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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 08-15-14, 10:49 PM   #26
Panza
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Still reading this thread everyday. Even though I said I made a decision, I'm still forever wavering.

Went by two LBS's today. I was looking at ~$600 Trek X-Cals/older gary fisher models, Specialized and Cannondale MTBs and trying out my friend's K2 26er. There were some specialized CX bikes at my LBS but none my my size... was a Crux not a Tricross.

I didn't know how hard it would be to throw around the weight of a 29er. I thought they'd be a lot lighter but it also felt very squishy with the large tires and suspension. Maybe because I'm from a road bike background? I always have my suspension on my hybrid bike on full lock when i ride it. I'm going to do more riding tomorrow on the K2 26er, borrowing it for tomorrow. Going to search for CX bikes to try as well.

I'm testing bikes on a mix between paved roads, bike paths, grass and some dips on the asphalt. I don't want to break any bikes I haven't paid for yet : )

I went to one of my LBS and was stopped by cyclocross junkies. They started advertising all the CX events in my area. Now my friends are interested. I convinced my MTB friends to try some Cyclocross events with me and see how it goes. It's not a bad incentive to try it out. I'm doing research on entry level carbon/al CX bikes at the moment.

I'll try to keep you guys updated on my adventure.
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Old 08-15-14, 10:52 PM   #27
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Anyone know some online stores which have some inventory of on-sale CX bikes/frames?

I'm searching for local dealers in the NH/MA area found a few bikes that interest me that are near by.
Found some bikes that interest me, yes, I have weird unconventional tastes.

Ridley XRide. vs Felt F65x. Both bikes are in that $1700 price range new and local. Anyone own either bike? I know, I know, ride them both. I hate it when I take my own advice. Also, opinions and experiences are fun.

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Old 08-16-14, 04:21 AM   #28
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No offense, but how do you know what I know and what I've seen? That very presumptuous.
The only way that you would have seen an FEA of the Tricross fork would be if you worked for Specialized as an engineer. You don't (because you're obviously not an engineer.) So, yes, I do know you haven't seen a stress analysis of the fork!

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I have however, seen a Tricross fork cut in half and it's quite a bit thicker inside than a typical road fork. No idea if this makes any difference or not but it certainly looked stronger.
Yes: it looked stronger to you, a person whose opinion is - and I mean this in a nice way - completely meaningless. Stress failures are VERY complex and involve lots of fine details - aircraft have crashed because they suffered a structural failure because a window edge was square instead of round. I know a model of large utility bowie knife that regular suffers blade failure because the transition to the tang is too sharp (removing material would make it stronger.) This is NOT intuitive stuff!

And, again, the point is NOT that the Tricoss fork is weak but that it is hard to inspect for damage. If a steel fork is damaged, it dents or bends - but delamination of a CF fork can be invisible. On most bikes this wouldn't bother me, but a winter bike is likely to take spills on hard surfaces, so I wouldn't court trouble. If I had a Tricross, I'd probably use it, but if I was buying then I think it is reasonable to consider the bike less attractive in this role.

Good explanation:

Carbon fiber composite inspection procedures
Pound for pound, carbon fiber is stronger that steel or aluminum. But it behaves differently when it is overloaded in an accident or impact. An overloaded metal part will bend or deform before it breaks, showing evidence of the load (Figure 1). An overloaded carbon fiber part will not bend or deform, so a damaged carbon part (with reduced strength due to the damage) may look normal�even after the same load that bent the metal part. But when the sum of the forces finally exceeds the strength limit of the carbon fiber, the carbon fiber part breaks, it does not bend (Figure 2).

..Unlike metal parts, carbon composite parts that have been damaged may not bend, bulge, or deform; a damaged part may appear to be normal to a cursory glance. After any high force load, like a crash or other impact to your bicycle, thoroughly inspect all the parts of your bicycle, and use the following procedures to inspect carbon composite parts:



I'd use a CF bike for crit racing, where the edge really counts. And for cross racing, where impacts will be mostly onto soft stuff and again you get an edge. But for winter utility cycling, why put up with the hassle?

