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Does anyone use a 1x cyclocross bike as a road bike?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) 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.

Does anyone use a 1x cyclocross bike as a road bike?

Old 05-25-16, 03:26 PM
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msu2001la
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Does anyone use a 1x cyclocross bike as a road bike?

Would the 1x gearing on something like a Cannondale SuperX Rival CX-1 work for road riding with road tires? It has a 40t front chainring and an 11-28 rear. Seems like it would work good for CX racing but is it geared too low for on-road riding?

I currently run 46/36 front chainrings on my CX bike with an 11-28 rear, which gives me plenty of range to run knobbies during CX season, and road tires the rest of the year. I rarely use the top end or bottom end of that range, most of my riding with either wheelset is somewhere in the middle, and "big ring" only on pavement.

Looking at gear ratio calculators, if I only had a 40t front, my top speed at 90rpm would be 25.8mph on the 11t cog. That seems pretty low.

How difficult would it be to switch the 40t ring for something like a 42t or 44t? Easy enough to swap it back to the 40t during CX season? No front derailleur to worry about adjusting, is this just a matter of unbolting and rebolting a bigger one?
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Old 05-25-16, 06:20 PM
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I used to race on a single 42 and used it on the road a lot. Now, it could just be that I'm a lot slower than you, but generally it wasn't a problem. There were definitely times when I wanted more gear, but mostly it wasn't much of a problem. As you point out, that gear is good for 25mph. How often do you really ride like that? Do you ride with a fast group? Then get more gears. I don't think there's all that much difference between a 40 and a 42 in this context.
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Old 05-25-16, 07:59 PM
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A 40t chainring and 11-28 cassette would be OK for the road. You can spin a lot faster than 90rpm, 25mph is very conservative.

Nonetheless, I don't see the attraction of 1x11. No need for comments about the weight savings, that's glaringly conspicuous.
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Old 05-25-16, 08:42 PM
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@msu2001la I would think a 40 on road would be fine for most stuff, especially if you're not using the extremes of your gear range right now. I liked my CX bike with a 42 11-28 for most stuff including racing. It's gone through multiple gearing changes in the last two years (right now 50/36 with an 11-36), but it'll come back around to 1x soon enough.

@GeoKrpan I cut about 3/4 of a pound off my bike with the initial change to 1x. Just sayin...
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Old 05-26-16, 09:05 AM
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Thanks for the responses. Sounds like 40t or 42t 1x would work for me. I ride with groups occasionally, but mostly on flat terrain and as @GeoKrpan noted I can likely spin a bit faster if we're riding with a tailwind or something.
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Old 05-26-16, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
Nonetheless, I don't see the attraction of 1x11. No need for comments about the weight savings, that's glaringly conspicuous.
Every time I've dumped a chain on a road bike, it was from a front shift. The clutch der combined with narrow-wide chainring greatly reduces the chance of dropping a chain under all conditions, even with a giant rear cassette (10-40).

So you've got a very reliable 11-speed transmission with 4-fold gear range. Custom-tuning the gearing (i.e. perhaps you'd want a tighter-spaced cassette for crits or TT, or a smaller chainring for hilly road race) is super easy.

The only drawback I see would be for alpine races or stages, where you really need a larger gear range for steep long climbs and long descents. But in truth, who among us has that specific need?
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Old 05-26-16, 01:33 PM
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I run a 44T Race Face narrow-wide front chainring on SRAM Force cranks, and an 11-28 cassette with Rival clutched rear derailleur on a CX bike that sees 95% road riding.

Overall, it works awesome for my purposes (relatively flat, 20-40 mile rides). I enjoy the relative simplicity and clean look.
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Old 05-26-16, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Would the 1x gearing on something like a Cannondale SuperX Rival CX-1 work for road riding with road tires? It has a 40t front chainring and an 11-28 rear. Seems like it would work good for CX racing but is it geared too low for on-road riding?

I currently run 46/36 front chainrings on my CX bike with an 11-28 rear, which gives me plenty of range to run knobbies during CX season, and road tires the rest of the year. I rarely use the top end or bottom end of that range, most of my riding with either wheelset is somewhere in the middle, and "big ring" only on pavement.

Looking at gear ratio calculators, if I only had a 40t front, my top speed at 90rpm would be 25.8mph on the 11t cog. That seems pretty low.

How difficult would it be to switch the 40t ring for something like a 42t or 44t? Easy enough to swap it back to the 40t during CX season? No front derailleur to worry about adjusting, is this just a matter of unbolting and rebolting a bigger one?
Think of it as an opportunity to work on your pedal stroke at high cadences.
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Old 05-26-16, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
Every time I've dumped a chain on a road bike, it was from a front shift. The clutch der combined with narrow-wide chainring greatly reduces the chance of dropping a chain under all conditions, even with a giant rear cassette (10-40).

