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Cyclocross bike for touring

Old 03-12-08, 10:55 AM
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Cyclocross bike for touring

Hey guys, I would like a road bike, but I also want a bike suitable for touring. I was wondering if a cyclocross bike could work for both. The cyclocross bike I'm looking at is a Redline CX-Pro. My touring would only consist of overnighters, so I wouldn't need to carry much weight, so probably just back panniers. The bike has rack eyelets, but the wheels don't have many spokes, so I thought I could buy some more sturdy wheels for when I tour.
Anyone else do something like this?
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Old 03-12-08, 11:04 AM
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You can tour on anything. Yes, weight and what you want to carry is important so be sure your bike can support what you want to carry, ie necessary eyelets and all. Spokes is only one point to look at.
Is a cyclecross bike necessary, no. But some like to travel with mountain bikes, so cyclecross is not out of the question if it is comfortable for you.
One of Treks most known touring bikes is a 520, 700c bike. It takes a good size tires and many people use it. But like stated previously, if you are looking at going for a wider tire, nothing wrong with cyclecross and the extra tire will be absorbing a lot of your bumps.
Spoke size, lacing, your weight, what you want to carry, all need to be looked at.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:27 AM
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I have the redline conquest pro frame and the carbon fork has no eyelets for racks/fenders, and in the rear there is just the one threaded hole above the dropouts. It's an awesome bike but I'm considering getting rid of it to get a more robust touring rig
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Old 03-12-08, 11:27 AM
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A cyclocross bike is the ultimate do anything bike and works well for an ultralight touring bike. It is lighter than a real touring bike but has much more flexibility with mounting wider tires and fenders. I would say to go for a cyclocross bike but keep your touring weight below 20 pounds. Avoid using a rack if you can.

I would use a 7-8 pound backpack and a large seat wedge for hotel credit card type tours. Done this way the riding is very fun, fast and carefree. If you are going to use panniers then I would not go with a cyclocross unless it is a steel frame. Panniers are not the best approach unless you are going heavy with large panniers.

You basically need to decide if the riding or the camping is more important to you. If the riding is the important part go as light as possible and get a rig for that purpose. If the camping is the important part for you then get a rig suitable for heavy loaded touring with panniers.

Last edited by Hezz; 03-12-08 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:51 AM
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You could also get a carradice seat bag, like the super c
https://www.wallbike.com/carradice/supercsaddlepack.html
or the SQR tour
https://www.wallbike.com/carradice/sqrbags.html
That combined with a handlebar bag should be enough space for credit card touring. If you are putting a rack on a cyclecross bike, try and get something that allows you to push the panniers back enough to avoid heel strike. The Jandd expedition rack is a good candidate:
https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FREXP
I put that on a cross check and didn't have heel strike issues.
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Old 03-12-08, 12:23 PM
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why not go all the way and use a fixie?
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Old 03-12-08, 12:32 PM
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I think you can use a cyclocross bike for more than just "real light" touring. Those frames are tough and stiff. If it can handle the abuse of a cyclocross event then I'm sure 50lbs of cargo will not be a problem. Think of it this way: If you weigh 180lbs would you not let your 230lb friend borrow your bike? It's all about weight distribution. If your bike lacks the proper pannier mount eyelets then go with a Bob trailer or the like.

Here's a shot of a cyclocross bike just like mine doing touring duty:

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Old 03-12-08, 12:59 PM
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A cyclocross (or mountain bike) is the best choice for touring if you don't want a dedicated bombproof touring bike. For light touring (i.e. small loads for short trips close to populated areas) it should be fine. I like cross bikes because they are excellent on and off the road, and as a commuter.

Some cross bikes already come with braze ons for racks.
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Old 03-12-08, 01:49 PM
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thanks for the help guys.
i'm not sold on the redline conquest yet, so i will be looking for other cyclocross bikes in the next few weeks, hoping to find one with a steel frame and some eyelets.
i would be carrying a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, and food, not much else. so a small set of panniers woudl probably work for me.
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Old 03-12-08, 02:53 PM
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Cyclocross bikes make great tourers. Here is mine.



Randy
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Old 03-12-08, 03:48 PM
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Here's my Gunnar Crosshairs:



The only reason I'm using a seat post rack is because I'd loaned/given my normal rear rack to my brother.

The bike worked OK, but it was a little jittery going downhill at 25 mph+.

Eric
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Old 03-12-08, 04:57 PM
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i'll be going cross country on my 'cross bike this summer. i have threaded eyelets at the dropouts only and can easily mount a rear rack and use the rubber coated c clamps that come with most racks or can be purchased as an accessory from blackburn to secure the rack to the upper area of the seat stays. no problem with 40+ lbs on the rear this way.

the comment about a lack of front fender mounts on the redline might be worth considering. if you go for any extended period and risk being in the rain, a front fender will make life much better.
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Old 03-12-08, 05:45 PM
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SOME cross bikes will make decent touring bikes, others will not.

Basically, if the bike is made for cross racing, it will be less than optimal. The geometry may be wrong and you may wind up with less than optimal parts, e.g. carbon fork, standard doubles, etc. Redline kinda looks like it's in that category to me. With low enough gearing (or an ultralight load) you'd be fine for a week.

