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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 08-21-09, 11:01 AM   #1
jschaeff23
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Touring on a Cross bike?

Newbie here. Was wondering if it is plausible to tour on a cross bike? Pros/cons, etc. Is it possible to put racks on a cross bike? Any reviews on Cross bikes from Performance? They have some Fuji, Mongoose, and GT. Any info will help.
Thanks
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Old 08-21-09, 01:25 PM   #2
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It depends on the bike but, generally yes. Most 'cross bikes have mounts for racks but not all.
One thing to check is the chainstay length as 'cross bikes usually have shorter chainstays compared to touring bikes. If you have big feet they may hit your panniers.
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Old 08-21-09, 01:48 PM   #3
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Correction: Most entry-level 'cross bikes have mounts for rear racks. The only 'cross bike I've noticed having front rack braze-ons is the Specialized Tricross, and as you getting into the more expensive bikes, which tend to be more racing focused, you quickly lose the eyelets and rack braze-ons.

My 52cm Kona Jake has 43.5 cm chainstays. My shoe size also happens to be 43.5 (US 9.5), and I don't have any issues with heel strike. I believe the larger frames have the same chainstay length. A Surly Long Haul Trucker, by comparison, has 46 cm chainstays, so about an inch longer.

I've heard decent things about the Fuji Cross Comp at Performance, and the components are outstanding for under $1000.
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Old 08-21-09, 02:36 PM   #4
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Did a credit card tour with my Specialized Tricross, about 150 miles, carrying about 30 lbs of crap. And did it with a smile.
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Old 08-21-09, 03:13 PM   #5
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Yes, you can tour on a Cross bike. You can tour on any bike really. Sounds like you don't have a bike yet, why don't you check out the Fuji Touring bike while you're in Performance? Comes already outfitted for you.
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Old 08-21-09, 03:16 PM   #6
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The Cotic Roadrat has every braze-on going. Cotic will send the frame and forks to a US LBS for about 300, so you can have it built with whatever spec you want.
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Old 08-21-09, 03:24 PM   #7
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The Bianchi Volpe is marketed as a cross bike, but is built more like a touring bike. It has the mounts as well. You can get that for under $1k. That Fuji that someone mentioned above is nice as well.
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Old 08-21-09, 03:27 PM   #8
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P.S., you may get more and better answers on the Touring forum.
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Old 08-21-09, 05:03 PM   #9
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This subject has definitely been beaten to death on both the cyclocross and touring forums. The short answer is yes, you can tour on just about any bike you want. If your bike has braise ons, get a rack and set of panniers. You may need to be a bit more careful with what bags you get as heel strike becomes more of an issue. Smaller bags usually work better. You will want a wider slick, most advocate something in the 32 - 35 mm range. You may also need to widen your gear range a bit, as most cross bikes are geared for racing and not touring.

As to the question about performance, Fugi tends to get pretty good reviews. Your post insinuates that you are looking to buy a bike, not work with what you have. My suggestion would be, unless you have a specific need for a cyclocross bike, just get a touring bike. Good bikes can be had for under $1000 from a variety of vendors. Just about anything will do. As with any cycling sub-set, it is best to get a cheaper bike, try it out, find what you like and don't like then move up to what you know you want.

As a final note, the hardest part about touring is actually the pedaling. I have toured with nothing but a backpack strapped to the top of a ten dollar rack up to a great rack and pannier set up. Better gear can make you more comfortable but will rarely change the situation from impossible to possible. If you have some specific questions check out the touring forum. There are some great stickies and other such there.

Good luck and get out there.
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Old 08-21-09, 05:24 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone,

As it stands right now I am riding an early 2000s Trek 800. Mostly around town, to work (which is a combo of paved trail, dirt, and road), store, etc. I would like to get something that I can use for these purposes plus I would like to start riding some dirt (mud) and gravel trails and eventually, hopefully this winter or spring, do some touring. I have the need for more speed as well.

I guess I am looking for a good all purpose bike. I have been checking craigslist and can't find anything in my area other than hybrids and low end mountain bikes with some old road bikes every now and then. None of the LBS around here seem to carry Cross or Touring bikes which is why I was looking into the Performance bikes. I would probably go more the touring route but I would like to ride an old towpath that gets muddy and am not sure how the touring would hold up.
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Old 08-21-09, 05:30 PM   #11
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Do you have an REI? The Novara Randonee is a decent touring bike.
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Old 08-21-09, 05:45 PM   #12
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Do you have an REI? The Novara Randonee is a decent touring bike.
Unfortunately, no. I am just outside of Dayton, Oh. Pretty slim pickings around here. I have expanded my search to include some LBS in Cincinnati and Columbus. There are many more shops that seem to have a greater variety.
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Old 08-21-09, 05:53 PM   #13
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I did a 450 mile tour on a CrossCheck this spring, worked like a charm. Front rack held on with P-clips, but no problems mechanically.
http://centurycycles.com/page.cfm?PageID=520

If you ever get up Cleveland way, Century will work to build what you want.
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Old 08-22-09, 09:45 AM   #14
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> I would probably go more the touring route but I would like to ride an old towpath that gets muddy and am not sure how the touring would hold up.

Quite well. Especially with the right tyres.

But anyway, some cross bikes make great tourers - there are plenty of stories of people doing very long, serious tours on bikes such as the Tricross. I second the suggestion to ask in the touring forum.
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Old 08-22-09, 09:57 AM   #15
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I posed the question over there at the same time and you guys have been more helpful here. Thanks again for all of your insight.
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Old 08-22-09, 10:11 AM   #16
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I should probably add that I am 6' 240lbs.
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Old 08-22-09, 10:39 AM   #17
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I guess I am looking for a good all purpose bike. I have been checking craigslist and can't find anything in my area other than hybrids and low end mountain bikes with some old road bikes every now and then.
Dirty little secret: hybrids are touring bikes with flat bars. No need to worry about converting to drop bars and the different shifters and brake levers that would require: throw a set of aero bars on the flat bars and you're good to go for touring. Bar ends might be nice, too, depending on how how many hand positions you want. I've had four or five bikes that I set up this way since the mid-'80s. It's a far more versatile bike than anything else out there.
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Old 08-22-09, 10:43 AM   #18
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Dirty little secret: hybrids are touring bikes with flat bars.
90% true - there are some absurd designs that can only run narrow tyres, or have other flaws.

Ergon grips would be a good addition to a tourer hybrid.
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Old 08-22-09, 12:30 PM   #19
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Dirty little secret: hybrids are touring bikes with flat bars.
= Cross bikes are hybrids with drop bars
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Old 08-22-09, 02:43 PM   #20
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I had heel strike my 58cm soma double cross with standard Blackburn rack and size 10.5 shoes did cause heel strike with panniers. Though recently got a jandd expedition rack and no heel strike problems now with the new rack. Have loaded it with around 30-40 lbs with various grocery items no problem.
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Old 08-22-09, 08:22 PM   #21
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and what about using a touring bike for a cross bike?
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Old 08-22-09, 09:49 PM   #22
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No reason why you can't. It'll fit the tires that you'd need, BUT most touring bikes are not light. I'd hate to have to lug that thing on my shoulder across barriers or up hills.
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