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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross or Touring Bike?

    Next summer I plan on cycling from Fairbanks to Panama
    Now, I've hiked in the past and I generally travel ultralight
    I'm betting that I can get all my gear including tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes, and tools to weigh about 15 pounds

    Now, i'd like to travel at a fairly decent pace, however I'm also expecting that I won't always be traveling on paved roads, so I don't want a road bike
    I've heard fairly good things about cyclocross bikes, and since I carry very little gear the extra weight shouldn't be an issue

    So what do you guys think, cyclocross bike + add rear rack or simply touring bike? I'm kinda liking the cyclocross idea as during the year I won't be doing much touring, but I like to hit up some light trails every one in awhile.

    I was considering the Cannondale Cyclocross Optimo or the Cannondale T2000.
    Please enlighten me with your knowledge!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I'd go with the cyclocross bike. A cyclocross bike will have quicker handling and be more fun when not loaded up. 15 pounds of gear is nothing.

  3. #3
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    You can use just about anythign for touring from unicycles to peenyfarthings. If you plan on doing a lot of cyclocross in the offseason, then by all means. Touring bikes will probably do ok up some trails, just sellect your BB height accordingly. Or get an MTB.

    15 pounds is very light on a bike. For instance I have a base pack weigh backpacking of 8-10 pounds depending on the season. My pack weighs less than any one of my panier bags, just the paniers and racks add several more pounds. By the time you get all the water you need (cycling is great but it runs the engine at higher heat than just about anyting else), all the stuff the bike needs, I think 15 is optimistic though it's doable for sure. If it turns out you do carry more stuff then you are probably better off on a touring bike, It's set-up for carrying gear, riding long distances in comfort, and the net weight gain is probably half a pound or a pound.

    There was a long cyclocross thread here last week. Just search this forum for it.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips guys, when I see some pictures of people with their bikes loaded up totally and they still got a trailer it just makes me cringe
    But then again the first time I went hiking my pack + food weighed 60 pounds, lol

  5. #5
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    By the way, anyone have any comments about the Cannondale Cyclocross Optimo? I've heard fairly good things about it, but how is it realiablity wise on such a long ride? I'm not really sure if I should get the disc brake model, personally I think it's overkill.

    Also, does anyone know if it is possible to mount some kind of rear rack on this? I'm probably going to go with a fairly small one, just not sure if its possible to attach. Also planning on making custom paniers, the ones they sell are too damn heavy
    Last edited by Muttsta; 09-30-06 at 07:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Year-round cyclist
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    Both would work equally well, and I would favour the bona fide touring bike. Why?

    – Both are likely to accept 700x35-37 tires. Wide tires are the most important piece of equipment you'll need if you ride on forestry roads. And for long stretches on asphalt, you could switch to narrower tires if you prefer. Hint: get 700x35 slicks.

    – The touring bike has a longer base and is much less likely to have a carbon fork. That way, you'll have a more stable bike, especially when loaded, and you'll be able to install a front lowrider rack. Fore and aft weight distribution makes a much better ride than load on the rear end only. And the less nervous handling you'll get with a relaxed geometry is somethng you will appreciate at the end of a long day.

    – Many cyclocross bikes are designed with very high competitive gearing. Think of a "low" of 34/26. The Trek and Cannondale touring bikes have a low of 30/34, and many of us think it would have been better with a low of 24/34. Low gears mean much less walking up hills and much less climbing them out of the saddle.

    – If you want a real touring bike that's also perfectly suited for off-road experiences, look here.

    – Regarding load: I would love to travel with only 60 lb of gear. It is when I tour with both children that I realise how much stuff they need to be warm and comfortable at all times.

    – Regarding panniers: weight is not as important on the bike as it is when walking, because it is the bike that carries the weight and you just need to move it forward. It's much more important to have them with a frame and in a fabric that's rigid enough to prevent swaying.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  7. #7
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    I agree with everything Michel said. One other point is that touring bikes are fun to ride. Maybe one is under the impression that they offer a bad riding experience, but it's not really true, it can be a wonderful ride without the bags, and it's the best ride with them. Also a CC bike is designed for racing. some of the stuff may not be up to snuff for the wear imposed on a touring bike. Some folks building out touring bikes start with CC frames, or touring, or MTB, but presumably they fit the bikes out with appropriate components designed for the long haul. Even stuff like bars can be udnerdesigned for touring use. So if you buy a good CC package you may end up quite far from the appropriate component package.

  8. #8
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    Check out the Surly Cross Check. I have yet to find one negative comment about it anywhere (though some people think it weighs too much - approx. 1 lb more than a lightweight CX bike). In fact, everyone seems to love it, not just at this site, but everywhere on line. Even at my local LBS, which does not sell Surly, speaks highly of the brand. I have an 05 Cross Check and highly recommend it.

  9. #9
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    I have a cyclocross bike I've been using for touring and while there's some advantages to it my model is from 1990 and was more a touring bike than what you'd call a cyclocross bike today.

    I think that you should buy a bike for the sort of riding you believe you're going to do. Since you're talking touring I'd say buy a touring bike.

  10. #10
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    Soma Double Cross for touring

    Hi,

    I have a Soma Double Cross that I just recently started taking out for fully-loaded touring rides, and it's great! (Double Cross is Soma's cyclocross model... think of it as a Surly Cross Check w/ Reynolds 831 steel and a few extra rack mounting brackets -- a little lighter, a little easier to get full touring racks on).

    The main difference between it and a "similar" full touring bike (say, a Surly LHT) is probably the wheelbase -- wheels are a little closer together than the LHT, and the chainstays are shorter. So the normal concern is whether you'd get heel strike against your panniers on a cyclocross bike. I put Tubus racks and Ortlieb panniers on it --- each are adjustable front/back, so with the rack and the bags adjusted to their farthest-back position, i had inches of extra clearance between my heels and the bags. No problem there.

    Handling is very stable and comfortable. Gears seem low enough -- I made the mistake of taking it fully loaded up to the top of Mt. Tam (outside SF) for my first overnight "test run" trouring trip.... endless relatively steep hill climbing.... but in the worst parts, the lowest granny gear kept me going just fine. So some stock cyclocross gear setups seem okay for touring.

    Sam

  11. #11
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    There was a long cyclocross thread here last week. Just search this forum for it.
    That was me. I got the bike in the mail last night. Boy is it ever sweet. I can't wait to get it out on the road.

    This is the thread, FYI. Some good info provided by the friendly people here.
    Chainstay length question


    I'm really glad to hear you like the double cross for touring splandorf!!!!

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