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Gravel bike vs cross bike for do it all bike

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Gravel bike vs cross bike for do it all bike

Old 03-06-16, 08:49 PM
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Gravel bike vs cross bike for do it all bike

I know this has been asked many times but I'm trying to decide what I want out of my next bike. Realistically it will be ridden on pavement 80% of the time but I want something with disc brake (juat because I want disc brakes) and wider tire clearance. I don't think I really need wider than 700x32 but option to run bigger is OK. There are no real gravel roads where I am so off road use would be hard pack dirt with occasional loose gravel and mud when it rains. And I would be doing a good amount of climbing and descending both on and off road.

I've been looking at gravel/adventure bikes since marketing tells me that's what I need. But every road bike I've owned has "race geometry". I like an aggressive set up on my road bikes and it seems slack endurance geometry is a pretty requisite of gravel bikes. So it's making me think that what I really want is a cross bike. I've always heard cross bikes where bad for road riding due to high bottom bracket, twitchy handling and lack of bottle bosses etc. But then I hear that "modern cross geometry" is closer to road bike just with more tire clearance. So should I be looking for a cross bike or gravel bike?
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Old 03-06-16, 09:11 PM
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I just got rid of my full carbon Fuji road bike and a Raleigh RX 2.0 CX bike to get this brand new Ridley X-Night. It shares the same geometry as Ridleys Helium SL road bike, but accepts bigger tires ans has disc brakes. Sure you could get a Salsa Warbird or any other Gravel bike but, Gravel bike have a more relaxed, upright geometry, where as a CX bike has more of a road bike geometry. My bike is now my one stop, do it all bike.



And yes, it see's both Gravel and road....

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Old 03-06-16, 09:15 PM
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FYI, I'll be putting a set of Gatorskin 700x28's on it later this week. I'll post pics.
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Old 03-06-16, 09:17 PM
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I've ridden plenty of road bikes but my soma doublecross is my favorite all rounder. It handles just fine on the road.
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Old 03-06-16, 09:21 PM
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A cross bike sounds like what you need. Good call with the disc brakes. I'm not a fan of them on road bikes for most needs but try are perfect for cross. Besides many cross bikes come with lousy center pull rim brakes that don't work well.
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Old 03-06-16, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
A cross bike sounds like what you need. Good call with the disc brakes. I'm not a fan of them on road bikes for most needs but try are perfect for cross. Besides many cross bikes come with lousy center pull rim brakes that don't work well.
You mean cantilevers, not center pulls, and they work great if you know what you're doing.
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Old 03-06-16, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
I just got rid of my full carbon Fuji road bike and a Raleigh RX 2.0 CX bike to get this brand new Ridley X-Night. It shares the same geometry as Ridleys Helium SL road bike, but accepts bigger tires ans has disc brakes. Sure you could get a Salsa Warbird or any other Gravel bike but, Gravel bike have a more relaxed, upright geometry, where as a CX bike has more of a road bike geometry. My bike is now my one stop, do it all bike.



And yes, it see's both Gravel and road....


That's a nice looking bike
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Old 03-06-16, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
You mean cantilevers, not center pulls, and they work great if you know what you're doing.
They work good for cross or mountain biking but what about on 40mph decent on pavement?
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Old 03-06-16, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
They work good for cross or mountain biking but what about on 40mph decent on pavement?
I've gone faster than that coming down a mountain when touring and stopped no problem with them.
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Old 03-06-16, 11:02 PM
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I never had a problem with the canti's that were on my Raleigh 2.0. Plenty of 55mph descents with ample braking.

Originally Posted by rms13
That's a nice looking bike
Originally Posted by rms13
They work good for cross or mountain biking but what about on 40mph decent on pavement?
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Old 03-06-16, 11:15 PM
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Not much help to you, but I chanced on the frame that would meet your needs (except the disc brakes) and it was built 40+ years ago. A Raleigh Carlton Competition. Obviously built for 27" wheels. With 700c wheels, full fenders and big 35c Paselas is easy. Low BB. Light 531 frame. Fun ride and great off pavement. (Plenty of stopping power with period correct Mafac Racers and non-period correct Kool-Stop Salmon pads.)

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Old 03-07-16, 01:14 PM
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My budget for this bike/build is going to be $2000 max. I just found this on Performance site that looks interesting

Fuji Cross 1.1 Disc Cyclocross Bike - 2015

Alum but has hydraulic brakes and Sram 1x11 which also interests me although I dont' know if that gearing is wide enough for some climbing I have locally. If I could put an 11-42 cassette it would be nice but not sure that rear deraileur supports that size
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Old 03-07-16, 01:50 PM
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Competing in Cyclo Cross Racing involves shouldering the Bike and Running with it .

