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How Cyclocross bike compares to road bike?

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How Cyclocross bike compares to road bike?

Old 08-21-12, 07:41 AM
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Bumer
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How Cyclocross bike compares to road bike?

Hi all roadies!

It seems like my search for second bike is neverending story.

Long story short: I have FS Trek MTB. Great bike, but I'd like to use it for mountain biking, and get second bike for everything else.

If there were good roads around where I live, I would probably get road bike. But, unfortunately, all roads around are busy roads with no shoulders, so I would not feel comfortable riding on them.

This leaves me all kinds of other trails and bike paths between mountains and pavement (crushed stone / gravel / railroad trails / parks). Right now I am looking into getting fitness hybrid, which I think will allow me to do what I want to do. In my search I came across Trek CrossRip which looks very interesting, because it looks like road bike, but it can probably take me all places between MTB and road.

How do bikes like Trek CrossRip compares to road bikes? If I go with road group, will I be able to keep up with the group?

Small print: I want this bike for 25+ miles rides.

Thank you!

Vlad

UPDATE: My LBS can sell me Cannondale CAADX 6 for $1,000 ($300 off MSRP). Is it good cross bike? Originally I was looking at Cannondale Quick 4 hybrid or Specialized Sirrus Elite, but looks like cross bike might better in general for my purposes.

Last edited by Bumer; 08-21-12 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 08-21-12, 07:46 AM
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It will be slower than a road bike, The disc brakes are an over kill.
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Old 08-21-12, 07:55 AM
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not sure if your asking if it will keep up with MTBs or road bikes. as far as replacing your MTB with it, depends on how steep you ride. the low gear on the Trek is 34/32. an MTB is going to have the third chainring for steeps. if the riders were of equal ability, road bike faster. but that is a big "if". personally, I like the prospect of disc brakes on a drop bar bike. lots of steep hills here, lots of rain in the non-summer months. even though I ride a Giant Defy Advanced, when they perfect discs for road bikes I will be there for one.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:26 AM
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Gearing on a cross bike is typically much smaller - making keeping up in some crowds a hard thing to do. That said there are plenty of good riders around here that have no problem hanging year round on a cross bike in road groups. Obviously just slap some road tires on.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
It will be slower than a road bike, The disc brakes are an over kill.
Disc brakes are not must, V-brakes should be enough (and can save some weight too )

Originally Posted by Altamont View Post
not sure if your asking if it will keep up with MTBs or road bikes. as far as replacing your MTB with it, depends on how steep you ride. the low gear on the Trek is 34/32. an MTB is going to have the third chainring for steeps. if the riders were of equal ability, road bike faster. but that is a big "if". personally, I like the prospect of disc brakes on a drop bar bike. lots of steep hills here, lots of rain in the non-summer months. even though I ride a Giant Defy Advanced, when they perfect discs for road bikes I will be there for one.
Don't want to replace MTB, but add second bike with no shocks, lighter and faster. And if I go on road rides, how well will I be able to keep up with road bikes?

Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Gearing on a cross bike is typically much smaller - making keeping up in some crowds a hard thing to do. That said there are plenty of good riders around here that have no problem hanging year round on a cross bike in road groups. Obviously just slap some road tires on.
Are there cross bikes with road gearing? In other words, if I slap road tires on a cross bike, can it go as fast as road bike (or very close)?
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Old 08-21-12, 10:23 AM
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My LBS can sell me Cannondale CAADX 6 for $1,000 ($300 off MSRP). Is it good cross bike? Originally I was looking at Cannondale Quick 4 hybrid or Specialized Sirrus Elite, but looks like cross bike might better in general for my purposes.
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Old 08-21-12, 10:26 AM
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Don't be dissuaded by the lack of gearing on a cross bike. It's really only the top end. If the group you ride with consistently pushes faster than 25mph on a flat, you may want more road oriented gears to keep up. Otherwise, you'll only notice it when descending at high speeds. It's easy enough to swap a road crank and/or chainrings onto a CX bike.

That being said, gearing is the least of what sets a true cross bike appart from a true road bike, IMO. The geometry and rider position will make it slightly less efficient and it will handle differently. When it comes to performance, it would be like pitting a performance crossover SUV against a sports car. For everyday riding, you really aren't going to notice a big difference. It's when you start pushing the limit of it's performance that you woud feel the difference between a true road bike and a CX equiped with road gears and tires.

