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Cyclocross with relaxed geometry

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Cyclocross with relaxed geometry

Old 09-26-12, 12:35 PM
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Cyclocross with relaxed geometry

I am ready to buy my first cross. I demoed a Jamis but the racing geometry was not a good fit. I would like something intermediate in weight, probably an aluminum frame with a more upright fit for long rides. I do not plan to race. Are there any suggestions for a cross frame with relaxed geometry?
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Old 09-26-12, 01:02 PM
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The Kona Rove has pretty relaxed geometry. The Salsa Vaya even more so. They're both steel, of course.
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Old 09-26-12, 01:14 PM
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Define relaxed in a number .. 72 degree, or less? 73 is pretty common.
my old stumpjumper is a 68, I believe..
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Old 09-26-12, 02:28 PM
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Sounds like you actually want a Hybrid.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Define relaxed in a number .. 72 degree, or less? 73 is pretty common.
my old stumpjumper is a 68, I believe..
The Jamis that I rode had a head tube angle of 72 degrees, so less than that.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Debusama
Sounds like you actually want a Hybrid.
Not really. My understanding is there are cyclocrosses with racing geometry and more upright geometry. I would like drops and knobby tires rather than how hybrids are usually equipped.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ICBiker
I am ready to buy my first cross. I demoed a Jamis but the racing geometry was not a good fit. I would like something intermediate in weight, probably an aluminum frame with a more upright fit for long rides. I do not plan to race. Are there any suggestions for a cross frame with relaxed geometry?
You just described a Cannondale CAADX to the T!
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Old 09-26-12, 05:20 PM
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I don't think head tube angle is nearly as important as head tube length for comfort. A relaxed head tube angle will make the bike more stable, but upright riding position is determined more by the head tube and top tube lengths. The Cannondale CAADX does seem like a good option to try.

Whatever you get, you could also make it more upright by switching to a stem with some rise.



Of course, it's always better to start with a bike that actually has the geometry you want.
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Old 09-26-12, 09:08 PM
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^^ +1

Also, you could check out the All City Space Horse. Seems to be a cross between relaxed touring bike and cross bike geometry. It can fit up to 42 mm tires. Not too shabby.


https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/space_horse
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Old 09-27-12, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
I don't think head tube angle is nearly as important as head tube length for comfort. A relaxed head tube angle will make the bike more stable, but upright riding position is determined more by the head tube and top tube lengths. The Cannondale CAADX does seem like a good option to try.

Whatever you get, you could also make it more upright by switching to a stem with some rise.



Of course, it's always better to start with a bike that actually has the geometry you want.
Andy K, Thanks for the excellent advice. I have compared measurements of various cyclocross bikes in the table below but don't see a whole lot of difference in the measurements. The Cannondale has an extra cm on the head tube length but otherwise is not much different. Do small differences have large effects?

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Old 09-27-12, 10:16 AM
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Question for Andy_K and Wait For Me,

What aspects of the CAADX geometry indicate that it is "relaxed"? When comparing geometries of the CAADX vs Crux (56 cm top tube), the Crux has less reach, more stack, and a slacker head tube angle. But the Crux head tube length is 5mm shorter. Would this mean that the Crux is more relaxed than the CAADX?

Also, at $2,220, the CAADX Disc Ultegra seems like a great value for a mid level CX bike.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
I don't think head tube angle is nearly as important as head tube length for comfort. A relaxed head tube angle will make the bike more stable, but upright riding position is determined more by the head tube and top tube lengths. The Cannondale CAADX does seem like a good option to try.

Whatever you get, you could also make it more upright by switching to a stem with some rise.

+1 Andy on reccomendation for a tall headtube. I think a lot of CX bike buyers are overly concerned with standover clearance so fall into the falacy that a CX frame should be slightly smaller than a good fitting roadbike frame, end result is that the bars are too low for a more stable and upright riding position that will allow you to actually use the drops for good weight distribution and good handeling on rough conditions.

I personally dont care for the look of steeply rising stem and and only really wanted my drops higher, not the bar top. This year a switched from using typical 140mm drop road bend handelbars, instead got some 120mm drop compact bend bars. These bars essentially leave the position unchanged riding on the tops but brings the drops upward by couple of cm so that the drop position is much more useable for cx riding.
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Old 09-27-12, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb123
What aspects of the CAADX geometry indicate that it is "relaxed"? When comparing geometries of the CAADX vs Crux (56 cm top tube), the Crux has less reach, more stack, and a slacker head tube angle. But the Crux head tube length is 5mm shorter. Would this mean that the Crux is more relaxed than the CAADX?
Generally more stack and less reach makes for a more upright riding position. I'm not convinced that Specialized and Cannondale are calculating those in the same way because it looks to me like they should be similar.

