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Cyclocross bike as a road bike?

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Cyclocross bike as a road bike?

Old 08-31-11, 09:28 PM
  #1  
david58
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Cyclocross bike as a road bike?

I have a cross bike (Fuji Cross Comp, with 105's) that I purchased in April and have fallen in love with. Use it for commuting, will maybe do a novice criterium Saturday, and in a week will start our PsycoCross races on it. I really love the bike.

But once I start racing, it's gonna get muddy, maybe damaged, etc etc. So, I want a road bike too, so I have one rigged for the road and one stripped down and rigged for the track.

What would be the downside of just getting a bit nicer cross bike and using it as a road bike? Is there really going to be that much difference between the cross bike and a comparably equipped cross bike? I realize that I will need to put a different pair of rings on the front to call it a roadie, but is there any other real downside?

I'm a 50 year old Clyde (hoping to move from weight category to an age related one soon), who likes centuries, who likes to push himself on training rides (typ 45-60 miles), who commutes about a 18 mile round trip, and just loves to spend time on the bike.

I appreciate your perspective and opinions.

Last edited by david58; 08-31-11 at 09:28 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 08-31-11, 10:05 PM
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sharpsandflatts
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why not just buy a road bike? you already have one cross bike. or just keep 2 sets of wheels: one with slicks, one with knobbies. a cross bike with road tires will do fine at the level you'll be racing. but owning 2 cross bikes seems pointless.
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Old 08-31-11, 10:19 PM
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jmess
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I think you would be fine with another CX bike. With some gearing and tires changes I think a CX bike does really well as a road bike.

I have two nice road bikes but have really been surprised at how much I like my new CX bike for more laid-back rides. My typical CX rides are 40-70 mile paved and gravel combos; my longest CX ride is currently 82 miles which was all paved. Since I don't CX races I have added a 50/34 compact crank with an 11/28 cassette to help climb the steep stuff. I also replaced the brakes with TRP CX9s which work great. My CX bike has a 61cm carbon frame and weighs 18 LBS with entry level Mavic wheels so it still feels pretty snappy on the road.
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Old 08-31-11, 10:25 PM
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I have a Fuji Cross Pro (2006) that I upgraded with road components. I changed to standard cranks, upgraded wheels, Dura Ace cranks/shifters, etc.. It was a decent road bike and I rode it for a couple years. That said, I finally ended up reverting the Fuji to its stock configuration and built up a true road bike. (I still have the Fuji though). Things I like better about my road bike vs. the Fuji:

1) Caliper brakes are much, much stronger than the stock cantilever ones, and they don't squeal like the Avid Shorty 4/6's (tried both). I just didn't feel safe stopping quickly when going downhill - squeezing the brake levers felt more like a request than a command. (I have since heard that it's possible to upgrade to mini V's or V brakes to get better power than the cantis).

2) Steering was very twitchy on the Fuji. Not sure why exactly, but I couldn't take my hands off the bars even for a moment.

3) AL frame was a bit harsher than my current bike (which is Ti). CF and steel would be less harsh also.

The Fuji will still serve you well and won't slow you down. They are very versatile bikes.
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Old 08-31-11, 10:31 PM
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tcarl
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I'd guess that it would be heavier than a comparable road frame because of beefier construction. Also, and I'm not one bit sure about this!, but I think my cyclocross bike has a 72 degree head angle, which is very shallow for a road bike and may affect the handling. If you're going to get another bike, I'd say just get a road frame rather than another cyclocross frame for road use.
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Old 08-31-11, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
I'd guess that it would be heavier than a comparable road frame because of beefier construction. Also, and I'm not one bit sure about this!, but I think my cyclocross bike has a 72 degree head angle, which is very shallow for a road bike and may affect the handling. If you're going to get another bike, I'd say just get a road frame rather than another cyclocross frame for road use.
Yes that is one thing that is attractive about CX bikes (in a way)...they may be overbuilt and sturdier than a typical road bike. In the process of upgrading I did a breakdown of the components of my 2006 Cross Pro (58 cm) and figured the frame was around 1530g and fork was around 750g. After upgrading to DA 7800 cranks/shifters and Open Pro/Ultegra wheels the total bike weight came to around 20.1 lb. The Kinlin / Alchemy wheelset I'm riding now is 1 lb lighter than that so it would be possible to get it down to 19 lb or maybe 18.5. My current Ti road bike is right around 17.
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Old 09-01-11, 01:32 AM
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every time this comes up, we get answers all over the place. sure you can use a cx bike as a road bike...you can use a mountain bike and put slicks on it for the road too. but really there are guys putting down thousands for 15 pound treks, looks and hundreds of custom builders building road bikes for a reason! T h e y ride GREAT! if you want to hit the road and ride fast, get on the road bike, if you want to see some trail, jump on the cx. if you have the cash for another bike, get the right tool for the right job. don't mess around with switching wheels and changing gearing. get out and ride.
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Old 09-01-11, 05:50 AM
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I ride a cross bike (Ridley X-Fire) as my training bike, and use it interchangeably with my road bikes (Lynskey Sportive and Ridley Damocles). Works fine. There are minor differences in handling, and the X-Fire is definitely heavier, but the difference isnt as extreme as you might think it would be.

That being said, I use the X-Fire mainly b/c I wanted 700x32s for my daily training wheel. If I didnt need anything thicker than 28s, I would have stuck with a road bike mainly b/c of the dual pivot brakes. Cantis are a pain in the f'ing ass.

