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What is the difference between cross & touring bikes(4 posts)

What is the difference between cross & touring bikeskilimanjaro
May 1, 2002 2:03 PM
I am thinking about a custom steel cross frame with relaxed geometry and low bottom bracket for stability, since I am looking more for a all around bike and would use it on difficult trails.

In this scenario what seperate a touring bike and a cross bike besides extra panier brazeons for the touring bike. I am just curious.
chainstays for onebk19
May 2, 2002 6:53 AM
The chainstays on a cross bike are typically 425-435mm in length, while a "true" touring bike can be upwards of 450mm. The longer chainstays lenghten the wheelbase adding to the bikes stability. This is great when you are carrying around a full set of loaded panniers, but not so great when trying to negotiate a cross course or trails (slower handling). To see the difference firsthand check Fuji's website ( and compare their Touring and Cross models. In a 54cm frame, the touring model has a 10mm longer chainstays and a 44mm longer wheelbase.

Now some bikes have been labeled as "light touring" bikes should be more than adequate. The Jamis Nova comes to mind as a bike that is marketed as both a light touring and a cross bike. Since you specify that you are interested in using it on difficult trails, I would suggest avoiding a true touring frame, but some of the light touring frames might fit the bill.

This is just off the top of my head, and I'm sure others can add to this and give you additional differences.
Weight...The Walrus
May 2, 2002 11:38 AM an almost unavoidable difference, if you're talking about a bike for loaded touring. Frame tubing will be a heavier gauge, especially the top tube, to prevent shimmy when loaded, particularly on fast descents. Handling is a bit more, ummmm, casual--a purpose-built touring bike's primary asset is stability.
re: What is the difference between cross & touring bikesjpa
May 2, 2002 6:09 PM
Generalizations about cross bikes:
taller BB height (better pedal clearance on terrain), top tube cable routing (keeps the mud away), no water bottle mounts (no need-multi-lap races with water stations), light weight & stiff, slacker geometry (stability), 42-43 chainstays (stability & mud clearance), cantilever brake mounts (mud clearance), no rack mounts, slightly shorter top tube/stem length (taller riding position-stability), less drop from seat to bar (taller riding position-stability), 28-35 knobby tires, mtb pedals (mtb shoes easier to run in-pedals better in mud), sloping top tubes (extra standover clearance), double (3x42) or single chainrings(42), bar end shifters (durability/reliabilty in mud).

Generalizations about touring bikes:
lower BB height(lower center of gravity-increased stand over-more stability), extra water bottle mounts, fender mounts, rack mounts, beefier resilient tubing, slacker geometry, 42-45 chainstays (longer stable wheelbase), slightly shorter top tube/stem length (relaxed upright position), less drop from seat to bar(relaxed upright position), 28-35 tires, mtb pedals (comfort & walkability of mtb shoes), sloping top tubes(extra standover clearance), longer cranks (for mashing up hills), triple chainring.