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thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.(8 posts)

thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.daneil
Nov 20, 2002 7:19 PM
Living in NYC my mountain bike hasn't been getting as much of a workout as I'd like. I decided a while ago that I was going to ride mainly on the road and that I should get a road bike. However I have just come across a Diamondback Podium for around $550. The reason I'm thinking Cross bike now is because of some back pain which has recently landed me in physical therapy and the fact that i'd still like to take the bike off-road when I get a chance. My question is how much of a difference am I going to feel between the road bike and a cross bike. Will throwing on a set of 23 or 25mm tires make it ride like a roadie? Exactly what are the design differences? Thanks alot in advance everybody.

-daneil
re: thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.weiwentg
Nov 20, 2002 7:54 PM
cross geometry is very similar to touring geometry - higher BB, slack angles, stable handling, upright position. putting road tires on a cross bike will make it handle like a roadie. you could definitely do a century on one. I, personally, would not race anything more than Cat 5 on my cross bike (and I'm Cat 4, by now). there was a thread on this somewhere below.
when all is said and done, the actual difference between my cross bike and my road bike is 2-3 pounds and a lot of psychology. my road bike simply feels faster; it's oversize aluminum and aggressive geometry, plus a low position. I can go pretty fast on my cross bike.
re: thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.atpjunkie
Nov 20, 2002 9:02 PM
It's mostly in the position and BB height. They are great for Crits as you can rail turns and not bang pedals on the street. ALSO: Crank usually runs a 48x38 vs a 53 x38 so you lose some top end. I use my cx bikes more than my road or MTB. They are the best all rounders and commuters. It will feel close enough to a roadie unless you plan on racing.
agreed: mostly gearing and positionlaffeaux
Nov 20, 2002 11:08 PM
A good 'cross bike will be nearly as fast a road bike, be a bit more comfortable due to larger tires, and usually geared pretty differently (if you need to go 40 mph down a hill, get a road bike).

The big difference are brakes and clearance. The widest tires that will fit on the average road bike are 28mm tires. You can run much wider tires than that on a 'cross bike if you wish. The wider tires increase rolling resistance but increase comfort over bad roads or off-road.

The bottom bracket is higher and the head tube angle is more slack than a road bike. These two things change the feel a bit. Plus 'cross bikes generally fun a shorter more upright stem to make the rider more upright (but you can run a stem that more approximates a road bike if you want).

I personally think they are more versitile than road bikes. Unless you are racing, or need to be the fastest guy on the street, they are a smart buy.
re: thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.flyweight
Nov 21, 2002 11:27 AM
Actually a touring bike has a lower bottom bracket height for greater stability when descending with 30lbs of gear strapped to your bike. This is also why good touring bikes use pretty heavy guage chain and seat stays.

As for road racing on a cross bike, Thomas Frischknecht raced the Atlanta Olympics road race on his steel cross bike and several riders have used 'cross bikes at Paris-Roubaix. Of course that's nothing compared to a Cat 5 race! ;)
Podium allows you to go disc, but is heavy for ALGlowBoy
Nov 21, 2002 12:51 PM
'Cross bikes work great for road riding, unless maybe you're a serious racer. I've done three centuries and several metrics this year on my mine Works great. I do put 23c/25c slicks (front/back) on it though!

Although the chainrings are smaller, you can easily make up for it by running a cassette with an 11t instead of a 12t small cog. 48:11 is almost identical to 52:12 in ratio, the drawbacks being increased drivetrain wear and a (very) slight loss in efficiency. OTOH, you can spend more time on your big ring! 11t cassette choices are limited, but then again you can always build a custom cassette, or buy one from Sheldon Brown.

Most of the 'cross bikes I've looked at (i.e., ones under $1200) have chainstay and wheelbase lengths somewhere in between a road racing bike and a loaded-touring bike. So it's not going to feel quite as snappy as a full-on road bike, but it's still racier than a tourer. In performance, you're still going to make up about at least 80% of the different between a standard road bike and a mountain bike. Also, while 'cross BBs are a bit higher than road racing bikes, it varies widely by mfr and sometimes it's not much higher - the one glaring exception being Kona's Jake the Snake, which is very high.

Our LBS in Portland had Podiums sitting around for a long time, and I think they finally dropped to $600-700 (from maybe $1100-1200 originally) before they sold them all off. Spec sure was good, with Race Face cranks and disc mounts (Avid mechanicals - the best discc - can be had for $80 apiece and are available in a road version). It did seem awfully heavy in the store, though. I didn't weigh one but it seemed 3-4 pounds (!) heavier than the Trek XO-1 it was sitting next to. I'd estimate it at 23-25 pounds, which is awfully heavy for an aluminum 'crosser. For that weight you can get a cushy steel bike (although then you don't get the disc mounts).

- Dan
we also keep forgetting lack of bottle mountsatpjunkie
Nov 21, 2002 3:28 PM
on most cx bikes. 1 if you are lucky
re: thinking about a cross bike, need opinions.snwbdrhoon
Nov 26, 2002 6:46 AM
check eBay or the classifieds section here. i actually found a GREAT deal on a podium in the classifieds here but opted to pay a little more for a 2000 Trek XO-1. if you can find one of these, it's highly recommended. coming from a mtb racing background and a road racing backgroud 8 years ago, and then totally doing nothing for those 8 years, a cross bike is great and compared to my Fuel seems like a sweet bike to me. plus lower end cross bikes have 2 bottle mounts. i even ride it on the road with the 700 x 30 tires that came with the bike without many ill effects (lots of potholes around).