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cross bike for serious road riding?

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cross bike for serious road riding?

Old 09-07-09, 01:44 PM
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cross bike for serious road riding?

I have a 2007 specialized tri cross comp cross bike which I've put 700x23 road tires on. I don't race but for the past 2 seasons, I'm starting to really enjoy road riding and will ride with a local club next spring.

I'm not sure what the major difference is between a road and cross bike except that there's more clearance for mud and I don't have the same style brakes. Is the latter going to be a deal breaker when I'm riding amongst a group in terms of not having the stopping power?

My next upgrade is to ditch the mountain spd pedals and put on road pedals however I'm also thinking of selling my bike and buying a road bike instead... would I be better off doing that?

Thanks in advance for your comments
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Old 09-07-09, 01:48 PM
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Few guys in the club rides I've joined in have ridden cross bikes, a couple pretty damn fast... whatever works! The difference is, you can switch out to cyclocross whereas I can't. Lucky you!
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Old 09-07-09, 02:07 PM
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My brother has a custom Calfee Dragon Fly (Campy) and he still rides his 20yr. old Rock Lobster for road rides, damn shame... but he's kinda scared to take out his "bling bike". He's DAMN fast on that Rock Lobster, it was real fun watching him (off in the far away distance) smoking road riders on their high-end road bikes with his steel, cantilever, baggie shorts and MTB shoes.

He also has a Custom Rock Lobster he races for CX. I guess he only takes his "serious" bikes out when his race team is in training.

When we road ride, he swaps on some road tires and we're off! Funny thing is, we'll go out to hit some mountain single tracks a few days later, and he's on the same bike, except with knobbies. Still fast as hell, while I'm having a cardiac way in the back.

It's the only bike he owns (aside from his errand bikes) that he'll lay on the ground.

 
Old 09-07-09, 02:59 PM
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The differences are pretty minor, some of which you noted. Cross bikes have:

• cantis instead of caliper brakes
• wider and more robust (and usually heavier) wheels
• clearance for wide tires and fenders
• elevated BB, for better use on rough terrain and allowing you to pedal through the turns
• longer wheelbase / more relaxed geometry

The Tricross should be fine for group rides, until or unless you start riding with the super-fast groups. Even so, I've seen guys riding mountain bikes with fast group rides without having any problem keeping up.

The only thing I'd check on is the tires. It's unlikely that 23c tires are within the specs of the stock Tricross wheels, which come with 32c's, i.e. your tires are too narrow for your rims. I'd check with the rim manufacturer on that.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:23 PM
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I'd say that you'll be fine.

Maybe get another wheelset so you don't have to swap tires all the time.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:31 PM
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I've got a 2006 and 2010 Tricross Comp and they do quite well on fast road rides. You're quite upright so you'll want to get accustomed to riding in the drops to get out of the wind.

Second wheelset is a real time saver. I run 25's on one set of wheels and some knobby cross times on the Roval Pave's.
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Old 09-07-09, 03:38 PM
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Don't let the Marketing Department fool you into thinking you need "road" pedals to ride on the road. Many road riders use SPD's. Unless you're sponsored, I'd keep the SPD's.
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Old 09-07-09, 04:43 PM
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wheelbase... about 10cm of difference between a cross and road bike.
it's supposed to be slower going around corners due to the long wheelbase, but most riders won't even feel it.

swapping between pedals and wheels is easy. just remember to adjust the saddle height because the stack height between different pedal systems aren't the same.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by highflyr
I have a 2007 specialized tri cross comp cross bike which I've put 700x23 road tires on. I don't race but for the past 2 seasons, I'm starting to really enjoy road riding and will ride with a local club next spring.

I'm not sure what the major difference is between a road and cross bike except that there's more clearance for mud and I don't have the same style brakes. Is the latter going to be a deal breaker when I'm riding amongst a group in terms of not having the stopping power?
Stopping power isn't really the result of brakes but of tyres together. (Brake type deterines the amount of hand pressure required to get this force - nothing else.)

