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Winter trainer to Cross conversion for family rides offroad

sugarbeetsugarbeet Posts: 39
edited January 2010 in Workshop
I have a Kinesis Racelight (7005 tubed) drop barred road bike (with mudguards and rackmounts) I use in the grotty weather. This has a carbon ITM fork and Tiagra groupset.

Setting the scene with the quotation "yet another bike is clearly out of the question"

Have been searching for a solution to weekends/holiday cycle rides with my wife and young son. These usually involve bumpy forest tracks or abandoned railway cuttings. But, no really rough stuff. My wife and son both ride MTBs.

I'm thinking a cross bike might work for me as a winter trainer and still allow me to ride with the family 'off road'. But I don't have a cross bike! However my Racelight has loads of tyre clearance and seems fairly sturdy.

If I stick some bigger tyres (with a few knobbles) on it at lowish psi - will I be able to ride it on forest trails without snapping the frame/fork or getting white finger?

Is this generally a silly idea - or might it work?
How special are the cross bike components? The frame aside, most seem to look like stnd wheels and groupsets.

Opinions sought. Thank you and Merry Christmas .
Cylon cats - have no plan


  • lfcquinlfcquin Posts: 470
    Hi, I use a Kinesis Crosslight as my winter trainer. In general the components are the same as on any roadbike. The bike came with Shimano 105 gearing and I am running an SRAM Rival chainset and Mavic Kysurium wheels (all standard roadie stuff). I have used the bike for cross races this year and for road training (with full mudguards) at other times. There is a picture of it in the Road Bikes section of the forum.

    I think your biggest problem with using the Racelight would be the brake caliper clearance. The Crosslight has Cantilever brakes which mean when I use it off road there is plenty of brake clearance as well as good frame clearance to stop the gunk getting stuck. If you manage to fit some cross tyres without rub on the brake calipers then if you use the bike on boggy tracks & trails I would guess it won't be long until the mud clogs up the brakes and makes it pretty unrideable. I guess it all depends on what sort of riding you want to do. If it is just short family rides on nice days then I would guess you would be perfectly fine without any major modifications.

    I have also noticed that the forks on the Crosslight tend to be pretty thick and sturdy, so that might be an issue too, however, seeing as you are not planning on doing anything seriously heavy duty on it then I would suggest giving it a go and see what happens. It's not likely you will cause any permanent damage if you take it steady.
  • I cant see a problem with the ride as such. But, with your cabling underneath the downtube you might find your cables get a bit gunged up. A set of knobbly cross tyres or some Smart Sams should see you OK.
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • thanks for the thoughts.
    will order some big o'l tyres and see how I go.
    the tracks I'm likely to be riding will be very tame
    Cylon cats - have no plan
  • As long as you have the clearance around the caliper brakes on the Racelight for the larger tyres, then you should be OK. The space might block up more easily when the going gets dirty, than it would with cantilever brakes.
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  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    You may struggle getting anything bigger than a 700x28 on a frame with caliper brakes - and some frames are better than others - I doubt you'd be able to fit any sort of cross tyre which are generally 32 and upwards. I'd recommend something like a Schwalbe Marathon Plus - has a bit of a tread and tough as old boots.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Yes, it's all down to the tyres really but you could do. What about a cheap 2nd hand MTB? You may need to sell the idea of course!
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    You might have a problem fitting cross tyres to a Racelight. A friend with one tried fitting 700x35 Marathon Winters and says they wouldn't even nearly fit. I have 700x35 Marathon Racers myself and they are a narrow sort of 35, my 700x32 cross tyres (also Schwalbe, Racing Ralph) are certainly wider.

    I have used Schwalbe Marathons (not the racer, the standard one with more tread) for light off road myself and they were fine. I had 700x35 but reckon you would be fine with 28s if that was all that would fit. Cheap enough to try it out.

    Other than the brakes cross bikes use standard road components. The frames have more clearance and cantilever bosses for cantis or mini-Vs rather than caliper brakes.
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