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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 04-15-12, 01:41 PM   #1
thenomad
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Soon to have only cross bikes in the stable? Will it be "good enough"?

I'm seriously thinking of getting rid of my road bike as there are redendencies amog my bikes now that I have a roadie, cross, commuter, mountain etc.

I'm putting all the best parts on my Redline Conquest Team cross bike and let it be my light weight. Several wheelsets should give the flexibility I need to haul it on and off road.

I'll have my Surly Cross Check for loaded commuting and probably keep it single speed to avoid redundency. can strip it down and flip flop the hub for fixed and build it geared easily as a 1x8 or more.

Thinking of getting rid of the 26r mtb for a 29r MTB to run geared or SS as well.

I plan on racing cross for fun and I commute by bike and I ride with the weekend groups. Always the odd man out on a steel frame so being the oddone on a crosser doesn't bother me.

Anyone else doing the same?
How's gearing treating you on the road?
I've just installed a better crank with 36x50 on my cross. I'm not the fastest, strongest or most consistent rider. I'm used to 53-39 but have wanted more gear on epic climbing days. Don't really push the last few gears in 53 unless I'm charging downhill at 35.
How about the brakes? On the Redline I have cantis with kool stops and still feel they are weaker than dual-pivot brakes. On the Surly I have mini-v brakes and the stopping power has never felt like a problem. Think I should change to mini-v for cross? We seldom get rain but in the mud I had massive buildup around the rear stays but thats the frame design.

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Old 04-15-12, 06:18 PM   #2
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I've been borrowing a buddy's road bike, and I have to say...it's nice to have both. I've run the cross bike as my road bike for years, and it does work, but there's a certain amount of mucking around.

Maybe the awesome thing would be two cross bikes, and you run one primarily in "road mode", and the other always in "cross mode".
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Old 04-15-12, 06:37 PM   #3
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Maybe the awesome thing would be two cross bikes, and you run one primarily in "road mode", and the other always in "cross mode".
This would work for me.

I'm been dreaming of a light & stiff Pedal Force CX2 and keep the Monster Cross bike ready for gravel and touring.
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Old 04-15-12, 06:45 PM   #4
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I just dumped a bunch of money into my IF and will likely start using it as my primary road bike as well as my gravel road/D2R2 bike, changing just the wheelset.
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Old 04-16-12, 01:38 PM   #5
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I just built a steel frame CX to do this, compact crank, commuter/gravel wheels are 29er DT Swiss with a 25mm wide rim, 32mm pathway tires and a 12-28 cassette, road wheel is a r500 set with a 11-25.
Works great so far on roadie group rides and commute.
I have a TT bike also, but don't ride that much with groups.
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Old 04-16-12, 06:17 PM   #6
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I've used a CX bike as my road bike for the past four years. They work just fine for this purpose, but as flargle points out switching configurations can be a real hassle. Last summer I had a CX bike dedicated full time to road use, but if you're going to do that you may as well get a road bike, so I did.

Gearing is a pretty personal matter. I've had my commuter set up with a 46x34 crank with 12-30 cassette for a while. I never find the 46 to be too small, but the 34 is pretty much useless above 15 mph so I'm swapping a triple in there. I would imagine that 50-36 would be good gearing for the road. Nobody this side of pro cycling needs a 53.

A dual-pivot caliper break has fixed mechanical advantage. You can set up a cantilever to give you the same level of braking force, but it's more of a hassle. I tried mini-V's recently and while the setup is simple and the power was good, the rim clearance was a bit tighter than I'd like and they don't play well with fenders like cantilevers do.
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Old 04-16-12, 07:36 PM   #7
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Maybe before I bomb the roadie out of the garage I'll ride my cross for everything. I rode cross with 53/39 and was not "hindered" by the bike, only by my own fitness. I think the 36 will give me low for cross and 50 will give me large enough for road. I don't plan on swapping rings and clusters etc etc. I hop etc just swap the wheels and go. Only thing Ill do is be sure the wheels are the same width so no adjustments needed. I figured my cross bike was becoming lighter than my roadie so what was the point? If I come across a component or wheel deal I could be even lighter.