If you and the road bikes are both running the same 23mm tyres you'll stop at the same deceleration. If you were running good 28mm tyres (which you probably should be, which is another story) you'd stop faster. (Assuming that you and the people you ride with know how to use your brakes for maximum effect, which probably isn't the case - a lot of people don't.)

The main limit on speed will be aerodynamic. The Tricross is a little short in the top tube and so will be a little slower than a more stretched out bike. This is a small difference and it wouldn't bother me. If the Tricross felt like a good fit and fun to ride, I'd keep it.

My next upgrade is to ditch the mountain spd pedals and put on road pedals
Why? What do you think you'll gain?
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Old 09-07-09, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by highflyr
I have a 2007 specialized tri cross comp cross bike which I've put 700x23 road tires on. I don't race but for the past 2 seasons, I'm starting to really enjoy road riding and will ride with a local club next spring.
You REALLY don't need a road bike, the cross on road tires will be more than fine. As with any bike, it all depends on the engine.

Originally Posted by highflyr
I'm not sure what the major difference is between a road and cross bike except that there's more clearance for mud and I don't have the same style brakes.
You will sit more upright on the cross bike, however, the newer "comfort" road bikes have very similar geometry. When you really want to hammer - get in the drops


Originally Posted by highflyr
Is the latter going to be a deal breaker when I'm riding amongst a group in terms of not having the stopping power?
No

Originally Posted by highflyr
My next upgrade is to ditch the mountain spd pedals and put on road pedals however I'm also thinking of selling my bike and buying a road bike instead... would I be better off doing that?
I'd rather spend my $$ on another wheelset so I can convert quickly back to cross configuration
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Old 09-07-09, 05:33 PM
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Road pedals - more contact surface?

Thanks for all the comments, I'm going to keep my TriCross. As for the road pedals, I just thought that since there is more surface area in contract with the shoe that there'd be more power transfer? To be honest, I have no clue. I just rode with a guy from work who claims that they make a difference so I thought I'd bring it up.

Thanks again, much appreciated. Neuvation wheels... I think I'm going to buy a set.


Originally Posted by meanwhile
Stopping power isn't really the result of brakes but of tyres together. (Brake type deterines the amount of hand pressure required to get this force - nothing else.)

If you and the road bikes are both running the same 23mm tyres you'll stop at the same deceleration. If you were running good 28mm tyres (which you probably should be, which is another story) you'd stop faster. (Assuming that you and the people you ride with know how to use your brakes for maximum effect, which probably isn't the case - a lot of people don't.)

The main limit on speed will be aerodynamic. The Tricross is a little short in the top tube and so will be a little slower than a more stretched out bike. This is a small difference and it wouldn't bother me. If the Tricross felt like a good fit and fun to ride, I'd keep it.



Why? What do you think you'll gain?
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Old 09-07-09, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO
wheelbase... about 10cm of difference between a cross and road bike.
it's supposed to be slower going around corners due to the long wheelbase, but most riders won't even feel it.
Sorry, no. A longer wheelbase doesn't have this effect, although it's easy to see how you arrived at this mis-understanding. The usual statement is something like -

The longer the wheelbase, the less the frame will turn with a given sideways movement of the steering axis. Thus, a short wheelbase tends to turn quicker, while a long wheelbase takes a more severe turn to produce the same effect on the bike's frame. (https://www.dclxvi.org/chunk)/tech/trail/

But what this refers to is not the bicycle's speed during a turn but how quickly a bike enters a turn in response to steering input. Road bikes with their sharper angles need less turn of the bars to turn the same amount as a crosser. Otoh, a crosser will be much less prone to spreading your teeth across the road because the front wheel ran over a bottle cap.

Road bikes have this deliberately twitchy steering for one reason only - the twitchiest bike wins when you're fighting for position in a pack.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:43 PM
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highflyr - if you want to ride faster:

- Read about interval training and do it, even though it will hurt

- Keep your chain and gears clean - you can waste about 10% of total power in a really dirty power train

- Buy high quality tyres with low rolling resistance and keep them pumped up to the maximum specified pressure

- Follow that advice about learning to ride in the drops if it doesn't make you too uncomfortable.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
- Read about interval training and do it, even though it will hurt
Completely unnecessary unless you want to race, just ride your bike.
- Keep your chain and gears clean - you can waste about 10% of total power in a really dirty power train

- Buy high quality tyres with low rolling resistance and keep them pumped up to the maximum specified pressure
Yeah, don't do this.
100-110 lbs psi is plenty for most people.

