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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 03-28-11, 02:13 PM   #1
mtnclimber
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What size CX bike compared to road bike?

I've heard that the "conventional wisdom" is to typically fit a cx bike one size lower than the road bike you ride.

This has been largely to the higher bottom bracket that many cx bikes have?

I purchased a Felt F1X cx bike a few years ago (c-list) as a beefy road bike for commuting/training in Seattle's lousy weather and roads; not for racing. Hadn't gotten much use out of it due to terrible brake chatter, but now that that's solved, looking to ride it a lot more. My road bike is a 54cm Cannondale R800 which fits great. The Felt is 56cm, and tends to feel "big", but in a hard to define way. Maybe "perched" is a better description, due to the higher bb. Measured standover is 2" higher on the Felt. It's a little longer than the Cannondale as well.

My inseam is 33.5"; I'm 5'11", so long in the leg and short in the torso for my height. Currently looking to use a cross bike as a long distance training or even light touring bike; racing is a possibility. If the Felt is not a great fit for me and for these uses that's fine, I'll sell it; its replacement would be another cx bike or perhaps a light/sport tourer.

Most important requirement for this bike is as a fun/comfortable ride over century+ distances, and versatility. Could very well be a sport touring bike is the logical choice, but might like to preserve the racing possibility. Good relaxed geometry cx bike could be a very good option--suggestions?


Obviously, vitally important that the bike for this use fits well; but what criteria is applied to cross bikes for fit that might be different/same to road bike criteria, and why? How do your road vs cross bikes sizes compare, or is that even particularly important? What should I be looking for regarding fit re: this Felt or its replacement, and cx bikes in general? Did you apply different criteria re:distance/commuting vs racing for your cx bike, perhaps even owning one for each purpose?

Much appreciate the insight.

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Old 03-28-11, 02:22 PM   #2
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I wouldn't go this route myself. I ride a 54cm road bike, but when I test rode a 54cm Specialized Tricross it was way to compact for comfortable riding. Probably great for cross racing, but not for road riding. I ended up with a 56cm and it fit great. So, based off that, I would suggest test riding a 54 and a 56 if at all possible. For reference, I'm 5'10" and a 32" inseam.
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Old 03-28-11, 03:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mtnclimber View Post
I've heard that the "conventional wisdom" is to typically fit a cx bike one size lower than the road bike you ride.

This has been largely to the higher bottom bracket that many cx bikes have?

I purchased a Felt F1X cx bike a few years ago (c-list) as a beefy road bike for commuting/training in Seattle's lousy weather and roads; not for racing. Hadn't gotten much use out of it due to terrible brake chatter, but now that that's solved, looking to ride it a lot more. My road bike is a 54cm Cannondale R800 which fits great. The Felt is 56cm, and tends to feel "big", but in a hard to define way. Maybe "perched" is a better description, due to the higher bb. Measured standover is 2" higher on the Felt. It's a little longer than the Cannondale as well.

My inseam is 33.5"; I'm 5'11", so long in the leg and short in the torso for my height. Currently looking to use a cross bike as a long distance training or even light touring bike; racing is a possibility. If the Felt is not a great fit for me and for these uses that's fine, I'll sell it; its replacement would be another cx bike or perhaps a light/sport tourer.

Most important requirement for this bike is as a fun/comfortable ride over century+ distances, and versatility. Could very well be a sport touring bike is the logical choice, but might like to preserve the racing possibility. Good relaxed geometry cx bike could be a very good option--suggestions?


Obviously, vitally important that the bike for this use fits well; but what criteria is applied to cross bikes for fit that might be different/same to road bike criteria, and why? How do your road vs cross bikes sizes compare, or is that even particularly important? What should I be looking for regarding fit re: this Felt or its replacement, and cx bikes in general? Did you apply different criteria re:distance/commuting vs racing for your cx bike, perhaps even owning one for each purpose?

Much appreciate the insight.
Most long-distance riders use a "French" fit which is a little more streched out than other fits.

I'm a lanky 6'0" and I'm riding a size 60 Soma Double Cross. It fits perfectly. It is mostly used for century rides and fitness.

Part of the reason for the fit is the use of a compact handlebar, like the FSA Omega Compact. It reduces the reach to both the brifters and the drops substantially.


Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-28-11 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 03-28-11, 03:38 PM   #4
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Most long-distance riders use a "French" fit which is a little more streched out than other fits.

I'm a lanky 6'0" and I'm riding a size 60 Soma Double Cross. It fits perfectly. It is mostly used for century rides and fitness.

Part of the reason for the fit is the use of a compact handlebar, like the FSA Omega Compact. It reduces the reach to both the brifters and the drops substantially.
I tend to have some moderate lower back issues, so actually prefer a more relaxed, upright geometry--thus my curiosity regarding suggestions for more relaxed geo cx bike models. On the Felt as well as my road bike I find myself back on the bars as much as not, though I'm tweaking the roadie for comfort and will do the same for the cross.

The compact is an interesting idea, I've never used one. I'm going to check that out. Seems like a compact could be an advantage in racing as well, allowing quicker access to changing hand positions and shifting/braking--unless the reduced space in the drops is a hindrance.
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Old 03-28-11, 05:08 PM   #5
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Have you considered compact bars on a high short stem? I'd buy a used Kona Jake (classic easily obtained crosser) and play around with a couple of stems - maybe try an adjustable one to find the right position. If you don't like the Jake you should be able to sell it without losing much.
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Old 03-28-11, 05:08 PM   #6
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Part of the reason for the fit is the use of a compact handlebar, like the FSA Omega Compact. It reduces the reach to both the brifters and the drops substantially.
These are the bars I use also. Love them. Easy access to the shifters/brakes while in the drops and it's actually quite comfortable for me to ride in the drops with these. I've ridden for 30-40 miles straight while in the drops. No issues.
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