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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 05-12-14, 09:37 PM   #1
KonaRider125
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Cyclocross bike for general all around use?

I have been saving up for my first serious bicycle and have been attracted to cyclocross style bikes like the Kona Rove, Jake The Snake, and Trek Crossrip. I am not sure if I want to go that rout or if I want to get a more traditional road bike.

My primary uses for the bike would be 20-50 mile weekend fitness rides, commuting(don't own a car), and charity half centuries and centuries.

What say you guys, could I go wrong with a cyclocross bike as my go to bike or would I be better off with a true road bike?
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Old 05-12-14, 09:51 PM   #2
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I'd get the cross bike. It is a better all rounder. It certainly makes a better commuter than the typical road bike as the cross can take fatter tires. Plus many cross bikes have eyelets for rack and fenders. Plus it's a fine bike for long distance road riding.
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Old 05-13-14, 03:25 AM   #3
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If your commute is on mostly paved roads you will want tires that are generally slick, maybe some tread but not a lot of knob. You can find this on many cross bikes, though some may have stock tires with more knob than you need. But you can pick the bike you like and worry about something like this afterwards. You may want to add panniers/bags to the bike, so look for those options on the frame.
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Old 05-13-14, 05:52 AM   #4
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If your only going to ride pavement i think you'd be happier with a more dedicated road bike, a cyclocross geometry is generally a shorter wheel base and you're not as stretched out. Hence a little less comfortable on longer rides. Furthermore, your gearing is not ideal for road cycling unless you slap a compact or something it.

However, it would still be a great all a rounder giving you the option to go off-road and enjoy a variety of terrain. A set of tires like these may be a good choice for you LAS Clincher | Clement Cycling, Cyclocross Tires, Adventure Tires, Mountain Bike Tires, Road Bike Tires. I have them on mine and they are quiet and fast on pavement and great on hard pack trails or gravel. Probably not so much on wet grass or mud.
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Old 05-13-14, 08:35 AM   #5
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My riding scenarios are very much like yours and I went with an entry level road bike. It serves me well enough but now having a couple years on it I got a better handle on what I want.

With that in mind and a desire to add some gravel/trail rides, I've decided to switch to a cross with higher grade components and bought a CAADX 105 just a few days ago to be my main ride. It's not in my hands yet so I can't offer you any first hand insight on performance, but just that after going the road bike route, I arrived at the same conclusion that you did.

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Old 05-13-14, 08:40 AM   #6
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Don't rule out road bikes that are equipped with longer-reach (caliper) brakes. You can find them from Jamis, Kona, and other manufacturers.
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Old 05-13-14, 08:41 AM   #7
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For a first bicycle I think it's wise to get a do-everything style roadbike that has enough clearance to run fairly fat tires like the 32-35c Ritchey Speedmax for a mix of on and off road use and with a frame allowing you to easily put a rack and panniers on. There are cyclocross, touring, and non-racing road bikes that fit that description. If you live in a rural area like the photograph on the linked website's header than you might as well get a steel cross bike. Gravel Grinder News | YOUR SOURCE FOR INFORMATION ON GRAVEL ROAD BASED RACING AND RIDING. Steel is desirable because when you slide and crash the frame doesn't break. If you live in the mountains you'll want a triple-ring crankset but if you live on the prairies a compact double is good. Typically cyclocross bikes are aimed at cyclocross racers and are geared for high speed which is a liability for general do-everything recreational riding.

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Old 05-13-14, 08:52 AM   #8
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For a first bicycle I think it's wise to get a do-everything style roadbike that has enough clearance to run fairly fat tires like the 32-35c Ritchey Speedmax for a mix of on and off road use and that you can easily put a rack and panniers on. There are cyclocross, tourers, and non-racing road bikes that fit that description. If you live in a rural area like the photograph on this website's header than you might as well get a steel cross bike. Gravel Grinder News | YOUR SOURCE FOR INFORMATION ON GRAVEL ROAD BASED RACING AND RIDING. Steel is desirable because when you slide and crash your frame won't break. If you live in the mountains you'll want a triple-ring crankset but if you live on the prairies a compact double is good.
Steel frames can, and do break.
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Old 05-13-14, 09:05 AM   #9
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Can break is a lot better than will break.
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Old 05-13-14, 09:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
If your only going to ride pavement i think you'd be happier with a more dedicated road bike, a cyclocross geometry is generally a shorter wheel base and you're not as stretched out. Hence a little less comfortable on longer rides. Furthermore, your gearing is not ideal for road cycling unless you slap a compact or something it.

