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Cyclocross best pick

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Cyclocross best pick

Old 01-04-17, 07:58 PM
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Cyclocross best pick

Greetings! I'm new to BikeForums! Apologies if I sound like a complete amateur, because in reality I am!

I purchased a Trek 8.3 Dual Sport (Gary Fisher) edition on craigslist, and rode it all summer long! I used to be an avid biker and this was my 'big return'! Sadly, I wasn't thrilled with how heavy the bike was... and a biking buddy of mine suggested looking into a cyclocross bike.

The brand he threw out was GT's Grade series. My local bike shop didn't carry them, but had some other cyclocross brands, and they do seem much lighter, and as though they would be a better fit for my uses. I am mostly on pavement, and mild 'off road' not mountain biking.

So... what I am seeking advice on, as I see GT is well respected for the Grade series-I'm thinking I will stick with them.

1. Is the additional money for a carbon frame worth it?
2. Based on experience/advice would the Cyclocross be better than the 'hybrid' bike for everyday use?
3. Any specific things or recommendations on things I should look out for in purchasing my first cyclocross bike?
4. What other brands are highly sought after in the cyclocross space?
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Old 01-05-17, 06:59 AM
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Gt is only one of many, many good bike brands. Visit a few bike shops to see the different cyclocross (CX) bikes. Test ride all that appeal to you and buy the one that "speaks" to you.

1. Carbon is lighter than steel or aluminum and offers a great ride.
2. Many folks ride a CX bike as their every day bike. I rode one as my commuter bike for 5 years. IMHO they are much more comfortable than most hybrids.
3. Is it hilly where you live/ride? If so get a triple or compact double and a wide range cassette.
4. There are dozens of CX brands that are popular.

You could also ask the folks in the Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking forum.

Good luck.
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Last edited by RonH; 01-05-17 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:59 AM
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Cyclocross bikes are aimed at racing. They might be a little uncomfortable as the geometry is more "aggressive" and usually they don't come with mounts for water bottles or racks and the gearing is also different (usually they run 1x setups).

The GT Grade you were recommended is actually an "adventure road" or "gravel" bike, a good suggestion. What makes a gravel bike? Relaxed geometry (you're more upright than in a CX bike), wider tyres (50mm, usually) and has mounts for 2-3 water bottles and racks, usually with easier gearing for climbs. They're very versatile.

Some models you can check out too: Specialized Sequoia or Diverge, Jamis Renegade, Giant Anyroad, Felt V55/V85, Fuji Jari or Tread, Kona Sutra or Rove, Trek Crossrip (this one might be a stretch, is marketed as commuter).

I can't advice you on the carbon aspect as I have never ridden a carbon bike. My current bike is chromoly. However my road bike is, IMHO, more comfortable on longer rides and quicker on my commute than my old bike.

Having had a similar experience as you (I had a Trek Skye), yeah, I'd recommend the switch to drop bars. The relaxed geometry on gravel bikes is easy to get used to. I'd recommend getting cross top brake levers (which are small lever brakes you install on the top of the bar) they helped me a lot in the transition to drop bars and are useful when riding in traffic.

You'll be happy you ditched that heavy suspension fork, I haven't missed mine
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Old 01-05-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by strongersteve
1. Is the additional money for a carbon frame worth it?
2. Based on experience/advice would the Cyclocross be better than the 'hybrid' bike for everyday use?
3. Any specific things or recommendations on things I should look out for in purchasing my first cyclocross bike?
4. What other brands are highly sought after in the cyclocross space?
in order:

1) probably not, considering your current bike and what you've described. If you want it, get it, but it is not a requirement. (and weight vs AL or steel is irrelevant). Go with your budget and test ride the bikes. If it happens to be carbon, great. Keep in mind a more 'utilitarian' bike will most likely not be carbon (rear rack mounts, etc)
2) Yes
3) Don't look at CX race bikes. A CX race bike will be not what you want --unless you want to race CX
4) The Grade is a great option; as mentioned it's an 'adventure/gravel' bike. Specialized Diverge, Surly CrossCheck, Kona Esatto D etc.
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Old 01-05-17, 04:56 PM
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"Best" , here on this forum, is a competing set of Opinions.

Now any thing like a Hybrid with drop bars gets labeled a Cross bike

mid width 700c wheels & tires Below actual CX race bikes ..

they will be aimed at commuters & Light Touring, JRA , just not on straight bars..

Yea Gravel Ginders go that way too its a new label, new niche market.

All brands will have something, what DOES your favorite bike shop carry?


Last edited by fietsbob; 01-05-17 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 01-06-17, 10:15 AM
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I feel compelled to add that all CX bikes do not have aggressive racing geometry. CX bikes tend to have a higher bottom bracket and shorter chain stays/wheel base, so yes they do tend to handle a little quicker than a relaxed geometry road bike or hybrid. But they still are very versatile and some models are exceptionally utilitarian.

Gravel bikes are more like endurance road bikes, but with greater clearance between the stays for larger tires.

The lines are becoming really blurred with all the different gravel/adventure/cyclocross/anyroad/flatbar/dropbar iterations that bike companies are producing now. As others have said, check with your favorite bike shops or the shops in your area. See what they have, tell them what you plan to do and how you ride.
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