(If you are faster running, you dont need a low gear on the bike to Go slower )

Never going to do that ? cross or get off the bike when its faster around the course,
a sloping top tube will be fine.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-07-16 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-07-16, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
My budget for this bike/build is going to be $2000 max. I just found this on Performance site that looks interesting

Fuji Cross 1.1 Disc Cyclocross Bike - 2015

Alum but has hydraulic brakes and Sram 1x11 which also interests me although I dont' know if that gearing is wide enough for some climbing I have locally. If I could put an 11-42 cassette it would be nice but not sure that rear deraileur supports that size
The specs for the RD are online: https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...ear-derailleur

Depends on whether that bike has a long cage RD or not
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Old 03-07-16, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
The specs for the RD are online: https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...ear-derailleur

Depends on whether that bike has a long cage RD or not
Yes, you could use an 11-42 cassette with the Force 1 long cage RD. The Fuji Cross 1.1 doesn't have the long cage RD, but you could swap one in.

As it is, the 44 x 28 low gear gives you 42 gear inches. Not very low for climbing.

44 x 42 would give you a nice, low 28 inch gear. But, the 11-42 cassette would have wider gaps in the middle of your gearing.

Last edited by Tim_Iowa; 03-07-16 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 03-07-16, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Competing in Cyclo Cross Racing involves shouldering the Bike and Running with it .

Never going to do that ? a sloping top tube will be fine.
If I had a cross bike I may do some races
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Old 03-07-16, 02:37 PM
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The Ridley is a Belgian design . Cross is Big There .. QBP distributes the Brand, here

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Old 03-07-16, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
If I had a cross bike I may do some races
Well, there you go. Get a cross bike!

Seriously, there's a lot of overlap between the two, depending on what you get. It wasn't that long ago that bikes with relaxed geometry, triple cranks and braze-ons for rack and fenders were being marketed as cyclocross bikes, because that was a trendy niche. Then enough of a market emerged to spin off gravel bikes as their own category. That's not to say there are no differences. The label "gravel bike" seems to free the designers to do things (mostly ugly things, IMO) with the frame that they wouldn't have done with a cyclocross bike. The biggest benefit of a gravel bike to me is that they have (or at least should have) clearance for wider tires -- not that there is a good reason for CX bikes not to have that.

Depending on how serious you are about placing well, there are a lot of gravel bikes that you could use in a CX bike and not have any complaints about. They're generally heavier and most would be slow through chicanes, but you'd be stomping the guys out there on touring bikes. On the other hand, any CX bike can hold its own as a gravel bike ... unless you want to be able to use a rack and fenders, which would rule out some CX bikes.

So there are basically four things you need to figure out:

1) Tire size. Do you need to be able to run 700x45 tires, or would 700x35 be good enough? If 700x35 is good enough (and for most uses it is) your choices are wide open.

2) Gearing. This is something to decide on, but it really shouldn't limit your bike choice. Whatever gearing you want can be put on nearly any bike (though a few bikes are now being designed expressly for 1x gearing and might have trouble with a front derailleur). The big thing here, IMO, is to factor in any anticipated gearing customization in the cost of the bike.

3) Braze ons. Do you want the ability to add rack and fenders? While you can add them to any bike, it's best to buy a bike with the proper braze-ons if you know you want that.

4) Geometry. This is the real selection point, IMO. Do you want a bike that is quick and nimble or a bike that is stable and forgiving or something in between? There's really no substitute for riding bikes to figure this out, but knowing what you're after can help limit the field.


Based on what you said in the first post, I think a CX bike is what you're after. The idea that they aren't good for road riding is non-sense. The bottom bracket on my 2015 Jake the Snake is a whole 1mm higher than that on my Ridley Excalibur, thought that's partly because the Excalibur (a pure road bike) has a fairly high bottom bracket (66mm drop). A CX bike and a road bike do handle differently, but I don't think the bottom bracket height has much to do with it. It's more about head tube angle and chainstay length. A road bike is more nimble. You don't really need that for most road rides, and you generally don't want it for off-road riding.
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Old 03-07-16, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Well, there you go. Get a cross bike!

Seriously, there's a lot of overlap between the two, depending on what you get. It wasn't that long ago that bikes with relaxed geometry, triple cranks and braze-ons for rack and fenders were being marketed as cyclocross bikes, because that was a trendy niche. Then enough of a market emerged to spin off gravel bikes as their own category. That's not to say there are no differences. The label "gravel bike" seems to free the designers to do things (mostly ugly things, IMO) with the frame that they wouldn't have done with a cyclocross bike. The biggest benefit of a gravel bike to me is that they have (or at least should have) clearance for wider tires -- not that there is a good reason for CX bikes not to have that.

Depending on how serious you are about placing well, there are a lot of gravel bikes that you could use in a CX bike and not have any complaints about. They're generally heavier and most would be slow through chicanes, but you'd be stomping the guys out there on touring bikes. On the other hand, any CX bike can hold its own as a gravel bike ... unless you want to be able to use a rack and fenders, which would rule out some CX bikes.

So there are basically four things you need to figure out:

1) Tire size. Do you need to be able to run 700x45 tires, or would 700x35 be good enough? If 700x35 is good enough (and for most uses it is) your choices are wide open.

