I would not attempt with a road bike. On the open road riding a cross bike is obviously slower but for the majority of riding I actually do it's tough to beat the versatility of a cross bike and the added simplicity of a SS cross bike.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:32 PM   #13
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thanks for all the input. im probably going to end up with a cross bike one way or another, i decided that being slightly slower on the road wouldnt matter to me anyways since im not racing or anything, its just about having fun and being able to go on dirt and gravel is much more fun than going +1mph faster on only paved roads.
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Old 12-07-08, 10:14 PM   #14
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A note about that 1 mph.... If you're riding alone, I completely agree that it doesn't matter. If you're riding with a group that's 1 mph faster than you, you'll be 1/4 mile back in 15 minutes. In that case, throw on some road tires and you're good to go. The good thing is, that's something you can do down the road if you feel like you want to. The guys with road bikes will have a much harder time getting their bikes ready to ride on dirt.
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Old 12-09-08, 10:50 PM   #15
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In straight, flat situations and even uphill a cross bike isn't going to be noticeably slower than an equivalent road bike, in general. This is assuming you put on road tires.

It;s the long downhills that can get wacky with the canti brakes, and their relative lack of modulation. But it's perfectly manageable.
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Old 12-11-08, 05:51 PM   #16
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Cross-bikes are for everyone!
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Old 12-12-08, 12:23 AM   #17
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It definitely felt akward riding my tricross on the road compared to my tarmac. Don't know about slacker per se, but the main different was longer wheelbase and higher center of gravity.
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Old 12-12-08, 12:58 AM   #18
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I have fantom cross and a double cross now, and used to a cf race oriented bike. I personally prefer the cross bike even on road with slicks it just seemed easier to ride as soon as I got on. The road bike could carve a corner like crazy but I really had to warm up to the bike every ride and steering was super sensitive, but thatís just me. Maybe you could get a bike shop to swap out the tires to slicks in the test ride of a cross bike and compare it to test ride of a road bike, see which you like better. I bet a good shop would do it if you asked and they weren't to busy. Oops just looked at the original post again you are buying used maybe the seller will let you swap out some slicks.
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