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is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?(8 posts)

is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?SSr in Kansas
Jan 21, 2004 12:57 PM
Or, what are the differences between a road bike and cross bike besides tire clearance?

I've got an older Specialized Epic with carbon frame and aluminum fork. If I can fit some knobbies on it, would it be ok to ride off-road (nothing technical, just dirt road type conditions)?
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?atpjunkie
Jan 21, 2004 2:41 PM
it's mostly tire/brake clearance issues you run into with a road frame. you either have to get long reach calipers (which flex) or run tiny tires (ouch). I'm not a big fan of the convert but I've seen it done. It's post cx season so many deals can be had on used bikes, I'd spend my coin there.
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?seamus
Jan 21, 2004 4:58 PM
Those older Epic carbons are nice frames, but I wouldn't ride one off road. They ride real nice and are plenty durable, but they're not known for being bombproof. I wouldn't risk riding it off road.
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?flyweight
Jan 22, 2004 8:36 AM
Yes, it's plenty strong for dirt roads. I used to ride a whippy old Vitus frame all over the dirt canal banks in Phoenix. Road bikes are way more durable than most people give them credit for. It's the skill (more like lack thereof) of the rider that will trash the bike. You probably wouldn't even need knobbies. I use to run 28mm Continental Top Touring tires on sandy dirt roads with no problems.
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?MShaw
Jan 22, 2004 10:39 AM
Do the pros ride Paris-Roubaix and all the spring classics on cross bikes? Nope.

Get you some 28c or so knobbies and go for it.

Even if you DO manage to break that Epic, its led a good life. Heck, you may still even be able to get it warrantied if you do manage to break it.

Some things to ponder: a higher rise stem/shorter stem, smaller chainrings and a bigger cassette, and that's about it.

Tubular wheels. If you've got a pair laying around, now's a good time to ride them! Fewer pinch flats are a GOOD thing! If you want some rims, I just inherited a 6-pack I'll sell for cheap.

Ride gently on those itty-bitty tires and you'll be OK. I'm riding 34c tubular Tufos off road almost every Wed nite and even whanging my rims on the tombstone rocks every once in a while, everything's fine.

That help?

Mike
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?seamus
Jan 22, 2004 3:36 PM
Well, with all due respect, many pro's DO ride cyclocross forks for the cobbles in the spring classics. Some teams bring out beefed-up frames for Roubaix, and even silly suspension forks.

That said, yeah, most road bikes are far tougher than people think. And many cross frames use road tubing. BUT, in this case, we're specifically talking about a Specialized Epic carbon frame that is not reputed to be the most bombproof of carbon frames out there. I'm not saying that road bikes aren't strong enough for cross, but if I were to pick a road frame for cross, that wouldn't be my first choice. But it really depends on the trails you're talking about riding, your weight, and things like that.
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?MShaw
Jan 26, 2004 10:31 AM
Yeah I know some pros do ride cross stuff in the early spring, BUT we're talking about a late-80s Epic here. Even IF it does die, it has lived a long, useful life.

As far as I'm concerned, its better to ride something cheap till you figure out what you really want in a cross bike.

Mike
re: is my road bike built strong enough for cyclocross?flyweight
Jan 27, 2004 8:39 AM
No, those Epic frames were not the most durable things made. Especially the early models which were prone to having their cable stops pop off. That said, they were at least as strong as the Vitus I abused for several years.