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Road/Cyclocross, Steel/AL/Carbon: Foul-weather Bike Choices?(7 posts)

Road/Cyclocross, Steel/AL/Carbon: Foul-weather Bike Choices?jhsu
Aug 7, 2001 7:29 AM
in my near future I am hoping to build up or buy an OK used bike for foul-weather training rides to spare my current ti bike from the misery of water and dirt. Any tips on these dilemmas:

  • Frame Style: I would hope to approximate my road biking feel on this bike, of course not expecting it to be as "nice." Do you think a cyclocross bike with 700c wheels and more aggressive treads would offer advantages such as wet-weather traction/stability without feeling too different from a road bike, or should I stick to road bikes and just use wider/more treaded tires? I will still ride on paved roads. (I have a mountain bike and it feels too foreign from road bike to train on)

  • Frame material: my thought is that a welded AL frame with no lugs or seams to collect water would be less prone to rust than a steel bike. Carbon with/without lugs may also be OK although I don't know if that composite material would be damaged by water.

Any thoughts from you out there with similar dilemmas or experience would be appreciated. Thanks!!

And Please: No Wars on Steel/Al/Carbon as seen below-thanks!jhsu
Aug 7, 2001 7:48 AM
My thoughts...Cima Coppi
Aug 7, 2001 8:04 AM
Since you say the bike will used exclusively on the road, then you should only consider a road frame. Cyclocross is good for this purpose, but its geometry is really designed for muddy, off road use. You will notice a difference in the feel and handling of a cyclocross bike. My recommendation, get a frame with traditional road geometry and put larger (700x25/28c) tires on it.

As for material, if your going to beat it up (actually if do not care if it gets beat up) go with steel. It's less prone to dinging and denting, and its a bit less expensive. As far as TIG welding vs. Lugged for rust prevention, I'm not certain one is better than the other. I have had my lugged Merckx for 14 years, and there are no signs of rust on it (I also took good care of it).

Good Luck

re: Road/Cyclocross, Steel/AL/Carbon: Foul-weather Bike Choices?Michael Y.
Aug 7, 2001 9:06 AM
I converted my old Centurian Road bike to a single speed/fixed gear commuter bike. It has a steel frame and I have never had any rust problems with it. You can also treat it with Frame Saver if you are worried about rust. As long as you wipe it down after a wet weather ride and touch up any paint chips, you are OK with steel. I think CimaCoppi is right as usual. Anyone who takes care of their bike is not going to run into problems with rust on a steel frame.

One advantage to a cyclocross bike is that the the Bottom Bracket, though a little higher, can be to your advantage if you need to jump a curb. It is something to think about. Steel will also offer a softer ride. I would look for an older road bike in the classifieds or auctions that will work nicely.
Steel works fine...Greg Taylor
Aug 7, 2001 9:47 AM
I usually spray something like FrameSaver or Boeshield into my steel frames and then forget about it. After a wet ride, give the bike a few bounces to shake the water off. If it is really wet, I'll take out the seat post and drain any water that may have worked down into the seat tube.

The parts that really take a beating in the wet are the bearings, headset, chains, etc. I go cheap/old on a bad weather bike. Blue marine grease (Sta-Lube) works well in hubs and headsets. Fenders are key to keeping the crap off as well.
Slick tiresRich Clark
Aug 7, 2001 10:10 AM
Contrary to other types of wheeled vehicles, tread patterns don't aid traction on bike tires on wet pavement. Bikes don't hydroplane. Slicks are still the best thing for pavement, rain or shine. On pavement, rubber is rubber, and the more of it you have in contact with the ground the better.

A *wider* slick tire might theoretically have more traction than a thinner one on wet pavement. And all bets are off on ice, on oil-covered asphalt, on metal gratings, etc.

I ride in the rain all the time. My rain bike is steel, and I just dry it off before putting it away. No big deal. I do have fenders on it, personal choice, but other than that nothing special is needed, IMO. You may decide on an aluminum or carbon or ti bike, but I'd suggest you do so because you like the ride, not because of corrosion characteristics.

In your shoes, the only compromise I'd even bother considering would be a frame that can take 700x28c tires, in case you decide you want them. That might lead you to a 'cross frame, which is fine, but be aware that the higher ground clearance could affect the ride aerodynamically. Enough to matter? Not to me, maybe to you. But it shouldn't be that hard to find road frames that can clear 28's.

Slick tiresRich Clark
Aug 8, 2001 6:27 AM
How does a tire "grip" asphalt?

I agree that some tread patterns perform beter in the rain -- if you define "completely smooth" as a pattern.

This issue is covered in the rec.bicycles FAQ, in an article by Jobst Brandt, author of "The Bicycle Wheel." The FAQ is available at