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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 04-10-12, 01:03 PM   #1
duffmanrb
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spare wheels vs spare bike

Last year I tried racing cross for the first time and loved it. I used my C'dale Quick CX rigid that I use as a commuter and it worked pretty well. Now that I'm serious about it though I went out and bought a '11 Scott CX Team (sweet bike, btw). My question is this: would I be better off leaving a spare set of wheels in the pits or using my Quick as a backup bike? My thought is, would the faster pit- swapping bikes instead of changing a wheel- make up for the drop-off in bike quality between the two? I have a pair of Rol race SLs as my primary wheelset but the wheels that came with the Scott are pretty decent. What do you guys think? Should I not worry and just resign myself to the fact that in a short Cat 4 race if I flat I'm pretty much boned either way?
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Old 04-10-12, 01:14 PM   #2
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Hose assistant, in the pits, can have the spare bike ready
so you don't drop a Lap down , changing wheels, after a puncture.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:06 PM   #3
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I have both a geared and SS race bikes. During my geared races I just leave the SS in the pits. I'm lucky to have several teammates around and have had flats fixed on my geared bike during a lap on the SS. This works for me, your results may vary.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by duffmanrb View Post
Should I not worry and just resign myself to the fact that in a short Cat 4 race if I flat I'm pretty much boned either way?
That's what I would say. I have three CX bikes, but I only take one to races and don't bother with pit wheels. If you flat, on average you're going to half to run about 1/4 of the course (assuming a best case scenario of a bi-direction pit at mid course). Next to that, the time you lose changing wheels is small potatoes. And, c'mon, it's Cat 4. I've done 46 races in the last four years and have only had two DNF's because of equipment failure.

If I'm driving a long distance for a two-day event I'll take a spare bike in case I really screw something up on day 1.

That said, there are significant advantages to having a spare bike for muddy races. A clean bike will generally save you much more time than a high end bike would. If you have somebody to clean your bikes between laps all the better. For me, racing with a muddy bike is part of the fun, but then again I'm in no danger of seeing the podium.

The only real down side to changing bikes is that the spare bike will probably behave slightly differently. If you're really serious you'll get a second Scott CX Team.
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Old 04-10-12, 05:31 PM   #5
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I would rather have a spare bike available in pit so that I could switch to it incase of mud clogging, much faster to change bikes rather than change wheels or clean a bike. Still nice to have a second set of wheels onhand pre-race with alternate tires to select from to best suit course conditions.

Many of the same pit wheel consideration of this discussion seems to come strait from this excellent youtube movie, highly recommended;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frg7c...eature=related
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Old 04-11-12, 02:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. I think, like in that video, much will depend on how much my pit crew (read: wife) wants to assist. Not sure if I can talk her into swapping wheels for me while I spend one lap on the backup bike lol.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:35 PM   #7
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As well as problems with wheels and mud, a spare bike is of course more usefull incase of broken chain, broken saddle rail, broken seatpost, broken seatpost binder bolt, broken/slipping stem or handlebars, brake problems, crunched derailleur or frame crash damage. (All of which I have seen or experineced myself in races).
Dont overlook free child labor for pit crew! Even toddlers can wash though they make rather poor mechanics.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:38 AM   #8
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Pit crew for a cat 4 race? Srsly?
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Old 04-12-12, 10:28 AM   #9
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A pit bike is always better but it often times is over kill too. I used to travel with a pit bike for years and honestly only used it a few times. So that means that for the several years that I brought a pit bike with me that took up and extra rack space on my roof rack, took up space in hotel rooms, takes up storage space at home, needs care and maintence etc... I only used it a handful of times.

Not really all that worth it IMO. If you flat in a race chances are your race is over so it doesn't really matter. Pit wheels are nice so that you can get a new wheel and finish the race that you just paid for and at least get some training in.

A pit bike a Nationals was really nice to have as I had people in the pit to clean the bike. But all in all it's not worth it IMO.
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Old 04-12-12, 07:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
A pit bike is always better but it often times is over kill too. I used to travel with a pit bike for years and honestly only used it a few times. So that means that for the several years that I brought a pit bike with me that took up and extra rack space on my roof rack, took up space in hotel rooms, takes up storage space at home, needs care and maintence etc... I only used it a handful of times.

Not really all that worth it IMO. If you flat in a race chances are your race is over so it doesn't really matter. Pit wheels are nice so that you can get a new wheel and finish the race that you just paid for and at least get some training in.

A pit bike a Nationals was really nice to have as I had people in the pit to clean the bike. But all in all it's not worth it IMO.
I figure, i have the bike... it doesn't cost me anything to bring it. That is, if you have the bike.

I like to warm up on my pit bike, in the event that i bust something or whatnot, I can still race without rushing to clean and repair the B bike
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