I ride my cross bike on the road in winter, I put some 23c's on it, using the same wheels that I run 30 or 35mm tires on in cross season.

I even did a couple of road races on my cross bike while my road bike was being built up.

I do use road pedals, mostly because SPD's suck and my road shoes are more comfortable for long distance.

The other thing I do is put a 52T big chainring on (with a longer chain) because I do a lot of fast training group rides and a 46T is not going to cut it. Not necessary for regular group rides.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:24 PM
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As someone who has tried the 1 bike life, using a cross bike on the road and off, I can attest that it sucks

cross fits are much more akin to mtb fits than road fits so you will lose a bit of power as your seat height will be lower, and you will have a more upright and less aero position. Yes you could change your seat height all the time, but when you ride enough you are very sensitive to even small changes in fit, so that is not the best idea. I suppose you could also change stems, but I just want to grab my bike and ride.

Geometry-Cross bikes are generally designed to handle slow to mid range speed just fine. Road bikes are designed to handle well in mid to high speed situations. When I do high speed descents on my cross bike with slicks I definitely did not have the confidence that my not as nice road bike gave me. It is nice to have confidence in your gear when you are really pressing into a descent.

If you have never experienced a nice road bike then your cross bike will be fine on the road, but if you have ridden a legit road bike then you might just find that cross bike lacking in the performance department.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
Sorry, no. A longer wheelbase doesn't have this effect, although it's easy to see how you arrived at this mis-understanding. The usual statement is something like -

The longer the wheelbase, the less the frame will turn with a given sideways movement of the steering axis. Thus, a short wheelbase tends to turn quicker, while a long wheelbase takes a more severe turn to produce the same effect on the bike's frame. (https://www.dclxvi.org/chunk)/tech/trail/

But what this refers to is not the bicycle's speed during a turn but how quickly a bike enters a turn in response to steering input. Road bikes with their sharper angles need less turn of the bars to turn the same amount as a crosser. Otoh, a crosser will be much less prone to spreading your teeth across the road because the front wheel ran over a bottle cap.

Road bikes have this deliberately twitchy steering for one reason only - the twitchiest bike wins when you're fighting for position in a pack.
mmm, no.

longer wheelbase does make you turn slower. by slower I mean it makes you go wider for the same amount of leaning/steering compared to a shorter wheelbase bike.
the turning radius is simply wider. for example, compare an xtracycle to a regular bike.

there's also a difference in center of mass which you're neglecting.
twitchiest bike does not win simply because it's twitchy.

https://wapedia.mobi/en/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_dynamics
https://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/20...le-bit-of.html
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Old 09-07-09, 10:57 PM
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i think you made a good point

You made a good point in stating that because I've never experienced a legit road bike that I wouldn't know any better. Although most comments to my initial post elude to keeping the cross bike, perhaps I should try a road bike and feel the difference - I'm assuming it will be noticeable?

Originally Posted by jonestr
As someone who has tried the 1 bike life, using a cross bike on the road and off, I can attest that it sucks

cross fits are much more akin to mtb fits than road fits so you will lose a bit of power as your seat height will be lower, and you will have a more upright and less aero position. Yes you could change your seat height all the time, but when you ride enough you are very sensitive to even small changes in fit, so that is not the best idea. I suppose you could also change stems, but I just want to grab my bike and ride.

Geometry-Cross bikes are generally designed to handle slow to mid range speed just fine. Road bikes are designed to handle well in mid to high speed situations. When I do high speed descents on my cross bike with slicks I definitely did not have the confidence that my not as nice road bike gave me. It is nice to have confidence in your gear when you are really pressing into a descent.

