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Interesting, of, and at times annoying article about the history of monstercross bik

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Interesting, of, and at times annoying article about the history of monstercross bik

Old 07-31-19, 09:40 PM
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Interesting and at times annoying article about the history of monstercross bikes

https://www.cxmagazine.com/monster-c...-dirt-drop-bar

Some of the history is cool to read about, since i geek on the history of bicycle trends and technology.
But a continual theme thru the interview is that apparently nothing is monstercross and everything is either comfy road, cx, or gravel.

Ask 10 people what gravel bikes are and you will get 12 answers. I get it- it's a spectrum.
But this was just funny to me because right after he defines what monstercross bikes are, everything that then fits in the definition is declared to not be a monstercross.

Funniest part- out of all the available frames and bikes produced in the prior few years that are advertised as gravel, monstercross, or adventure- he says none fit his definition of a monstercross.
So apparently monstercross bikes are seen only slightly less frequently than sasquatch.


In the end it's just labels and opinion, but still found it funny.

Last edited by mstateglfr; 07-31-19 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-31-19, 11:37 PM
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Isn't just montercross a gravel bike that can take big ass tires?
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Old 08-01-19, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
Isn't just montercross a gravel bike that can take big ass tires?
You would think so, but after reading that article Im pretty sure the guy would say no to that too!
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Old 08-01-19, 07:40 AM
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Synopsis of interview: "Nothing is monstercross, except for my Surly Cross Check and '90s Trek Multitrack. Everything else is something else." Cyclists simultaneously don't want to be pigeon-holed, while also wanting to have everything refined to the point where two virtually identical bikes are "completely different," because they have different intended purposes. Easiest litmus test, point at the bike and ask a non cyclist what it is. You're likely to get either "mountain bike," or just "bike."
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Old 08-01-19, 07:52 AM
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Welp, I'm thoroughly confused.
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Old 08-01-19, 08:59 AM
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Funny how people want to make something special.

If you think of the word monster-cross it pretty well summons up the idea of a cyclocross bike that has bigger tires. Like a monster truck which is where the term was probably borrowed from. Not that unique. Today's fat bike would be more appropriate for that term except for the lack of road like characteristics. There was probably a point where the originating gravel genre rode converted stock road or cyclocross bikes using as big a tire as they could take (which was not that big) so a different "monster" bike designation made sense but now manufacturers are creating really big clearances so that many "gravel bikes" are defacto "monstercrosses". Especially when they mimic road bikes in so many other ways (gearing, posture).

To get all divisive about what bars equate monstercross is a bit of a stretch unless cyclocross also gets that picky about which bars constitute that genre, seeing as a monstercross is intended as a big tired cyclocross bike. I always though ATB or all terrain bike was a good descriptor and what the author states a mostercross is supposed to be in the article. But he then contradicts that premise by making the parameters so narrow that it excludes many do it all bikes. It was also the hybrid concept but with a road posture instead of upright.

In the end I think the term gravel bike will fall by the way side in the same way. It is too vague in the same way that gravel is too vague. The people riding gravel roads in the mid west need a vastly different bike than those riding BC logging roads (for example) so there are times when people using the same term are thinking of very different bikes.


This is a pretty good indicator of how important it really is:
Easiest litmus test, point at the bike and ask a non cyclist what it is. You're likely to get either "mountain bike," or just "bike."

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-01-19 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 08-01-19, 09:42 AM
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Gatekeepers gonna gatekeep.
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Old 08-01-19, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Synopsis of interview: "Nothing is monstercross, except for my Surly Cross Check and '90s Trek Multitrack. Everything else is something else." Cyclists simultaneously don't want to be pigeon-holed, while also wanting to have everything refined to the point where two virtually identical bikes are "completely different," because they have different intended purposes. Easiest litmus test, point at the bike and ask a non cyclist what it is. You're likely to get either "mountain bike," or just "bike."
Yea...it struck my as a No True Scotsman position.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:13 AM
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monstercross is when you make a monster angry. Trust me you dont want to do this.
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Old 08-01-19, 12:03 PM
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Ha, good to see others saw what I saw in that interview. I came away from it questioning what could be considered Monstercross when apparently nothing currently made is Monstercross and many popular drop bars used right now preclude the bikes from qualifying.
My gravel bike frame is literally called a monstercross frame because the designer because though he didnt like that term, he couldnt think of much better at the time.

Its funny to see something be over categorized to the point of nothing qualifying.
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Old 08-01-19, 02:35 PM
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I wonder if the interview dude reckons the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross to be Monstercross.

I've personally never seen a huge difference, or anything that stands out as utterly unique about a "monstercross bike". It's a CX bike that takes fatter tires. And a CX bike is mostly a road bike that takes fatter tires.
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Old 08-01-19, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I wonder if the interview dude reckons the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross to be Monstercross.

I've personally never seen a huge difference, or anything that stands out as utterly unique about a "monstercross bike". It's a CX bike that takes fatter tires. And a CX bike is mostly a road bike that takes fatter tires.
Well said on all points.

I also chuckled when he declared some guy the creator of that genre, then referenced bikes from 10 years earlier which started the genre.
...but then he says those also aren't part of the genre.

Good stuff.
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Old 08-01-19, 07:33 PM
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I do agree that the early 90's Multitrack is a diamond in the rough. I've got a step thru version that I have ceded back to my wife (who I "borrowed" it from some time ago due to insufferable neglect) and always have my eyes open for a diamond frame. Strong frame, fits big tires, triple crank, canti brakes. Just needs a DB conversion.

Monstercross loses even more traction as a special thing now with the advent of disc brakes and decent 650b tires for gravel. No need to sweat big tires if you have the frame you like. Add the gravel groupset options and almost any bike can be made monster like.

It's sort of like the klunker thing j u s t before they figured out how to make mtb's.

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Old 08-02-19, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by phobus View Post
Gatekeepers gonna gatekeep.
Seriously. Just ride on whatever you feel most comfortable with on a given terrain.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
Isn't just montercross a gravel bike that can take big ass tires?
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You would think so, but after reading that article Im pretty sure the guy would say no to that too!
Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Welp, I'm thoroughly confused.
It's everything you dream it to be, and more! More gravelly than a gravel bike, more mountain-y than a mountain bike, more roadie than a road bike, but don't you dare call it an "all road" bike. It's monstercross! It's a floor wax AND a dessert topping! Just because I coined a confusing-ass term that has no relation to the concept I'm trying to describe, doesn't give you the right to be confused!
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Old 08-05-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My gravel bike frame is literally called a monstercross frame because the designer because though he didnt like that term, he couldnt think of much better at the time.
I'd be interested in hearing Mike Varney's (Black Mountain Cycles) take on this. To me, his Monstercross frames come very close to the strict original definition; 40-50c tires, flared dirt drops, tall head tube, "do-it all" geometry.
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Old 08-13-19, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
Isn't just montercross a gravel bike that can take big ass tires?
No, Monstercross came first.
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