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  1. #1
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    is a cyclocross bike right for me?

    i had a road bike a few years ago and really enjoyed it. i ended up selling it due to some financial constraints but things are great now and im wanting to get another bike. i started a new job a few months ago and a group of the guys go biking every once in a while, mostly its some small trails in NW metro Atlanta. they've been asking me to join and i'd love to jump on a nice mountain bike but i have a feeling im going to want to do some road biking as well. my wife and i are looking for a house near my work so i could ride to work too. i guess my fear is can these bikes handle some light trails. i went to a few LBS and got mixed answers on this.

  2. #2
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Cyclocross bikes can easily handle light trails. Rocks and roots are no problem (for the bike, at least). A mountain bike will be faster over technical terrain, and more forgiving of poor line choices. A cyclocross bike requires more handling skill for tricky terrain, but you can definitely do it.

    What you need to figure out is what your friends mean by "light trails". If they're talking about hard-packed dirt with smooth surfaces, a cyclocross bike will be a better choice than a mountain bike. If they're talking about winding singletrack through the woods with lots of rocks and roots, a cyclocross bike can handle it but as a relative off-road newbie you may find it challenging. Then again, you may enjoy the challenge.

    A mountain bike, I think, would be much worse as a road bike than a cyclocross bike would be as as trail bike.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    functionally a road bike with capacity of wider tires, BB is a bit higher..
    want to carry stuff?, look for rack mounts.

  4. #4
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiImSean View Post
    i had a road bike a few years ago and really enjoyed it. i ended up selling it due to some financial constraints but things are great now and im wanting to get another bike. i started a new job a few months ago and a group of the guys go biking every once in a while, mostly its some small trails in NW metro Atlanta. they've been asking me to join and i'd love to jump on a nice mountain bike but i have a feeling im going to want to do some road biking as well. my wife and i are looking for a house near my work so i could ride to work too. i guess my fear is can these bikes handle some light trails. i went to a few LBS and got mixed answers on this.
    The answer is TWO bikes. The right tool for the job, and all that.

    Today's mountain bike is a pretty specialized piece of gear. When it is wanted, little else will do.
    Meanwhile, the cyclocross bike is a (slightly) relaxed road bike with wide clearance for bigger tires.
    Remember, cyclocross racers carry their bikes over most of the heavy "technical" stuff.

    As others have said, if the trails are gravel or packed dirt, then a CX bike may do. Anything rougher and I'd want an MTB.
    Id buy a decent used one of each, CX and MTB, if it were me.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  5. #5
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahut View Post
    Remember, cyclocross racers carry their bikes over most of the heavy "technical" stuff.
    Generally, that's not true.

  6. #6
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    I have a very nice CX bike and enjoy it on very bumpy trails. The 700 mm wheels allow me to go fast on these trails with 35 mm tires and some profile. You can also put knobby tires on and go more challenging but not like a MTB.
    I go 20 MPH average on a road with a CX CF bike and 25 x 700 tires.
    I average 16 MPH on an unpaved bumpy trail.
    That is what a CX is good at. Speed!
    A MTB with smaller diameter wheels, suspension, big and fat tires, is a horse of a different color. They can not compete with me on speed and I can not go where they go.

  7. #7
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Generally, that's not true.
    We must be watching different races.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  8. #8
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahut View Post
    We must be watching different races.
    Maybe you're watching me race.

    Unless you're watching beginners, I would expect that the racers generally only run deep sand, thick mud and up hills that are too steep for the gearing dictated by the rest of the course. In each of these cases, they run because it's faster than riding. They also run over barriers, of course, except in the case of elite riders who bunny hop the barriers. And there are times, particularly on the first lap of a race, where a rider might run a technical section if there's a bottleneck of people taking the section slowly and an advantage can be gained by running.

  9. #9
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Maybe you're watching me race.

    Unless you're watching beginners, I would expect that the racers generally only run deep sand, thick mud and up hills that are too steep for the gearing dictated by the rest of the course. In each of these cases, they run because it's faster than riding. They also run over barriers, of course, except in the case of elite riders who bunny hop the barriers. And there are times, particularly on the first lap of a race, where a rider might run a technical section if there's a bottleneck of people taking the section slowly and an advantage can be gained by running.
    Which pretty much explains my point - when the **** gets tuff, they tote their bike.

    I say get several bikes, each for its own purpose. You can not have too many bikes...
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  10. #10
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I guess we just disagree about what constitutes "technical" terrain. I'd carry a mountain bike over that stuff too if I cared about how fast I was going.

    Of course, there was an incident here a couple of years ago when the course designers left a log across the course in a CX race. About half the people in the lower level races dismounted for it, but a whole lot of taunting followed.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Plus 1 .. or so.. you need more bikes .. ,
    and practice those flying dismount/remounts at a full run too.

    just know Portland is weird ..

  12. #12
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I guess we just disagree about what constitutes "technical" terrain.
    Yeah.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

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