If you have never experienced a nice road bike then your cross bike will be fine on the road, but if you have ridden a legit road bike then you might just find that cross bike lacking in the performance department.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:20 PM
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I've toured on a cross bike, gone on century rides, taken it offroad, commute on it, and go on many regular road rides. I don't find it to be slow or impractical in the least. Yes, it isn't a "road" bike, but do you really need one? I can keep up easily with non-racers on road bikes with it, and I don't have to worry so much about road conditions.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by highflyr
You made a good point in stating that because I've never experienced a legit road bike that I wouldn't know any better. Although most comments to my initial post elude to keeping the cross bike, perhaps I should try a road bike and feel the difference - I'm assuming it will be noticeable?
Maybe, I notice the difference on descents quite a bit.

I guess it just boils down to right tool for the right job.
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Old 09-08-09, 12:05 AM
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it's not the longer wheelbase as much as the shallower head tube and trail dimensions that make it steer slower, it just wants to run wide. although i could race my cross bike on the road, i would hesitate to use it in a road race and wouldn't use it in a crit, but that's just me.
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Old 09-08-09, 12:38 AM
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ridden my cross bike which currently plays road bike with no problems infact I currently don't own a road bike. I really don't feel it has held me back much if any on group rides nor has any of the other riders made any negative remarks about me riding it on group rides and occasionally see others on cross bikes on group rides. I say take it on the group rides if you feel you need or want a road bike then by all means get one nothing wrong with that either, though I would think twice about selling the cross bike, wait and just save up for a road bike.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MONGO!
>> - Read about interval training and do it, even though it will hurt

Completely unnecessary unless you want to race, just ride your bike.
Lots of things are "unnecessary unless you want to race". That doesn't make them a bad idea. If you want to go faster - which the guy does - interval training does the job at zero cost and minimal time. All it costs is some pain and effort. If you don't want to HTFU, fine, but someone in the OP's position should at least know that he has a training option that will speed up more in a few months than dropping $2000 on a new bike.

>> A dirty power train can cost 10% of total power
I congratulate on your knowledge of smilies, if not bicycle nerdery. That's a well established empirical figure. It often gets misquoted as c. 3% because maximum speed is the cube root of power, so speed lost from a really dirty power train will be around 3%.

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-08-09 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO
mmm, no.

longer wheelbase does make you turn slower. by slower I mean it makes you go wider for the same amount of leaning/steering compared to a shorter wheelbase bike.
Wider is wider. Not slower. In fact you're now saying what I said you should have said.

If a longer wheel base bike went slower around corners then you wouldn't really have a remedy. If it goes wider - for the same amount of steer - you just turn the handle bars slightly more. These are very different things!

there's also a difference in center of mass which you're neglecting.
Making wheelbase longer won't alter the centre of mass. Cross bikes sometimes - not always - have a higher BB which does, but this is true of crit bikes too, and they're built for taking corners fast.

twitchiest bike does not win simply because it's twitchy.
No, it won't. But fast steering is one desirable characteristic among the several that make a good road racer. Because road races are won tactically as much as by fitness. And placement - for drafting, for getting through the pack, etc - enables tactics.

If you think these pages prove something you should quote the relevant excerpt and what you think it proves.
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Old 09-08-09, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by highflyr
>>
As someone who has tried the 1 bike life, using a cross bike on the road and off, I can attest that it sucks

cross fits are much more akin to mtb fits than road fits so you will lose a bit of power as your seat height will be lower, and you will have a more upright and less aero position.
<<
You made a good point in stating that because I've never experienced a legit road bike that I wouldn't know any better. Although most comments to my initial post elude to keeping the cross bike, perhaps I should try a road bike and feel the difference - I'm assuming it will be noticeable?
No, the above is utter rubbish. This guy bought the wrong cross bike and then fitted it very badly! If you doubt me then go to bikepedia and look at the geometry data for road racers, crossers and MTBs designed to fit the same size rider - the crosser stem+top tube will hardly vary from that of the road bike, and the stem will only be slightly higher. The seat height thing is rubbish too - most people ride a crosser with their seat placed just as it would be for the road:

https://cxmagazine.com/perfect-cross-...ing-beth-mason

You are a successful cyclocross racer and also run a bike fitting business. What I am hoping is that you can clear up some oft repeated “truths” about getting fit to a CX bike. I know that fit is unique to every rider but what are some general things you may do differently when fitting somebody to a CX bike as opposed to a road bike?