Still, it isnt that big a difference. Get a cross bike, ride it on the road and enjoy it, if you want!
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Old 09-01-11, 06:46 AM
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i agree with others that if you already have a couple of cx bikes I would just go ahead and get a road bike.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:18 AM
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The guy that I follow through the field just before the bell is on a cross bike (start watching about 7:00 - he's on a white framed bike, flames on the jersey):


Now, he happens to be a pro level mountain biker getting in some training miles, but still, there's really no problem with the cross bike in this particular race. More than a few have done it, even a fellow BFer or two.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:00 AM
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what's your current gearing? My cross bike had a 46/36 crank and I found myself spinning on down hills trying to catch up with guys during my group rides. Just something to consider
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Old 09-01-11, 08:07 AM
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cmolway
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cx bike are getting lighter and faster all the time. Check out 200 on 100:

Local amateur CAT1 racer Ryan Kelly goes on a ride with pros Ted King of Liquigas and Tim Johnson of Cannondale Cyclocross. Its a 200 miler over many mountian passes in Vermont. Tim, even though he has a shiny-new evo courtesy of Cannondale, rides his cross bike instead. Needless to say, Tim has no problem tearing the legs off Ryan even though he's riding a road bike.

ETA: last time I saw Tim on a group ride, his cross bike was running sram red cranks with standard road gearing.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post

What would be the downside of just getting a bit nicer cross bike and using it as a road bike? Is there really going to be that much difference between the cross bike and a comparably equipped cross bike? I realize that I will need to put a different pair of rings on the front to call it a roadie, but is there any other real downside?
I have a cross comp I use for brevets, though I've changed most of the components - which is a negative from a cost perspective. Otherwise, the bike is heavier, the top tube is long, it is not particularly aero, and the Al ride is simply not inspiring. Just buying a road bike makes good sense unless you have a clear reason to prefer using the cross frame.
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Old 09-01-11, 08:26 AM
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If you came here asking us without already owning a bike I'd say get the cross bike. You can race road with a cross bike but you cannot race cross with a road bike (modern anyway). So as others said, you already have a cross bike and you apparently love it so keep it and get a road bike. This time of year I start riding my cross bike on the road to get broken into it. It feels like riding a Cadillac rather than the sport car feel of the road bike. The wheel base is longer, the bars are wider, the brakes are not as powerful, the angles are slack, etc...
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Old 09-01-11, 08:29 AM
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I switch between my cross bike and my road bike daily. The difference is night and day.

The cross bike works fine, but the road bike - on the road - is a much lighter, nicer handling machine.
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Old 09-01-11, 12:46 PM
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Everyone talks about having the best tool to do the best job...

If you want to road on the road, buy a road bike. If you want to ride off road, buy a mountain bike. A cyclocross bike is already a hybrid between the two, so why can't it do both jobs? Sure, having a road-specific bike would be better, but is it worth the investment for you?

Getting a second set of wheels/tires would more than suffice to convert a cross bike into a road bike, imo. You could even spend some of the money you saved on a good hose nozzle and some soap to clean all the dirt off the bike before switching professions. Hell, at $2k, $3k, $4k+ savings vs buying a new bike, you could pay someone else to clean it for you.
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Old 09-01-11, 02:09 PM
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For all the talk of the differences between the two bikes, it is worth noting that the Skil-Shimano team rode this year's Paris-Roubaix on cyclocross bikes.
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Old 09-01-11, 03:19 PM
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I have both, actually 3 different road bikes, but I have spare road wheels for the CX bike and I often take it on shorter road rides. It's an aluminum frame with a compact crank, so I don't take it on rides longer than 40 miles or so. It is heavier, but the gearing is friendlier for climbing. Get whatever you want - CX bikes are very versatile as road bikes, commuters, tourers and light trail riding.
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Old 09-01-11, 05:55 PM
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I have a C-X bike (Ellsworth Roots) and a really high-end carbon bike. The Roots weighs a couple pounds more, but get waaaay more miles throughout the year than the road bike.

The 46-11 top gear can be a hassle on FAST training rides. Otherwise, I love the comfort and bulletproof nature of the bike. The 28mm Conti 4Seasons feel great.

- Z
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Old 09-01-11, 06:08 PM
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My opinion - Light weight CX bike with multiple sets of wheels...
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Old 09-01-11, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
For all the talk of the differences between the two bikes, it is worth noting that the Skil-Shimano team rode this year's Paris-Roubaix on cyclocross bikes.
and if I were to ride the "roads" of the Paris-Roubaix, I would be on a cross bike! i might even ride a full suspension mountain bike...

sure there are guys that can race a cx bike in a road race, I mean put lance on kids bike and he will leave me in the dust. my time to ride is limited, I'm going to ride the best ride I can get my hands on.
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Old 09-02-11, 05:18 AM
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I say get another cross bike.

It'll work fine on the roads, plus that way you have a backup in case your other cross bike experiences any mechanical trouble before a race.

I don't think you need to spend an arm an a leg either, just go for something with a nice frame and Tiagra/105/Apex level components and you're good.

FWIW I've found that my cross bike, which is more general purpose than race-oriented, is a little slower than my road bikes, but not enough to be a problem for anything other than a fast group ride. That might not be the case with a cross bike that is overtly designed for racing.
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