. . .
Huh? Cross bikes generally have a compact and the rings typically used in a cross set up are, IMHO, better than the rings you find in a compact crank on a road bike since a cross typically runs a 46-36 or 48-36 whereas a compact on a road bike typically has a bigger jump with a 50-34. That can be changed out but I like a 10 or 12 tooth gap even when running 9 or more on the back.

Very difficult to generalize that a cross bike has "generally a shorter wheel base" that is "less comfortable on longer rides." They make all kinds of cross bikes and all kinds of road bikes so this statement is misleading.

But if you want a road bike that can take fatter tires and would be good at both commuting and longer rides, the All City Space Horse is worth considering:

All-City Cycles Space Horse
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Old 05-13-14, 11:45 AM   #11
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A relaxed geometry road bike that can fit 28 tires might be almost as good to someone like you as a cross bike. I got a cross bike with gobs of clearance, disc brakes, with the intention of running slick 28s, but as soon as I saw the knobbies I started doing light trail stuff and I'm hooked. I had no intention if anything but the odd gravel road originally.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:27 AM   #12
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The difference between adventure bikes and the new gravel road bikes comes down to what you want to do? If you're into recreational riding and split your time between gravel and the pavement, an adventure bike will do. If you're into hardcore single track riding or plan to spend a great deal of time on a gravel road, the gravel road bike could be the better fit.

I feel there's marketing hype involved here but still I think what I've said should make it easier to select the right type of bike to buy for the intended purpose at hand. Good luck.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:54 AM   #13
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If most of your cycling will be on relatively smooth pavement, then a standard road bike just might be better. OTOH, if you're cycling on mixed terrain frequently, then cyclocross might be a better option. I know that I sometimes think of going cyclocross whenever cycling upon the horrible streets of Cleveland. It often mimics off road cycling experiences.

Checkout the Giant Revolt and the Specialized AWOL!

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-20-14 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:32 AM   #14
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there are overlaps amongst flatbar-hybrid >dropbar 'cross' and light touring ... can all use mid width 700c 32-42 tires (depending on frame clearances)


all LBS brands will try to have a few bikes falling into the General Category ...


Go forth and Test Ride .. you have different shops with a different mix of brands represented, than others ..

At the prices most people are willing to pay, They all come on the same Ships across the Pacific in different containers
from the manufacturers in Taiwan.

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Old 05-20-14, 06:35 PM   #15
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Was thinking more about this recently...

If I could only have one bike it would definitely be a cross bike. The other day, after getting my cross bike back from the shop from a tune-up, new bars/tape, etc., I took it for what is to me, the most enjoyable all-around ride I do on ANY bike, that is:
- started off on some doubletrack dirt/gravel trails behind my house (twisty descents, a roller coaster ride)
- then some paved road (had speed between 20-25k...bike did ok)
- then back onto a trail (has a side trail with a pump track and dirt jumps...ah those kids!)
- then onto a long gravel road with steep climbs and descents (felt very smooth in all but the ugliest of gravel/stones)
- rail trail (scenic, but a bit flat)
- then into a provincial park (like a US state park)...it had fire roads, double track multi-use trails, single track bike trails including sections with small rock gardens, wooden stairs, hairpin turns...bike did great, but I had to take it a bit more careful than i would have with my mountain bike
- onto a multi-use trail with lots of short climbs and mellon sized boulders (had to unclip a couple of times)
- and best of all, I spotted about three other 'trails' that I'll explore next time

Coming from a roadie background, I love drop bars. I have a mtn bike and love it on pure single track (hate it on the roads, and when pedalling for long stretches), but that involves putting the bike in the car and driving there...which is ok, but again the cross bike is from my front door to whatever awaits!
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Old 05-20-14, 06:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
I have been saving up for my first serious bicycle and have been attracted to cyclocross style bikes like the Kona Rove, Jake The Snake, and Trek Crossrip. I am not sure if I want to go that rout or if I want to get a more traditional road bike.

My primary uses for the bike would be 20-50 mile weekend fitness rides, commuting(don't own a car), and charity half centuries and centuries.

