Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  

Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-26-12, 03:39 PM   #1
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Road bike worth it or stick to Cx as all-in-one?

I would appreciate input from anyone who rides cross and has a road bike...

I race cross and also use it for road riding. I have two sets of wheels / tires and also upgraded the crank to be more road specific (34/48) since that's where I do a lot of my riding.

I've been thinking of just getting a road bike - nothing fancy - maybe a lower-end carbon one from neuvation or Bikes direct. My question is - would I notice a big difference in handling and performance on the road? The only major differences I see between the road geometry vs the cross bike are slightly shorter wheelbase / chainstay and a slightly steeper head tube angle, and a little lighter bike. My cx bike is a 57mm top tube and weighs in at 20.5 lbs - which isn't. Ad for a cx bike that size. The road bikes with the builds I'm looking at would be 17-18 lbs.

Is getting a road bike worth it or should I just save the money or put some of it to some sweet cx upgrades?
ambro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-12, 07:57 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Old ones.
Posts: 292
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well you won't notice the 2 pound difference at all. You have two sets of wheels, put a set of 23 or 25mm slicks on one and just ride the cx bike. I have a brand new roadie and a beater cross bike, they both go down the road where I point them as far as handling, but the cross bike gets pointed at gravel roads and mountain bike trails as well as the pavement. Not to mention the slop and the bogs. I would recommend a cross bike to someone looking for an all around bike anymore, whereas I used to be stuck on roadies.
jbrow1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 07:09 AM   #3
Senior Member
cs1's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Clev Oh
Bikes: Specialized, Schwinn
Posts: 6,805
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
I just bought a cross bike the wife, Raleigh RX. She likes it better than a road bike. Personally, cross bikes seem more versatile than a true road bike. Good luck on whatever you choose.
cs1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 08:02 AM   #4
Have bike, will travel
Barrettscv's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
Bikes: Canyon Endurance SL, De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Schwinn Paramount, Motobecane Grand Record, Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2
Posts: 11,551
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 487 Post(s)
If you are riding with a very fast group, and the other riders are using $$$$ road bikes, having a road bike can mean the difference between being dropped or not.

A carbon road bike with lightweight wheels and a more aero riding position will accelerate faster and hold higher speeds more easily.

The actual overall difference in speed on my usual route with a road bike is about 2% or about 0.35 mph in contrast with my Carbon CX bike.
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-27-12 at 08:05 AM.
Barrettscv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 09:55 AM   #5
Senior Member
Andy_K's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Bikes: Yes
Posts: 11,120
Mentioned: 160 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1252 Post(s)
I used a CX bike for road riding for years. Last winter I bought a "true" road bike (a 2000 LeMond Nevada City). I did notice a difference in handling -- the LeMond will hug a turn in ways that the CX bikes don't. The braking is also much less of a headache, in that it just works without a lot of adjustments. On the other hand, it's no faster and the handling is more a matter of feel than actual limitations on the CX bike. I imagine that in a road race I'd come across times when I needed that extra precision in handling, but for general riding I don't.
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 11:55 AM   #6
Senior Member
Breathegood's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Castle Rock, CO
Bikes: '09 Gary Fisher "Kaitai, '09 Raleigh Team", '91 Trek 8700, '97 Cannondale SR500, '12 Raleigh Twin Six
Posts: 332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
N+1 is always the best short answer for "should I pick up another bike"?

I ride both my CX and my road bike regularly. If I wanted only one bike in the stable, the CX would be it (but not the one I currently have, it's too aggressive). That being said, when I'm out for a road ride, the road bike is ALWAYS my bike of choice. It handles that much better and is less fatiguing than the CX when covering the same distance on [good] pavement. Depending on how I'm feeling on a given day, I could make the argument that the CX is slightly more comfortable, but it is NEVER as effiecient. Even with road tires. The comfort argument is a weak one though, as a properly fitted road bike can be as comfortable as you want it to.

How you plan to ride it probably makes a difference too. It's when you are really pushing it that the difference in ride between the CX and road bike becomes more apparent. When I'm on either bike, I try to be into it, otherwise I feel like I'm wasting my time. I don't use either bike for leisure rides very often. I have a SS for that.

I'm a proponent of using the right tool for the job. I dont' see the point in loading the stable up with multiple bikes that are good for several things, but great for none. You say you race on your CX. Is it set up as a race bike, or is it a commuter that you race on? If it's really a race bike, get a relaxed geometry road/touring bike with accomodations for racks and fenders, and always ride the CX as though you are racing. If the CX is already your all around bike, get as aggressive a road bike as you can stand to ride and ride it will notice a difference.
Breathegood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 12:33 PM   #7
fietsbob's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Bikes: 8
Posts: 31,424
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3825 Post(s)
You can put thinner slick tread tires on and cruise along just fine..

but yea N+1, maybe a carbon-fiber cross bike and set up the one you have now
as the road/ commuter

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-27-12 at 12:38 PM.
fietsbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 05:04 PM   #8
Senior Member
obrentharris's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Bikes: fewer (n-1)
Posts: 1,977
Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 379 Post(s)
The only thing anyone can tell you with certainty is that you will have better braking with the road bike if it has good quality brakes.
We can also tell you that the road bike has a good chance of being a couple pounds lighter.

