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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross Bike vs the Roadie

    I just got into CX when I purchased a Van Dessel Hole Shot this past September. (LOVE the bike by the way)

    It turns out most of my riding lately is on the road: (my friends are all "roadies" and the trails are full of snow and ice). I do all my road riding with CX tires: the 32 mm Specialized Borough - which I've found amazingly fast for their size. So, I'm able to keep up with the roadies with no issues, except for my the ones riding the really tricked-out, higher-end road bikes.

    I was curious how many of you other Cross riders do a bit of road riding with your bike, and if so, do you make any special modifications to your set up or tires?

    Any insight would be appreciated.



    Any thoughts / comments from you more experienced rides



    Ho

  2. #2
    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    I do most of my riding on the road. I bought a CX bike because I could ride on the road and have occasional forays onto the trails. I have a set of regular road slicks and tubes; when I'm going to ride road I mount those on my wheels. When I'm riding the trails, it's back to the knobbies.

  3. #3
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    I commute on a LeMond Poprad, and do quite a bit of fast road riding throughout the year on the same bike. I have it set up with 25mm Contis and a somewhat more aggressive stem and bar (Ritchey WCS, Rotundo pro) than the factory spec (Bontrager ergo bar and "erect" stem. I put slightly lighter rotors on for less rotating mass, but that's not really an issue for most people without disc brakes.

    I LOVE the versatility that a 'cross bike offers. I keep up with guys on road bikes no problem, but when I hop the curb and cut across the park grass/dirt/rocks or whatever, they're toast. For 'cross races and snowy commutes I throw on a set of 34c knobbies. It's the best of both worlds. You can make a 'cross bike almost as aggressive (position, etc.) as a road bike, yet for relaxed days or offroad the longer head tube saves your back and tire choices open up another world.

    I DO wish I had a bigger top gear. I'm curious to know if anyone has made gearing modifications to keep up with the roadies.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    I do all of my road riding on a cx bike and dont feel it is a disadvantage at all. The only time I could see it hurting you is if you use a true cx crankset and running out of gear.

    I do most of my riding on the schwalbe cx tires as well, even group road rides and like your specialized tires they are surprisingly fast.

  5. #5
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    Just to clarify, those Specialized Borough are not cyclocross tires, they are commuter tires.

    Try some road slicks (23 or 25) and those commuter tires will feel sluggish by comparison. Not a night and day change, but noticeable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iamtim's Avatar
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    Oh, I should have also stated that I've installed a compact crankset (50/34) to replace the cross crankset (46/38) and that I, too, have put a more "aggressive" stem on it.

  7. #7
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I do a lot of road riding on my 'cross bike. I use Gatorskin 25's on it, and I just picked up a set of Ultegra-Open Pros.

    Last year I was riding a century on this bike and someone at a rest stop remarked that she was impressed that I was doing that ride "on a hybrid". I was a bit baffled. Does the wider profiler of the cantilever brakes slow me down?

  8. #8
    Senior Member chrism32205's Avatar
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    Also use a seperate wheelset.. open pros for road riding (700x23).. and use the stock mavic cxp22's for some road/trail riding (700x32)

  9. #9
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    Same here. Two wheelsets. Stock wheels have the Boroughs like the OP mentioned and the other wheels have some 25's.
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  10. #10
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    i have a second set of wheels with regular 23 road tires mounted. i also replaced the large chain ring from 46 to 52.

  11. #11
    Eternal NooB threeflys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I do a lot of road riding on my 'cross bike. I use Gatorskin 25's on it, and I just picked up a set of Ultegra-Open Pros.

    Last year I was riding a century on this bike and someone at a rest stop remarked that she was impressed that I was doing that ride "on a hybrid". I was a bit baffled. Does the wider profiler of the cantilever brakes slow me down?
    Same here...I have my cross tires on my old rims (xero lites) and Gator 25s on my Ultegra/open pros...although I'm thinking of going with a pair of Panaracer Rolly Pollys from Rivendell as they are a true 28mm while the Gators are closer to 23mm than 25mm. Anyway, here are the Panaracers http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=10-034
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

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  12. #12
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    I CX bike on the road. A huge issue was cost and the Cross-Check complete was a real deal.

    A big issue for me was getting the most versatility out of the bike as possible. Riding all winter, it was important that I be able to use studded tires which don't come in road varieties. Plus, I'm a larger guy (290# now 270#), so I knew I would need larger tires in order to get good rolling resistance without extraordinary tire pressures.

    Oh yeah, and the cross-check is overbuilt and I have trashed enough frames to know that performance oriented top end weight weenie gear just doesn't work for big guys.

  13. #13
    Eternal NooB threeflys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearSquirrel View Post
    Plus, I'm a larger guy (290# now 270#), .
    Great progress, keep it up!
    If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambro View Post
    So, I'm able to keep up with the roadies with no issues, except for my the ones riding the really tricked-out, higher-end road bikes.


    Ho
    first off, dont kid yourself, a high end "tricked out" bike does NOT make a rider substantially faster. i can nearly gaurantee that i would only be able to pick up a mph or three average if i had a multi thousand dollar rig, compared to my lower end roadie.

    second, the cross bike is just fine for the road, but to answer your question, you WILL notice a difference switching to thinner slick tires when riding on the road. if i were in your position i would definitely switch out tires at a minimum, if not go for a second set of rims...

    in the grand scheme of things, road tires (obviously depending on brand and type) are cheap, cx tires are not. if i did 90% of my riding on pavement, i wouldnt want to wear the knobbies off my cx tires, they WILL wear faster on the road.

    i say go buy some thin slicks and enjoy the speed!