Being able to keep up with roadies on a CX is a matter of your willingness to HTFU.
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Old 08-21-12, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Breathegood View Post
Don't be dissuaded by the lack of gearing on a cross bike. It's really only the top end. If the group you ride with consistently pushes faster than 25mph on a flat, you may want more road oriented gears to keep up. Otherwise, you'll only notice it when descending at high speeds. It's easy enough to swap a road crank and/or chainrings onto a CX bike.

That being said, gearing is the least of what sets a true cross bike appart from a true road bike, IMO. The geometry and rider position will make it slightly less efficient and it will handle differently. When it comes to performance, it would be like pitting a performance crossover SUV against a sports car. For everyday riding, you really aren't going to notice a big difference. It's when you start pushing the limit of it's performance that you woud feel the difference between a true road bike and a CX equiped with road gears and tires.

Being able to keep up with roadies on a CX is a matter of your willingness to HTFU.
It's good to know that gearing can be easily upgraded (if needed)! I'm not going to push it to the limits just yet, so it sounds like cross bike might be good option for me.
And looking at cross bike's geometry it does look very minimally different from road.

What do you think about Cannondale CAADX 6?

What's HTFU?
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Old 08-21-12, 11:50 AM
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harden the f. up amigo

the gearing might make an impact but if you can spin fast it shouldnt be a huge problem

just put road tires on it and you should be fine, although Ive ridden with dudes on cross bikes and knobby tires that have no problem keeping pace with the roadies
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Old 08-21-12, 12:43 PM
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Cross bikes really aren't all that different from road bikes. The main differences are:

• They can handle wider tires and fenders
• The BB is higher
• Wheelbase is usually longer (i.e. more stable handling)
• Wheels tend to be more robust

In my experience, a cross bike's speed depends mostly on how it's set up. E.g. if you use wide wheels, 32c's, an upright position, it'll be a bit slower than a typical road bike at speeds over 15mph. With a set of road wheels, skinny tires, and a more aggressive fit, it'll be about the same speed as a road bike.

So, it should be fine for your purposes, and adaptable if you want something either a little cushier or a little faster.
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Old 08-21-12, 12:47 PM
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A cross bike isn't that different from a road bike. You wouldn't to do a road race on one if anything important hung on it, but unless you're doing A/B comparisons, that shouldn't bother you. And what you'll give up in top speed you'll gain in versatility.
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Old 08-21-12, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bumer View Post
Are there cross bikes with road gearing? In other words, if I slap road tires on a cross bike, can it go as fast as road bike (or very close)?
Usually the only difference in the gearing is the crank will have a 36/46 instead of a 34/50 or 39/53. This just means you have gearing that is not quite as low and not quite as high, but plenty of gearing choices in the typical speeds you would ride.

If you want full 'road' gearing, a replacement crank can be had for not too terribly much money.
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Old 08-21-12, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by escarpment View Post
harden the f. up amigo

the gearing might make an impact but if you can spin fast it shouldnt be a huge problem

just put road tires on it and you should be fine, although Ive ridden with dudes on cross bikes and knobby tires that have no problem keeping pace with the roadies
That sounds great! As long as cross bike is not much worse than road bike, it should be great versatile bike!
P.S.: I knew that had to mean something like that

Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Cross bikes really aren't all that different from road bikes. The main differences are:

• They can handle wider tires and fenders
• The BB is higher
• Wheelbase is usually longer (i.e. more stable handling)
• Wheels tend to be more robust

In my experience, a cross bike's speed depends mostly on how it's set up. E.g. if you use wide wheels, 32c's, an upright position, it'll be a bit slower than a typical road bike at speeds over 15mph. With a set of road wheels, skinny tires, and a more aggressive fit, it'll be about the same speed as a road bike.

So, it should be fine for your purposes, and adaptable if you want something either a little cushier or a little faster.
Really sounds like a perfect bike for me, doesn't it?
Now I need to find place to ride it. Although, I can probably just test tire any road bike, as cross bike is very close to it.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
A cross bike isn't that different from a road bike. You wouldn't to do a road race on one if anything important hung on it, but unless you're doing A/B comparisons, that shouldn't bother you. And what you'll give up in top speed you'll gain in versatility.
You're right, nothing important on it, mostly weekend / evening rides. And versatility is very important, as I want to take it on and off road.

Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
Usually the only difference in the gearing is the crank will have a 36/46 instead of a 34/50 or 39/53. This just means you have gearing that is not quite as low and not quite as high, but plenty of gearing choices in the typical speeds you would ride.

If you want full 'road' gearing, a replacement crank can be had for not too terribly much money.
Definitely good to know! If I find myself needing little bit more speed, sounds like I can just put new road crank to add few more mph!

******
So far, very informative comments. I'm glad I asked this question here! Thank you very much!
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Old 08-21-12, 06:00 PM
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I have a Specialized TriCross that I got almost 3 years ago, and it was a great bike for me for the first ~2 years or so. The reason I got it was that I live near trails and I thought I could use this bike on either the trails or on the roads. But in the end, I used the bike 95% (or more) of the time for roads, and eventually got tired of having to push that much extra.

That said, I did a few group rides with people who had normal road bikes and never had a problem keeping up. Heck, I climbed South Mountain with that bike, and because it has a triple I thought it was easier than with my current road bike (and I kept up with some fast guys):
https://connect.garmin.com/activity/24976524

I think the longest I rode the bike was about 60 miles, and I was pretty well spent. But that was probably more conditioning than anything. I have passed people on normal road bikes while riding it, and most tried to re-pass me (it sometimes went into a game).

I haven't even taken that bike down from the rack for ~3 months, but one of these days...I'm going to and see what happens.


To the OP: if you are looking at one of these and don't NEED it immediately, I'd wait until Nov/Dec. My bike retailed for around $1200 and I got it during the end of year clearance for around $650. Unless you happen to be in AZ, then shoot me a PM and make me an offer
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Old 08-21-12, 06:58 PM
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Great info in this thread.

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Old 08-21-12, 07:03 PM
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My CX bike is my do-everything. It picked up about 2000 road miles before I also got a road bike. I continue to ride my CX bike to work, race it in CX races, and ride it on the road when the weather ain't as good (it wears fenders better than my road bike).

I can't think of why I would try to dissuade someone from getting a CX bike - I love my road bike for road riding, but the CX bike is a close second and is actually more comfortable for long distance. Put some 28 road tires on it, it is a nice ride. I put an 11/28 cassette on mine to make me able to climb some of the local hills (came with an 11/25) and it is still fine for CX races. Just a nice bike, versitile, and often a very good bargain for what you get for the $$.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by aztimm View Post
I have a Specialized TriCross that I got almost 3 years ago, and it was a great bike for me for the first ~2 years or so. The reason I got it was that I live near trails and I thought I could use this bike on either the trails or on the roads. But in the end, I used the bike 95% (or more) of the time for roads, and eventually got tired of having to push that much extra.

That said, I did a few group rides with people who had normal road bikes and never had a problem keeping up. Heck, I climbed South Mountain with that bike, and because it has a triple I thought it was easier than with my current road bike (and I kept up with some fast guys):
https://connect.garmin.com/activity/24976524

I think the longest I rode the bike was about 60 miles, and I was pretty well spent. But that was probably more conditioning than anything. I have passed people on normal road bikes while riding it, and most tried to re-pass me (it sometimes went into a game).

I haven't even taken that bike down from the rack for ~3 months, but one of these days...I'm going to and see what happens.


To the OP: if you are looking at one of these and don't NEED it immediately, I'd wait until Nov/Dec. My bike retailed for around $1200 and I got it during the end of year clearance for around $650. Unless you happen to be in AZ, then shoot me a PM and make me an offer
I doubt I will be doing 95% roads, but who knows Thank you for the confirmation that cross bike can keep up with road bikes! Even if I use it all the time for two-three years, that will be good.

Good idea about waiting couple more month. But on the other hand, these bikes starting to go on sale now. They will be cheaper in few months, but bike I want might not be available. Right now, LBS is offering Cannondale CAADX 6 TIAGRA for $1k, which is about $250-$300 off. I'll check few more LBS in the area, but this Cannondale seems like good deal.

Originally Posted by bpr View Post
Great info in this thread.

Agree!

Originally Posted by david58 View Post
My CX bike is my do-everything. It picked up about 2000 road miles before I also got a road bike. I continue to ride my CX bike to work, race it in CX races, and ride it on the road when the weather ain't as good (it wears fenders better than my road bike).

