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Disc brake cross bike and climbing

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Disc brake cross bike and climbing

Old 04-20-14, 04:51 PM
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mike12
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Disc brake cross bike and climbing

I recently crashed my "climbing" bike & pretty much totaled it. I have another bike that I use for the flats and shorter rides. I really like this set up so I don't have to change gearing all the time.

I also like doing the gravel fundo's that are popular & had been using my climbing bike for those events. On some of the descents I'd been wanting disc brakes just for piece of mind - feeling of safety on the steep, gravel descents.

I'm thinking of getting a carbon cross bike with disc brakes as my climbing bike. Any serious issues with this? I know it'd weigh a little more, but that's about the only negative I can think of. I'd be using this bike for the gravel fundo's, mountain centuries and joy rides.
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Old 04-20-14, 05:05 PM
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For me, the benefit to a cross bike (if you are not racing cross) is the multi-functional nature and being able to add fenders, racks, etc. I'm not sure carbon cross bikes have that ability. Maybe some do. However, a mixed purpose cross/climbing bike sounds like a not ideal mix. My road bike IS my climbing/descending/flats/fast bike. If I wanted to ride gravel roads or anytime I need to carry more stuff I'd take my aluminum cross bike.
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Old 04-20-14, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
For me, the benefit to a cross bike (if you are not racing cross) is the multi-functional nature and being able to add fenders, racks, etc. I'm not sure carbon cross bikes have that ability. Maybe some do. However, a mixed purpose cross/climbing bike sounds like a not ideal mix. My road bike IS my climbing/descending/flats/fast bike. If I wanted to ride gravel roads or anytime I need to carry more stuff I'd take my aluminum cross bike.
Your thoughts are what I was afraid of, but I'm trying to avoid 3 road bikes. Like I said, I have one street bike for flats (it's an aero bike & not really geared for any mountain events) so do want another bike for the mountains. Maybe I should split the money I'd spend on the carbon cross bike and get a relatively cheap carbon road bike for the climbing bike and buy a cheap aluminum cross bike for the gravel rides. I was thinking that I'd rather get one top notch cross bike if it would serve two purposes.
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Old 04-20-14, 05:38 PM
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I have been looking for a similar bike and have pretty much settled on a Diamondback RCX Pro Disc. The reviews say it weighs 18.15 lbs in the disc version for a 56 cm and it has rack mounts too.
SRAM Force drivetrain with FSA carbon cockpit. 11 speed too. Yes, the frame is aluminum but the reviews also suggest that the ride is not harsh.

I just need to find the time to swing by my LBS and place an order.
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Old 04-20-14, 06:01 PM
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So do you have a decent road bike, with gearing appropriate for where you ride? That'd be #1

I have a CX bike- aluminum but higher end- no eyelets, etc. Good back up for the road, and great for mixed pavement/fire road rides, and set up for mtn shoes so does town/errands too. Knobbies in the winter, and fatter slicks when it's dry. No fenders.

If you want disk brakes because you want them, fine, but the reason to have them on a CX bike is more about mud than stopping power. Also the geometry tends to give you a more upright position so less favorable at road speeds.

Last edited by woodcraft; 04-20-14 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 04-20-14, 06:11 PM
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My thinking is your bike planning is not ideal. In other words, a good road bike is also a good climbing bike. I can't see much point in a climbing bike and a flat road bike (unless you want/need a TT bike). I'd just get a good road bike and not worry too much about disc although more are coming with disc. Get an aluminum CX bike if you need something for gravel roads, bad weather, commuting, etc.
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Old 04-20-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post

If you want disk brakes because you want them, fine, but the reason to have them on a CX bike is more about mud than stopping power. Also the geometry tends to give you a more upright position so less favorable at road speeds.
Interesting about the purpose of the brakes. I thought the discs had better stopping power. If not, I'm not hung up on them.

I've got a good aero, road bike that I use for the small amount of races that I enter and the faster group rides. The gearing on it just won't work on some of the mountain centuries & such so that's why I really need (as a matter of convenience) at least 2 road bikes.
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Old 04-20-14, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mike12 View Post
I recently crashed my "climbing" bike & pretty much totaled it. I have another bike that I use for the flats and shorter rides. I really like this set up so I don't have to change gearing all the time.

I also like doing the gravel fundo's that are popular & had been using my climbing bike for those events. On some of the descents I'd been wanting disc brakes just for piece of mind - feeling of safety on the steep, gravel descents.

I'm thinking of getting a carbon cross bike with disc brakes as my climbing bike. Any serious issues with this? I know it'd weigh a little more, but that's about the only negative I can think of. I'd be using this bike for the gravel fundo's, mountain centuries and joy rides.
You might want to consider the Volagi Liscio or Viaje. I have the Liscio and it's great at descending with its disc brakes. It's also very smooth over the crappy roads around here. I have 28 mm tires, but I'm sure that it can handle something wider.

