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Tell me about cyclocross

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've been kicking around the idea of ditching my road bike and my mountain bike and going for a cyclocross bike. I think most of the trails I ride on would be fine with a bike like that, and it would make the paved road access portion way more fun. Any thoughts? Does anyone ride these things recreationally, or is it all about racing?

post #2 of 13

Personally, cyclocross bikes don't do anything well.  Can you ride a cross bike on dirt and mud?  Yeah..is it fun?  Not really.  Sure it's slightly better when getting TO the trails..but..is that a big consideration?  I think you have to seriously consider what kind of riding you are going to do most of the time and pick.  Most of us cycle for exercise..a slow mountain bike on the road is good exercise..so it may be the better mode for most of us.  And they're superior on dirt etc to a cross bike.  If you do asphalt only, well get a road bike.  You can ride a cross bike on the road but do you want to?  Again, it's a bit of a compromise.  Not as bad as riding it off road, but still a compromise.  There's a reason why 37 guys in Belgium are the only guys riding cross.  :D

post #3 of 13
I disagree with 'don't do anything well', they are great for dirt road rides.
post #4 of 13

My thoughts?  Personally,  I would drive 300km to the east and buy what I happen to believe is the best road bike.  Do a factory tour while I was there.  Then I would split my riding time between the Dolomites and Tuscany.  

 

Sorry, you asked about cyclocross.  

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

I disagree with 'don't do anything well', they are great for dirt road rides.


Yeah, I suppose that may be true. 

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 

  Personally,  I would drive 300km to the east and buy what I happen to believe is the best road bike.  Do a factory tour while I was there.  Then I would split my riding time between the Dolomites and Tuscany.  

 

 

That's sort of what I do now. Was just looking for something different. But from what I'm hearing here I guess I'll hang onto my road bike (I have one of these: http://www.talkcycling.co.uk/guides/ambrosio_bikes.html) and eventually get a hard tail for mtn biking, which will probably be more fun on the paved portion of my MTB rides than my full suspension. Cyclocross races do look fun, though. But I'm not interested in competition anyway, too much work. 

post #7 of 13

Have you considered (non-cross)  gravel/ 'Adventure Road'  bikes like the GT Grade?     You can shove CX tires in there and retain roady geometry.

post #8 of 13

Agreed.  A dedicated CX bike really isn't necessary unless you're racing.  

 

I would argue that cyclocross, gravel, adventure bike........they're quite similar, and one could be forgiven for splitting hairs to find the differences.  The reality is that a CX/gravel/adventure bike is the "all mountain" ski equivalent in the biking world.  It's not great at anything, except being good at most things.  Its versatility is its strength.  Is it as good on the pavement as a road bike?  No.  But put some 28mm rubber slicks on, and it's pretty darn good.  A criterium would be out of the question, but a sportive would be absolutely perfect.  Is a CX-ish/gravel/adventure bike as good on the trails as a mountain bike?  Not the gnarly stuff, no, but put some 33+mm knobby rubber on it, and it's pretty darn good at mud/gravel/dirt/etc trails.  

 

I think this type of bike EXCELS as a commuter bike.  Disc brakes, any choice of rubber, toss on some fenders, maybe a rear rack, and you've got a bike that can handle probably 90% of most conditions and weather you'd typically come across.

 

My CX-ish/gravel/adventure bike isn't as fast nor as fun as my carbon steed on the asphalt, but it certainly more comfortable and I can commute, bring snacks along, or toss on panniers and go for a day trip.  It's not as fun as my mountain bike on the trails, but I can hit the asphalt, then bump over the curb, onto the gravel trails, along the river and dirt, and then back on the road for home without missing a beat.  It's fast overall, versatile, safe, and comfortable.  Its strength is that it's not really bad at much, and is very respectable at most.

 

If I had to only keep just ONE bike (oh, the agony!!!), it would pain me to lose my carbon steed and suspension rides, but my CX-ish/gravel/adventure bike would honestly be the one I'd keep.  I could still do group rides on the road, commute, and hit some decent trails.  2 sets of tires (maybe wheels), and I could theoretically ride it almost year 'round in most conditions I would encounter.

 

I'm now looking at getting another set of tires for the Fall mud/leaves/trail rides, maybe some snow if I'm lucky.

post #9 of 13

If you're looking at buying bikes..cuz ya can..go for it.  Personally, I like off-road riding and riding a cross bike off-road is miserable.  Period.  Riding a mountain bike on-road can be tolerable..slow..but what the heck..you're riding and it's not THAT bad.  I can see a cross bike on fire roads..dirt roads..that makes sense..good change of hand positions, wider tires, more clearance, longer wheelbase.  And if you're doing a mix of asphalt and dirt, yeah, that works.  But don't kid yourself about going off-road.  They're terrible.

post #10 of 13
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

 

...

 

I think this type of bike EXCELS as a commuter bike.

 

...

 

My CX-ish/gravel/adventure bike isn't as fast nor as fun as my carbon steed on the asphalt, but it certainly more comfortable and I can commute, bring snacks along, or toss on panniers and go for a day trip.  It's not as fun as my mountain bike on the trails, but I can hit the asphalt, then bump over the curb, onto the gravel trails, along the river and dirt, and then back on the road for home without missing a beat.  It's fast overall, versatile, safe, and comfortable.  Its strength is that it's not really bad at much, and is very respectable at most.

Yes!

 

I've got an early-2000s Trek XO-1, bought new, specifically for commuting and weekend road/trail rides.  Stiff frame, upright geometry, takes a wider tire, all of which I wanted.

 

Newer, higher-end cross bikes are a lot less attractive.  For commuting, I don't want carbon anything, don't want radial-spoke wheels (or any wheel with fewer than 36 spokes).  Day after day of climbing hills and pounding over sometimes crappy pavement (or curbs) under my 220 lbs puts a strong premium on stiffness, strength, and durability.

 

It's not a go-fast road bike (I had an old Tommaso for a while, but had to give it back :(), not a mountain bike, but it has been great as a commuter/utility bike.

post #11 of 13

I have a friend who rides cyclocross. He's in amazing shape with legs of steel. His go slow days are my fast days. I was surprised at the skill level needed to ride his cyclocross bike on our local MTB trails. Some of these guys have skills. I find this amazing. 

 

 

post #12 of 13

Some mad skillz right there on the steps, sweeeet!

 

Here's another amazing display of skills: CX in Whistler bike park.  Check out the looks he gets by all the MTB'ers LOL.

 

 


Edited by Gunnerbob - 9/22/15 at 4:33pm
post #13 of 13

I used to do catwalks on my road bikes.  Endos..bunny hops..curb hops..stairs..yeah, I could do it.  Was it as much fun as on a mountain bike?  Nope.  Challenging and rewarding when you can do it.  But horses for courses. 

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