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OK, I'm a convert(14 posts)

OK, I'm a convertRay Sachs
May 16, 2001 9:10 AM
I'm one of the folks (sounds like several of us) who just got a Poprad. This is my first cross bike after doing a lot of road and mountain biking over the past 5-6 years. I've previously ridden off-road on a hardtail, a short travel FS mtb, and a rigid all-rounder with touring bike geometry but 26" wheels that could take full size mtb knobbies.

I went for my first off-road ride on the Poprad a couple of days ago (plenty of dirt roads over the weekend, but no singletrack). Understand, I'm not a great technical rider to begin with, so I tend not to ride the super technical trails around here, but roots and the occasional rock are unavoidable. I was real concerned that the Poprad would be a LOT less forgiving than the other bikes I've ridden on these trails.


In the most technical portions, I had to put a foot down or hop off a couple of times, but I was able to ride almost everything I could ride on the hardtail and everything I could ride on the all-rounder. The difference was the SPEED of the cross bike. Man, I've never climbed that fast or easily on these trails. On the rollers and flat, the bike just screams with much less effort than an mtb. Going downhill was a little sketchier, but not by much and I was still able to handle everything at a pretty good speed.

I knew I'd like it for road and dirt roads, but I had no idea I'd like it that much on the single-track. What a great ride!

Disclaimer - the conditions were bone dry, so traction was only an issue in some gravel and when the trail got crazy steep. I imagine the cross-bike would be at more of a disadvantage if it was muddier.

-Ray "hooked!" Sachs
welcome, going to race? It's wild fun!! Try it (nm)climbo
May 16, 2001 10:44 AM
Welcome on boardmuncher
May 16, 2001 10:44 AM
Word of advice though - sell the MTB before you loose it under a pile of dust somewhere...

Even in the wet/mud, put a good tyre on and away you go, and you tend to cut through the mud, rather than throwing it all around like on the MTB - there is no where I can go on my MTB that I can't go on the CX, and generally faster on average (slower down hill sometimes, but much faster on flat/uphill). To be fair, I've never raced MTBs, but ride some pretty rough trails I find that I just pick better routes/jump more of the rough stuff on the CX. With practice, you'll be flying everywhere, plus with a second set of wheels you have a good fast roadbike on hand too. Think about a set of top brake levers too, for even better copnfidence/control too....

Only disadvantage I find is that riding the MTB feels soooo slow and bulky now, but who cares?

Welcome on boardRay Sachs
May 16, 2001 11:44 AM
I'm almost sure to sell the all-rounder and I may have to sell the mtb too, but I'll have to ride the Poprad and MTB a few more times before I'm sure. Wow, you mean I can have this much fun AND convince my wife I'm being frugal all at the same time!?!?!? I can't get the bar top brake levers though - I hate being called a Fred in public :)

-Ray "probably won't race - I like my current set of illusions too
much to mess with them" Sachs
sell the MTB, never !!climbo
May 16, 2001 12:33 PM
seriously, I know what you mean but MTB's can go places that CX bikes cannot. Not sure where or what you ride but if you are a true MTB'er you wouldn't want to sell it. East Coast single track is NOT CX bike friendly, there is no way around the rocks and roots and drops and logs etc. etc. Mixing it up between road, MTB and CX and whatever else is all good fun for me, keeps me keen to ride all types of terrain.
May 17, 2001 2:49 AM
You can't do the same stuff at the same speed, but I mean I can go anywhere on the CX that I can on the MTB literally. Sure, you may have to take a very different aopproach - jump and hop about at slow speed at bit, not unlike motorbike trials riding, to tackle some stuff - but that, to my mind, is a lot more fun than hammering at everything with suspension - plus when you get back to a section of decent trail you can blast along to more than make up the speed. Don't get me wrong - I still ride the MTB - but usually only for novelty, or when I am out with slower riders and can use the comfort to just ease along. Ultimately, I have never come to a section of tral where I have said "I wish that I the MTB because I just can't get up/down/along that on my CX", so I guess that's the test.

Another great bit of fun is to go out with a bunch of MTBers who don't know the score, and hence smirk and raise eyebrows behind your back when they see your "roadbike with skinny knobblies" - and then toast them round the trails...

