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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 08-13-09, 04:20 PM   #1
tombailey
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A few beginner's questions

1) Are most CX frames 130mm rear spacing?
2) I've read alot about tubulars over clinchers - why? Is it just pinch flat avoidance?
3) Are CX rims a different size from road rims?

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 08-13-09, 04:22 PM   #2
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1. Generally, yes
2. Yes, you can run tubs at much lower pressure thus better traction
3. There are some wider rims used but road rims are also widely used.
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Old 08-13-09, 05:17 PM   #3
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I've seen some CX bikes with 132.5 rear spacing, the idea being that you can use either 130 or 135 mm wheels.
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Old 08-13-09, 05:34 PM   #4
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My Lemond is build that way. Generally on steel frames.
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Old 08-13-09, 05:36 PM   #5
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1. Yes, most are. There are a few out there with 135 (salsa las cruces) and often times people will run a 130 hub anyways.
2. Yes, with tubulars you can run less pressure without the risk of pinch flatting. In 'cross, less pressure is better.
3. No, most everyone uses road rims.
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Old 08-13-09, 07:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the help.

Further question for anyone still reading - what's the ultimate beginner's cross bike. Us road guys have the Caad 9 with rival, the tri gang have their P1. What's the cross equivalent where those of you with some experience would look back and say "that's the bike I should have started on"?
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Old 08-13-09, 08:58 PM   #7
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Further question for anyone still reading - what's the ultimate beginner's cross bike. Us road guys have the Caad 9 with rival, the tri gang have their P1. What's the cross equivalent where those of you with some experience would look back and say "that's the bike I should have started on"?
I guess the perfect beginner's cross rig is a Surly Steamroller, because that's what I started with, and I'm better at cross than you'll ever be.
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Old 08-13-09, 09:35 PM   #8
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i think a cross that can also be used as road bike or as a comuter bike so if you end up not sticking with cross, you can use it for a different purpose. also so it can be used during the off season
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Old 08-13-09, 10:01 PM   #9
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i think you shouldn't get a cross bike because you'll never be as good as flargle.
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Old 08-14-09, 08:55 AM   #10
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i think you shouldn't get a cross bike because you'll never be as good as flargle.
Very true. But luckily this research is for my wife. And I KNOW she could kick his ass.
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Old 08-14-09, 08:58 AM   #11
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1. Yes, most are. There are a few out there with 135 (salsa las cruces) and often times people will run a 130 hub anyways.
I do this with this bike and haven't had any issues...
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Old 08-14-09, 09:58 AM   #12
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Very true. But luckily this research is for my wife. And I KNOW she could kick his ass.
Not suprisingly, there is no one answer. You'll see all kinds of bikes at a cross event. But go in knowing that what are marketed as "cross bikes" vary a lot, more than road bikes. They tend toward touring, road racing, hybrid commuting or even MTBs. All called "cross bikes". Most lower-mid price cross bikes are targeted to multi-use, and while they can be and are often raced, they're not necessarily optimized for race courses. But that assumes an elite racer who can take advantage of the quick handling, gearing, high zoot wheels and components etc. When it comes down to reality, most of us don't or wouldn't really do much better with one of these than a basic model- a ferrari isn't any better getting through the mud than a honda civic know'msayin'. The main issue is proportional geometry if she's small and looking at a nominal frame size less than 52cm. Some manufacturers do small much better than others. Some small-end frames ride like crap because they're designed for bigger people and shrunk down they have lots of compromises, like really shallow HT angles, lots of toe overlap, stupid high BB's, just weird geometry. So if your wife is small, the best advice will come from small women racers, and unfortunately getting a little educated on basic elements of frame geometry so you can look at the specs and compare. Otherwise, just get a basic bike that fits well, lots of choices, don't overthink it as it will become clear after a season or two what preferences develop, until then you're pretty much in the dark. If she's already an aggressive/competitive rider on the road or MTB then you might start on more of a "racey" bike, if not she may actually prefer more of a laid-back all-rounder to help with confidence in navigating a cross course, which can be intimidating at first. After a little experience, the best bike will be clear. And Custom! Lots of builders do women's bikes well, and some don't. Luna cycles is a woman builder who knows how to build for women. Next year, when your wife knows better what she likes to ride when she kicks flargle's and rest of our asses.
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Old 08-14-09, 02:23 PM   #13
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Not suprisingly, there is no one answer. You'll see all kinds of bikes at a cross event. But go in knowing that what are marketed as "cross bikes" vary a lot, more than road bikes. They tend toward touring, road racing, hybrid commuting or even MTBs. All called "cross bikes". Most lower-mid price cross bikes are targeted to multi-use, and while they can be and are often raced, they're not necessarily optimized for race courses. But that assumes an elite racer who can take advantage of the quick handling, gearing, high zoot wheels and components etc. When it comes down to reality, most of us don't or wouldn't really do much better with one of these than a basic model- a ferrari isn't any better getting through the mud than a honda civic know'msayin'. The main issue is proportional geometry if she's small and looking at a nominal frame size less than 52cm. Some manufacturers do small much better than others. Some small-end frames ride like crap because they're designed for bigger people and shrunk down they have lots of compromises, like really shallow HT angles, lots of toe overlap, stupid high BB's, just weird geometry. So if your wife is small, the best advice will come from small women racers, and unfortunately getting a little educated on basic elements of frame geometry so you can look at the specs and compare. Otherwise, just get a basic bike that fits well, lots of choices, don't overthink it as it will become clear after a season or two what preferences develop, until then you're pretty much in the dark. If she's already an aggressive/competitive rider on the road or MTB then you might start on more of a "racey" bike, if not she may actually prefer more of a laid-back all-rounder to help with confidence in navigating a cross course, which can be intimidating at first. After a little experience, the best bike will be clear. And Custom! Lots of builders do women's bikes well, and some don't. Luna cycles is a woman builder who knows how to build for women. Next year, when your wife knows better what she likes to ride when she kicks flargle's and rest of our asses.
Thanks. Useful info.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:58 PM   #14
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What's your budget?
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Old 08-15-09, 03:45 PM   #15
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~$2000. Prefer under that.
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Old 08-15-09, 05:34 PM   #16
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Get something ridley.

