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  1. #1
    Senior Member bres dad's Avatar
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    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?
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You have to be competing in sanctioned events before anyone has regulations about what you run,
    in a CX race.

    suspension forks are rather heavy , but its already on the bike , go ride it
    see how hard it is carrying it in run-ups

    if the course designers create any. Indiana is not renowned for Mountains ,
    but,up and down a gully-slope repeatedly for :45 can wear you out ..

    Common sense says.. road frames will not have clearance with a mud buildup on the CX wheels..

  3. #3
    Senior Member bres dad's Avatar
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    Good points well taken. Obviously the mountain bike will handle the mud build up & wider tires than the Paramount. Its also better suited for off road regardless of what I do to the Paramount. I was leaning more toward over 60% on road and the rest for light-medium offroad. Not looking to race, so I'm not worried about what is sanctioned and what isn't. Looking to see what might suit my purpose better. I guess rather than full blown cyclocross, I'm wanting something I can do road riding with but if I see a trail or muddy field, I can take off and play without needing the full blown off road capabilities of a clunky mountain bike (would that still fall under cyclocoss?) That was part of the thinking of setting up wheels for the Paramount. Its lighter, would go faster and farther than the MTB. I know it will handle 700x25 tires and probably 28 but not sure about anything fatter. I can easily play with the rear cassette (don't really want to get into changing out the front) to figure out if I can get better speed out of it but I still don't see distance riding on it.
    Last edited by bres dad; 11-04-13 at 01:34 PM.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Oh that 'new' Gravel-Grinder thing that You folks do on farm roads ..



    Conti has a narrow 559-35 tire for real CX and small riders bikes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Any chance you could modify the paramount to take 650b's? Then you'd just need new wheels and new wheels are not the same as a new bike (your wife might not even notice) and then you could get wider tires.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  6. #6
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    The Moab. Not even a choice. You need the tire volume the Paramount just won't provide.

    You can spend a lot of cash to optimize the Moab with a lite, rigid fork and wheels. But the key is going to be light and appropriately sized and knobbed tires. Heavy mtb tires with big knobs will frustrate you to no end.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bres dad's Avatar
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    I've more or less abandoned the idea of the Moab. Not sure full cyclorcross is even the route I want to go either. I might play with different tire widths on the Paramount.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  8. #8
    Senior Member msu2001la's Avatar
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    If cyclocross is your goal, a road frame will not work. There just isn't enough clearance for knobby tires and any amount of mud.
    A mountain bike with skinny knobbies is a much better alternative.

    If you just want to ride on gravel roads or dry trails, no reason why the road bike you have can't work if you can find tires that will fit.

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