Converting mountain or road bike to cyclocross... which works better?
My background: Iíve done a mix of mountain & road biking over the years, leaning more towards road biking in college 20 years ago, more towards mountain biking on and off from then til about mid 2000ís when I broke from the hobby all together but this summer dragged my wife back into road biking. I still like to pull out the mountain bike and hit trails but there arenít that many off road trails around where I live and none of them are technical trails.
Iíve thought about cyclocross and it makes sense for me in a lot of waysÖ functionality of a road bike (I donít race but like to go faster & farther than what my MTB will do in its current form) but also some of the off road capabilities of a mountain bike without the weight and lower gearing of a mountain bike that I canít get very high speeds on. I guess most of what I might do off road would fall under single track rather than technical riding (average dirt path through the woods more or less not requiring lots of jumping, rock climbing.) Plus my office might be moving and if it does, commuting by bike would work well (where it is located now is more or less suicide trying to get to it on a bike.)
Hereís my dilemma: the wife has forbidden me to buy another bike and I donít want to give up my main road bike, vintage road bike or the mountain bike. Therefore Iím looking at what might be a better candidate for a conversion, the vintage roadie or the mountain bike (not touching the new road bike.) Iíve got extra wheel sets for both and Iím thinking if I can set up one wheel set for cyclocross (and maybe change out the cassette for more appropriate gearing for the application) and swap out wheels for whichever one suits best the riding Iím going to do it would be cheaper than another bike and is acceptable to domestic management. Just which would work better?
The candidates are a í98 Schwinn Moab 2 aluminum frame MTB I just did a full rebuild & disc brake conversion on. Both rear wheel gearing is 8 speed (11-30) and crank is triple (22/32/42). The other is a í92 Paramount PDG 3 steel frame roadie converted to 8 speed & STI brifters (rather than the old 7 speed & downtube shifting.) One wheel set is 11-28 and the other is 12-25. Crank is 42/53. Though its not installed yet, I do have an Easton carbon fork for it, though I may hold off if I use the Paramount as a cyclocross.
Any thoughts what would make a better candidate? I can see advantages to both. I canít be the first to think of doing something like this. I just donít want to dump a lot of money into tires for both and find that one (or both) donít work very well. Plus Iíd rather buy some tires, try it and decide its not the way to go rather than spend the money on a bike I donít end up using, let alone the uphill fight with the wife over another bike. Thoughts?