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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.

Cylo or road bike?

Old 06-25-10, 09:14 AM
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Cylo or road bike?

Hey guys I am in the market for a new bike it has beeen a long time since I have rode and want to get back into it .. I am really debating about going for a cross bike rather then a straight road bike . Would someone be able to tell me the major differences between the two? I know with the cross you can go on dirt roads and stuff which would be nice to have that option but how much speed do you really sacrifice?
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Old 06-25-10, 09:45 AM
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1.3 miles per hour.
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Old 06-25-10, 10:46 AM
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Cross bikes have different brakes (Cantilever) which allow for mud and tire clearance, but can be more difficult to adjust. They are quite good if you take the time to learn how to adjust them.

Geometry on most cross bikes are more upright with longer head tubes than your typical road bike. This is usually where the speed price comes from. Not terrible, but it's there.

Typically, most cross bikes are built a little beefier to handle the stress of cross racing. This accounts for more weight as cross bikes usually weigh a couple pounds heavier than an equal quality road bike.

Wheels are usually spec'd with the ability to run wider tires and are usually more robust. Many cross bikes come with the same wheels as a typical road bike though.

Components are generally the same, but most cross bikes come with a compact crankset that is typically geared in the range of 48/38, 48/36, 46/36 etc. I like this personally, but it can take some getting use to. Top end usually suffers but chain rings are cheap.

I will say that I do notice a difference riding my cross bike and then riding my road bike. The road bike is much snappier and more fun to ride when the road gets steep. What I love about riding the cross bike though is not caring about the road surface. I see a trail or dirt road that looks inviting, I take it. I don't do that on my carbon road bike.
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Old 06-25-10, 11:57 AM
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Two pounds is overstating the weight difference IMO. If you include tire weight, OK possibly two pounds, but that's an unfair comparison because you could just as easily slap a pair of skinny road slicks on the cross bike and lose that weight.

Otherwise, the differences between cross and road are frame, fork, and brakes. Apples to apples, a minor weight gain.

There's a huge variance of cross bikes out there, ranging from all-carbon racing bikes to glorified grocery-getters.
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Old 06-25-10, 12:01 PM
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My road bike cost $1800. Weighs 18lbs. My cross bike cost $1800. Weighs 20lbs. Comparable components, weight difference: 2lbs. Tires are the same.

One is carbon, one is aluminum.
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Old 06-25-10, 01:17 PM
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WOuld you still be able to complete a 55 mile or 100 mile tour on a cross bike? I am having such an issue choosing one over the other sure I would love to have the freedom to go on other surfaces then road if need be , but I hear that road bikes are just so much more fun ?? SO confused I am going to go teake a test ride of both bikes I guess ... I have no idea lol
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Old 06-25-10, 01:20 PM
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Professional racing teams often use cross bikes when they're riding poorer roads, because on those roads they'll actually be faster. (If a tyre is too narrow and so too high pressure for a road surface the bike will lose energy overcoming surface irregularities.) If you're not racing on and not on a good road, there's no reason not to use a cross bike - and every reason to use one. They can be more versatile (depending on the model) and somewhat tougher (if only because the wider tyres provide more suspension, reducing shock.)

As said, cantis can be hard to tune at first, but you could your bike built up with mini v brakes. Or full size v brakes and travel agents.
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Old 06-25-10, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by knobster
My road bike cost $1800. Weighs 18lbs. My cross bike cost $1800. Weighs 20lbs. Comparable components, weight difference: 2lbs. Tires are the same.

One is carbon, one is aluminum.
So where is the difference? Frame? Fork? Wheels? Crankset? Seatpost? The fact that they happened to cost you the same amount of money doesn't say much.
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Old 06-25-10, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by obikanobis
WOuld you still be able to complete a 55 mile or 100 mile tour on a cross bike? I am having such an issue choosing one over the other sure I would love to have the freedom to go on other surfaces then road if need be , but I hear that road bikes are just so much more fun ?? SO confused I am going to go teake a test ride of both bikes I guess ... I have no idea lol
I actually chose the cross bike over my road bike for long distance riding. For me, it's more comfortable and I can add things like a rack to bring extra water/food if I need. For short, fast rides though, I agree that my road bike is much more fun.
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Old 06-25-10, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by flargle
So where is the difference? Frame? Fork? Wheels? Crankset? Seatpost? The fact that they happened to cost you the same amount of money doesn't say much.
I think it's a little of everything really. Road bike has sub 1500 gram wheels where the cross bike has 1800 or so wheels. I believe the frame on the cross bike is heavier as well.

Reason I use cost as a factor is because if it wasn't a factor, I could easily get a cross bike that's much lighter than my road bike, but it'd be much, much more expensive. Comparative costs usually mean similar components.
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Old 06-25-10, 03:43 PM
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If I could only have 1 bike, I would choose a cross bike. I don't think the general rider will lose any speed cross vs. road, provided they're about the same quality / weight, etc. There are cross frames that weigh pretty much the same as a road bike in the same price range.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Unagidon
If I could only have 1 bike, I would choose a cross bike. I don't think the general rider will lose any speed cross vs. road, provided they're about the same quality / weight, etc. There are cross frames that weigh pretty much the same as a road bike in the same price range.
Without a doubt. I recently went through a spate of flats on my road bike conversion, and aside from the mini V brakes it is now a cyclo bike. To help with the flats, the 700x23 Michelin Oriums were replaced with Forte Gothams (700x32). Not only does it look like a cyclo, it rides like a road bike as well as a cyclo bike. A difference in weight is not as significant as you may think. Gain 5 lbs on your body them ride (assuming you're not starting at 130 lbs) - not much difference.
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Old 06-25-10, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by flargle
1.3 miles per hour.
I disagree.