So you've got a very reliable 11-speed transmission with 4-fold gear range. Custom-tuning the gearing (i.e. perhaps you'd want a tighter-spaced cassette for crits or TT, or a smaller chainring for hilly road race) is super easy.

The only drawback I see would be for alpine races or stages, where you really need a larger gear range for steep long climbs and long descents. But in truth, who among us has that specific need?
I presently have a gravel bike after having owned several CX bikes. It can do anything a CX bike can do, and more, because it has gearing for anything. It has a close ratio cassette and 50/39/30 chainrings. It's as good as a road bike on the pavement.
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Old 05-26-16, 02:53 PM
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1x is great for mountain bikes, for road bikes 2x is the way to go unless you live in a very flat area.

46/34 crank with a 11-32 cassette is what I run on my gravel bike and it works great although I might get a RoadLink and a 11-36 cassette for a slightly better climbing gear.
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Old 05-26-16, 06:02 PM
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I just finished rebuilding my singlespeed as a 1x10 with 40x11-36 gearing and road tires.



The 40x11 gear will get your almost 30 mph at even 100 rpm. I guess it depends on the group you're riding in, but for me if I'm going any faster than that I'm usually happy to coast and let gravity do the work. I've got a 15% grade hill leading up to my house, and on the first ride I thought the 40-36 gear was just a little tough but it turned out that my bottom bracket bearings had seized and I was grinding the plastic spacer to dust while climbing, so I guess it's low enough.

I do think a double or triple is better suited for pure road riding, but if you want to have one multi-purpose bike that can handle a lot of uses a 1xN cross/gravel bike will do it.
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Old 05-26-16, 08:06 PM
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you'll want the 1 chainring centered with the middle of the cassette I'd assume ..
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Old 05-27-16, 12:41 AM
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my bottom bracket bearings had seized and I was grinding the plastic spacer to dust while climbing
Did your bb shell threads survive?
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Old 05-27-16, 01:15 AM
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I'm right now converting a 34/50 front, 12-28 rear CX bike (that sees mostly road work and occasional gravel trails) to 1x with a 40t front and 11-36 rear. My gear range goes from 33-113 to 30-98 gear-inches. So by dumping the FD I'll have a slightly lower low gear along with a smoother, quieter, simpler, lighter, more robust, and easier-to-shift drivetrain with the only drawback being that I can't pedal to add additional speed above about 28-mph or so. Maybe if I did pacelines I'd care about this, but for me, 1x seems like a no-brainer improvement.

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 05-27-16 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 05-27-16, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by masterchief View Post
Did your bb shell threads survive?
It's a PF30 interface and I was still using the Problem Solvers E46 I had on there when this was a singlespeed, so no threads to worry about. The bearings and shell were locked in place and the crank spindle crushed the spacer between itself and the bearings. I heard it squeal a few times but didn't know what was causing it until I got home and saw the side-to-side wobble in the crank.
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Old 05-27-16, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
I'm right now converting a 34/50 front, 12-28 rear CX bike (that sees mostly road work and occasional gravel trails) to 1x with a 40t front and 11-36 rear. My gear range goes from 33-113 to 30-98 gear-inches. So by dumping the FD I'll have a slightly lower low gear along with a smoother, quieter, simpler, lighter, more robust, and easier-to-shift drivetrain with the only drawback being that I can't pedal to add additional speed above about 28-mph or so. Maybe if I did pacelines I'd care about this, but for me, 1x seems like a no-brainer improvement.

- Mark
That's a fine setup for the dirt. My gravel bike came new with an 11-36 cassette but I replaced it immediately with a close ratio road cassette. Much better for pacelines.
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Old 05-27-16, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
That's a fine setup for the dirt. My gravel bike came new with an 11-36 cassette but I replaced it immediately with a close ratio road cassette. Much better for pacelines.
Again, not withstanding pacelines or pedaling faster than about 28 mph, it's a fine setup for the road also which is what the OP asked about.

- Mark
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Old 05-27-16, 02:01 PM
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I've seen it done. Depends on who you ride with. There's a group ride I do semi-regularly where if I don't have a 53/39 I'll get dropped. Actually, I get dropped anyway but the 53t gives me a fighting chance.
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Old 05-27-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Again, not withstanding pacelines or pedaling faster than about 28 mph, it's a fine setup for the road also which is what the OP asked about.

