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Should I consider buying a cyclocross bike?

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Should I consider buying a cyclocross bike?

Old 11-30-12, 08:26 PM
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TakingMyTime
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Should I consider buying a cyclocross bike?

My wife and I are building up to about 2 - 25mi rides on the weekend. I'm looking into buying a couple of new bikes when Spring arrives ($1200 each max) and after looking at some "Fitness" bikes and "Road" bikes I'm starting to think a Cyclocross bike be a little better suited to our riding needs.

We're not speed demons and we ride for the pleasure of it. We ride on pretty good roads here in Southern California but due to a little bit of an anxiety regarding flats and breaking down... the CX frames I'm seeing appear to be a bit more sturdy. I don't mind the 32mm tires that come with most of them (this actually seems to be a sweet spot for me), I'm thinking this might be the way to go. They also seem to have lots of room for upgrading, so I'm just looking for thoughts on going this way.

Thanks,
TMT
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Old 11-30-12, 09:06 PM
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There's nothing about the riding you do that calls for a cyclocross bike. Get road bikes, just make sure you get road bikes that can fit the wider tires (28-32mm) that you want. You'll have somewhat lighter bikes, road tires, brakes that are easier to adjust and less likely to go out of adjustment in the first place.
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Old 11-30-12, 09:36 PM
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Cross bikes are fine for your purposes. They really aren't that different than road bikes. They can take wider tires, fenders, and racks, and a little more suited for rough roads, that's about it.

However, I'd say that almost any bike in your price range will be equally robust. The best thing you can do is get flat-resistant tires (e.g. Gatorskins, Armadillos) and keep the bikes tuned up.
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Old 11-30-12, 09:56 PM
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Sounds like a touring bike might suit.
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Old 11-30-12, 10:09 PM
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Real cross bikes have higher bottom brackets and slower steering than road bikes. That makes sense for 'cross but makes the road handling not as good as a real road bike. And you or your wife might find the additional reach from the saddle to the ground annoying.

I've ridden some of the worst pavement on offer in SoCal on my expensive carbon racing bike with narrow tires. It's not a problem.
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Old 11-30-12, 11:17 PM
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I would suggest that you guys checkout Motobecane's Fantom Cross Outlaw below:

www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/outlaw.htm
(Get the brushed silver/aluminum)

Also checkout the Surly Cross Check at Universal Cycles:

www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=3296

* If you're planning on remaining within the 25 mile range, I'd suggest that you also think about either the Jamis Coda Comp ($700) or the Jamis Coda Elite ($1000).

The Codas will take up to 38mm tires and can be equipped with both rack and fenders, just like the other bikes named above.

Last edited by SlimRider; 12-01-12 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 12-01-12, 12:24 AM
  #7  
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My first road bike in 30 years was a CX bike. I commute on it now, but for the first season it was my road bike. I liked it. The geometry was good, nice to be able to ride wider tires (28's), is nice that I have attachment points for racks, fenders, etc. A really nice bike, was a steal for the price. You can get a full CX bike at Nashbar for a good price - with 105 components.

The CX bike is very, very versatile, allowing you to ride on the road or on the trail. Or even the CX course. It isn't a poor compromise like a hybrid, but is rather a really nice bike that has a wide range of functions in which it performs really, really well.
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Old 12-01-12, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by david58 View Post

You can get a full CX bike at Nashbar for a good price - with 105 components.
+1

The Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike is a really great bargain at $750, since you not only get a chromoly steel frame, but also a CF/Chromoly combo fork, and 105 componentry too!

www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_526536_-1__202339

Last edited by SlimRider; 12-01-12 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:50 AM
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I have a cross bike that I use for racing cross and occasionally riding offload. It's ok for riding on the road, but I way prefer riding a road bike when riding on the road.

Unless you want the flexibility of riding of road, look for a road bike that can take a bit wider tire.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:51 AM
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No
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Old 12-01-12, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
No
I mean yes
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Old 12-01-12, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
I mean yes
No, I know, make that no. No for sure.
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Old 12-01-12, 07:53 AM
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I just bought the Specialized Crux Elite for exactly the same purpose as what you describe. It's marketed as a cyclocross racer, but I'm using it as a recreational/fitness bike and it's perfect for me. It's fast enough that I don't feel like I'm pushing an anvil, but the 34mm tires make it ideal for the rough and tumble world of city riding. Specialized also makes a similar bike in their Tricross line that comes with a slightly more relaxed geometry and eyelets for racks and fenders. That might be an even more suitable bike.

Here's the Crux:
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Old 12-01-12, 08:58 AM
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I've got one. It's become my commuter/daytrip with friends bike. It's served me well to carry a pannier with lunch and tools while playing "soccer mom" for large group rides with newbies. It's also gotten a lot 'better' as I've trickled down components from my main bikes to it as they have been upgraded and modernized.

it's not the fastest on the 37mm tires, but it's not the slowest either. And damn comfy.



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Old 12-01-12, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
No
Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
No, I know, make that no. No for sure.
If you find yourself in agreement with Surgeonstone, then continue reading...

Should you decide not to invest in CX bikes, but to go the way of the traditional road bike, then I would suggest that you go to performancebike.com and get one of the Fuji Roubaix road bikes. There's the 2012 Endurance Fuji Roubaix 1 road bike for $1000 and there's also the Racing Fuji Roubaix 2 for $1000, as well.

