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£1k: cyclecross or road bike

jrlittlejrlittle Posts: 8
edited November 2010 in Road beginners
Hi
My wife and I are looking to buy new bikes for approx £1000/1200 each, for year round road cycling (including commuting in Cardiff) in south Wales on main roads and country lanes and summer cycling in the French Alps. We have been riding on Giant hybrids for 12 years and are so confused about whether we should be buying true road bikes or cycle corss bikes due to the nature of the roads we regularly cycle on in south Wales, with some nice hills and in fairly good condition, but some are rutted, muddy and slippery particularly at this time of year. We also ocassionally ride on forest trails or grass, as short cuts. I am 2 metres tall and 14 stone; my wife is 1 metre 65 and weighs 53 kgs.

We have been to a LBS and were recommended the Ridley Crossbow at £999 weighing 9.48kg. But since most of our cycling is on the road should we not be opting for a road bike. Any help offered would be much appreciated, including best LBS in Cardiff.

John

:)

Posts

  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    It depends on how much importance you place on the ability to ride off road. A cross bike with narrow ride tyres will feel pretty similar to a road bike whereas the lack of clearances on a road bike will mean that even a small amount of mud will grind you to a halt off-road. A Planet-X Kaffenback is also worth considering - not quite a full-on cross bike but tough as old boots and can acquit itself pretty well off road. Choice of gearing is also important if you're heading towards the steep and slippery stuff. You could also look at some touring bikes - as long as you have enough clearance for something like a 32mm touring tyre.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Buy this bike Click Me you may like to get some 25mm road tires for any mainly road journeys. An advantage of getting this bike is that you can add full mug guards with the road tires; I have had my x-race a while now and it's awesome. Notice the 48/36 front ring which will make accents a breeze with the added 12/27 rear cassette.
  • Dear Both

    Many thanks for your useful comments. We will certainly look at both bikes and will also look at tourers (can you recommend any in particular?). Forgive my ignorance but could you explain (rogerthecat) what a '48/36 front ring' is and what a '12/27' rear cassette is since the overview of the Cube bike apears to indicate that this is a 20 speed bike?
    Thanks also for the link to the Tredz shop I was not aware of this cycle shop and they appear to have a shop in cardiff; great.

    Thanks

    John
  • That Cube lists a 46/36 front chainset combo, not 48/36 (which may be an option). That refers to the number of teeth on the large/small chainring at the front respectively.

    The 12/27 cassette also refers to teeth numbers, smallest/largest. It's a 10 speed cassette, so you get the 20 gears..., probably something like this sequence: 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 teeth would be my guess.

    Frankly, for cross racing that gearing is probably fine, but TBH on road use as you are expecting to do I'd say it's a little narrow range. You might be better with a "compact" chainset which are typically 50/34 these days, which means you have a lower low gear (34/27) than the 46/36 set, and a higher top gear (50/12).
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    A road bike can easily do forest trails. I've used my Carbon race bike on canal towpaths and trails on 23mm tyres.

    If its a little gnarlier - get wider tyres and you may want to think about sturdier wheels ?

    That said - I have the Planet X Uncle John at the moment - thats a cross bike - 999 and I've done 120mile sportives on it and terrain that most people were riding full mountain bikes on. You could go either route and not be at a disadvantage really.
  • wheelspinner/Cougie

    Both thanks for the advice very useful and I am learning a lot. I really like the look of the planet X bikes. I would say 90% of our riding is on the road, so I am easing towards a road bike, particularly with some of the negative comments (i have read elsewhere on this forum) about cross bikes re: their potential problems with brakes when trying to stop when riding fast on the road. However, the uncle john maybe is still a potential, particular when out for a full day in the summer i carry my lunch and so some method of carrying food on the bike would be useful.

    wheelspinner, i presume your carbon road bike which you have ridden on trails is beyond my £1K budget?

    John
  • tim_wandtim_wand Posts: 2,552
    You live in Wales. and from what you have asked then all the recomendations from the replys are good candidates.

    However one word of caution if you go the Cross Route ( which I would advice ) then be aware that the frames will usually only take Canti Brakes. which on serious descents, especially at road speeds are pretty rubbish.

    If you get a cross bike then look at speccing ( swapping out at point of purchase) the best canti brakes you can afford ( IMO avid ultimate shorties)

    I too am 6 foot and 14 stone and had many a scary experience trying to slow my Kinesis crosslight on road descents with cheap cantis. No such bother with the Avids.
  • jrlittle wrote:
    wheelspinner/Cougie

    wheelspinner, i presume your carbon road bike which you have ridden on trails is beyond my £1K budget?

    John

    Nope that weren't me... my carbon roadies don't go anywhere near the dirt! Hell, the wheels on them are beyond the 1k budget.. :D

    And that is the main reason TBH... the frames are plenty strong enough for it, but the wheels and tyres just aren't designed for it. In your position, I'd be looking for a good aluminium frame/carbon fork road bike, with compact gearing, and enough room in the stays to fit up to 28mm tyres. Save some money on the frame and put it towards better wheels.
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    A lot of cross bikes come with a compact chainset now given their popularity as all purpose bikes. I'd say one would be pretty much ideal for what you want.

