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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 01-26-09, 08:27 AM   #1
bryroth
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How many people here ever take their cross bike on a "real" mountain bike trail?

I'm pretty proud of my little cross bike that I built up on an '05 Kona Jake frame. I was a mountain biker, but moved to road biking. Road bikes seemed too fragile to me, so I compromised. I still take my mtb out from time to time.

Last time I went out was with my brother, on a fairly technical trail. We both went over the handlebars a few times. I kept telling him that I could take my cross bike down that trail if I wanted, and he called me out. We go for it this weekend.

Am I going to die?
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Old 01-26-09, 08:39 AM   #2
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If you have to ask, then yes, you will die. Sorry.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:41 AM   #3
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And what will become of my bike?
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Old 01-26-09, 08:43 AM   #4
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I went for a mountain bike ride with a group of about 8 of us last week. One of the guys was on his IF cross bike. I could not believe what he was capable of doing. He's a strong cat 2 roadie so that helps and he ran a lot of the rock gardens but still we hardly ever had to wait for him except on the really long technical descents. I've done it a few times before and it's just not fun, doable yes fun no.
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Old 01-26-09, 08:45 AM   #5
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cross bikes on mtb trails add a good challenge, ive done it a few times, but i pinch flatted while i was ripping down the trail and nailed a rock with the back tire...you have to be more mindful of the skinny tires.

the craziest thing i ever saw was a shop tech who decided to join the mtb group ride on his specialized tarmac....then proceded to clear a section that i didnt.

i just about sold my bike right there
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Old 01-26-09, 09:43 AM   #6
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yes, you will most certainly die. probably not this weekend though.

it all depends on the trail. as mentioned, rock gardens can suck. in terms of getting from point a to point b, it's no problem. but you might have to hike a bit.
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Old 01-26-09, 09:49 AM   #7
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I've done it a few times before and it's just not fun, doable yes fun no.
Disagree with above. I take my cx bike out on the "real" mountain bike rides with buddies all the time and love it. The only downside is a noteably slower descent (and that is largely because I refuse to run regular cx tires because I am so committed to faster road speeds. Because Boise has lots of steep climbing, I mounted a 9 speed 11-32 cassette on the rear and a 38 up front. This works pretty darn well for most of the climbing and causes me to stand and grunt only on the very steepest sections.

I LOVE to ride my Major Jake on the real mountain bike trails. The bike is not only capable of offroad, it seems to be hungry for it. I can't believe how well it handles the climbs. Again, the only place it suffers is downhill.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 01-26-09 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 01-26-09, 10:51 AM   #8
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I used to ride my 2000 Jake the Snake all the time on mtb trails, but now it mostly sees commuter duty. The Kona works a lot better than my 2000 Surly CC on actual mtb trails. The Surly makes a lot nicer commuter. They both have their strengths.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:54 AM   #9
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All the time. There are definite benefits. I can ride 7-15 road miles from my house to the trail and make much better time than on my hardtail, and leave the car at home. The bike is light, and easy to throw around in the twisties. It climbs like a monkey. I find it enjoyable to pick the lines, almost like solving a puzzle. It is more of a scalpel than a hammer.

