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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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Gravel vs Cyclocross bikes?

Old 02-12-18, 11:23 AM
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adele87
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Gravel vs Cyclocross bikes?

I bought a 2018 Trek CrossRip 2 recently. I think it's technically a gravel bike. Is there a huge difference between this and a cyclocross bike?
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Old 02-12-18, 12:48 PM
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If it fits, I wouldn't worry about it. CX bikes are getting more like gravel bikes. The biggest problem with CX bikes for me is tire size and rider position (race bike vs endurance geometry). But CX bikes take bigger tires nowadays. If that doesn't bother you, you're cool.

Yeah, we can discuss a couple of mm difference here or there, but again if it fits and is comfortable, enjoy it.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
If it fits, I wouldn't worry about it. CX bikes are getting more like gravel bikes. The biggest problem with CX bikes for me is tire size and rider position (race bike vs endurance geometry). But CX bikes take bigger tires nowadays. If that doesn't bother you, you're cool.

Yeah, we can discuss a couple of mm difference here or there, but again if it fits and is comfortable, enjoy it.
I'm not actually familiar with the differences either...and am considering both a CX bike/gravel bike. Are you saying most CX bikes have a road race geometry?
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Old 02-13-18, 09:56 PM
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A huge overlap exists in these two categories. Typically though, cx bikes have a little more aggressive geometry, higher bottom brackets, and less tire clearance.
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Old 02-14-18, 01:21 AM
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my interpretation...off the top of my head...

the differences in geometry between CX and Gravel encompass some or all of the following. The CX bike will have
1. steeper head tube and seat tube angles
2. higher bottom bracket or less BB drop
3. shorter wheelbase
4. shorter chainstays

In addition, unlike CX, Gravel provides for
5. eyelets/bosses for racks & fenders
6. greater tire clearance
7. thicker/heavier tubing to support no.5 and gnarlier terrain.

There, seven key differences.
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Old 02-14-18, 02:06 AM
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You guys are likely right. Makes no difference. I got it for winter training anyway to ride during the off season.
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Old 02-14-18, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
I'm not actually familiar with the differences either...and am considering both a CX bike/gravel bike. Are you saying most CX bikes have a road race geometry?
I’m generalizing here – as there are plenty of exceptions and overlap.

Gravel bikes tend to be longer, lower, slacker (like mountain bikes). They have longer wheelbases, longer chainstays, lower bottom bracket, slacker head angles, taller head tubes, and more relaxed geometry. But, there are aggressive and mild cross bikes and gravel bikes – so there is a bit of overlap.
N either one has road race geometry (or mtb geometry), but CX tends to lean in the road race direction, while gravel tends to lean towards MTB.

Long/low/slack is great if you are doing aggressive hills, straight roads, or worry about stability.
Short & brisk is great if you want the bike to feel lively, cut a tight corner and be responsive.

In addition – gravel bikes are going to be more comfortable carrying a load (like a touring bike). Bikepacking is the rage now, and they’ll be equipped to handle well and carry additional equipment.

These days they all take 40mm tires, but yes – if its not a recent cx frame its probably not going to take more than 35mm.
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Old 02-14-18, 10:17 AM
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A true CX bike has a higher center of gravity for clearing obstacles and a more aggressive racing position.
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Old 02-18-18, 09:28 AM
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Is it possible to use a 26 incher drop bar bike in a cycle cross race?
I do luv my bike. Ugly Old 7speeds of pure fun and comfy bikeability
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Old 02-18-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Is it possible to use a 26 incher drop bar bike in a cycle cross race?
I do luv my bike. Ugly Old 7speeds of pure fun and comfy bikeability
I'm not a cross racer, only repeating what I've read here, but as I understand, in novice classes you can run what you brung. Only in sanctioned races do they start enforcing the rules for tire size, handlebars, etc.
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Old 02-18-18, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jbell_64 View Post
A huge overlap exists in these two categories. Typically though, cx bikes have a little more aggressive geometry, higher bottom brackets, and less tire clearance.
My Trail/Gravel bike is a Bikes direct Phamtom Team Cross. It has more aggressive geo, seems to have a higher bottom bracket but I think it will fit pretty big tires. I have 700x35s on it now but I think it will fit 700x42s maybe.

It rides great on trails with packed gravel. Have not rode really course gravel with it yet.
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Old 02-18-18, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
I'm not a cross racer, only repeating what I've read here, but as I understand, in novice classes you can run what you brung. Only in sanctioned races do they start enforcing the rules for tire size, handlebars, etc.
Thanks good to know.
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Old 02-19-18, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank72 View Post
My Trail/Gravel bike is a Bikes direct Phamtom Team Cross. It has more aggressive geo, seems to have a higher bottom bracket but I think it will fit pretty big tires. I have 700x35s on it now but I think it will fit 700x42s maybe.

It rides great on trails with packed gravel. Have not rode really course gravel with it yet.
Front yes, back no. 35mm is about as big as the frame can take, but the fork can go wider.
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Old 02-19-18, 06:59 PM
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Watch this. This guy is a cx racer and has done a few videos comparing cx and gravel bike.

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Old 02-20-18, 12:17 PM
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That is an interesting video series.

He is all over the place and just loves to purchase and flip a bike for the next big thing, but he has some good stuff to say.