My Steel framed cyclocross bike and my Titanium road bike share the same wheelset. The Ti bike sprints better, but the Cyclocross bike is within 0.5 mph over a one hour loop.

I use my cyclocross bike for longer rides. I completed a 135 mile day on my Soma Double Cross.







Michael

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Old 06-26-10, 08:49 AM
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For general rider sheer toughness, versatility and comfort of a cyclocross will more than make up for marginal weight or speed penalty. It is also more forgiving as far as maintenance goes - it is designed to live in mud. Unbeatable for high-speed commute.

Take a stock cyclo with decent componentry and you can customize it into a competent super comfy roadie or a fast 29er, just swapping tires. Most common 19mm rims will take the widest 28 mm road tire or a small-to-medium 29er tire.

Shop for bike type, then size and fit, then price. Buy for yourself as you see yourself couple years down the road.

Bug the hell of LBS how to adjust brakes right.

Good luck

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Old 06-26-10, 01:17 PM
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My 2 cents. If you are planning on doing crits or road races in the near future, choose a racing bike that will allow you to be competive. If your intent is to use the bike for commuting, group rides, light touring, centuries, gravel grinding, or any other type of all around riding you would probably be happier with a cyclocross bike. My first road bike was a 1987 cyclocross bike. I've had every kind of tire from a 25mm road tire to a 38mm off road tire. I'm still riding it, although I recently bought a newer aluminum frame cyclocross bike.
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Old 06-27-10, 06:47 PM
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I am fortunate owning a Treck Madone Road Bike and a Stevens Cyclocross bike.
Testing both bikes on smooth pavement and flats in Florida gives a slight average speed advantage to the Madone. Less than 5%.
However the Madone is useless on limestone trails here in Illinois and Wisconsin. The Madone with maximum 25 mm tires is punishing on long distance tours with lousy pavement and chip seal. That is why I got the Stevens. Both bikes are comfortable. Equally!
Both are CF and both use Mavic Ksyrium wheels. Both bikes can use slicks but only the Stevens can use high tech larger profile tires to have a good grip on bad surfaces.
BTW, the Stevens cost more than the Madone.
The Stevens excels on really rough trails. It virtually slams through debris. I feel safe in storms and impossible conditions.
The Madone feels more nimble and delicate. A little!
If I want to set a speed record on smooth pavement? Madone it is.
I love both bikes and will not get rid of either one.
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Old 06-28-10, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by obikanobis
but how much speed do you really sacrifice?
Originally Posted by flargle
1.3 miles per hour.
Originally Posted by Barrettscv
I disagree.


Michael

I’m thinking you’re just not getting the joke. BTW, your Ti bike looks nice.
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Old 06-28-10, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bamacrazy
My 2 cents. If you are planning on doing crits or road races in the near future, choose a racing bike that will allow you to be competive. If your intent is to use the bike for commuting, group rides, light touring, centuries, gravel grinding, or any other type of all around riding you would probably be happier with a cyclocross bike.
That's very concise and really hits the nail on the head. Road racing bikes aren't just lighter than crossers, they have sharper frame angles that give them a critical edge in turning in a crit or fighting for position in a pack. The trade off - and reason why racers don't have sharper angles again - is that stability is lost, so a pot hole that a crosser would laugh at can be a disaster for a racer - even if the crosser was being run with narrow tyres.

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Old 06-28-10, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cs1
I’m thinking you’re just not getting the joke. BTW, your Ti bike looks nice.
LOL, some days I just take stupid pills.
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Old 06-30-10, 11:18 PM
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A C-X bike with real road wheels is not a handicap for road riding and/or racing.

I run our local road race here on my CX bike in 1x9 configuration. If I lose, its on me. Not the bike.

-Z
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Old 07-01-10, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by knobster
I think it's a little of everything really. Road bike has sub 1500 gram wheels where the cross bike has 1800 or so wheels. I believe the frame on the cross bike is heavier as well.

Reason I use cost as a factor is because if it wasn't a factor, I could easily get a cross bike that's much lighter than my road bike, but it'd be much, much more expensive. Comparative costs usually mean similar components.
OK I agree with you. For new, comparably priced bikes, I think the cross bike would get built with cheaper stuff here and there, enough to add a couple pounds possibly.

If building from scratch OTOH, the cross bike should be only a bit heavier if you don't count tires.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by flargle
OK I agree with you. For new, comparably priced bikes, I think the cross bike would get built with cheaper stuff here and there, enough to add a couple pounds possibly.

If building from scratch OTOH, the cross bike should be only a bit heavier if you don't count tires.
Agreed. If comparing apples to apples or in our case, components to components, the only true difference would be the frame set. Cross frames, in general, are only a slight difference in weight.
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Old 07-01-10, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Unagidon
If I could only have 1 bike, I would choose a cross bike.
No doubt about it. + 2

I 'd been babying my CX for about a year before I found out how versatile it is. I'd asked a guy I met on a bike tour in Europe, who owned a bike shop to sell me a bike. I'd been thinking road bike. He'd seen what I liked to do and was smarter about me than I was.
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Old 07-01-10, 12:55 PM
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I went from an S1 to a Tricross and I love it. For the riding I do, the cross bike feels slower, but I'm infinitely more comfortable regardless of road conditions. True, the cervelo was snappier, lighter, and obviously faster, but since I don't race, I easily gave that up to a more comfortable ride.
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Old 07-01-10, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveFromNY
I went from an S1 to a Tricross and I love it. For the riding I do, the cross bike feels slower, but I'm infinitely more comfortable regardless of road conditions. True, the cervelo was snappier, lighter, and obviously faster, but since I don't race, I easily gave that up to a more comfortable ride.
Just keep both of them
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