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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 05-25-11, 09:36 AM   #1
SoulPuppy
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Speed Question

I hope you guys can help me with this. I just bought my first cross bike & I'm getting quite frustrated with it.

A little history: My prior bike is a Trek mountain bike with slick tires. I was looking for something lighter that would allow me to go a little faster. (Most of my riding is on paved trails & roads)

I've been riding the cross bike, but I'm getting blown away by guys on mountain bikes. I recently timed myself on both bikes & I'm actually going faster on my old mountain bike.

1. I feel like I'm not as strong when I pedal the cross bike due to the position of my body. Will I get used to this & gain speed as I go?

2. Is it possible that the knobbier tires on the cross bike are slowing me down so much that it's making me slower?

Any advice would be appreciated as I'm feeling like I just wasted a boatload of cash on a bike that will just sit in my garage.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:45 AM   #2
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Can you put the mountain bike tires on your cross bike and find out?
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Old 05-25-11, 09:45 AM   #3
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1. Yes
2. Yes
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Old 05-25-11, 10:06 AM   #4
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Thanks, flargle. Maybe I'll switch out the tires & see if that helps.

Is this common? The guys at the bike shop thought it was crazy that I was faster on the mountain bike.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:10 AM   #5
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you may want to change the stem and adjust the saddle position
to get a lower more aero dynamic position,
your bike shop can help you choose and source a different stem.

and also, do put slick tires on your cross bike, the knobs move, and absorb energy..

Rivendale's Jack Brown are a nice light but comfortably wide tire,
of a 32 mm wide type .. Panasonic Pasela is another option,
With or without the kevlar puncture-resistant belt is an option on both tires.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:16 AM   #6
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Thanks. I'll look at switching out the tires.

I'm very surprised at how much stronger my legs feel on the mountain bike. Has anyone else heard of this? Is it common?
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Old 05-25-11, 10:29 AM   #7
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If you're not comfortable on the bike, all bets are off.
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Old 05-25-11, 10:34 AM   #8
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What does that mean?
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Old 05-25-11, 10:57 AM   #9
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Ride position is different, on your MTB you may be mashing and your doing the same thing on your cross bike. Anyway, big difference for my cross was changing the wheelset to something road worthy; the stock cross wheelset was very heavy, flexy. Tires too. You can get the cross bike up to road bikes speed but you have to set it up as such and take advantage of the aero qualities and spin it up to speed.
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Old 05-25-11, 11:27 AM   #10
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how fast are you going that you're getting blown away? this is on pavement, correct?
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Old 05-25-11, 11:36 AM   #11
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Try getting some slicks.
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Old 05-25-11, 12:46 PM   #12
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how fast are you going that you're getting blown away? this is on pavement, correct?
Yes, I was riding on pavement. I was about 18.
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Old 05-25-11, 01:20 PM   #13
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The difference in gearing might also be something you need to adapt to. Not knowing what your gearing is on either bike, this is just a shot in the dark, but I know that when I go from riding my CX bike a lot to riding my mountain bike, I have to think more intentionally about my shifting, otherwise I end up in the 32T middle ring wondering why I've got to spin so much to get up to speed. You're going the other direction, so I'm not sure how it would work for you, but it's something to think about. Which gears do you generally use on the MTB? Which gears on the CX bike?

That said, I see about a 2 mph difference in average speed on smooth pavement between knobby CX tires and slick road tires. I've got 700x28 Conti GP 4 Seasons on my CX bike right now, and I highly recommend them.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:49 PM   #14
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Do the wheels spin freely on the new bike when you lift it off the ground? Maybe the brakes are rubbing, or the bearings are to tight. Do both bikes have the same gearing?
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Old 05-26-11, 07:54 AM   #15
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Well here's what I bought, if that helps:

http://www.downcycles.com/store/2011...ra-p-1269.html

Frame CAADX Cyclocross, Optimized 6061 Alloy
Fork Cannondale Ultra X, carbon blades
Rims Maddux DRX-6000
Hubs Formula RB-91 front, RB-32 rear, 32 hole
Spokes Stainless Steel XD Black
Tires Continental Cyclocross Speed, 700x35C
Pedals Wellgo Composite body Alloy Cage
Crank FSA Omega Mega Exo, 46/36, Option: FSA Omega Mega Exo, 50/39/30
Bottom Bracket FSA Mega Exo
Chain Shimano HG-53
Rear Cogs SRAM PG 950, 12-26
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra, 34.9mm clamp
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Handlebars Cannondale C4 Compact
Stem Cannondale C4, 31.8mm
Headset CAADX, Si, 1⅛"
Brakes Tektro CR520, silver
Brake Levers Shimano Tiagra
Saddle Cannondale w/ Crmo Rails
Seat Post Cannondale C3, Alloy, 31.6mm, 300mm
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Old 05-26-11, 08:31 AM   #16
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Post a photo of your bike taken from the side, so we can see if there's anything obviously whacky with your setup. When people switch from flat bars to drop bars they can do some nutty things.
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Old 05-26-11, 08:59 AM   #17
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Much less tread on those than on the Conti Speed Kings that came on my Jake. But still, I would get some nice road tires in whatever size you like.
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Old 05-26-11, 11:21 AM   #18
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Post a photo of your bike taken from the side, so we can see if there's anything obviously whacky with your setup. When people switch from flat bars to drop bars they can do some nutty things.
Here it is:

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Old 05-26-11, 11:33 AM   #19
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There's no reason that bike shouldn't be as fast as you are capable of riding it. Have you compared the saddle position relative to the bottom bracket with the setup on your mountain bike? What kind of tire pressire are you using?
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Old 05-26-11, 11:35 AM   #20
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That setup looks pretty reasonable to me, on the face of it. Does it feel comfortable? Do you feel too stretched out? Not enough? Can you ride in each of the four positions (tops, corners, hoods, drops) with reasonable comfort?

Also, have you compared your measurements between the two bikes? How does the reach from saddle to bars compare? Also, width of the bars, I'd guess the mtb bars are wider. This all takes a while to get used to.
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Old 05-26-11, 12:08 PM   #21
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Fargle,

I can ride in all 4 positions, but none of them feel as comfortable as my mtn bike. (That mtn bike is all I've ever known as an adult) Probably because of the upright position and wider handles.

The thing that really surprises me is how much weaker I feel at pedaling the cross bike. Also, climbs just feel awkward compared to the mountain bike.
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Old 05-26-11, 01:06 PM   #22
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It might just be a matter of getting used to the bike. Or you might want to look into getting a shorter and/or steeper stem. But I'd give it several weeks before that.
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Old 05-26-11, 01:26 PM   #23
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It might just be a matter of getting used to the bike. Or you might want to look into getting a shorter and/or steeper stem. But I'd give it several weeks before that.
Thanks, fargle. That's going to have to be my plan. I don't really have any other options. I have reverted back to my old mountain bike for several rides recently for the speed & comfort, but I hate the idea of dropping all of that $$$ on a bike I may never ride so I'll keep practicing with it.
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Old 05-26-11, 02:03 PM   #24
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Thanks, fargle. That's going to have to be my plan. I don't really have any other options. I have reverted back to my old mountain bike for several rides recently for the speed & comfort, but I hate the idea of dropping all of that $$$ on a bike I may never ride so I'll keep practicing with it.
You might also want to try getting with some roadies (say, a group ride out of a local shop or whatever) and just sort of look around at how other people ride. I don't know what your situation is, but it's nice to get a reality check. Over the years I've asked several different people what they think of my setup, just as a snicker-test.
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Old 05-26-11, 03:04 PM   #25
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The thing that really surprises me is how much weaker I feel at pedaling the cross bike. Also, climbs just feel awkward compared to the mountain bike.
Are you climbing on the tops? Because they're a relatively weak position from my experience, and I reserve them for relaxed cruising-speed or light hills. Stand up, lean forward and pull yourself into the hoods while pedaling for some massive acceleration - or better yet, once you feel in control, do that from the drops. The sort of explosive power you can deliver will take you up any hill faster than any MTBer.
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