I can't think of why I would try to dissuade someone from getting a CX bike - I love my road bike for road riding, but the CX bike is a close second and is actually more comfortable for long distance. Put some 28 road tires on it, it is a nice ride. I put an 11/28 cassette on mine to make me able to climb some of the local hills (came with an 11/25) and it is still fine for CX races. Just a nice bike, versitile, and often a very good bargain for what you get for the $$.
Thank you for the comment. It's great to hear reaffirming comments! Also, at first I did not even think about riding in no-so-good weather, but it seems like cross bike can handle that as well. Truly versatile!
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Old 08-21-12, 10:36 PM
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I am VERY defensive about my C-X bike. Ellsworth Roots. It is my do everything bomber. I absolutely love my carbon, road-sex, ultralite Hollywood bling machine. But the Roots gets 4 times the miles in a year.

It is my commuter, rain bike, winter training bike and general go-to weapon of war. Heck, it even did a short track mountain bike race this year.

With equivelant wheels / tires, the C-X bike is within a couple lbs. of my road bike. No big deal.

I run a single ring up front, but common C-X gearing (if there is such a thing) is a 46t big ring. Combined with an 11t small cog in the rear should give you plenty of top end to hang with all but the very fastest group rides.

If you have to go with just one. Make it a C-X bike with a second set of NICE road wheels.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Cross bikes really aren't all that different from road bikes. With a set of road wheels, skinny tires, and a more aggressive fit, it'll be about the same speed as a road bike.
This. It is about the engine. I run a compact crank on mine, same as my road bike. 32c tires and I race it / Skinny tires and I ride it on the road. Two sets of wheels are nice.

I wouldn't hesitate to have disc brakes. Very slight weight penalty and if you are going to get wet n muddy they are nice to have.
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Old 08-22-12, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
I am VERY defensive about my C-X bike. Ellsworth Roots. It is my do everything bomber. I absolutely love my carbon, road-sex, ultralite Hollywood bling machine. But the Roots gets 4 times the miles in a year.

It is my commuter, rain bike, winter training bike and general go-to weapon of war. Heck, it even did a short track mountain bike race this year.

With equivelant wheels / tires, the C-X bike is within a couple lbs. of my road bike. No big deal.

I run a single ring up front, but common C-X gearing (if there is such a thing) is a 46t big ring. Combined with an 11t small cog in the rear should give you plenty of top end to hang with all but the very fastest group rides.

If you have to go with just one. Make it a C-X bike with a second set of NICE road wheels.
+1
I have 2 CX i run 1 @ 46/36,& the other 50/34/compact.
I love my roadie but my CX's get most of my kms too.
CX over hybrid any day!!!
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Old 08-22-12, 02:13 PM
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It's definitely more versatile than a road bike. Handles slower (differently than a road bike) because of the geometry- taller, longer and more relaxed than a road bike. Less top end compared to a road bike if you run typical CX gearing as others have mentioned.

I'll ride the CX bike with knobbies over the road bike during the week because I don't care as much if it gets wet or dirty. That and I can decide to ride some fire roads in a local wildlife preserve while I'm out if the mood hits. It's great for paved, gravel, hardpack, grass and dirt roads. Not the best in soft, sandy areas. I've ridden it at the local MTB park also. It works fine for beginner and intermediate trails but will beat you to death on the blacks.

Last edited by saratoga; 08-22-12 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
I am VERY defensive about my C-X bike. Ellsworth Roots. It is my do everything bomber. I absolutely love my carbon, road-sex, ultralite Hollywood bling machine. But the Roots gets 4 times the miles in a year.

It is my commuter, rain bike, winter training bike and general go-to weapon of war. Heck, it even did a short track mountain bike race this year.

With equivelant wheels / tires, the C-X bike is within a couple lbs. of my road bike. No big deal.

I run a single ring up front, but common C-X gearing (if there is such a thing) is a 46t big ring. Combined with an 11t small cog in the rear should give you plenty of top end to hang with all but the very fastest group rides.

If you have to go with just one. Make it a C-X bike with a second set of NICE road wheels.
Thanks! cross bike sounds like do-it-all universal dream machine!

Originally Posted by Hunt-man View Post
This. It is about the engine. I run a compact crank on mine, same as my road bike. 32c tires and I race it / Skinny tires and I ride it on the road. Two sets of wheels are nice.

I wouldn't hesitate to have disc brakes. Very slight weight penalty and if you are going to get wet n muddy they are nice to have.
Gotta start on some training to get engine in better shape.

