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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 06-14-14, 11:44 AM   #26
WestPablo
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No. I don't think people buy those bikes to race.
Most people who purchase CX bikes, do so for recreation, not racing. However, CX racing is still a thriving world sport and CX bikes continue to be sold as the sport itself, continues to grow in popularity. So yes, people do indeed buy CX bikes specifically for the purpose of racing.

www.deseretnews.com/article/705264291/Cyclocross-Sport-gaining-in-popularity-among-riders-spectators-html?pg=all

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The thousands of people around the world who race Cyclocross (myself included) beg to disagree with you.
Yes! The sport continues to sustain itself and appears to be gaining much steam!

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Old 06-17-14, 12:36 PM   #27
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The other consideration is that there are CX bikes and there are CX bikes. There is a vast difference in versatility and handling between a full race rig like a Ridley X-Night on Zipp 404 tubulars and a general purpose bike like a Redline Conquest Disk on aluminum clinchers.
Admittedly my CX bike spends more time commuting on skinny slicks than racing on knobbies but I never regret the purchase.
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Old 06-17-14, 01:59 PM   #28
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There is a lot of overlap between different bike styles. And you can push that envelope with thoughtful customization, tuning, and of course riding skill.

I ride off-pavement on 3 different bikes:
1) FS Cannondale MTB, for trail riding with obstacles, jumps, etc. This bike can handle gravel roads fine, but isn't fast or efficient, even with the head-shock locked out.
2) Rigid MTB (88 Schwinn KOM). This bike just floats over the gravel on 2.1" semi-slick tires. It rides a lot faster with drop bars. I can get low and put down plenty of power now, which was tough before (maybe due to the high BB).
3) Rivendell Road 650b conversion. This bike is fast over everything, and comfortable (on 38 mm tires). It floats well on gravel, but not as well as the KOM. But it's a lighter, faster bike, so it's kind of a wash between which is a better gravel bike.

A new "gravel" bike seems to be a fat tire road bike. This isn't new, but in the recent past we've had to buy touring or CX bikes (or Rivendells, $$$) to get a versatile any-road bike. The "gravel" bike seems to be a tourer (minus the heavy duty frame), or a CX bike (minus the high BB and other CX-specific traits). Or maybe a Riv-style "country" bike (minus the retro style).

You can ride gravel on lots of different bike types, not just "gravel" bikes.
And you can ride "gravel" bikes just fine as roadies.

I love that bike designers are considering versatility and practicality again! There were too many years with "skinny tire roadie" and "fat tire MTBs" and not much in between (besides hybrids. yuk, don't get me started!)
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Old 07-12-14, 09:59 AM   #29
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First post here. I am excited to see the "Gravel Bike" category come into existence. Certainly, the type of riding is nothing new. Neither is the type of bike (Bridgestone RB-2 back in the 80s). But it is fun to have a new type of event being media hyped. I think this is good for cycling overall.

Many people get into cycling because of certain "aesthetic." For example, mountain biking in the 1980s refreshed cycling to the masses. Whereas road racing appeared very snobby and elitist (the rules actually dictated that what color and length of shorts were permissible), mountain biking appeared to be adventurous and free. Mountain bikers didn't have to shave their legs, could wear baggy shorts, and sleeveless jerseys. To the public, this was fun, new, and approachable. Mountain bike sales went through the roof, even though only a small percentage of new riders would ever venture off road.

Today there are so many categories of bikes and events, but the difference between them all is subtle. Only the competitive racer or hardcore enthusiast could fully take advantage of the benefits of one type of bike when the categories overlap so much. A road racer could easily race on a cross bike with road tires, it would get the job done at 90%+ of a true roadbike. Likewise, a cyclocross bike or gravel grinder or even hybrid can perform well in most places you would take a 29er. Most people on bikes will not ever be sprinting for a crit win or bombing downhills. Therefore, for most people a CX bike or Gravel bike are the perfect all around machine.

Since this thread is about terrain, I will share today's ride with the bike I will use: Miles: 35-40. Terrain: 60% paved roads, 20% groomed trails at city maintained "wilderness" park (some light single track and a few hills, mostly dirt and gravel paths), 20% technical single track, very rooty, many drop offs and short steep climbs (this is a reclaimed strip mining pit). Bike: Pake C'Mute with 12-29 casette and 36x46 chainrings - dropped bars. Marketed as a "versatile Cyclocross" bike... same target buyer as a Surley cross Check.

