Cyclo Cross/Road

andrewmoke Posts: 5
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
Righty oh...after having owned a hybrid and 2 mountain bikes for a few years, i now sold the hybrid and was thinking of getting a road bike, for longer journeys and possibly some cycling holidays in the alps, with guys with proper road bikes.

My issue is that i will never doing thousands of miles..i prefer mountain biking, and live next door to the epping forest. During the winter the forest gets incredibly muddy and in a lot of occasions i stay at home because can´t be bored to hit the trails.

So the questions is: shall i get a cyclo cross bike, which i can use in the forest in the fire roads, etc., also to commute sometimes and for those longer road trips, or shall i get a road bike? How do cyclo cross bikes compare to road bikes if you are climbing the alps or zooming down in the french countryside?

I am looking at spending around £1k (maximum in the C2W schema)



    APIII Posts: 2,010
    Well, I've not had an opportunity to ride my cross bike in the alps yet, but I was out on the roads for 3-4 hours yesterday on it. TBH, the geometry isn't significantly different from my road bike, a slightly higher bottom bracket, a slightly slacker head tube, but in reality, it feels and rides like a normal road bike. You can always get two sets of wheels and switch between slicks and knobblies, but even then I've found riding knobblies to be fine on the road. It hasn't dropped my speed too much.
  • Yes, that's why i thought, but i was not sure if i was missing something utterly obvious, as i am new to the road/cross world.

    OK so assuming i wil get a cyclo cross, around a £1k, what do you recommend?

    Jake the Snake seems like a natural choice, but there are Specialized and Scott as well.

    The catch here is that it must be a bike that is sold in Evans (C2W stupid regulations) and under £1k (or around as i may be able to throw in the 20% accessories).

    I prefer to get a good frame and having to upgrade some components in the near future, rather than an average frame/componentry.

    Any ideas??
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    I've got a Kinesis 5T. Cheap frame, but I had most of the parts from my old road bike, which was a good mix of record, Mavic Kysriums, etc. Someone on here test rode a Kinesis along with a Scott back to back and ended up going for the Scott. I think the Kinesis is great, so the Scott must also be right up there. A lot of people have the Specialized. My mate has the single speed version. They're decent if a little bland in the looks department. The Kona is probably a bit heavier, but good value.
    If you can test ride some that will be the best option.

    And no, I don't think you're missing anything obvious. The differences are small. Brakes are generally cantilever, which aren't as good as road brakes but allow for mud clearance. Gearing tends to be lower, 34-48 is the norm, compared to 34-50 on a normal compact. I met someone on the Marmotte last year who was riding a cannondale cross bike. He'd also ridden from Venice to Nice on it I think, so obviously getting over the mountains wasn't a problem!
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If faced with a catastrophe and I was forced to save one bike from my burning garage, then I'd proabably save my cross bike - with a decent set of wheels and tyres, you'll loose little speed on the road but have the obvious advantage of taking anywhere you like - gearing might be a bit 'short' for racing / fast downhills - I run 36/46 on mine and will proably swap to a single 40 next year - fitting a 50 tooth ring is easy. TBH the MTB 'fashion' has forced people into believing that you need some overweight full-susser for offroad riding, when in fact apart from serious downhilling and technical stuff, a cross bike will leave an MTB in the dust - and it will make you a more skillful rider too.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Apart from slight differences in frame geometry the main difference is the brakes. Unfortunately modern STI levers are not really designed to use with cantilebver brakes and I would be concerned that I had enough power for use on long alpine descents.

    If you are only going to ride on the fire rods you probably don't need the mud clearance - so why not just get a road bike anf another set of wheels such a Quest Como with heavier tyres (you don't need cross tyres as you are not going mud plugging).
  • Mister W
    Mister W Posts: 791
    Modern STI levers work perfectly with canti brakes... at least they do on my Kaffenback.
  • lfcquin
    lfcquin Posts: 470
    I use a cross bike for my winter steed. Proper full multifunctional bike. I use it for cross racing roughly once a week and then pop the mudguards and take it out on the roads. I have done about 1700 miles on the road on it this year including doing the Cheshire Cat sportinve on it.

    I don't think you would have any problems at all using a cross bike to suit all your needs.

    In terms of braking then there is no question that cantilever brakes are not as good pivot brakes, but they work fine with STI levers and would be just fine in any situation in my view. They do me fine dropping down 20% descents in the wet!
  • Thanks guys, this is being very informative.

    Now brands&models? Bear in mind that i have to buy it in Halfords, but they say they can get pretty much anything - (bull"#$) but should be able to get any Scott, Specialized, Kona...

    The other requirement is that RRP must be <= 1000, which absolutely sucks...
  • lfcquin
    lfcquin Posts: 470
    Got to be the new Boardman Pro CX then eh? ... &langId=-1

    If it is Halfords then this will be perfect. :D
  • Have a word with Pearson Cycles in Surrey. They accept the Halfords vouchers and sorted me out with a Ridley Crossbow last year. They were really helpful and I managed to get the bike and a spare set of wheels with slick tyres for £1K (although I believe prices may have risen since)

    The Ridley has been fantastic, I use the cross wheels for commuting (potholes in Carlisle are extraordinary!) and the road wheels for longer weekend rides.

    I'm a mountain biker at heart and this is as close as I could bring myself to buying a road bike!

    Hope this helps
    'Pain is just weakness leaving your body'

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  • GEPC
    GEPC Posts: 123
    I have a cross bike and have two sets of wheels. One off road and one road. It only takes about 10 minutes to change them and if you can only have one bike this gives you lots of options. The only real difference between a cross bike and a road bike is the differences in geometry mentioned in previous posts and the greater mud clearance that a coss fork gives you and the brakes you use. I put a set of mini V brakes on mine which work fine with STI's, give enough mud clearance for cross and have good stopping power. Most cross bike come with canti's though which seems to work just fine for most cross bike owners.

    I have an On One ti frame but they haven't made them for a few years. However Brandt Richard's (ex On One designer) new company Ragley have a cross frame, the Rodwell. I don't think its in full production yet but there are pictures of it on the website have a look at it if you want something a bit more unusual than the usual big name brands. I like having something that you don't see other people riding.
  • manofsteel that is amazing news. If other bike shops take Halfrauds vouchers, things may start to change a bit! That is good news. I will check those guys, or ask at my lbs, where i buy most of my stuff. It´s good to keep good people in the business and they are a nice bunch of guys.

    gepc - I am a (moderately) keen mountain biker. At the moment i have cotic soul, a SS inbred and just sold my bad boy which is what i used to use on the road/commute. I know all about On-One´s, Brant and so on, but Halfords does not sell them. Thanks for the information about changing wheels, etc. That´s probably gonna make me go for the cyclo cross.

    lfcquin - i had a look at the cboardman. I know it´s absurd, but i cannot trust anything that Halfords sells to the masses. I know it has really good reviews and all that, but...nhaa....maybe i am just being snob here...
  • neil²
    neil² Posts: 337
    +1 for the Ridley

    CX thoroughbred