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Old 04-20-14, 08:19 PM
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Cross bike with V-brakes will be lighter and just as good in all those applications. Disc brakes are for the wet.
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Old 04-20-14, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mike12 View Post
...

I also like doing the gravel fundo's that are popular & had been using my climbing bike for those events. On some of the descents I'd been wanting disc brakes just for piece of mind - feeling of safety on the steep, gravel descents.

...
i always thought that disc brakes had their advantages, but stopping on gravel was not one of them. after all, it's much easier to lock up a wheel on gravel (essentially unround marbles) than on tarmac. and locking up a wheel would not be what i was looking for on a descent. others may, and no doubt will, disagree.

OTOH, i don't think there is anything i would object to about buying a carbon cross bike.
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Old 04-20-14, 08:54 PM
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If I was forced to have only one bike, it would be a carbon, disc braked CX bike.
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Old 04-20-14, 09:49 PM
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IF you want the versatility of big tires, racks, and easy fenders, take a look at a Novara Strada at REI. I was looking at cross bikes but ended up preferring the versatility of the Strada. It's got a ton of frame clearance and long-reach brakes; I have 35mm tires on it now but it'd easily go way bigger. It's got all the frame eyelets you need. Carbon fork and a 10-speed compact 105 drivetrain- there's your climbing gearing. $11XX bucks.

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Old 04-20-14, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
i always thought that disc brakes had their advantages, but stopping on gravel was not one of them. after all, it's much easier to lock up a wheel on gravel (essentially unround marbles) than on tarmac. and locking up a wheel would not be what i was looking for on a descent. others may, and no doubt will, disagree.
WHERE do people get this idea that disc brakes are all or nothing? If that were true, why would they come standard on mountain bikes?

OP, the advantage of disc brakes is in their modulation, the quality of braking control. The reason disc brakes are so good in wet conditions is that they don't have to scrape one rotation's worth of water from a wet rim before braking can start. That doesn't mean you won't also have great control in dry conditions, or mud, or gravel dust. FWIW, I run disc brakes on my gravelbike and wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 04-20-14, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Jiggle View Post
Cross bike with V-brakes will be lighter and just as good in all those applications. Disc brakes are for the wet.
The weight differences will be next to nothing in the very near future.

Discs are for modulation and also work better in the wet.
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Old 04-20-14, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mike12 View Post
Interesting about the purpose of the brakes. I thought the discs had better stopping power. If not, I'm not hung up on them.

I've got a good aero, road bike that I use for the small amount of races that I enter and the faster group rides. The gearing on it just won't work on some of the mountain centuries & such so that's why I really need (as a matter of convenience) at least 2 road bikes.
Could this be addressed with a specific set of wheels and cassette instead of a complete bike?
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Old 04-21-14, 12:16 AM
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Yeah, I could see you being really happy with a bike like that.

28c tires roll OK on the road, & good on less than sloppy off-road at lower pressure.
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Old 04-21-14, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Could this be addressed with a specific set of wheels and cassette instead of a complete bike?
It could but I'd need to change the chain each time also due to the ratio differences. I tried this for a while, but I just don't enjoy changing everything out all the time. It's very common for me to want to ride each bike at least once a week. Also, my road bike has carbon wheels so there's brake pads to change also. The second bike is truly a luxury item/matter of convenience.
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Old 04-21-14, 07:08 AM
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If you already have a road boke you like, why not just pick up a climbng cassette for it?
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Old 04-21-14, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
The weight differences will be next to nothing in the very near future.

I know two brands who already have road specific disc calipers in development that will weigh only a handful of grams more than current road brakes.

We are developing a disc specific carbon rim with excellent aero properties that are lighter than their rim brake equivalents.

Brake levers are a no-brainer.

So yeah, I guess you can thank Obama for disc equipped bikes only slightly heavier than current bikes using rim brakes.
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Old 04-21-14, 07:42 AM
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I don't see the big problem with your original idea if you don't mind a little extra weight. However, you don't necessarily need a cross bike if all you want is disc brakes. More road bikes are coming out with them. As mentioned, Volagi was the original and if I were looking for a new bike it would be near the top of my list. It fits 28s if you use a wider tire on your gravel rides.
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Old 04-21-14, 08:42 AM
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A typical CX bike is also likely to have a higher BB (i.e. less BB drop) for increased clearance vs. a typical road bike. You'll have to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
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Old 04-21-14, 08:54 AM
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I have always liked having two road bikes that are set up for somewhat different purposes. A cross bike is more of an all rounder than a typical road bike so it is a great choice for a 2d bike and it typically comes with gearing that better suited for climbing.
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Old 04-21-14, 08:57 AM
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Can we just apply the rule of n+1 and move on?
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Old 04-21-14, 07:12 PM
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A Trek Chronus Ultimate CX has clearance for at least 32mm tires and has rack/fender eyelets. Depending on the wheels, it can do gravel grinders or a uphill TT.

Decked out with top of the line components and robust wheels, mine is a 16 pound bike. I'm 6'3'' and a Clyde. YMMV.
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