There are downsides also. No bombing down rocky descents and letting the suspension eat the hits, which some people really like. Careful with those drops, Eugene. The more forward position can be a little unnerving on descents- you've really got to get your weight back. The bottom bracket is low for a trail bike, so you have to watch where you pedal.
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Old 01-26-09, 12:01 PM   #10
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Both my fantom cross and my double cross have hit the mtb trails many of times. Sometimes I have to walk some sections but couldn't say if it was the bikes fault usually it's me lacking some nerve.
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Old 01-26-09, 05:37 PM   #11
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If I can ride an old touring bike with 28 slicks on 'real mountain bike trails' you can kick ass on a trail with a CX bike and the right tires
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Old 01-26-09, 09:04 PM   #12
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I took my Las Cruces out on a trail the other day...it was good until I went down a "new" hill, I about shat myself! The rocks and decline weren't bad, it was the huge rain ruts that traversed the descent! I could see myself catching a wheel in a rut and going down. It help to have a bike light enough to hop over them. While the downhills are a bit slower, it's definitly worth it climbing!
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Old 01-26-09, 09:55 PM   #13
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i take my fuji cross comp up the fire roads (JPL/brown mountain) near my house in pasadena several times per week. i love all the weird looks that I get when I blast past everyone (like double or triple the speed) on the 7mile climb up. the decent back down over some rocky section is a little hard on my neck and back but bottom line is that I am enjoying my cross bike more than my 29r
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Old 01-27-09, 01:26 PM   #14
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I ride my SS Bianchi San Jose Frequently in the local trails near LaVerne, Claremont area. I can honestly say I say Ihave seen 3 CX'ers including myself on these MTB trails. I can pretty much handle most of the hard pack and woop sections, sand/gravel and the shallow stream crossings too ,yet the chunky, rutted, rocky sections I DO slow down for. Unlike a MTB I dont have the wider tire patch or front susp.(if any) as most MTB's do. I have tried tires from 700x30, 32, and 35 and have found that the 35's hold up well and cushion the terrain on my steel san jose. I will admit on flats and smooth decents as well as climbing I do blast by most of the MTB's. I like the fact I can leave my house on my bike with efficient speed to the trails, ride through the mtb sections and continue to ride the harmless fire roads and tour the hillsides, then make my way back home. I like mountain bikes, yet I always felt they were bulky, "heavy" slower bikes. I ride road also, so a CX bike seemed more apropriate for what I wanted to do.
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Old 01-27-09, 01:34 PM   #15
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I used to get a lot of crap like " oh that bike doesnt know what it wants to be, a road or a moutain bike , its confused..." Or " ....why would you want to ride that bike on dirt?" but I just went with what I liked. Remember, In a CX race course some of the technical sections that are too steep, rocky, muddy or barriers set up for that matter aren't rideable any way. Thats usually when a CX'er dismounts, runs or clears the section then remounts.
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Old 01-27-09, 02:18 PM   #16
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when i was in San Fran i decided to throw caution to the wind and follow a group down a fire trail on my SS pake with only a front brake and 23's *whew* a lot of fun, but i probably wouldn't do it again.
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Old 01-29-09, 09:25 AM   #17
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There's not much dramatically different between a rigid 29er mountain bike and a cyclocross bike. I don't have a mountain bike and I ride my CX bike off road all the time. It's definitely more "cross-country" riding than hardcore single-track, but I don't see why that's be any different.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:12 AM   #18
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I run out of nerve before my CX bike runs out of capability.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:24 AM   #19
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There's not much dramatically different between a rigid 29er mountain bike and a cyclocross bike.
Fat tires allow you to bomb through stuff that you'd have to pick your way through with cross tires. My main home trail has a healthy mix of the rocky rooty stuff and more double-track gravelly stuff, and I've ridden it both with a "cross" bike and a 29er. Both are fun, but atmho a true fat tire bike allows you to flow through much more stuff.

I guess everyone has their priorities and aesthetics. I think it will be a long time before I go full suspension, but some people swear by it and say you're missing out by not bombing over boulders and such.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:57 AM   #20
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I think it will be a long time before I go full suspension, but some people swear by it and say you're missing out by not bombing over boulders and such.
of course, they're missing out on the climbs by lugging all that extra weight and losing pedaling energy to suspension bob. my foot is sort of in my mouth though, as i just recently switched my rigid fork for a suspension one. gasp!

occasionally i'll ride my cross bike on a few of the trails around here. it's sort of fun and challenging, though fat tires can just roll over stuff much faster. the cross bike is too slow on the down hills for me. sure you get to the trail faster, but who cares. for trails, i prefer my ss 29er. also, most of the "real" mountain bike trails around here are much too rough or loose for even fat cross tires.
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Old 01-29-09, 11:19 AM   #21
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I ride my TCX and my *for sale* Nova on mtn bike trails. Some of those trails are kinda scary on a cx bike.


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Old 01-29-09, 11:28 AM   #22
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You took not one, but two non-drive side shots? You must be a lefty.

And I take my Cross Check on fire roads and rooty singletrack all the time. My old Miyata got kind of shaky if I took it too quickly, but the CC is like a freight train out there.
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Old 01-29-09, 11:36 PM   #23
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I ride circles (literally) around my brother on his dual-suspension mtb all the time on my CC. It drives him crazy. I have to take it easy in the real rocky sections, but I'm good other than that. He really gets irritated when I ride 20 miles to the start of the trail, beat the tar out of him, then ride home while he drives to and from. He's shoping for a road bike.
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Old 01-30-09, 07:07 AM   #24
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I haven't owned a mountain bike in almost 10 years, and I love mountain biking.
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Old 01-30-09, 07:12 AM   #25
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Both my fantom cross and my double cross have hit the mtb trails many of times. Sometimes I have to walk some sections but couldn't say if it was the bikes fault usually it's me lacking some nerve.
Whenever I'm in your neck of the woods I ride my friends pimp Rob Roy at the ant hills, and Memorial. I went to UH.
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