What say you guys, could I go wrong with a cyclocross bike as my go to bike or would I be better off with a true road bike?
Cross bike looks a little cooler but it really sounds like you need a road bike. there are plenty of road bikes out there with compact gears. Ideally you will end up with 2 or 3 bikes to cover all you needs like the rest of us.
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Old 05-21-14, 03:53 AM   #17
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I would go with the Cross Bike for your situation. I did the same thing several years ago - wanted to step up to my first 'real' bike and was torn between a road bike and Cross. I went with the Cross bike and am so glad I did. The Cross bikes are very versatile and rugged and allow you to hit all terrains except for very technical MTB trails. For commuting and normal every day use - I would recommend the Panaracer Pacela tires (make sure you get the ones with the TG (Tour Guard) protection. Extremely smooth and fine to ride on the road, trails, grass, gravel, etc with puncture protection. I have mine set up this way. I ran a 46/36 crank for years before finally switching to a 48/34 which allows me to keep up for faster road group rides and have gearing for a the large hills we have here in the northeast. I've ridden my Cross bike for 6 years over everything - and raced it - and it still is going strong. I'm up for a new bike sometime and I will surely be getting another Cross bike - does everything good enough IMO.
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Old 05-21-14, 08:37 AM   #18
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I agree with the opinion that if you are going to have ONE bike a cross bike is the way to go, hands down. I'm lucky, some might say spoiled or stupid enough to have several bikes each designed for a specific purpose, but the bike that gets the most miles and rides by far is the cross bike. I commute on it, I do long weekend rides on it, paved and gravel and it's my city bike too. It's ready for anything. Considering the types of rides you are describing I think it's the right choice. Get an extra set of road tires to throw on for those times when you do a paved century.
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Old 05-28-14, 12:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
I have been saving up for my first serious bicycle and have been attracted to cyclocross style bikes like the Kona Rove, Jake The Snake, and Trek Crossrip. I am not sure if I want to go that rout or if I want to get a more traditional road bike.

My primary uses for the bike would be 20-50 mile weekend fitness rides, commuting(don't own a car), and charity half centuries and centuries.

What say you guys, could I go wrong with a cyclocross bike as my go to bike or would I be better off with a true road bike?
I have a road bike that can do everything you mention. It's an older model with what are now called "long reach" caliper brakes. Caliper brakes are much better on the road and are easier to adjust than your typical cantilever brakes. (I've had plenty of both types before you all start chiming in). I can fit up to 28mm tires with full fenders and 33mm tires without. I'm using it for a gravel fondo this weekend. I would choose a road oriented bike if I was you (despite whatever marketing you may encounter).

I also have a cross bike but for me it's set up and dedicated for, well, actual cyclocross (which is a very specific type of cycling fyi). I use it for mild trail and mountain biking with my kids as well.
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Old 05-29-14, 07:44 PM   #20
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Was looking for the same things except maybe not nearly as lofty mileage goals. I also needed to be able to have enjoyable leisure rides with the wife and toddler. I ended up settling on a Giant Anyroad. About 200 mikes on it now and very happy. But I think if I were trying to do 100milers that I would want to add a dedicated street bike.
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Old 05-31-14, 02:21 PM   #21
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I bought a Crossrip, and it's perfect for a "just go out and ride" mindset. I do a 18-20 mile loop from my house that takes me on flat roads, some moderate climbs, and then into a state park for some trail riding through the woods. The stock Crossrip tires wash out a bit on steep dirt climbs but the compromises are worth the flexibility and simplicity. If you can't tell, I love my Crossrip :-)
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Old 05-31-14, 09:22 PM   #22
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I used to have a Bianchi San Jose. Great all-round SS CX bike until Bianchi stopped producing them.

Edouardo Bianchi is turning over in his grave now that the company that bears his name has gotten out of the business of making quality steel bikes.
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Old 06-09-14, 07:33 AM   #23
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Just finished my first century on my cx bike. It is extremely comfortable and has all the performance you need for fast group rides unless you get into serious racing. I ride 28c slicks for these events and 35c cx tires for trails. I also ride about 50miles with my cycling team averaging 20-22mph and do fine. Now if I were riding with the competitive racing group I would want something different.

My bike gets group rides, organized centuries, trails, and pulling my kids around. I'm very pleased with it. I'll eventually get a dedicated road bike so I don't have to keep switching up my setup but I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by having a cx bike and I've gained a whole lot of versatility.
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Old 06-09-14, 08:21 AM   #24
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I only own one bike, a cyclocross bike with race geometry. I use it for:

- racing cyclocross
- racing road races and crits
- group rides
- gravel grinding
- mtb single track riding (I just run the rock gardens)
- touring
- commuting

My bike is a Specialized Crux with two wheelsets that I swap out depending on the ride (one set has 700x23 slicks, the other is 700x35 tubeless knobbies).
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Old 06-09-14, 08:58 AM   #25
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I bought my Kona Jake as a reward for weight loss and couldn't be happier with it. Rails to trails, gravel, road riding, a few muddy spots after a rain, doing a century in August. I see zero reason for a skinny tired race bike in my future. If you want an all around bike, it's really hard to beat a cross bike. I find myself saying all the time "I'm sure glad I didn't get a roady". Obviously some folks are road bike folks and some are not, my other bike is a hybrid and I think it is wonderful too where a lot of folks would laugh at it.
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