If the bike is made for general purpose but has cross geometry, you're in good shape. There are a few of those, including the Bianchi Volpe, Surly Cross-Check etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that even with slick tires, a cross bike will be more comfortable than, but not as fast as, a standard every-day road bike. It might be a little snappier than a touring bike, but not much.
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Old 03-12-08, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
There are a few of those, including the Bianchi Volpe, Surly Cross-Check etc.
See Sheldon Brown's site on the Bianchi Volpe. A fair number of people seem to have successfully toured on the Volpe.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
A fair number of people seem to have successfully toured on the Volpe.
Before I got my Trek 520, I did most of my touring on a Volpe and loved it. The 520 is a little more comfortable over the long haul, but the Volpe never let me down. It usually cost less, too.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:51 PM
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Abby, have you ever had any issues with the spokes or rear wheel on your cyclocross touring bikes when loaded? I just wonder about the strength of the low spoke count wheels and moderate loads. Thanks
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Old 03-13-08, 12:14 AM
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Hi
I have toured several thousand kilometers on a Jamis nova . Changed the drivetrain to mountain bike gearing, and installed a shorter stem. Front and rear racks and panniers, probably 50+ lbs, and 180 lbs rider. Stock 36spoke ma3 rims and lx hubs. No problems so far
Cheers
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Old 09-01-08, 10:02 AM
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Has anyone who's ever used a CX bike for touring ever experienced problems with heel strike on the panniers? I had a cx frame with standard 43cm chainstays, and had this problem--but part of it may have been that the panniers I had then did not have a cutout for heels. I don't use a bob trailer or seatpost rack--standard rack with large panniers (these do have the cutout).

Rich
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Old 09-01-08, 11:19 AM
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I just did my first overnight trip with my Jake last night. It was a dry run for a 3 or 4 day trip down the C&O Canal next month. I had no heel-strike issues and no wheel problems. For those familiar with the C&O (especially near DC), I'd say that bodes pretty well for me.

Here it is loaded up with panniers, tent, and sleeping pad.

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Old 09-01-08, 04:58 PM
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Heal strike issues will vary tremendously from bike to bike, rider to rider, pannier to pannier. I rode down the Pacific Coast on an old Raleigh Technium mountain bike. I initially had heal strike problems but eventually figured out how to mount the panniers far enough back on the rack to minimize the problem. If my feet were even half a size bigger, I probably wouldn't have been able to fix the problem absent moving my pedals cleats further back on my shoes (which would have screwed up my spin). Try the bike first with a potential touring setup.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Richbiker
Has anyone who's ever used a CX bike for touring ever experienced problems with heel strike on the panniers? I had a cx frame with standard 43cm chainstays, and had this problem--but part of it may have been that the panniers I had then did not have a cutout for heels. I don't use a bob trailer or seatpost rack--standard rack with large panniers (these do have the cutout).

Rich
I use a Giant TCX 0 'cross as a touring bike - 43cm chainstays. I have an Axiom Streamliner Road rack that extends the heel clearance by 4 cm. With Axiom Typhoon or Monsoon panniers, I'm well clear with my size 45.5 Sidis.

I'm a big fan of cyclocross bikes - I have two wheelsets for it and I use it for everything from group rides with the bike club to medium-duty touring to single-track or pulling a Burley trailer on the rails trails with my daughter. I have other bikes, but it's so easy to grab this bike and never feel like I have the wrong bike no matter what I'm doing.

As with most jack of all trades, there are some compromises with using it as a touring bike. (The stock wheels were 16/18 spoke affairs and I needed to hunt around to find a rack that fit and gave me the heel clearance. The "B levers" had to come off so that I can mount a handle-bar bag. The front fork is carbon, compact gearing, etc.)

But, with a proper wheelset, it makes a perfectly capable tourer - I haven't taken it across the country, but our tour of New England last month (590 miles/seven days) was easily within the bike's comfort zone.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishy
I'm a big fan of cyclocross bikes - I have two wheelsets for it and I use it for everything from group rides with the bike club to medium-duty touring to single-track or pulling a Burley trailer on the rails trails with my daughter.
So does a different wheelset actually make the bike faster?

I've been riding a Cross-Check for awhile, and for the life of me can't figure out why it's slower than my road bike. Both weigh about the same, both use 100psi slicks (23's / 25's on the road, 28's on the cross), rider position is similar. I'm stumped....
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Old 09-01-08, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
So does a different wheelset actually make the bike faster?

I've been riding a Cross-Check for awhile, and for the life of me can't figure out why it's slower than my road bike. Both weigh about the same, both use 100psi slicks (23's / 25's on the road, 28's on the cross), rider position is similar. I'm stumped....
Wheel with lots of spokes has more wind drag from the wheel itself.
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Old 09-01-08, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
So does a different wheelset actually make the bike faster?

I've been riding a Cross-Check for awhile, and for the life of me can't figure out why it's slower than my road bike. Both weigh about the same, both use 100psi slicks (23's / 25's on the road, 28's on the cross), rider position is similar. I'm stumped....
The stock wheelset is definitely faster than the 36-spoke touring set up - it's a heck of a lot lighter and I assume they create less drag.

But no matter which wheels I use, the TCX is just not as fast as my carbon fiber Trek. In this case, I assume it's a matter of the cross bike being both heavier and having a more upright riding position. Harder to push it through the air with its wider fork and chain stays.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:19 AM
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i ride a redline conquest and it has worked rather well for touring / utility cycling. you can buy p clamps that will allow you to properly fit a rear rack. these are extremely stable with 40+ lbs. the major flaw with a cross bike is heal clearance. if your paniers aren't tapered you'l probably hit your heals.

the gearing on my bike was also fine. i ride a 50/34 and a 12-27. I was fine on some ~12+% grade hills although i was only climbing a few hundred feet. i found that i never used my easiest gears. It might be different if you have to go up a few thousand feet though.
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