Originally Posted by Ghost Ryder View Post
+1
I have 2 CX i run 1 @ 46/36,& the other 50/34/compact.
I love my roadie but my CX's get most of my kms too.
CX over hybrid any day!!!
Can you please explain the difference between 46/36 and 50/34? Sorry for stupid question.

Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
It's definitely more versatile than a road bike. Handles slower (differently than a road bike) because of the geometry- taller, longer and more relaxed than a road bike. Less top end compared to a road bike if you run typical CX gearing as others have mentioned.

I'll ride the CX bike with knobbies over the road bike during the week because I don't care as much if it gets wet or dirty. That and I can decide to ride some fire roads in a local wildlife preserve while I'm out if the mood hits. It's great for paved, gravel, hardpack, grass and dirt roads. Not the best in soft, sandy areas. I've ridden it at the local MTB park also. It works fine for beginner and intermediate trails but will beat you to death on the blacks.
Great! Those are all types of roads I want to ride!

*********

Thank you so much for all informative and positive comments. I just went to LBS and ordered Cannondale CAADX 6 Tiagra.
Should get it next week.
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Old 08-22-12, 05:34 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Bumer View Post
Can you please explain the difference between 46/36 and 50/34? Sorry for stupid question.
The bigger the front ring the faster you'll go for the same rate of pedaling with the same size gear in back. The smaller the front ring the easier it is to keep turning it.

This link visualizes gearing for 50-34:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2

This link visualizes gearing for 46-36:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2

Note the speeds above each triangle.

My all-around bike is a Kona Jake, which has a 50-39-30 triple. I think for your purposes that might be better (as hilly trails tend to encourage lower gears and group road rides tend to encourage higher gears). Here's what the 50-39-30 would look like:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2


BTW, I rode around for years using a CX bike as my "road" bike. When I finally got a true road bike, I found it was no faster at all. Maybe with someone else riding it, it would be.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:51 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
The bigger the front ring the faster you'll go for the same rate of pedaling with the same size gear in back. The smaller the front ring the easier it is to keep turning it.

This link visualizes gearing for 50-34:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2

This link visualizes gearing for 46-36:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2

Note the speeds above each triangle.

My all-around bike is a Kona Jake, which has a 50-39-30 triple. I think for your purposes that might be better (as hilly trails tend to encourage lower gears and group road rides tend to encourage higher gears). Here's what the 50-39-30 would look like:

https://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=3...5&UF=2099&SL=2


BTW, I rode around for years using a CX bike as my "road" bike. When I finally got a true road bike, I found it was no faster at all. Maybe with someone else riding it, it would be.
Thanks for the explanation!

Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
It's definitely more versatile than a road bike. Handles slower (differently than a road bike) because of the geometry- taller, longer and more relaxed than a road bike. Less top end compared to a road bike if you run typical CX gearing as others have mentioned.

I'll ride the CX bike with knobbies over the road bike during the week because I don't care as much if it gets wet or dirty. That and I can decide to ride some fire roads in a local wildlife preserve while I'm out if the mood hits. It's great for paved, gravel, hardpack, grass and dirt roads. Not the best in soft, sandy areas. I've ridden it at the local MTB park also. It works fine for beginner and intermediate trails but will beat you to death on the blacks.
I don't find my CX's slower @ all, I actually find myslef going faster/pushing harder on my CX than my roadie.
Even though my CX is substantially heavier, I feel climb better/fast with the compact gearing, & corner quicker with the higher BB. Less likely to encounter pedal stike.(Even though I have a few times)
I even have Gatorskins, & Armadillos both of which are know as heavy/slow tires.
Yes I love my roadie, but I put most of my KMs on my CX. I think when I get everything tweaked, & get a better feel for the standard gearing on my roadie, I'll be logging more KMs. With the weather being nice lately, I do ride my roadie as much as my body can handle.
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Old 08-23-12, 12:05 AM
  #25  
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My redline is great on the road and shockingly capable offroad. Before owning it, I was skeptical about using a cx bike on the road but it's totally possible. They're stiff and climb well. And then there's stuff like tire and fender clearance, the ability to use v-brakes or discs, tire versatility. You could easily have a couple wheelsets with different kinds of tires (tubulars are better for cross racing, a tubular set with some challenge tires and a clincher set for road use would be ideal IMO, or if you live somewhere with snow you'll need clinchers to mount your nokians on). To top it all off cx bikes are typically as light as a road bike or near enough.
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