    You might be able to find a cross bike with disk brakes like the Genesis Croix de Fer
    http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Genesis-Croix-De-Fer-2010-Road-Bike_29684.htm or the Marin Toscana http://www.cyclesurgery.com/pws/UniqueProductKey.ice?ProductID=CMAR0120EE (no idea if either bikes are any good though!).

    Be careful looking at cross bikes, some designed purely for racing do not have any mounts for bottle cages or mudguards.

    I'd keep the hybrids for commuting though if you have to leave a bike at a station or out all day uncovered.
  • Personally I wouldn't buy a bike without a triple chainset - I live in Bath, and I think the hills in S Wales are similar. I don't like compact doubles - for me the gap between the rings is too large, and the bottom gear isn't low enough. Have a look at the Specialised Tricross, I've met a couple of owners, and they are v happy with them. There was a problem with brakes on older versions of the bike, but I believe it was sorted out a couple of years ago.
  • +1 for a triple set up! But that suits me.

    Bought a cross bike last year to double up as a winter training / commuter / bad weather Audax bike. Specialized Tricross and it's OK but not sure if I'd make the same choice today!

    What should you buy?

    Decide if you need to fit full mudguards, racks, or wider tyres (28mm - 30mm, etc)?
    No - Then a Race bike will do
    Most racers will take Crud racers - excellent - but very small clearances!
    Will probably be a lighter more enjoyable ride - mostly - but this is personal!

    Yes - Then it's a Tourer or Cross bike.
    The cross bike wil probably take wider tyres but stuck with poorer brakes
    (unless you go for a discs)

    Gearing - whether a triple or compact can be "tweaked" to suit!
  • PhatePhate Posts: 121
    Buy this bike Click Me you may like to get some 25mm road tires for any mainly road journeys. An advantage of getting this bike is that you can add full mug guards with the road tires; I have had my x-race a while now and it's awesome. Notice the 48/36 front ring which will make accents a breeze with the added 12/27 rear cassette.

    Good to hear that you like the x-race, should hopefully be picking mine up this weekend!
    exercise.png
  • @Phate m8 she is a bute, all this about canter lever breaks not working on steep decents is not correct with this bike, I ride this frame more than my Stork and decending at 45MPH I stop no problems(a little fork judder only), I have swapped the pads for some swiss pads to. I have done several sportives and felt fresh afterwards, Sad to say but I prefer the 1k Cube to the 3.5k Stork for comfort and versatility, my cross tires have very little use to be fair as I use the Cube as my everyday bike, I did need some p Rings for the rear guards however.
  • drudru Posts: 1,341
    jrlittle wrote:

    Any help offered would be much appreciated, including best LBS in Cardiff.

    I would totally reccomend going along to Cyclopedia on Crwys Road. They are excellent. They also support both Cardiff Cycle Clubs (Ajax and Jif)

    I get most of my stuff from there and services etc etc and most things I get price matched against things on line (after all, if you don't ask, you don't know)

    They will point you in the right direction.

    From what I've read thou, you'd probably want to go for a road bike with a compact chainset with something like 12-25 or 12-27 cassette.

    Cheers,

    Dru.
  • Just a few other things to mention from the perspective of someone who has been using a cross bike as my only bike for the last 2 years (commuting, weekend road rides and sportives etc).

    I like the comfort and versatility of my cross bike, but a few things to consider that probably apply to cross bikes generally:

    - if the forks are carbon canti forks you will probably have issues with fork judder when braking on high speed road descents. Its almost impossible to avoid due the lower mounting of the canti brakes on the fork compared to normal road calipers.

    - check if the front fork is drilled for a normal brake caliper as well as having the canti mounts. Without this hole mounting any kind of front mudguard for winter use will be problematic.

    - don't underestimate the importance of bottle cage mounts on the frame if you plan longer rides. You can work round it (I have), but its an issue. Many cross bikes don't have bottle mounts to keep the front triangle clear for shouldering the bike during cross races.

    That may sound a bit negative, but I think before putting your cash down it pays to think about the compromises and what you will mainly use the bike for :-). Don't get me wrong, I love my cross bike and the flexibility.... but as a road bike there are compromises.

    Judder aside, I wouldn't be too worried about the canti brakes stopping power if you get good ones and get them setup right. Get some koolstop salmon pads as well - these improved things noticeably for me in the wet.

    Good luck with whatever you go with, and make sure you test ride as many bikes as you can before deciding.
  • Also forgot to mention on the compact / triple issue - compacts have a few more options now than even a year or two ago. The SRAM road groupsets now support rear cassettes up to 30 teeth with a longer cage deraillier.