The nice thing is that with the Surly cross check on tap I have something set up as a commuter with fenders rack and all. Could be made into a heavy roadie in a pinch.
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Old 04-17-12, 01:19 AM   #8
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I used my Fuji as my road/CX bike for three years. Used the normal of CX crank of 46/36 and then changed the inner to 34 for road climbing. I got tired of changing tires in between road and CX use and finally got a second wheelset. I used a 12-27 on the road wheels and 12-25 on the CX wheels. Rode Levi's Gran Fondo in my road config. I suck at climbing and needed every bit of that 34-27 combo. I'm not all that fast, so only go faster than I can pedal when bombing down hills - I'm fine just coasting those.
This year I got a real road bike, so my second wheelset is now my pit wheelset for CX racing.
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Old 04-17-12, 06:45 AM   #9
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I just can't imagine giving up my road bike. I've been exploring a lot lately on the CX and was thinking it could be a suitable substitute for the road bike. Then I road the same route one day on the CX and the next day on the road bike. The road bike is definitely the right machine for pavement. Position, handling, feel, and for me, gearing make a true road bike indispensable. The CX definitely opens up a lot of routes that the road bike can't handle but it takes something away from the paved routes.
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Old 04-17-12, 07:30 AM   #10
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I just can't imagine giving up my road bike.
Oh my god, know that feel so bad. I recently built my road bike, and did my first road racing weekend on it this past weekend, as well as taking it on training rides. It's so much nicer on the road compared to my Crux, much stabler. It also helps me appreciate my Crux much more, because I'm not trying to use it for something it's not really made for, so I'm not looking for it to have a different geometry.

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Old 04-17-12, 12:43 PM   #11
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I have both. But I had to all but give up riding on my road bike. I used to not have an issue with the aluminum frame and skinny 700x23c tires on my Specialized Allez until our roads were repaved last summer with what currently passes for chipseal. I progressively started to get injured to the point where I was passing blood, and my physician told me I had no choice but to look at other options. So I researched and eventually ordered a CX based road frame made from True Temper OX Platinum Air Hardening Steel. And then the bike was built and configured with components for spirited distance riding with my drop handlebars at a lower height than the saddle. I will not beat most dedicated road bikes on a short race, but I can more than keep up with them on the road, specially as the miles mount. And I can ride all day long, if I so desire. Of course, I can also hit the trails and loose gravel if I want to as well. And, of course, I'm also keeping my Allez so that I can use it when I can. It is a good bike.

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Old 04-17-12, 12:49 PM   #12
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I just can't imagine giving up my road bike. I've been exploring a lot lately on the CX and was thinking it could be a suitable substitute for the road bike. Then I road the same route one day on the CX and the next day on the road bike. The road bike is definitely the right machine for pavement. Position, handling, feel, and for me, gearing make a true road bike indispensable. The CX definitely opens up a lot of routes that the road bike can't handle but it takes something away from the paved routes.
YUP! I absolutely love owning a cross bike. It has opened up entire new worlds of cycling for me, as I only had road bikes before getting on. I ride it on the road sometimes and actually did my first true (miles) century on the cross bike as my road bikes all had various issues. I could also see just owning a cross bike with a few wheelsets, if I was forced to chose only one bike.

That said, I truly love getting out on the road still. If I had a road bike that worked well and was all set up, I'd never get rid of it and instead use a cross bike as an all-arounder.

Yes, cross bikes are awesome. They are insanely versatile. But, if you really love cycling, owning a road bike is important as well.

Good luck!
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Old 04-17-12, 06:21 PM   #13
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With a light 'cross bike, you'll have no trouble keeping up with the other guys. I have a 46x11 top gear on mine and don't have any trouble on the daily morning hammerfest when I take it out. The only consideration is that no matter how well you've tuned the cantis, they're never going to be as fine or responsive as a good set of road sidepulls. That makes a difference in a high-speed paceline. When I'm going to ride a few millimeters from the other guys, I really prefer to have sidepulls on the road bikes.
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Old 04-18-12, 11:28 AM   #14
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I'll take it out on some group rides and see how it does. The braking is an item I'll focus on as I'm not sure if its just a "feel" issue or if its actually less force etc. I've got kool stops but would like to get a fork mounted cable hanger to eliminate any chatter. They do squeal a good bit on my Open Pro rims.