Everything else depends on the particulars of the bikes. There is a large range of materials and geometries used in both road and 'cross bikes, and they often overlap. Does your current 'cross bike have the traditional high bottom bracket or does it follow the more modern trend of lower bottom brackets like a road bike? How about the road bike you are considering? Sprinter's bike? Light touring bike?

Perhaps a good starting place is to compare the geometry and materials of your current bike with the bike you are considering. They may be very different, but they also may be very similar.

Just don't buy any bike without riding it first.
obrentharris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 07:46 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My redline carbon CX bike is plenty road worthy.. with 48/38 and 11-25 cassette, the only place id be getting dropped (in michigan) would be in an all out sprint with a long leadout (30+mph) or some of the longer hills. 48/11 at 100rpm is 30mph. This is assuming that the other riders aren't just plain stronger than me (more often the case).

The redline is every bit as 'fast' as my fuji SST and with avid shorty ultimates, plenty of brake available.

If you aren't road racing, you will be fine. If i didn't race CX and Road, i would just have the CX bike like i did before i got into road racing
adam_mac84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-12, 08:29 PM   #10
Papaya King
waynesworld's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Columbus, Ohio (Grandview area)
Bikes: 2009 Felt X City D, 1985 (?) Trek 400, 1995 (?) Specialized Rockhopper, 1995 Trek 850
Posts: 1,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
If you want a road bike, get one

I ride a 2010 Kona Jake as an all-around bike, which is basically roads for me. I like it a lot. Last fall I bought a 2011 BMC Streetracer because it was on clearance for a great price. I didn't need it, but I wanted it. They're both aluminum frames. The BMC feels different than the Jake. It seems more responsive, and it is lighter (they're also set up differently). I think the differences are mostly about feel though. The BMC is probably a little faster, on average, than the Jake, but it isn't enough to really matter to me.

I like riding them both.
waynesworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-12, 06:08 AM   #11
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Very good feedback and I thank everyone for their input. By way of reference, I ride a Van Dessel Holeshot (same geo as their Gin and Trombones if you know the brand) and is a more road-like style cross bike (lower BB, 74 degree seat tube angle, 4 cm handle bar drop, road cassette, etc).

I'm leaning with just keeping my Cx rig and doing a few more upgrades. The road bike would be sweet - but I spent a lot of time and money getting the Van Dessel tricked out with upgraded components that fit me to a T. Maybe I'll continue to use this as my All-in-one and then upgrade to a higher end Cx bike someday, or else just buy a steel beater cx bike that I can ride harder on MTB trails and use this one for strictly roads and racing.

In any case, this has been an enlightening post so thanks again.
ambro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-12, 01:45 PM   #12
Senior Member
telebianchi's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 5.2, 2003 Fuji Cross, 2010 Giant Trance, 2006 K2 Mod 4.0, 2010 Schwinn Madison
Posts: 1,279
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
From 2003 through 2008 my only bike was a Fuji Cross. I never raced CX on it, but I did switch wheels and tires around from 700x23 for the road, fat 700x35 slicks for crushed gravel/dirt tow paths and trails, 700x32 or 34 CX tires for hitting some mountain bike trails.

Getting a real road bike in 2008 was a great decision for me (nothing fancy, just an aluminum frame with 105/ultegra for under a grand). As mentioned above, the braking was the biggest difference. The better you can brake (both control and total stopping power) the faster you can go. But the other thing was that I could set up the fit on the road bike for just riding on the road with the bars lower and a bit more stretched out from the saddle. That let me set up the CX bike for riding off road (and I have now done a few races) which turns out to be perfectly suitable for commuting and easy trail rides with friends.

So assuming you have the budget and will put both bikes to good use I say you should get the road bike to go along with the CX bike.

Oh yeah, N+1 is always the answer.
telebianchi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-12, 04:23 AM   #13
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hey I thought I'd pass on something I found interesting. I was discussing this debate with some guys at the LBS. Turns out - there's a guy there who races crits on his carbon CX bike and has even won some races. He said the only thing he did was put on skinny tires and a road crank - but uses the Cantilever brakes and everything esle that came with the CX bike. He said that modern American CX bike geometry is so similar to a road bike - he hardly notices the difference. He was specifically referring to the bottom bracket drop, which is much lower than the Euro CX bikes. Also, a high-end Carbon CX bike is stronger, stiffer and more compliant that a road bike counterpart (according to him) and he said he likes having a slightly longer wheelbase for stability. I guess it comes down to personal preference. For me - I think it's only one bike in the sable - so it will have to be CX with a road Crank - and when that frame reaches it's useful life (in about a year or two) time to replace it with another - can't wait for that :-)
ambro is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:19 PM.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.