    Shimano now also support up to 28 teeth on their latest road groupsets. Combined with a compact front chainring this should give you more than enough range to get up the steepest hills :-). I started with a shimano triple setup on my cross bike, but recently switched to a compact double with a 28 tooth rear cassette and whilst its a little tougher on some of the steeper hills, overall I'd recommend it. Front changes and setup are simplified and you save a bit of extra weight too.
  • Dear All

    Thanks for the very useful comments and tips. I am keen to know about tweaking either double or triple chain sets; because the biggest issue I have is how can a double chainset cope with the welsh hills in the winter and the french alps in the summer, compared with a triple chainset. i have to confess to using the 'granny gear' somewhat on a regular basis in wales and the alps; i am so used to this third (small) chainset on my current hybrid, even though the bike is heavy to what i have been looking at in the past week (bike wise).
    i really like the genesis croix de fer (with disk brakes, but at 11.5 kgs is heavy, the largest size is 60 cm and only has a double chainset) also i like cube xcross, which i see has the Avid Shorty brakes; but having seen the CUBE ATTEMPT 2011 on sunday at tredz in cardiff i thought it looked better and with a triple chainset and i am told will take slightly knobbly' 25mm tires as the front forks and rear... (?) are chamfered for the tyres...umm, but it won't take a panier.
    i can see now that perhaps a road bike with knobblier tyres for winter and slicker tyres for summer could be an option. So, I am starting to eliminate things now, i don't need mudguards i actually find them a pain in the bs, particularly when the bike has been attached to cycle carrier, but i still want:

    comfort on a long day ride;

    gears for the steep hills;

    someway of carrying lunch/waterproofs/some tools; i have seen some type of hybrid carrier for a sort of hybrid pannier/saddle bag, which looked like a metal bar that is attached at right angles to the seat post, and then the hybrid panier/saddle bag is attached, has anyone seen one of these/know whether they are any good, or a pain?

    carrying two waterbottles;

    also what is wrong with specialised tricross and is it worth the extra £300 for the cube xrace pro?

    John

    am i asking too much for £1K.
  • Dear All

    Thanks for the very useful comments and tips. I am keen to know about tweaking either double or triple chain sets; because the biggest issue I have is how can a double chainset cope with the welsh hills in the winter and the french alps in the summer, compared with a triple chainset. i have to confess to using the 'granny gear' somewhat on a regular basis in wales and the alps; i am so used to this third (small) chainset on my current hybrid, even though the bike is heavy to what i have been looking at in the past week (bike wise).
    i really like the genesis croix de fer (with disk brakes, but at 11.5 kgs is heavy, the largest size is 60 cm and only has a double chainset) also i like cube xcross, which i see has the Avid Shorty brakes; but having seen the CUBE ATTEMPT 2011 on sunday at tredz in cardiff i thought it looked better and with a triple chainset and i am told will take slightly knobbly' 25mm tires as the front forks and rear... (?) are chamfered for the tyres...umm, but it won't take a panier.
    i can see now that perhaps a road bike with knobblier tyres for winter and slicker tyres for summer could be an option. So, I am starting to eliminate things now, i don't need mudguards i actually find them a pain in the bs, particularly when the bike has been attached to cycle carrier, but i still want:

    comfort on a long day ride;

    gears for the steep hills;

    someway of carrying lunch/waterproofs/some tools; i have seen some type of hybrid carrier for a sort of hybrid pannier/saddle bag, which looked like a metal bar that is attached at right angles to the seat post, and then the hybrid panier/saddle bag is attached, has anyone seen one of these/know whether they are any good, or a pain?

    carrying two waterbottles;

    also what is wrong with specialised tricross and is it worth the extra £300 for the cube xrace pro?

    John

    am i asking too much for £1K.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Look at the planet x Uncle john then - spec it up with the triple \and gears you want.
    Ample clearance for tyres = 25mm is nothing for a cross frame ?
    Two bottle cages.
    Mountings for panniers on the frame too. TBH you shouldnt really need those for your rides, saddle pack and maybe a bento box should be enough - and you take kit in your jersey pockets too.

    I'd wonder why you want knobbly tyres for winter ? Theyre less grip on the road and only useful if you are planning on doing a lot of off road muddy riding ? if you're not - then normal tyres are far better.

    Mines pretty light and rides really well. I have a carbon race bike too and the PX really rides nicely.
  • PhatePhate Posts: 121
    @Phate m8 she is a bute, all this about canter lever breaks not working on steep decents is not correct with this bike, I ride this frame more than my Stork and decending at 45MPH I stop no problems(a little fork judder only), I have swapped the pads for some swiss pads to. I have done several sportives and felt fresh afterwards, Sad to say but I prefer the 1k Cube to the 3.5k Stork for comfort and versatility, my cross tires have very little use to be fair as I use the Cube as my everyday bike, I did need some p Rings for the rear guards however.

    Well picked my X-race Comp up last night and well wow wow wow! Love the bike already, knocked 8 mins off my 8 mile commute this morning (had been using an old MTB so probably to be expected!) and the X-race handled all I could throw at it! Cobbles? Fine, Road buzz? Not really, huge fecking pot hole hidden in a puddle? just bounced over! Really did feel that every bit of energy I put in was put down on the road and that the bike was just screaming at me to go faster!
    exercise.png
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