Last edited by SlimRider; 12-01-12 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 12-01-12, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Real cross bikes have higher bottom brackets and slower steering than road bikes. That makes sense for 'cross but makes the road handling not as good as a real road bike..
The difference MAY be a millimeter or two difference in BB drop. Granted some CX bikes have more like 62mm of drop, but the general trend of CX geometry is closing with road.

Slower steering? Head tube angles vary, but are normally the same on a CX bike as any comfort bike such as a Roubaix. Perhaps a degree less than a race bike. The chainstays and wheelbase will also be a few mm longer on a CX bike.

Does this mean a road bike handles "not as good"? No. It means it MAY handle differently than a race bike and more like a comfort bike. Likely more stable and predictable. Which for the OPs use may be better.

CX bikes are the most versatile rigs ever. One can ride big fat tires for trails and comfort. Then the next day, put on race wheels and skinny tires and go race road.
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Old 12-01-12, 10:13 AM
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i dont have my road bike at the moment so i have to ride my cx bike. It's not bad, but i like my road bike a hell of a lot more for road related activities. (the cx bike does ride like butter though, which is nice).
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Old 12-01-12, 10:23 AM
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Actually I have thought of getting a cross bike for winter riding. I currently use my road bike but it is less than ideal for the job. I have looked at the Scott and Jamis cross bikes at the entry level, roughly 1000 dollars which, considering I ride Campy Record, would probably save me in the long run.
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Old 12-01-12, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
My wife and I are building up to about 2 - 25mi rides on the weekend. I'm looking into buying a couple of new bikes when Spring arrives ($1200 each max) and after looking at some "Fitness" bikes and "Road" bikes I'm starting to think a Cyclocross bike be a little better suited to our riding needs.

We're not speed demons and we ride for the pleasure of it. We ride on pretty good roads here in Southern California but due to a little bit of an anxiety regarding flats and breaking down... the CX frames I'm seeing appear to be a bit more sturdy. I don't mind the 32mm tires that come with most of them (this actually seems to be a sweet spot for me), I'm thinking this might be the way to go. They also seem to have lots of room for upgrading, so I'm just looking for thoughts on going this way.

Thanks,
TMT
I have 10 bikes I rotate through, including my carbon Roubaix. My cx bikes have always been my favorite all-arounders, they can be set up from touring to semi-fast road...it's up to you. 23mm tire with lightweight wheels or 32mm tires w/36h eggbeater wheelsets, they'll work with everything. - You might wish to avoid a legit cx racer, but most of cx in bike stores aren't hardcore cx racers, they are configured as more of a do-everything bike. If they have rack eyelets on the rear you'll know you are good to go. Mine are/were aluminum with carbon forks, not too heavy and no road buzz. I think I found my Fuji, now sold, for $425 at a LBS close-out...then got a Specialized. If I was in the market and price conscious I would seriously consider one of the Motobecanes at BikeDirect, as shown below.

Last edited by FrenchFit; 12-01-12 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 12-01-12, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post

We're not speed demons and we ride for the pleasure of it. We ride on pretty good roads here in Southern California but due to a little bit of an anxiety regarding flats and breaking down... the CX frames I'm seeing appear to be a bit more sturdy. I don't mind the 32mm tires that come with most of them (this actually seems to be a sweet spot for me)
I don't think 32mm tires will flat less than 23mm or 25mm tires, especially if you are riding on good roads. Investing in good tires with flat protection can help prevent flats but not always. (Continental Gatorskins, GP4000's etc) 25mm tires are a good choice and will fit on any road bike.

As far as breaking down.... just doesn't happen that much. Doesn't matter if it is a cross or road bike. Bikes are sturdy and components are good.

So my suggestion is get bikes that fit and ride them. Either a cross or a road bike. Both will suit your needs.
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Old 12-01-12, 10:39 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by surgeonstone View Post
Actually I have thought of getting a cross bike for winter riding. I currently use my road bike but it is less than ideal for the job. I have looked at the Scott and Jamis cross bikes at the entry level, roughly 1000 dollars which, considering I ride Campy Record, would probably save me in the long run.
Thats the real reason i have one. I hate racing cross.
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Old 12-01-12, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
Thats the real reason i have one. I hate racing cross.
Would like the extra clearance for knobbies.
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Old 12-01-12, 06:32 PM
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Hey Dan - that is one sweet Motobecane!
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Old 12-01-12, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hunt-man View Post
I don't think 32mm tires will flat less than 23mm or 25mm tires, especially if you are riding on good roads. Investing in good tires with flat protection can help prevent flats but not always. (Continental Gatorskins, GP4000's etc) 25mm tires are a good choice and will fit on any road bike.
But if riding on crap roads, no.
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Old 12-01-12, 09:12 PM
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I have a CX (Specialized Crux) I bought two years ago for winter riding, training after dark (thinking the wider tires might do better on potholes and road cracks), and CX racing (which I haven't done yet). Compared to my road bikes, it's slower especially in handling, feels sluggish, but handles winter conditions, including cinders and sand better. I wouldn't want one as my only bike though.
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