I'd also note that a more relaxed/upright riding position isn't necessarily opposed to racing geometry. A lot of companies seem to offer somewhat upright positions in their race bikes.
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Old 09-27-12, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ICBiker
Andy K, Thanks for the excellent advice. I have compared measurements of various cyclocross bikes in the table below but don't see a whole lot of difference in the measurements. The Cannondale has an extra cm on the head tube length but otherwise is not much different. Do small differences have large effects?
I think you mean that the Cannondale has an extra inch, right? That does make a pretty big difference in feel, especially when combined with a shorter top tube. The stem I pictured above raises the bars about 2 inches.
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Old 09-29-12, 02:34 PM
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I am going to build with a Surly Cross Check frame adding a stem with some rise.
Any suggestions on a brand of disc brakes?
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Old 09-29-12, 05:05 PM
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You can't use disc brakes on a Cross Check without serious custom metal work. It also has the least upright geometry of any CX bike I'm aware of.
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Old 09-30-12, 09:39 AM
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Of course there is the physiology question, beyond the scope of this discussion..

Do you have femurs, thigh bones that are extraordinarily long?

then setback becomes another fit issue entirely..

but to mass produce the bike frames, the outlier body proportions are not Average.
so off the peg bikes will always feel odd.. for the average sized rider.

(X) .. that I rode had a head tube angle of 72 degrees, so less than that.
72 degree is relaxed..

you might have to seek out a custom framebuilder..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-18-13 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 09-30-12, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
You can't use disc brakes on a Cross Check without serious custom metal work. It also has the least upright geometry of any CX bike I'm aware of.
Thanks, Andy K. My bike shop owner says the frame comes with the head tube pretty long and it can be cut to the desired length (so we can match the Cannondale). Otherwise, the Cross Checks measurements are pretty similar to the Cannondale.
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Old 09-30-12, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Of course there is the physiology question, beyond the scope of this discussion..

Do you have femurs, thigh bones that are extraordinarily long?

then setback becomes another fit issue entirely..

but to mass produce the bike frames, the outlier body proportions are not Average.
so off the peg bikes will always feel odd.. for the average sized rider
72 degree is relaxed..

you might have to seek out a custom framebuilder..
I demoed the James SuperNova Cross and the reach was too far and I was bent too far forward. I think the suggestions for a taller head tube / stem with rise will help.
Thanks.
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Old 09-30-12, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ICBiker
Thanks, Andy K. My bike shop owner says the frame comes with the head tube pretty long and it can be cut to the desired length (so we can match the Cannondale). Otherwise, the Cross Checks measurements are pretty similar to the Cannondale.
Sounds like the bike shop owner wants to sell you a bike he wants you to buy regardless of the advice you asked for.
Edit: let me rephrase that. Sounds like your not buying a bike based on the advice you asked for, instead your letting the bike shop owner sell you a bike he would like to sell.

Last edited by Wait For Me; 09-30-12 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 09-30-12, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Wait For Me
Sounds like the bike shop owner wants to sell you a bike he wants you to buy regardless of the advice you asked for.
Edit: let me rephrase that. Sounds like your not buying a bike based on the advice you asked for, instead your letting the bike shop owner sell you a bike he would like to sell.
Given the head tube modification, the measurements will be essentially the same. Please explain why his suggestion is a poor one?
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Old 09-30-12, 07:35 PM
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Have you looked at an assembled cross check vs a bike with "relaxed" geometry for an upright riding position which is what you were looking for in the first place. Also I don't think you understand what a head tube is and I don't think that is what they want to cut. Your bike, your money, your lesson.
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Old 10-01-12, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ICBiker
Given the head tube modification, the measurements will be essentially the same. Please explain why his suggestion is a poor one?
The bike shop is not going to modify the head tube. The are going to build the bike with a long steerer tube and a huge stack of spacers. This makes the bike look odd and can potentially impact the bike's handling characteristics. Wait For Me is correct. If you tell a bike shop you want a frame with relaxed geometry and they suggest a cross check it is obvious they are not acting in your best interest. To be blunt, they are taking advantage of your ignorance. Find another bike shop and keep looking for a frame that actually has relaxed geometry. Could you make a cross check work? Yes. But, if you are going to spend >$1k on a bike, get one that actually meets your needs. Go test ride as many cross/road bikes as you can. Note the differences in head tube length on different models and how they feel.
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Old 10-01-12, 01:52 PM
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Aside from the head tube issue, which you can largely fix with a big stack of spacers, the Cross Check has a proportionally longer top tube. You can get a smaller top tube by getting a smaller size, but then you need even more spacers. You essentially end up buying a bike that's too small and then correcting for that. And I'm guessing you won't get to ride it until all of this is done and you've spent the money.

I had a Cross Check for three years, and it's really a pretty good bike, but I always felt like I was fighting the bike's geometry when I wanted to re-configure it; so when it was time to pick one of my bikes to sell the Cross Check went.
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Old 10-01-12, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Aside from the head tube issue, which you can largely fix with a big stack of spacers, the Cross Check has a proportionally longer top tube. You can get a smaller top tube by getting a smaller size, but then you need even more spacers. You essentially end up buying a bike that's too small and then correcting for that. And I'm guessing you won't get to ride it until all of this is done and you've spent the money.

I had a Cross Check for three years, and it's really a pretty good bike, but I always felt like I was fighting the bike's geometry when I wanted to re-configure it; so when it was time to pick one of my bikes to sell the Cross Check went.
Andy K, I appreciate your input. Another option that will accommodate disc brakes is the Gunnar Fast Lane. How do you think it compares; https://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/fast-lane/ ?
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