Their cross stuff is the tits.
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Old 08-15-09, 05:39 PM   #17
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Kona, Redline, or Cannondale. Choose the bike that fits within your budget and has the specifics that you prefer (i.e. geometry, SRAM vs Shimano, etc). Ride the bike on the less technical local mtb trails. All the time. Practice dismounts and remounts until you don't stress about them. See how low you can run the PSI before pinch-flatting. Find two trees about twenty yards apart from each other, and see how fast you can do figure eights around them. Find a steep hill that's about thirty yards long. Run up it while carrying your bike, remount at the top, ride down, then dismount. Repeat until you can't. Practice riding through the sandpits at the local grade school. Purchase Simon Burney's book and read it. Search youtube for superprestige.

Oh, and ride lots.
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Old 08-15-09, 06:14 PM   #18
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Find two trees about twenty yards apart from each other, and see how fast you can do figure eights around them.
+1 - preferably without crashing....
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Old 08-15-09, 08:09 PM   #19
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Van Dessel Hole Shot with Rival! Sweet bike.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:24 PM   #20
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Get tubulars if you can afford them, but the expense of new wheels and tubulars is usually better spent racing more if you are a beginner. With tubulars, you don't have the option of changing tires based on conditions like with clinchers, unless you have multiple sets of wheels. But usually you can find a nice all around tire. For most american style grass cross courses, Challenge Fangos work well.

Next to having some tubulars, a spare bike is nice to have, especially if you live somewhere where it is muddy. You can get away with 1 bike and generally its best if you make your 2009 bike your spare bike when you buy a new 2010 bike.

I'm running 5 pairs of tubular wheels this year, all with different tires. Cross gets really expensive.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:40 PM   #21
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And griffo's for clinchers for what I've been told.
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Old 08-16-09, 06:47 AM   #22
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why don't cross racers just run stan's it gives them the tubeless advantage of low pressure and no pinch flats but it is puncuture proof because of the sealant and gives the clincher advantages of ability to switch tires?!
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Old 08-16-09, 07:30 AM   #23
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Re. a woman's bike I'd ask over on http://forums.teamestrogen.com/ - there's women's cross subforum there.

Based purely on reputation and without owning one, I'd have though the Kona Jake The Snake was the closest thing to a cross CAAD9. Thread on using one as a woman's all-purpose bike here: http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?p=452221

Spec Tricross thread http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=17714
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Old 08-16-09, 07:44 AM   #24
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why don't cross racers just run stan's it gives them the tubeless advantage of low pressure and no pinch flats but it is puncuture proof because of the sealant and gives the clincher advantages of ability to switch tires?!
I've wondered that myself - Stan's seems much more accepted in the MTB world.
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Old 08-16-09, 07:59 AM   #25
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why don't cross racers just run stan's it gives them the tubeless advantage of low pressure and no pinch flats but it is puncuture proof because of the sealant and gives the clincher advantages of ability to switch tires?!
Well for one, quite a few people do run cross tubeless. But not at the elite level.

I don't think you understand quite how low world-class cross racers run their tires. At those pressures with a standard clincher rim and tire run tubeless, you'd probably burp quite a bit. They do make tubeless-specific cross tires now, but with corresponding weight penalty.

A tubular with sealant inside is as puncture "proof" as tubeless with sealant.

Running clincher rims instead of tubular rims carries its own weight penalty.

For all of the inconvenience, nothing beats tubulars on a strictly performance basis.
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