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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 09-03-09, 07:15 AM   #1
Crabster
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Good for singletrack?

How are the cyclocross bikes at singletrack with basic or "easy" technical like small roots, small logs and such?
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Old 09-03-09, 08:20 AM   #2
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I think they are great..
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Old 09-03-09, 08:32 AM   #3
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I take my bike on singletrack like that. My area is mostly smooth with isolated sections of roots and some bumps. Its fun as long as you know where the big bumps are going to be, so you have time to lift the front wheel. I'd suggest going through slowly the first few times and also note that if its a two-way trail, one direction can be smoother than another. That 2" dropoff in the packed dirt is no big deal going down, but the other direction gives you a bit of an impact.

I can't bunny hop yet, so I slow way down for bigger items, lifting the front then rear wheel individually like I do for a curb. I haven't tried anything bigger than a single, curb-sized branch. A single obstacle/root you can probably hop over with some speed, but when you have several of them in a row you need time to get your body/legs in position to absorb/bounce over the next hit.

Its possible, and fun when you aren't constantly bumping over things. You'll probably want to make sure everything is tight and tuned on the bike and have a solid set of wheels.
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Old 09-03-09, 08:35 AM   #4
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How are the cyclocross bikes at singletrack with basic or "easy" technical like small roots, small logs and such?
Passable. A bike with true fat tires makes that kind of trail so much more fun and fast.
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Old 09-03-09, 09:34 AM   #5
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Passable. A bike with true fat tires makes that kind of trail so much more fun and fast.
Meh. Disagree. A real MTB can take too much the skill out of a trail like that. Plus you have to go much faster on downhill sections to make them interesting, which is anti social if you're sharing with peds, dogs and horses. A crosser lets you blast the uphill more and forces you to ride more technically elsewhere, so you can have an interesting ride without being anti-social. (Obviously, this depends on visibility and how your trail is used - but it's true where I ride.)
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Old 09-03-09, 12:45 PM   #6
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What about forks; would the cf fork need to be replaced with something more durable or would the cf fork be good to go?
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Old 09-03-09, 01:09 PM   #7
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What about forks; would the cf fork need to be replaced with something more durable or would the cf fork be good to go?
they are fine, nearly every mid level and above cross bike has one
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Old 09-03-09, 01:56 PM   #8
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they are fine, nearly every mid level and above cross bike has one
I think that's a little too simplistic.

Carbon forks typically have great fatigue resistance but are more susceptible to crash damage than metal forks. Unless you know what to look for a carbon fork should be professionally examined after even moderate impact - otherwise it might fail later while you're riding:

Quote:
http://www.velonews.com/article/3270

Whenever a carbon "part" has crashed, even if you cannot see a failure, if there is any reasonable doubt about having surpassed the elongation limit, the part must be replaced.
--Fulvio Acquati
Deda Elementi
And unlike, say steel, damaged forks need replacing, which is expensive. (Mid range alu-carbon forks are *worse* than pure carbon for damage resistance, btw.)

Upper range cross bikes are designed for racing, where weight is all important for the running phase and durability/damage resistance can be sacrificed. Unless the OP is affluent enough not to mind discarding forks, then I'd consider switching to steel forks if he's going to routinely bunny hop and mount even small logs. Small accidents, knocks and cuts and bruises and the bike equivalent are all part of mountain biking.

Steel forks can take big knocks, dent, and be perfectly safe to ride - when they do fail it's gradually, giving you time to ride home or at least get off the bike. Carbon's one fault is that when it goes it can be very fast - a fork flawed by a previous impact can just cease-to-be a fork the next time it's stressed.