  15. #15
    Senior Member jmio's Avatar
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    ^^^^ this is a true statement, no need for "tricked out" bikes correlating to being crazy faster, maybe just a smidge.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    first off, dont kid yourself, a high end "tricked out" bike does NOT make a rider substantially faster. i can nearly gaurantee that i would only be able to pick up a mph or three average if i had a multi thousand dollar rig, compared to my lower end roadie.
    The OP didn't say they were fast because of the bikes.

    There is definitely an association between better bikes and speed, even if it's not a strictly causal one.

  17. #17
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    Instead of just swapping on some road slicks, I changed most of my drivetrain

    For riding on pavement, I found that my 700x32 Specialized Borough's feel sluggish. so I swapped on some 700x28 Conti Gatorskins but I got tired of swapping tires so I started just leaving the 700x32's on the bike.

    On the road, I hated my 11-34 so I installed a 12-26 cassette. The new cassette's middle cogs, combined with my stock crankset's 50/39/30 gearing and high-friction 700x32's, though, left me with too high of a middle ring/middle cog gear so I got a crankset with smaller rings, particularly a smaller middle ring, in the form of a 46/34/24.

    The new cassette and crankset work fine if not perfectly with the bike's original derailleurs and the close-ratio, overall lower gearing is perfect for me.

    These are big changes, though. Most people- reasonable people - will just throw on some road slicks and hit the pavement.
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  18. #18
    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    re: speed. it's been said before, but it's not the bike - it's the engine. i pass old slow (rich) guys riding $4k wonderbikes all the time. and super-healthy young dudes on cruisers sometimes blow my doors off.

    that said, a CX bike is wonderful because of its versatility. i'm lucky enough to have four nice rideable bikes, and two of them are CX bikes. one's set up like a "real" CX bike, with tight gearing and 32mm knobbies - and the other is my SS commuter. it's got front and rear racks and 700x30c Kenda Kwicks.

    i spend more time on my CX bikes than all the others combined. i don't expect this to change much, even when i finish my new road bike or Dutch town bike projects.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3feetplease View Post
    I commute on a LeMond Poprad, and do quite a bit of fast road riding throughout the year on the same bike. I have it set up with 25mm Contis and a somewhat more aggressive stem and bar (Ritchey WCS, Rotundo pro) than the factory spec (Bontrager ergo bar and "erect" stem. I put slightly lighter rotors on for less rotating mass, but that's not really an issue for most people without disc brakes.
    I also commute on a Poprad and have done a few 50-65 mile club rides. I have 32c Schwalbe Marathons on it, which I love. They make for a pillowy soft ride without the glass-attraction or buzz that the stock knobbies added. Before that I was riding on 28c Vittoria Randoneurs, which were fine though not very exciting.

    The poprad has a cx compact double crank on it (38 - 46), and I plan on changing that out to a standard road compact (34 - 50) on one of my next two commuter subsidies, primarily for the slight extension on the bottom to help with the Northwest hills on the longer rides. I have no idea what other modifications will be required to make that work, as my wrenching skills don't extend beyond the minimum required for maintenance.

  20. #20
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    Probably nothing other than changing the crankset. Might have to push up the FD, but that's probably it. Easy, easy change. Depends on the brand of crank also. You may have to change the bottom bracket. Bottom bracket brand needs to match the crank.
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  21. #21
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    I swap out the big ring for a 48 and run commuter tires. I used Vittoria Randonneurs for ages, but recently purchased a pair of Panaracer Ribmos that I am currently in love with. Super low rolling resistance for a 32, and they're supposed to be ridiculously flatproof.
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  22. #22
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77 View Post
    On the road, I hated my 11-34 so I installed a 12-26 cassette. The new cassette's middle cogs, combined with my stock crankset's 50/39/30 gearing and high-friction 700x32's, though, left me with too high of a middle ring/middle cog gear so I got a crankset with smaller rings, particularly a smaller middle ring, in the form of a 46/34/24.
    Wise choice of cranks. For those of us over 50 a 53/11 gets harder to push with each passing year.
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  23. #23
    I ride my bike Revtor's Avatar
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    I set up my '04 Poprad for a tour and pretty much left it that way afterwards, and it has made the perfect all around commuter, explorer, mileagemaster bike.
    I set it up with a 28/38/48 Nashbar "trekking" crankset + 105 front derailleur, and an 11-32 cassette + XT mtb rear derailleur. I run Bontrager hardcase 32's on a set of 32 spoke Ritchey wheels. I actually swapped the stock racelite wheelset and cassette back on after the tour but after bending two rear rims commuting, I put the HD rims back on and I've been fine ever since. The hardcase 32's have been running perfectly for 3.5 years now with no flats!

    I do have a proper roadbike and yeah it definitely feels quicker, but its not for everyday use. The Poprad is my every day rider, commuter and gets me going in the spring. It's good for riding w/the GF, the roadbike I take out when I want to ride hard/punish myself a bit.

    Love both, but the road bike is the one I'd usse as a bridge to cross a hot magma flow. hahaha

    roll on
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    I am in the same situation without the bike yet....I basically need to be pursuaded to either buy a tricross or a roubaix.....any suggestions?

  25. #25
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    My only pure road bike is ancient so I just ride my cross bike. I have a second set of wheels that i've mounted slightly wide (28mm) road tires on. I actually went on a few of my usual trails on this wheelset the other day and was thinking, "Man, it seems harder to get up these dirt hills today even though i'm in the same gear as always"...then i remembered that even though i was on my second largest cog, on my road wheels that's a 23-tooth instead of the 30-tooth on my dirt wheelset that has a 11-34 mtb cassette, ha!

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