2) Gearing. This is something to decide on, but it really shouldn't limit your bike choice. Whatever gearing you want can be put on nearly any bike (though a few bikes are now being designed expressly for 1x gearing and might have trouble with a front derailleur). The big thing here, IMO, is to factor in any anticipated gearing customization in the cost of the bike.

3) Braze ons. Do you want the ability to add rack and fenders? While you can add them to any bike, it's best to buy a bike with the proper braze-ons if you know you want that.

4) Geometry. This is the real selection point, IMO. Do you want a bike that is quick and nimble or a bike that is stable and forgiving or something in between? There's really no substitute for riding bikes to figure this out, but knowing what you're after can help limit the field.


Based on what you said in the first post, I think a CX bike is what you're after. The idea that they aren't good for road riding is non-sense. The bottom bracket on my 2015 Jake the Snake is a whole 1mm higher than that on my Ridley Excalibur, thought that's partly because the Excalibur (a pure road bike) has a fairly high bottom bracket (66mm drop). A CX bike and a road bike do handle differently, but I don't think the bottom bracket height has much to do with it. It's more about head tube angle and chainstay length. A road bike is more nimble. You don't really need that for most road rides, and you generally don't want it for off-road riding.
I agree Geo seems to be the sticking point for me. Like I said, all of my road bikes have had racier geo (Cannondale CAAD10, Giant TCR, chinese Cervelo R copy). That is what I'm used to and I like quick handling. My only concern is descending a windy mountain road at 30+ mph would a cross bike be too twitchy. When I look at geo charts the head and seat angles don't look much different. Most of my road bikes have 73/73 angles and most of the cross bikes I have been looking at are 73/72 so same seat and slightly slacker head where as a lot of gravel bikes are 70 or 71 head angle
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Old 03-07-16, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
I know this has been asked many times but I'm trying to decide what I want out of my next bike. Realistically it will be ridden on pavement 80% of the time but I want something with disc brake (juat because I want disc brakes) and wider tire clearance. I don't think I really need wider than 700x32 but option to run bigger is OK. There are no real gravel roads where I am so off road use would be hard pack dirt with occasional loose gravel and mud when it rains. And I would be doing a good amount of climbing and descending both on and off road.

I've been looking at gravel/adventure bikes since marketing tells me that's what I need. But every road bike I've owned has "race geometry". I like an aggressive set up on my road bikes and it seems slack endurance geometry is a pretty requisite of gravel bikes. So it's making me think that what I really want is a cross bike. I've always heard cross bikes where bad for road riding due to high bottom bracket, twitchy handling and lack of bottle bosses etc. But then I hear that "modern cross geometry" is closer to road bike just with more tire clearance. So should I be looking for a cross bike or gravel bike?
This might sound crazy but have you ridden one of each? The Internet is full of pseudo experts waiting to advise you. The statement
Originally Posted by Rms13
since marketing tells me that's what I need.
tells me you don't know what you need/want.
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Old 03-07-16, 06:41 PM
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As I remember, Ridley especially has higher bottom brackets which to some, throws the geometry a bit off. Also a lot of cross bikes, mainly those geared strictly towards racing, only have one water bottle mount which would be less than ideal on longer rides/hotter days.

I originally was 100% set on getting the same model X-Night that Drummerboy bought but I changed my mind and bought an Ridley X-Trail instead. The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got about only having one bottle cage which to me is a deciding factor. After a few discussions with a friend of mine, I decided on the X-Trail and absolutely love it and it feels pretty similar to my road bike (Ridley Fenix). Point being - "gravel grinder" doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be really upright.

Whatever you lean towards, just check out geometry charts and so forth then narrow it down from there.
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Old 03-07-16, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
I agree Geo seems to be the sticking point for me. Like I said, all of my road bikes have had racier geo (Cannondale CAAD10, Giant TCR, chinese Cervelo R copy). That is what I'm used to and I like quick handling. My only concern is descending a windy mountain road at 30+ mph would a cross bike be too twitchy. When I look at geo charts the head and seat angles don't look much different. Most of my road bikes have 73/73 angles and most of the cross bikes I have been looking at are 73/72 so same seat and slightly slacker head where as a lot of gravel bikes are 70 or 71 head angle
It's not just the angles. Fork length and rake(maybe) are going to be a bit different, and the chainstays are longer than road bikes. It usually adds up to slower/stabler handling on the road vs a road bike. At least in my experience.

And for whatever it's worth, my CX bike has a very high BB drop of 55mm. It's never been an issue on the road.
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Old 03-07-16, 07:48 PM
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Old 03-07-16, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
That's a nice looking bike
+1
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Old 03-07-16, 08:47 PM
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As a happy owner of a KHS CX bike, this might be one to check out: KHS CX300 @ Bike Craze which is also semi-local (Anaheim,) you can maybe go check it out in person.

My personal requirements when shopping for a bike were pretty much exactly in line with yours, and the CX100/300 fits them perfectly. I do more like 95% riding on the road, but the frames will easily accommodate up to 50mm tires, and the pricepoint on that bike leaves you plenty of room for... personalization.
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