I like how he was leaning towards CX and sold his Niner gravel bike (Steel) because he just didn't like it, and then later bought the newest Niner gravel bike (carbon) and now likes that better than the CX bike. Still there is a lot of good information and food for thought with his experiences.
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Old 02-20-18, 09:29 PM
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I think the takeaway from all this is if you can afford a performance gravel bike and a CX race bike, it's nice to have both. But if you only own one or the other, they can be perfectly adequate for the other discipline.
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Old 02-23-18, 12:13 AM
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This may be slightly off the post but what exactly makes one bike a gravel bike and another a cross bike ?

I consider my Bianchi Axis a cross bike so hypothetically, if I wanted to make it into a gravel bike what would I need to do ??

Last edited by MotoMark; 02-23-18 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 02-23-18, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MotoMark View Post
This may be slightly off the post but what exactly makes one bike a gravel bike and another a cross bike ?

I consider my Bianchi Axis a cross bike so hypothetically, if I wanted to make it into a gravel bike what would I need to do ??
Nutshell version...Frame geometry and tire clearance. CX bike will be more like a Crit bike with more aggressive handling. Gravel bike will be more like an endurance bike, made to be more comfortable over longer distances. Gravel bike usually will accommodate larger tires. CX Bike more likely to have a flatter top tube to accommodate shouldering the bike.

Clear as mud right? As for the Bianchi, do nothing.
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Old 02-23-18, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pesty View Post
Nutshell version...Frame geometry and tire clearance. CX bike will be more like a Crit bike with more aggressive handling. Gravel bike will be more like an endurance bike, made to be more comfortable over longer distances. Gravel bike usually will accommodate larger tires. CX Bike more likely to have a flatter top tube to accommodate shouldering the bike.

Clear as mud right? As for the Bianchi, do nothing.
Perfectly clear, and completely spot on.
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Old 02-27-18, 08:11 PM
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I had a 2016 Trek Crossrip (my first bike), which was marketed at the time as a CX bike. It turned out to be a good, albeit heavy, urban commuter. In reality, I discovered that the Trek was a typical adventure (light tourer) / Gravel bike due to its relaxed geometry and ease of fitting racks.

Shortly after buying the Trek, I decided I wanted something similar for weekends, but more "racy" (i.e. lighter) bought a Giant TCX Advanced 2.

The TCX is interesting in that it combines some aspects from both CX and gravel:
1) High bottom bracket (60mm BB drop)
2) slightly shorter top tube and head tube, leading to a more classical "CX race" position (I had problems getting the bars high enough when I started - now I'm more flexible :-) )
3) No rack fittings (a pity, because it would make the bike more useful)
4) Long chainstays (compared to road bike)
5) Wide tire clearance (up to 45mm)
6) Relatively slack head tube angle (71.5*) compared to road bike.


Giant markets the identical geometry in the TCX-SX as a gravel / adventure bike. Go figure!

So, as many have said, there is a lot of overlap.
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Old 02-28-18, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Is it possible to use a 26 incher drop bar bike in a cycle cross race?
I do luv my bike. Ugly Old 7speeds of pure fun and comfy bikeability
Yes, a friend of mine races local CX on his '89 steel MTB, single speed with drop bars. He's strong and light so he could probably do fine on just about any bike. But that one is his favorite.
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Old 03-01-18, 06:52 AM
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I went to the World Cross championship results (womens) to get the top list of winners in the 2018 championship.

One way is to find out who is riding what. Then look at the geometry and setup.

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, Valkenburg 2018: Elite Women Results | Cyclingnews.com

Katie Compton's bike. This link also shows the attention to the details used in her setup.

https://www.velonews.com/2017/11/bike...x-steed_451411

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Old 03-02-18, 11:57 AM
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And some CX race courses are designed to make you shoulder the bike and run.. (or fall way behind trying to ride it)


So bikes have to allow that..

no steeply sloping top tubes or cable runs under that top tube..



..
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Old 03-03-18, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
no steeply sloping top tubes or cable runs under that top tube..
Some gravel events have a big chunk of hike-a-bike, too, when the conditions are right. Lugging your mud-encaked bike five miles while waiting for a patch of road dry enough not to suck your shoes off your feet is an altogether different experience than a 'cross portage.

The biggest difference right now is many sanctioned 'cross races have rules about what size tires you can run, and a lot of cross race bikes are built with that in mind. There aren't many such rules in gravel events (save for the must have brakes/no fixie thing), so you can roll with 2.4" or even fat tires if you want. I really like my stripped down Fargo for that sort of duty, but I know I'm not seeing a podium and I trust the hell out of the frame and those tires.

Also, different regions have different meanings - here in SWVA "gravel" can include long stretches of singletrack, rock gardens, and about 20+ 4" logs to scramble over, not to mention pea soup gravel on a 15-20% grade. I was just thinking about changing out to a svelte pair of 40 or 45mm tires but then I experienced the local flavor and figured I'd keep the larger XC tires I had.

As it is now, I think this is the most interesting thing about the segment - ride what you want or what you think works for you. With well spaced out drop bag intervals you need to figure out food and water, so bikes with light touring capability or festooned with frame and handlebar bags are handy.

Hopefully as the bigger events get too big (many are already, for me), they won't succumb to the pressures of some sort of governing body like UCI and implement a bunch of BS regulations on what is an acceptable bike. New stuff keeps showing up because there are no such rules right now, but if DK or Landrun or the Epic followed some, you can bet those rules would shape the gravel bike segment just as they did the cross segment for so long.
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Old 03-03-18, 09:51 AM
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CX using closed loop courses have you going by the pits ,, team support hands you the spare bike, mud free,

and, rinse and repeat, takes the other one and cleans the mud off, then the other one, muddy, gets same treatment..
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