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Cyclocross or Flatbar bike - looking for something different for road and trails.

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Cyclocross or Flatbar bike - looking for something different for road and trails.

Old 12-21-14, 02:24 PM
  #1  
oldnslow2
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Cyclocross or Flatbar bike - looking for something different for road and trails.

With the weather getting colder, the roads getting sand and debris on them I put my road bike away but still want to ride. I'm thinking of a aluminum frame but not sure if I want drop bars or a flat bar. My thinking is that if I take it on some "easy" trails i'd have more control with a flat bar and shifting would be much easier with gloves on. Also the more upright seating would be more relaxed than with drop bars.

I've been riding road bikes for 3 years and average 40 miles rides, but i'm looking for a cold weather bike that will allow me to still get some exercise during the winter until March when I can get the road bike out.

Below are 3 bikes, all the same price. I'm just using them as examples of what's out there. My thinking is the mountain bike is too aggressive and since I will be riding trails, it's mostly dirt with some hills... Long Island is pretty flat. The cyclocross is too much like a road bike and won't be different enough from my road bike. While it take take the abuse, the drop bars might be difficult on trails with steering, braking and shifting with gloves. The hybrid seems to be the best option.

What are your thoughts?

Trek 7.5 FX (Hybrid)


Trek Crossrip Comp (Cyclocross)


Trek X-Caliber 8 (Mountain Bike)
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Old 12-21-14, 03:15 PM
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I use Figure 8 bend trekking bars on 2 bikes , they are a quick swap over with like the FX.. all the brake and shift levers fit.

Offers more hand positions : fore aft and sides , some of the Headwind leaning over posture, is done with the far Grip and bent elbows
rather than drops..

You dont have to leave a bike as it comes out of the Box..

https://www.google.com/search?q=Figu...evid=642358731
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Old 12-21-14, 03:36 PM
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Wow... never seen anything like them before.

I have no problem making changes, on my old road bike I replaced the saddle and the wheels.

I don't have a problem with the flat bars and those figure 8 bars look like they might be a bit wide for trail use.
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Old 12-21-14, 03:37 PM
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In your situation I would definitely choose a cyclocross bike, but that's because I like drop bars so much.
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Old 12-21-14, 04:12 PM
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They work to clear the Brush out if the way too, saves your knuckles mine are 20" Wide.. fwiw
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Old 12-21-14, 05:06 PM
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The cross rip looks best suited for what you are looking to do. The FX 7.5 is not a trail bike at all. The gearing, and the wheels are not suited for trail use at all.
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Old 12-21-14, 05:18 PM
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Get the cyclocross, change the bars/shifters/levers and possibly stem. Problem solved at not too much cost. If you are not able to do the job yourself ask your lbs if they'd do it for you at a reduced cost as part of buying the bike.
Drop bars are not the best solution for all types of riding, especially rough ground.

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Old 12-21-14, 05:22 PM
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Get a rigid mtb since that will give you flat bars (which you want) and allow you to ride offroad some (which you also want). You could go with the Surly Ogre or the Surly Troll. The other possibility would be a "gravel bike." There are lots of them out there. If you don't want drops, get a velo orange camargue frameset and build that up.

http://bicycletimesmag.com/first-imp...ange-camargue/

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Old 12-21-14, 05:24 PM
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Or something along The lines of the Surly Ogre, or Troll.
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Old 12-21-14, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Get a rigid mtb since that will give you flat bars (which you want) and allow you to ride offroad some (which you also want).
+1. If price is no object, you can get 15 lbs of rigid fun:



For the midrange you can get some of the bikes already mentioned.

For barely any money at all you can dig up a light early-to-mid-90s higher end MTB in the 23-25 lb. range. Maybe even a hardtail, and swap the sproinger fork out for a rigid one. Put on some of the lightest MTB tires around, could save a pound or two on some heavier-shod bikes. Kenda Klimax Lite XC 26" Tire | Kenda.

Dug up a pic of my 'goose, that's down under 24 lbs with those tires. I saw another one on CL a couple of months ago for $45. Almost got it as a backup, but I need another MTB like I need another hole in my head.


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Old 12-21-14, 05:48 PM
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I have a Trek 7.4 and rode a lot of gravel this fall before I picked up a cross bike. I did put 35 mm tires on it.

FYI - Gravel roads around here can be rough but, they are not mountain bike trails
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Old 12-21-14, 06:32 PM
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I have the Trek Crossrip Comp 2014, use it as my Commuter Winter Bike. Its my favorite bike
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Old 12-21-14, 07:14 PM
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I have multiple Cyclocross bikes, but I also have a lower cost Trek Dual Sport. The Dual Sport can take 700x45 tires and is well suited for hilly country roads and gravel. I'm going to add Trekking handlebars.



Sure, Cyclocross bikes can provide a wide range of performance, but for climbing rural roads, a flat bar bike is very useful.

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Old 12-21-14, 07:30 PM
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I live on Long Island, so all we have a small hills.

One problem I see with a cyclocross bike are the shifters, I ride Sram so having Shimano shifters will drive me nuts.