(There's a very good explanation of how to check a CF frame for hidden damage on that page - worth bookmarking. especially for anyone buying a used CF frame.)
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Old 08-16-14, 04:33 AM   #29
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Still reading this thread everyday. Even though I said I made a decision, I'm still forever wavering.

Went by two LBS's today. I was looking at ~$600 Trek X-Cals/older gary fisher models, Specialized and Cannondale MTBs and trying out my friend's K2 26er. There were some specialized CX bikes at my LBS but none my my size... was a Crux not a Tricross.

I didn't know how hard it would be to throw around the weight of a 29er. I thought they'd be a lot lighter but it also felt very squishy with the large tires and suspension.
For Cthulhus sake - don't buy a suspension bike for this job! And don't trust a store which tells you that you should. Talk to the people on Winter Cycling. I'm pretty sure that they'll tell you that all-rigid with discs is ideal. A steel frame, treated with frame saver, is less accident vulnerable. And ideally you would want to be to run deralers or IGH and 26 or 700c... So something like this:




- Cotic Road Rat. You'd order the frame and have a mechanic add whatever parts you want.

https://www.cotic.co.uk/product/roadrat
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Old 08-16-14, 07:25 AM   #30
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Going to winter riding now and about to head out to test ride CX bikes, al vs cf debate
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Old 08-16-14, 09:48 AM   #31
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The UK is full of steel bikes that have survived decades of rain and little care. Rust isn't a problem to sensibly worry about with a bike for winter use unless you buy something very overbred and behave very stupidly for a very long time.
Rain is far different from road salt, dunno if the UK uses road salt or not. If they salt in Chicago anything like here in Mi (imagine you are trying to make a gravel road with salt...) then anything steel must be given regular upkeep or viewed as an expendable thing. Wonder if anyone makes a galvanized frame?
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Old 08-16-14, 05:13 PM   #32
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Went to several bike stores.

Tried out several bikes of makes and models over 4 hours today. XRide 52,54, Raleigh 54, XFire 54, Felt 65. Settled on the XRide 54 because it was reasonably priced felt good in the turns, but not as good or quick as the XFire.

CX felt more natural than MTB's to me. Here are pix because you all helped.







Pedals are Shimano PD-M540 SPD Pedals.

Sorry for iPhone4s quality. iPhone6 hit stores already please ...
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Old 08-16-14, 05:36 PM   #33
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Took a picture with the fancy camera just because.



Just did a quick 7 miles on her through grass fields and around my neighborhood, my biking line options are now much more open. While I'm a tad slower than on my carbon bike, the option to go through gravel, grass, and bumps is worlds of fun. : )! Thanks again.
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Old 08-17-14, 09:33 AM   #34
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Took a picture with the fancy camera just because.



Just did a quick 7 miles on her through grass fields and around my neighborhood, my biking line options are now much more open. While I'm a tad slower than on my carbon bike, the option to go through gravel, grass, and bumps is worlds of fun. : )! Thanks again.
Congrats, and that's awesome bike. You'll find that most of the speed difference between a good CX bike and a good road bike comes down to tires. Put a set of these on your Ridley for road bike speed and gravel ready versatility: Paris-Roubaix
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Old 08-18-14, 07:07 AM   #35
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Congrats, and that's awesome bike. You'll find that most of the speed difference between a good CX bike and a good road bike comes down to tires. Put a set of these on your Ridley for road bike speed and gravel ready versatility: Paris-Roubaix
After riding the carbon fiber XFire and putting power down to the pedals I feel as if the XRide will never match up. That thing had serious kick, it felt like the frame just wanted to bounce away when I put my foot down. The geometry was more race oriented as well which made it feel more lively than my endurance Bianchi which has skinny 700x23. The Ridley has 700x32. tires which are the same as my hybrid. Its nice because they use the same tubes : )

I'm well behind my Strava segment records on the Ridley than the Bianchi, around 15 seconds slower per 2~3 minute segments when putting down the same sprinter effort. I could probably close that gap with road tires.

I've put some hard 50 miles on the Ridley XRide though already and I'm absolutely loving it. Many occasions I don't avoid the rough road or simply choose to try riding on the sidewalk and grass. Now to develop the CX skills.
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