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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.

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Old 10-04-05, 12:14 PM   #1
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cross bike recommendations: brakes, hubs, rims?


I'm sure stuff like this gets asked all the time, but hey...

I'm going to comlete my bike collection with a 'cross bike very soon and wanted a couple
bits of advice. I have already a mtn, road and touring bike (norco 853, willier alp d'uez, marinoni)
so this will not have to overlap anything.

I will be using my new cross bike for rides where the road bike won't go (longer stuff with some gravel,
trails, etc. connecting roads) and for winter commuting. Probably some early and late-season riding as well.
As of now, I'm thinking: surly cross-check frame with centaur drivetrain, fenders, reasonably wide rims (35c
tires highly likely for some things, although will probably run something narrower most of the time).

Basically, I don't really know what to do rim, hub and brake-wise. Suggestions? I want something pretty
beefy for the wheels -- I'm not known for doing a whole lot of bike maintanence and generally "abuse" my bikes (I'm told .
While I won't be doing full-on mtn bike rides on this bike, it will see dirt action. I don't race but do some reasonably
long rides on occation (longest so far being about 14.5 hours) and some touring in the spring (although the
marinoni will see the brunt of that action unless I happen to plan something involving mostly gravel).

Thanks for suggestions,
mike at mike dash warren dot com
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Old 10-04-05, 07:11 PM   #2
Loose Cannon
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Location: Philadelphia, PA / Old Lyme, CT
Bikes: SS Cross-check and a whole lot of Ultegra components without a frame to call home
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Mike, when I first built up my Surly Cross Check I was sure I would need some kind of cross specific rims. I was pretty pumped when I learned that any cross tire (within reason) will fit on most road rims. I'm running some pretty serious 35s on some Rolf Vector wheels I pulled off my old Trek road bike. The wheels are by no means ideal for the type of riding I do because of their low spoke count but they've been decent, and the tires definitely fit fine on them. I haven't actually even gotten a flat in about 6 months.
If you were by chance going to run anything bigger than like 38 you might want to think about getting some kind of touring wheelset. If not, I would recommend a basic Mavic rim like the Open Pro or MA3 with at least 32 spokes. I'm not familiar with Campy stuff but any solid hub would be fine.
As for brakes, I would definitely throw some Cantis on there. They provide decent stopping power and you don't have to deal with the weird adaptor stuff that comes with trying to run V brakes and STI shifter/brake levers. Check out Avid brakes. They have a solid line.
Check out this site for some good cross stuff.

It seems like you have a nice collection of bikes there. I worry that your Surly build up may end up feeling too much like your touring machine. Right now I'm in the process of stripping my Cross Check of all it's Ultrgra and making a nice fixed/singlespeed offroad bike. If you don't like doing maintenance and like wrecking stuff then singlespeed is the way to go.

Good Luck
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