I have always preferred to have "the right tool for the job" as opposed to an all around bike. However, having my Cross/Gravel build makes it so I can have fun mixing terrain on the same ride.
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Old 08-01-14, 02:26 PM   #30
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Used to, in the mid '70s (my early20s) ride a Fuji 10 speed w/ 27x1.25" tires all over the place! Across uneven terrain, on gravel roads, along & through ditches/canals, state park trails, etc. This was also my commute bike for riding across town to and from (6p to ~midnight) work while going to A&P school. Bikes are pretty versatile vehicles.
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Old 08-02-14, 11:11 AM   #31
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When I ride STXC (on a full rigid or HT MTB) CXers almost always slow me down if I'm behind them in tech sections. Conversely they always drop me like a bad habit on a long straight, flat section of grass or hardpack. So I gotta try to get an idea how much of each a course has. Then I gotta remember where on the course such sections are. Definitely worth it to hammer past a CXer to beat him into a tech section but a waste of energy if a long flat is coming up, for those I just wanna do my best to suck wheel 'til the next tight turn or steep hill or rooty section where I'll want to pass.

A couple of Kermesse races are coming up. I'm surely gonna be way out back if I ride rigid MTB for those. I'm thinking of riding my road bike with 30mm cx tyres on for the next one. Should be the best bike I have for that job (since I have no CX rig) unless it rains, then the mud will probably pack in on the caliper brakes and be a real drag.
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Old 08-02-14, 02:30 PM   #32
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I love riding my Cross bike on trails/singletrack and/or lightly technical MTB stuff. It is much less fun over extended roots section, big rocks, etc. I came across a forum on elsewhere on the interwebs dedicated to people who ride cross bikes on MTB trails. It was pretty cool.
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Old 08-03-14, 05:54 AM   #33
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I love riding my Cross bike on trails/singletrack and/or lightly technical MTB stuff. It is much less fun over extended roots section, big rocks, etc. I came across a forum on elsewhere on the interwebs dedicated to people who ride cross bikes on MTB trails. It was pretty cool.
TourDeHood - could you link that site here if you come across it again.

Where I live it's fairly clear (to me) what is mtb terrain versus cx. The mtb places are singletrack where most people drive there, park, and ride the singletrack. There are 5-10 'known' places like this within a 45 minute drive of where I live. At these places I choose a mountain bike. There are enough twisty climbs and descents with rocks/roots that the mountain bike thrives...and I know my cx bike would struggle (I have tried). The cross bike is ok at portions of these trails, but why bother...if I'm going to drive the car there, might as well bring the hog. I like my cross bike on adventure rides and usually leave from my house...I ride paved roads/paths, gravel roads, and dirt/gravel multi-use trails. I connect these for slightly different routes each time. Some of these rides have singletrack, but very non-technical.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:00 PM   #34
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sales of CX bikes has been good, few out side of the hot bed places , like Santa Cruz is/was And Portland is , will ever see an organized closed loop Cross race.
those are mostly about mastering the flow of the course and getting around it, each lap, faster than your competitors.

Gravel grinders are hip, now in the fly over states ... have fun irregardless..

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People who race buy a bike that offers them a competitive advantage.
For cyclocross racing they own more than 1 bike.. as they may need a muddy heavy one hosed off every few laps .

or hand off one that is not working right and pick up their spare , in the pits .

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Old 08-03-14, 05:54 PM   #35
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I misspoke. It was a thread, not an entire forum. Here it is

Cross Bikes on Singletrack - Post Your Photos
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Old 08-04-14, 10:43 AM   #36
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A couple of Kermesse races are coming up. I'm surely gonna be way out back if I ride rigid MTB for those. I'm thinking of riding my road bike with 30mm cx tyres on for the next one. Should be the best bike I have for that job (since I have no CX rig) unless it rains, then the mud will probably pack in on the caliper brakes and be a real drag.
Kruger's Krossing? It definitely favors the road bike with higher volume tires. I had my @$$ handed to me back in May, but had a blast none-the-less.
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Old 08-04-14, 11:00 AM   #37
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Kruger's Krossing? It definitely favors the road bike with higher volume tires. I had my @$$ handed to me back in May, but had a blast none-the-less.
There's that and a couple up in Seattle area coming up.

I did Kruger's last fall. I did it on a hardtail, which only did well in the blueberry field area. Yeah, I had a great time and poor results too. I actually had a cold and considered bailing but figured it was dry so my cold wouldn't get any worse

Did most of the PIR STXC races this year. I did much better on the courses with fewer long, flat sections. I've been training by adding about a mile of grass field riding to one of my regular rides. Seems to be helping quite a bit. I'm so used to resting in those areas but a lot of riders tend to hammer those areas then coast through the tech bits. I'm trying to find inspiration to go hard across boring expanses of grass.

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Old 08-04-14, 11:03 AM   #38
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I've long been a fan of road bikes that can take fat tires. Touring bikes have been around a long time but they are not as good for general purpose riding as cross and/or gravel bikes.
I beg to differ. In the early days of cyclocross here in the US, touring bikes were used for cyclocross because they were more appropriate than a traditional road bike. The fork and chainstays are wider and the bikes were fitted with cantilever brakes which provide more mud clearance than road frames or road calipers. Touring bikes also had a slacker head and seat tube angle which, like early mountain bikes, made them more stable in bad conditions and on downhills.