That's not to say a carbon fork is a recipe for a disaster - just an unnecessary risk factor that can be eliminated. A lot will depend on how hard you intend to ride - riding hard and getting better off road means crashes, and crashes involving mis-bunny hopped tree trunks aren't going to be as gentle on the bike as more crossly skidding on grass or mud.
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Old 09-03-09, 02:34 PM   #9
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Meh. Disagree. A real MTB can take too much the skill out of a trail like that. Plus you have to go much faster on downhill sections to make them interesting, which is anti social if you're sharing with peds, dogs and horses. A crosser lets you blast the uphill more and forces you to ride more technically elsewhere, so you can have an interesting ride without being anti-social. (Obviously, this depends on visibility and how your trail is used - but it's true where I ride.)
You can ride fast and still be a good trail citizen. Simply look ahead, don't barrel around blind turns, and no skidding. Riding a cross bike on singletrack is fun, and a great way to prepare for the season, but you have to pick your way through sections that are totally fun and flowy on fat tires.
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Old 09-04-09, 04:13 PM   #10
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I just took my road bike (skinny, smooth tires) across 9 miles of basic singletrack yesterday. For the hell of it. There were maybe two or three climbs that I had to carry my bike on (not enough traction), but you CXers should be used to that.

Point is, you can take any bike across some singletrack if you're at least a little careful. People have been riding their bikes offroad for at least a century and mountain bikes have been around for about a third of that time. Do the math.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:00 AM   #11
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Speaking from about 200km of experience, CX bikes are great on low-medium technical singletrack. They get really slow on very technical stuff. But I second the comments about it being more fun in some ways - you have to think a lot more in order to get through technical sections. And a bunny hop over a small log at speed on a CX is a lot more exciting than doing it on a full sus...

I highly recommend putting proper knobby tyres on for singletrack, btw. It makes a huge difference.
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Old 04-18-10, 09:59 PM   #12
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how can you determine what a serious crash is? I havent gotten my cross bike yet but i mountain bike now and have been known to take my road bike on smooth singletrack when presented by them. I guess im wondering how hard i can ride my cross bike with a carbon fork and carbon seatstay. I'm looking at a kona major jake 2007.
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Old 04-22-10, 01:00 PM   #13
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^ride it till it a'splodes.
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Old 04-25-10, 04:32 PM   #14
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I hit some nasty worn away/rocky/rutted fire roads, sections of dry riverbed and some flowing singletrack this weekend on the cross bike.
2-3" sand was my only nemesis on 700x30 Bontrager Jones tires. No big knobs on the tires and too narrow. My skills are poor so the sand did me in. I was fine on the flowing fun singletrack but a "no brainer" trail on a FS bike turns into a real concentration camp on a cross bike. In some ways more mentally stimulating. I didn't blast down anything so the climbing was the fun part.
Def did fine. I want to get some knobbies the fattest I can fit (38, 40) on my Redline now for total offroad days. I'm not as interested in bombing downhill anyhow so flowing XC is my goal.
Cross bike, see some nature, get a workout in, and just have fun. I seriously think my MTB is in danger.
Go for it.
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Old 05-16-10, 09:00 PM   #15
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Would you guys think a steel framed/forked cross bike like a Crosscheck would be better for abusing on single track? heavier of course, but probably more durable? I ask because i'm looking for a new bike and having a hard time deciding between steel and aluminum/carbon. i've never cross raced and while i'd like to, its unlikely. this bike will see 80% commuter duty (some dirt trails) (26 miles each way), 15% shorter (13-15mile) rides w/ road biker friends, 4.5% trails riding for fun, and maybe 0.5% cross racing if ever.
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Old 05-16-10, 10:31 PM   #16
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>Would you guys think a steel framed/forked cross bike like a Crosscheck would be better for abusing on single track?

Dunno, I thrash my CF-alu tricross pretty hard. I'd also note that when I hit a car with my previous one, it was the aluminium part that snapped - not the CF. Personally, I love the CF-alu feel, but steel has its fans too.
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Old 06-04-10, 11:35 PM   #17
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I've been running a steel CX frame with a steel/carbon fork for two years now and this bike has seen tons of use on singletrack. I do plan to replace the fork with a steel one next year, simply for peace of mind. I've had zero issues with the fork so far, but the fear of an old beat up carbon fork failing on me scares me somewhat. As for the frame, the steel soaks up so much of the bumps & chatter that you feel on the trail. It's a much more comfy ride than my aluminum CX bike with a steel fork.
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