MASON: Truthfully, nothing. If the fit were completely up to me, everyone would have the exact same fit that they have on their road bike (provided this fit is ideal). You hit the nail on the head, however, when you said that the fit is unique to every rider..
So unless you feel the need to have your bike set-up like an MTB when you go off road (and actually a lot of hardtail MTB riders have their saddles as high as on their road bikes ) there is no need to worry. And even if you did - what sort of idiot finds changing between two saddle heights a major mechanical and intellectual effort???

As people have said, even though your Tricross is one of the less road-ish crossers, the riding position is still very close to a Roubaix or Audax racer. Unless you want to race it's actually a very sensible choice as a road bike, because its position is less likely to cause pain, strains or other injuries.

One option you might consider though is picking a second hand road bike on ebay or craigslist. If you wait long enough and know your bikes well you can pick up some astonishing bargains - my barely used Campagnolo equipped crosser cost me only $500. Do make sure that you're not supporting the bicycle theft industry though!
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Old 09-08-09, 02:54 AM
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...Because I'm trapped looking after my girlfriend (swine flu!) and bored, I'll hit the egg of this nonsense about crossers supposedly fitting very differently to road bikes with the Hammer Of Facts one more time:

https://www.cyclocrossworld.com/Tech....ShowDisabled=0

Frame size

Keep it the same as your road bike! Too many people think they should downsize their 'cross bikes because of the higher bottom bracket and lower saddle position. What they end up with is a bike that they can't raise their bars high enough on because the head tube is too short. Bottom brackets on 'cross bikes used to be very high to allow for clearance when pedaling on the backs of pedals that had clips and straps. With clipless pedals, most 'cross bike bottom bracket heights have come down to that of a normal criterium bike. So, the need for a smaller bike to accommodate standover height doesn't exist to the same extent.

Saddle height

Your saddle height on your 'cross bike can vary from the same as
your road bike to 1 cm lower. Some people keep the height the same and let the higher stack height of mountain bike shoes and pedals provide the lower overall height. Because you're often riding on bumpy ground you'll spend a lot of time slightly out of the saddle. There needs to be room for your bike to "dance beneath you." I find that no more than 5 mm lower is perfect for most people.

Saddle setback

The nose of your saddle should be the same distance behind your bottom bracket center as on your road or mountain bike, or up to 5mm further forward if you sit far back on the road. It should be set up so that the soft spot below your kneecap is immediately over the pedal spindle with your foot at the 3 o'clock position. A traditional road position you might be further back to emphasize a powerful, efficient, and pretty pedal stroke. In 'cross, you don't have time for beauty, or even efficiency. In an hour-long race, you need to be able to explode down on the pedals with instantaneous power and be balanced between the wheels for good bike handling. Again, similar to what you might set up for criteriums, or even the track. Remember that what's efficient is not necessarily what's fastest, and your priorities in a long road race are different than those for a short 'cross event.

Reach

The distance from the nose of your saddle to the center of your bars should be 1-2 cm's shorter than your road bike. This is so you can reach your hoods and drops without bending over to do so. You might also find it more comfortable to tilt your bars up slightly, or raise the brake lever position on the bars so that you can hold them solidly in your hand, rather than rest your hands on them.

Drop

Drop is measured as the difference between the height of your saddle and the height of your handlebars. Your bars should be 1-2 cm's higher relative to your seat than on your road bike. This is again so you can reach the drops without bending over and allow you to keep your weight back on drop-offs and downhills.
We're talking small differences here - nothing like the difference between a road bike and an MTB! But very much the difference between an aggressive racer, like an Allez, and a Roubaix. Plus the above is a cross racing set up, and you're not obliged to use it. If your Tricross spends its time on the road, be bold and lower the bars one cm!
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