- Mark
In a pack ride with quality riders a wide ratio cassette is a significant disadvantage unless, of course, you are really, really good.
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Old 05-28-16, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
In a pack ride with quality riders a wide ratio cassette is a significant disadvantage unless, of course, you are really, really good.
That's my biggest objection to 1x setups. Unless you have a cassette that's well suited to a relatively specific type of riding the gaps between cogs are too big. In a cross race it's okay because you don't need really big cogs and you can usually start with a 12. But if you need a wide range for up steep hills and back down them, the gaps between the most used cogs start getting pretty wide.
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Old 05-29-16, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronsonic View Post
That's my biggest objection to 1x setups. Unless you have a cassette that's well suited to a relatively specific type of riding the gaps between cogs are too big.
Cassette changes are pretty easy -- especially since most will swap out CX tires (or even the whole wheelset) for road tires if you're going to be spending much time on pavement. Now, whether you can find a cassette that works for you depends on the definition of "road". If you're chasing Strava KOMs or riding with an "un-paced" group, then you'll be at a disadvantage with 1x. Likewise if you're doing hilly stuff, getting the range you need will open up big gaps in the gears. But solo or a paced group in the flats can be very comfortable on a 1x.

I rode my CX bike (38t x 11-26) yesterday with a 24 MPH paced group on a totally flat route and had a great ride. However, if the CX was my only bike, I'd probably switch it over to a 36/46 CX double just for the added flexibility.
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Old 05-29-16, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
Cassette changes are pretty easy -- especially since most will swap out CX tires (or even the whole wheelset) for road tires if you're going to be spending much time on pavement. Now, whether you can find a cassette that works for you depends on the definition of "road". If you're chasing Strava KOMs or riding with an "un-paced" group, then you'll be at a disadvantage with 1x. Likewise if you're doing hilly stuff, getting the range you need will open up big gaps in the gears. But solo or a paced group in the flats can be very comfortable on a 1x.

I rode my CX bike (38t x 11-26) yesterday with a 24 MPH paced group on a totally flat route and had a great ride. However, if the CX was my only bike, I'd probably switch it over to a 36/46 CX double just for the added flexibility.
Switching chainrings on a 2x or 3x is a simple matter of shifting. No cassette swaps ever needed.

No disadvantage to the 3x setup on my bike. No rub in any gear combo , big big, or even small small.
The stigma of a triple means nothing to me, nor does the status of a 1x.
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Old 05-30-16, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Would the 1x gearing on something like a Cannondale SuperX Rival CX-1 work for road riding with road tires? It has a 40t front chainring and an 11-28 rear. Seems like it would work good for CX racing but is it geared too low for on-road riding?
Works for me...

I bought it for a "foul weather" bike. That way I can save my road bike from getting beatup in the rain and when road conditions are less than optimal. Currently I still have the stock 35mm knobby tires but i'll be replacing them with Bontrager all weather 32mm tubeless tires since it will be on-road most of the time.

Since i'm never in the 50/11 gears on my road bike, there's not problem at the high end. I do find there are gaps between some gears that cause me to either spin faster or push harder. but that the compromise you have when you go with a 1x.

I did replace the crappy stock saddle with a spare Bontrager Paradigm RL which is the same shape as the RXXXL I have on my Emonda. I also used Bontrager cork tape so it has the same feel as my Emonda.

Longest ride so far is 40 miles.

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Old 05-31-16, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
Cassette changes are pretty easy -- especially since most will swap out CX tires (or even the whole wheelset) for road tires if you're going to be spending much time on pavement. Now, whether you can find a cassette that works for you depends on the definition of "road". If you're chasing Strava KOMs or riding with an "un-paced" group, then you'll be at a disadvantage with 1x. Likewise if you're doing hilly stuff, getting the range you need will open up big gaps in the gears. But solo or a paced group in the flats can be very comfortable on a 1x.

I rode my CX bike (38t x 11-26) yesterday with a 24 MPH paced group on a totally flat route and had a great ride. However, if the CX was my only bike, I'd probably switch it over to a 36/46 CX double just for the added flexibility.
This makes sense and I have different wheels that I use for road riding and CX riding already, with different cassettes. Reading the responses here, it sounds like the "fast-casual" type of flat road riding that I mostly do would be no issue with a 1x setup. There are no hills and the group rides I do are more casual, rarely exceeding 24-25mph.

Also (someone correct me if I'm wrong) it looks like it's fairly easy to change the chainring unless you're doing really small MTB sizes like 30T which require the crank to be removed. So, during the summer I could run something like a 44T, and then easily put a 40T on in the fall for CX season, which is when I would start riding knobbies all the time anyways.
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Old 05-31-16, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Also (someone correct me if I'm wrong) it looks like it's fairly easy to change the chainring unless you're doing really small MTB sizes like 30T which require the crank to be removed. So, during the summer I could run something like a 44T, and then easily put a 40T on in the fall for CX season, which is when I would start riding knobbies all the time anyways.
This wouldn't be hard to do at all, just make sure to adjust the chain to match. Even with a clutch derailleur and wide/narrow chainring, I'd be concerned about dropping a chain if it were too long.
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