So for the ones that felt the cross bike made you 1-2 mph slower on average (as a long ride average that is a good amount) what do you attribute it to? Are your bikes set up really upright? Did you leave the 700x30 tires on it? Is it substantially heavier than your roadie? Do you feel you are spinning out or not finding the right gear on climbs etc?
Interesting.
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Old 04-19-12, 06:33 PM   #15
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I've basically been in this boat for a few years. 99% of my riding is on the Specialized Tricross, and 1% on a cheapo dual sus mtb. Every now and then (like right now) I toy with the idea of getting a road bike, but I just can't see what I would use it for. Maybe someone can enlighten me?

I use the cross bike for commuting (25km rt), touring (usually 3-4 days), some off road touring, and exploring state parks etc. I find it hard to imagine going on a long ride and knowing in advance I'd never leave the tarmac - I almost always spot some singletrack that needs exploring, a dirt road, or some silly shortcut through the bush.

I have a couple of sets of tyres, but only one wheelset.

The one thing I'd probably really get out of a second bike would be having a backup commuter when I trash the crosser. It can be frustrating coming back from a weekend with a fairly unrideable bike (ie, wheels out of true, derailleurs full of dirt and out of alignment, brake pads worn out...) and having nothing to ride to work.



How's gearing treating you on the road?
A roadier cassette would be nice when I'm not riding dirt or touring. I have 48-36-26 on the front, 12-36 on rear. I'll probably just get another rear wheel with a road cassette.

How about the brakes?
I think my cantis are pretty terrible, but I'm used to them. I have a bunch of stuff on the handlebars that interferes with good cable routing. I think my hands are stronger as a result

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Old 04-19-12, 07:42 PM   #16
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Love road biking. My current posse is fast and competitive so I pretty much need a skinny tire rig with big saddle to bar drop and tight geometry for those group rides and crazy events.

But I'm also getting older and less tolerant to discomforts. Next week I'm taking possession of a C'dale carbon SuperX cross bike for all the solo 'training' rides. Number one difference is that this new frame is way taller so I can set the bars almost level with the saddle. Going to put on file pattern 32 or 35mm tires for cush, light wheels for the mountains and a Campy road group, off course, because that's just the way I go.

Will probably never see dirt, grass or mud - just road miles. Hoping to increase comfort, get rid of road chatter and stiff shoulders while still having a sub 18lbs bike that can satisfy speed and climbing thrills.

An expensive experiment, we'll see if it works.... but the road bike will surely stay.

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Old 05-12-12, 12:45 PM   #17
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Ok, finished building it back up with as much light parts as I could muster on a budget. I installed a Winwood CF fork, Cane creek SC5 cantis with kool stop pads, Easton CF seatpost, Bontrager Race compact crank with external bearings, and my budget road wheelset Forte Titans.
This goes along with Ultegra components on a 2000 Redline Team Scandium frame.

Best I could muster at this point as I'm limiting my bike spending.


This is my lightest bike. 18.5#. Not light compared to 14# superbikes but it feels great compared to my 20# vintage road and my 28+ commuter.

Took it on the first ride today. Feels great! Everything worked together perfectly. Good power transfer, gearing seems to be on point (trying a compact), shifting was snappy, climbs great and fits me nicely. I may take a spacer out to slightly lower the stem and I like my other compact bars a little better for road. Will possibly spend a little for carbon stem and bars if I can get them lighter than what I have.
Other than that, I think this'll make me perfectly happy for my fast or training road rides.

Not in as good of shape as I've been in the past so today's hammerfest really brought the pain and the last 10 of 40 miles my tank was running low. Can't wait to start putting some serious miles on it though. I'm keeping my road bike around but this will certainly not be what is holding me back.
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Old 05-13-12, 03:10 PM   #18
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A dual-pivot caliper break has fixed mechanical advantage. You can set up a cantilever to give you the same level of braking force, but it's more of a hassle. I tried mini-V's recently and while the setup is simple and the power was good, the rim clearance was a bit tighter than I'd like and they don't play well with fenders like cantilevers do.
The sucky thing about canti brakes is that you _need_ to be able to adjust them yourself. If you bring your bike into the shop and tell them you want the most mechanical advantage at the cost of clearance they will have no idea what the hell you are talking about. I've never known a mechanic who gave me anything but a blank stare at the suggestion of a shorter straddle cable. Mini-vs just don't have that problem. Set up to work at all, by anyone, and you get unbelievable stopping power. Not to mention that canti brakes get _less_ mechanical advantage as they travel towards the rim. Ideally that would be reversed, but the static advantage of Vs is still much better.
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