I'll have to get to the LBS, give them my parameters and see what they suggest. I'm totally open to brand and model.
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Old 12-21-14, 11:17 PM
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Cyclocross. More fun, & can be set up similar to the road bike so the transition back & forth is smooth.

Flat bars hurt my wrists, make you sit up like a sail, & my wrists also don't like the shifters much.

I was out ripping it up on the cyclocross bike today, & left my son on his mountain bike in the dust (well mud actually).
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Old 12-21-14, 11:26 PM
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With somewhat similar needs, I put together a gravel bike with drop bars and 42mm semi-knobbies from Rock n' Road. It's a passable road bike, and excellent gravel/fire road bike, and a reasonable single-track bike. Mine isn't aluminum (I can't imagine what benefits aluminum brings to this particular table) but aluminum frames of the type are available.

I'm personally using a Van Dessel "WTF" with a belt drive and an internally geared hub, just so I don't have to do any maintenance beyond occasionally hosing it off. I gave a hard look at the "Spot" brand "Rallye" for the same purpose, but decided that a lot more money for the supposed advantage of aluminum (and a lot less tire clearance) didn't make any sense.
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Old 12-22-14, 02:27 AM
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My personal preference is drop bars with bar ends in the winter... I can shift easily with any gloves. Flat bar shifters do work well with lobster style gloves. Flat bar is probably better for the sake of just having a cheap bike with relatively cheap parts that you don't mind exposing to the elements. Kind of a toss up, depending on what is available and if you have any secondary purpose for the bike during the summer.
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Old 12-22-14, 05:26 AM
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If the op has an idea that flat bars could be good then he should try it. It's not going to cost the earth and he can get SRAM gears and flat bar shifters. If it's a second bike then it widens his options if he wants to detour to rougher ground now and again, which opens up a whole world of new possibilities.

40+ mile rides are no problem on a flat bar bike - I've done a century and many 50s of mixed road/trail/XC on an mtb.

I have to repeat what I've said before - drop bars are not the only or best solutions for all types of riding. When I see top XC mountain bikers and downhillers regularly riding and winning championships on drops I might change my mind.

Last edited by Gerryattrick; 12-22-14 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 12-22-14, 06:05 AM
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Hmmm - If the OP is thinking of winter riding in slush & mud conditions, maybe it would be worthwhile to consider an internally-geared hub? LOTS less to clean up than a derailleur drive train...
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Old 12-22-14, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
snip....One problem I see with a cyclocross bike are the shifters, I ride Sram so having Shimano shifters will drive me nuts.

....snip
SRAM has CX specific groups and their regular groups' shifters are used in the drop bar CX configurations, as well. You can choose between hydraulic or mechanical brakes for Rival, Force (both double chain ring and the single CX-1) and Red. Lots of flat bar choices for SRAM, too. As you said, give your LBS your parameters for your needs, tell them you want SRAM and see what they come up with.

The rigid tailed hybrid you have in your catalog cuts is similar to my wife's bicycle, a Trek 7300, a new Selle Italia women's specific was her first change. She said she should have gone with a road specific bicycle. She likes the ride quite well, but she has looked into a lighter set up, these are heavy bicycles, compared to what your road bicycle weighs now.

Just a few thoughts, I'll look forward to seeing your choice.

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Old 12-22-14, 06:47 AM
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I too am a roadie who rides the rail-trails in the off season. I considered both Mtn bike and Cross bike when I was shopping. A Mtn bike was over kill for my rides so I bought a Raleigh Cross bike w/105. It's a really nice bike and it was the right choice for me.
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Old 12-22-14, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post

One problem I see with a cyclocross bike are the shifters, I ride Sram so having Shimano shifters will drive me nuts.
As noted my Cross bike is 105 and my road bike is SRAM. When I go from one to the other it takes a minute to adjust but it's really not a big deal.
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Old 12-22-14, 07:50 AM
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I'm taking a serious look at the new GT Grade and will probably pull the trigger on one soon. I've got a nice hybrid, but am looking for something a bit "more" (less weight, better gearing, different riding position, etc.). The Grade is a bit more road oriented than a pure hybrid, but it can take some really nice tire sizes if you're going to be off-road a good bit. It also fits a wide range of budgets based on choice of aluminum or carbon and the groupset.

2015 GT Grade


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Old 12-22-14, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
The cross rip looks best suited for what you are looking to do. The FX 7.5 is not a trail bike at all. The gearing, and the wheels are not suited for trail use at all.
Have you ever ridden one?
I've had a TREK 7.5 FX for several years. It will do fine on the trails of Long Island. It also does very well on the road. And it's more upright position, which you can change by moving some of the hadset spacers around, offers a goodview of traffic, nice if you want to take it into NYC.
If you want something different from your road bikes drop bars, this would be a good choice.
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Old 12-22-14, 08:47 AM
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I just sold my flat bar and bought a cyclo for the same type of riding. The only concession I made was to install interrupters. I found that on most 'easy' trails most of the time you're just pedaling along similar to what you'd do on a road bike.
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