Anyway, who cares? - just have fun.
fun it is....climbo
May 17, 2001 6:22 AM
I rode a single speed CX bike for a while, that really put it up the MTB'ers. Some very puzzled looks on the trails. Should be interesting to see where the big wheel MTB craze will take off? Fisher is right behind it for next year production apparently.
sell the MTB, never !!Ray Sachs
May 17, 2001 7:49 AM
I ride in SE Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, but I'm not a "true MTB'er", although I like to go out and hit the trails from time to time. I'm much more of a roadie by nature and, even on a full-suspension rig, don't much like the super-technical rock-gardens that can be found around here. Even the relatively open, non-technical trails tend to have enough rocky and rooted sections to keep things interesting, but that's about all the punishment I'm really looking for. The super tech stuff I'll leave to the young kids who seem to like that kind of abuse :)

Most of the mountain biking I do CAN be handled well on a cross bike, as my firt couple of rides have shown me. Having to slow down a bit on the downhills and having to put my foot down a few more times than I might have on the mtb is a small price to pay for the incredible ease and speed on the rest of the ride. The time I'd still want a mountain bike (full suspension probably) is on a multi-day off-road tour where the punishment catches up with you over a few days and the cush really helps you keep riding. But I do those about once every several years and would probably be better off renting whatever the current state of the art is for those occasions rather than trying to maintain a full suspension rig I don't ride much and is quickly becoming obsolete anyway.

We'll see - I'm not selling anything based solely on first impressions, but it did get me thinking...

I ride the same stuff.look271
Jun 7, 2001 7:26 PM
I'm seriously considering trading the mtb for a 'cross. (see general board.) For most of what I'll use it for, a 'cross sounds like the way to go. Anyone know of any good buys on a 1k or less 'cross bike? I'm open to suggestions!
I ride the same stuff.look271
Jun 8, 2001 2:20 PM
Thanks, I'll check it out. I know what you mean about the exchange rates.I've been buying most of my stuff from or Great prices and reasonable (1 week or less) delivery time.
re: OK, I'm a convertlonefrontranger
May 16, 2001 2:41 PM
Yes, join the ranks! I agree with the other poster however when he said it depends what type of stuff you ride. Since moving to Boulder last December, I've only ridden my MTB twice, since the trails on the plains & foothills around here are mostly non-technical doubletrack and fire roads. My Redline 'cross bike is more than adequate for all but the most wicked rock gardens, and way faster and more fun. It's always nice to see the puzzled stares from the MTB guys I get to blow past, too. The only thing I miss is the front suspension on some of the long, bumpy descents, where I tend to get "Cookie-Monster" eyeballs going on (rolling around in my head) from the bumps.

I have a really nice Klein hardtail that will get used more often once the snow and mud has receded from the high mountain singletrack. And I understand that our local races are contested on much more technical trails than the ones I've been riding.

When I lived in Ohio, I could choose whether to take the Redline CX or the Klein to MTB races, and often I'd take both and decide after a recon lap. Since I'm a roadie by default, I did very well at the races where I used the Redline (not a lot of roots or dropoffs), as I could pretty much spank the competition. I even had a competitor protest that I was using an "illegal" bike, to the amusement of the official (an old-schooler like myself), who simply told the complaintant that the first MTBs WERE 'cross bikes. On fast, smooth singletrack you just cannot beat a 'cross bike for light weight, maneuverability and speed. In my experience, I think the larger wheel size gives you a much smoother ride overall, and you can often fit the skinny tires through lines where a fatty MTB tire would slip & squirrel around. You crash a lot faster though when you do make a mistake.

Enjoy, it sounds like you're in for a lot of fun.
watch your tire pressuregoathead
May 16, 2001 7:27 PM
I like yourself am new to cx. the bumpyness of the cx first troubled me and a mistakenly decided to lower my tire pressure (still in the acceptable range) to soften the blows. Do not do this. I've ended up with two dented rims. the rims arent too bad, but its somthing I could have avoided. I have 30mm tires. I now ride them maxed. Its bumpy but my wheels havent gotten worse.
well I'm off to my evening ride now. will
I hear ya Ray...PG
May 22, 2001 4:47 PM
I have been mountain biking in the SF Bay Area for several years and recently got a 'cross bike mainly to do road/off-road combo rides. My bike has very similar numbers to the Poprad and...when I finally really went off-road with it I was amazed at how smooth and fast it was. I passed a number of "serious" mountain bikers on a set of rolling climbs with no problems at all. I do tend to slow down a bit more on descents than I do on my front suspended mtb but, who knows, that may change in time. This is on decidedly non-technical terrain but it does have lots of small bumps and washboard, The 'cross just smooths that stuff out. I have been using Ritchey Mt. Cross (35's) and really like them on the dirt. May try some Michelin Sprints to.

Bottom line...the bike rocks.

michelin sprintsgoathead
May 23, 2001 7:42 PM
I tried the sprints because I live in a desert climate (boise) that has alot of hard-pack trails. Although Its tough to discern comparable tires, I liked riding specialized tri-cross (35mm) much better than the sprints (30mm). both tires have exactly the same diameter it is just a different measuring scheme. the sprints just dont hold enough traction even on the hardest dirt around. this my be the rubber compound but I dont know. the tires also felt harder even with less pressure in them.
I am not the expert on tires, this is just my experience.-----will