Touring bikes have been used for many years on gravel roads, single track, rocky mountain roads, etc. to good effect. I've used mine personally to ride several hundred miles of gravel trails of various surface qualities many times. I've ridden mine on the Katy Trail more then once, Steamboat Trace in Nebraska, gravel roads in Colorado, Nebraska and West Virginia as well as other places without any issues whatsoever. If the route that I were choosing were the Great Divide Trail or some of the passes of Colorado, I'd choose a mountain bike but for relatively smooth gravel, a touring bike is every bit as good as the current crop of "gravel bikes".
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Old 08-04-14, 11:56 AM   #39
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I beg to differ. In the early days of cyclocross here in the US, touring bikes were used for cyclocross because they were more appropriate than a traditional road bike. The fork and chainstays are wider and the bikes were fitted with cantilever brakes which provide more mud clearance than road frames or road calipers. Touring bikes also had a slacker head and seat tube angle which, like early mountain bikes, made them more stable in bad conditions and on downhills.

Touring bikes have been used for many years on gravel roads, single track, rocky mountain roads, etc. to good effect. I've used mine personally to ride several hundred miles of gravel trails of various surface qualities many times. I've ridden mine on the Katy Trail more then once, Steamboat Trace in Nebraska, gravel roads in Colorado, Nebraska and West Virginia as well as other places without any issues whatsoever. If the route that I were choosing were the Great Divide Trail or some of the passes of Colorado, I'd choose a mountain bike but for relatively smooth gravel, a touring bike is every bit as good as the current crop of "gravel bikes".
Sure, I've used touring bikes for all kinds of riding. Heck I've done as much touring as I have any other kind of riding and I really like touring bikes. That said, they typically have long chain stays and I prefer something with shorter chain stays for all around riding. YMMV. Right now I'm really enjoying my Bridgestone XO-2 as an all around rider with 26 x 1.5 tires.

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Old 08-04-14, 01:14 PM   #40
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Sure, I've used touring bikes for all kinds of riding. Heck I've done as much touring as I have any other kind of riding and I really like touring bikes. That said, they typically have long chain stays and I prefer something with shorter chain stays for all around riding. YMMV.
Many of the gravel bikes that I'm seeing have chainstays nearly as long as touring bikes. Many cyclocross bikes have stays that aren't that much shorter than touring bikes. The difference is usually on the order of 1/2" to 3/4". While this can make a difference if you have bags on the bike, from a handling stand point, it's not going to make that much of a difference. The whole idea of "Fatties Fit Fine" from Surly on their LHT is aimed towards the idea of making the bike gravel friendly. The bottom bracket is a bit low for real off-road riding (aka mountain biking) but the bottom bracket on gravel and cyclocross bikes are similarly low.

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Right now I'm really enjoying my Bridgestone XO-2 as an all around rider with 26 x 1.5 tires.

Oh, the humanity! Do you have permission from Grant Peterson to put something as advanced as STI on that bike! I surprised that it didn't spontaneously combust. Doubly so with the clipless pedals! You may want to get a fire extinguisher just in case!
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Old 08-10-14, 05:44 AM   #41
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Great thread.
if you can ride comfortably on a CX geometry then go for it, the choice is larger. Gravel grinders are, as others have said, lower BB and more relaxed fork angle.
As for terain, if we are talking recreation on trails and a bit of road commute, I'd go for the relaxed bike and suffer a few seconds/mile speed loss on the CX rider.
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Old 08-11-14, 02:58 PM   #42
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Most people who purchase CX bikes, do so for recreation, not racing. However, CX racing is still a thriving world sport and CX bikes continue to be sold as the sport itself, continues to grow in popularity. So yes, people do indeed buy CX bikes specifically for the purpose of racing.

I bought my CX bike for recreational racing of the CX kind. The Puget Sound region has two CX race series, Eastern Wa, N. Idaho and W. Montana also have 2 that I know about, there may be more. FWIW In all the road races that my son has had me take him to none were even remotely as popular as The CX races I've been to. I would hazard a guess that there are plenty of CX bikes that were purchased for racing. I do know some that ride single track with CX bikes but I know far more MTB bikers who ride the same with mtb bikes. I've tried on my CX bike and honestly cx gearing and geometry just does not work well for me on steep single track. After I gave up the trip back down was even worse.
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Old 08-15-14, 05:46 AM   #43
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A cross and/or gravel bike with 2 sets of wheels, one with skinny tires for fast road riding and one with fatter tires for adventure riding, makes for a versatile bike. The differences between cross and gravel bikes is a matter of degree.
..Often the degree being one in marketing.
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