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First cross bike. Should I take the plunge?(9 posts)

First cross bike. Should I take the plunge?lazy8
Sep 4, 2003 5:48 AM
I am considering the purchase of a new cross bike vs. upgrading my 12 year old road bike. One of the shops I deal with says Bianchi will be bringing back their chromo lite cross frame for 04. Most of my miles on this bike will be spent on the road. How will this frame behave on the pavement compared to my old steel road bike?
re: First cross bike. Should I take the plunge?climbo
Sep 4, 2003 6:05 AM
mostly on the road, then get a road bike. A cross bike will have slacker angles than a road frame and more standover, it will handle fine on the road but won't be as zippy as a road bike, especially in turns. If you only have one bike though, a cross bike is hard to beat if you are prepared to sacrifice a "pure" road bike.
I plunged...PT
Sep 4, 2003 6:53 AM
I basically went through the same thing, wondering how a cross bike would do on the road. My goal with the bike was to be able to go out with my roadie friends on the pavement and connect up various paved rides with long dirt road sections. It works great! The cross bike goes down the highway very well, and the cornering issue is moot for me -- on mountain descents it is insanely stable and holds lines through high speed corners exceptionally well. The other day I found myself riding one handed and wiping my nose while descending a pass at 52 miles an hour -- I would never have done that on my Merlin road bike. The high bottom bracket and stable frame works well in the corners when doing practice crit races -- I instinctively pedal further through corners on the cyclocross. The one thing it doesn't do as well as my old road bike is accelerate -- I'm no longer competitive in the town limit sprints, but since road racing isn't my focus anymore I can live with that. Finally, while I never found it difficult to motivate myself to go for a ride, I've rediscovered part of what draws me to cycling, the ability to explore. I long ago exhausted pioneering new routes on the road in my area -- suddenly I've opened up two to three times the territory as available on pavement in the form of gravel and dirt roads that were previously deemed unsuitable for my more finicky road bike. What took me so long? It all seems so obvious now...
take the plungearctic hawk
Sep 4, 2003 7:22 AM
The cost of upgrading will hurt. If you are looking at the latest in technology, you will pay one way or another. The upgrades will be limited by your frame as well. If the frame is really heavy, all the upgrades in the world won't ... If you are looking for greater speed, try adding an aerobar to your road bike before going after major upgrades.
I have never regretted my decision to get a CX. On the roads, the thing that slows me down the most is the tires (my XO1 is my commuter bike to work everyday). I am certain to go faster if I switched to road tires. But, the trade-off is not worth it for me. I am lucky to have a trail running next to the main road, for a stretch, on my way to/from work. I hit that everyday, unless I am late for work, then road all the way.
My old roadie was made with steel where as my CX is aluminum. I am not astute enough to say that I notice a difference in handling. Irregardless of which bike I use, the potholes & cracked streets will beat you up.

Arctic Hawk
Sep 4, 2003 9:37 AM
I started cycling seriously last year. I had been pretty serious about mountain biking back in the early 90's but I got involved in climbing which became my primary focus. Then I got married and my wife and I had a daughter. That cut down my "me" time significantly. I gave up climbing because of the large time commitment it would take to continue to climb at a level I would enjoy. So I got back into cycling. I am a competative person and so I wanted to race. Mountain bike racing in Oregon requires quite a bit of travel -- which translates into a lot of time. I saw that Portland had a cross series that staged all their races within a one hour radius of my home so I decided to give cross a try.

In March, I bought a Redline Conquest Pro on Ebay. I have been riding that bike exclusively since -- racking up about 4,000 miles (primarily road). Since I bought it I have:

1) Done a century.

2) Done RAMROD -- Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day. 154 miles. 10,000 ft of climbing.

3) Commuted to work all but 4 trips.

4) Raced 4 cat 4/5 races finishing 8, 9, 14, and DNF.

5) Biked a little offroad.

Since I do so many road miles, I usually have road tires on the bike. I have two sets of wheels so switching from knobbies to slicks is as trivial as swapping wheels. Sure, it isn't as quick as a road bike, but is plenty quick for me. I would love to have a dedicated road bike but I don't have the budget for it. For me, the cross bike was just the ticket.
Two wheel sets...PT
Sep 4, 2003 10:40 AM
...really makes it work. I actually have two and a half sets: one race/road 23c set, one set mounted with 32c touring tires (the everyday set), and a front wheel mounted with a true cyclocross tire. The touring tires are good for any road event that's not done with a bunch of racer-types along and will work for well enough for the gravel and dirt I've been riding. The extra front with the knobby cross tire gets dragged out when I'm headed on a ride that's 70% or more dirt, and I find the touring tire in the rear works just fine for anything I'm likely to tackle. Riding time is precious enough to be wasting it on swapping tires -- there are plenty of sturdy used wheelsets available cheap.
Two wheel sets...lute mile
Sep 4, 2003 3:03 PM
I use two different wheel sets for my Strong cross bike. One set has 25c road tires and the other has 44c WTB cross tires. I have used this setup for almost a year now and have not missed my road or mtn bikes at all. That includes some pretty wild mtn rides as well as the LBS (Stark Raven Cycles) group road rides. For my money the cross bike is the way to go!
Two wheel sets (agreed)laffeaux
Sep 4, 2003 11:24 PM
I regularly use my cross bike as a road bike. I like the way it handles, and the weight difference between it and a "real" road bike is minimal. The only time it's a disadvantage is on high speed downhills. Downhills I can pedal the bike to about 42 mph with a 48/12 top end (for short periods). On the few hills where speeds exceed that I get dropped by bikes with higher gears.
Use a 53Gripped
Sep 5, 2003 8:14 AM
For most of the year I run a 53 big ring so I don't spin out at 30mph. In prepration for cross season, I changed out the 53 for a 48 two weeks ago and removed a couple of links from the chain. When trail riding, you I stay in the small ring anyway so having the 53 on most of the year is not a problem -- and it really comes in handy while descending and riding in fast pacelines.