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Roadie needs help with a cheap cross project please

galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
edited August 2014 in Cyclocross
Hi
It all started when my mate took me down a muddy towpath on my shiny clean N2A last year, I moaned like hell about it at the time but secretly quite enjoyed it and wished I had a suitable bike….
Looking for some help with a first cross bike, although it would mostly be used for tow paths and park rides with the kids and some winter road riding.
Prob looking at Kinesis Five T (would like the Pro6 but that means discs and budget is tight) Other suggestions welcome.
I’ve got some Fulcrum Racing 5.5 wheels that I’m hoping I can use – what size tyres could I fit on these and would they be ok for light off roading (seem pretty sturdy) ?
Rest of the kit will probably be picked up off Ebay and the Forum, probably 105 although it’s really cheap new at Merlin.
Do I need a cross specific mech that I’ve seen Shimano do ? (top and bottom pull or something)
What brakes should I be looking at ? Really don’t get the cantilever and v-brake thing !
Not cool with you proper crossers but I will need some of those extra brake levers to go on the bar tops.
A suggested build list would be great.
Saddle, seatpost and bars I can work out !

Cheers
25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
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Posts

  • Galatzo wrote:
    I’ve got some Fulcrum Racing 5.5 wheels that I’m hoping I can use – what size tyres could I fit on these and would they be ok for light off roading (seem pretty sturdy) ?

    Do I need a cross specific mech that I’ve seen Shimano do ? (top and bottom pull or something)
    What brakes should I be looking at ?

    Really don’t get the cantilever and v-brake thing !

    Not cool with you proper crossers but I will need some of those extra brake levers to go on the bar tops.

    Road wheels should be fine, I don't know your model, but as long as they are not stupidly light weight, I have found any road wheels fit for purpose, used Aksiums and now on RS11s. Fine for fat and knobbie tyres.

    You can use road kit, mine has 105, durable but cheap enough to replace.

    If you are using rim brakes, Cantis/Vbrake are your only option. Pleasantly surprised by modern cantis, they seem to work fine. V-brakes are more powerful and easier to setup but lack the clearance of cantis.

    Do you have "chicken" leavers on your road bike, not really needed on a CX bike IMO, but if it makes things more comfortable for you, get some.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    No "Chicken levers" on my road bike !
    Good news on the wheels so that'll save a few quid.
    The bikes for family stuff as much as anything so the need to pull up quick when the boy brakes or falls off is important.
    Wont be used in massively muddy situations so v-brakes could be ok. Which are more powerful and how much for a budget set of canti's or V's ?
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • joewalsh1990joewalsh1990 Posts: 3
    edited May 2014
    I'm selling my cross bike - see here - any good? http://www.lfgss.com/thread126943.html

    Mini Vs on front, canti on back works fine from my experience...

    I've ridden cross with fulcrums - totally fine. I'm including a pair (spare) in the sale. You could run one pair as 'road' tyres and one as 'cross'...
  • V brakes are more powerful and easier to manage.
  • devhadsdevhads Posts: 236
    Tektro 926al mini v-brakes for £13 a wheel at Merlins will be far better at stopping you than any canti at that price and a lot easier to set up.

    I have Fulcrum 5cx and as far as I know the only difference between them is the double sealed bearings to keep the muck out so they should be fine. Tyre size should be ok as mine take 23mm and 33mm tyres equally well.

    A word on top levers. Unless you ride mainly on the tops you will be slower to stop as you need to change your hand position. Another thing is if you need to stop in a hurry chances are you may need to steer out of trouble at the same time. As the top levers are towards the center of your bars you will find your steering far less reactive. I found this out with my son who had them on his cross bike last race season. His handling in downhill corners was poor when he was braking on his top levers but as soon as I took them off his cornering improved no end. Saying that if you're intent on having them I have his levers for sale, Cane Creek. Message me if you're interested.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Thanks for the replies, plenty to think about.
    @joewalsh thanks for the offer but only need a diidy 52 toptube !
    @devhads thanks re the top levers I'll let you know as I'm now considering if really neccessary following your advice. Will look up the mini v brakes now.

    Thanks again
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    Personally I found mini-Vs to be a pain with road levers, i think they are compromised and prefer a good cantilever but obviously plenty of people like them.

    re: front mech - most cx frames have down pull cable routing anyway but you need to check and get the right mech.

    wheels - nothing too light and low spoke but road wheels are surprisingly sturdy anyway.

    FWWIW - the kinesis frames are good, I've been battering a Pro 5 to work and back for a few years with some occasional racing and it's stood up really well. Just about to port most of the bits over to a Pro 6 so will shortly have a 54cm frame and fork + brakes up for sale. Sounds like it would be too big for you though.

    If you are building this up to ride off road then I would consider a wider bar (+2cm) and shorter stem (-10cm) than you might fit on the road bike of the same size. It just gives a bit more control leverage on rough ground and allows you to ride on the hoods where you might have felt better on the tops - thus meaning you dont need top levers. cx frames often have a low headtube as well so you can flip the stem to get a bit more rise if needed.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Thanks jomoj, I will be prob be flipping the stem or use a zero degree angle as headtubes look to be at least 2cm shorter than my road bike before spacers and only need a 52 top tube which are very short.

    Slight change of plan.
    I really like the Crosslight Pro6 but it is disc specific.
    How much would a set of wheels cost for this ? It will probably only be used for light off road stuff so I don't need anything amazing just a long as they're good value, Shimao RX05 ok for my needs ?
    And how much for the disc brakes and rotors to go with it ? ( I can price up the rest)
    I think the website says it's designed for 160mm rotors, don't know much about these things being a roadie but will that limit the range of brakes and wheels I can get ? or can I use rotors UPTO 160 ? And how much are rotors or are they include with the brakes ?

    Cheers
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    edited May 2014
    Galatzo wrote:
    Thanks jomoj, I will be prob be flipping the stem or use a zero degree angle as headtubes look to be at least 2cm shorter than my road bike before spacers and only need a 52 top tube which are very short.

    Slight change of plan.
    I really like the Crosslight Pro6 but it is disc specific.
    How much would a set of wheels cost for this ? It will probably only be used for light off road stuff so I don't need anything amazing just a long as they're good value, Shimao RX05 ok for my needs ?
    And how much for the disc brakes and rotors to go with it ? ( I can price up the rest)
    I think the website says it's designed for 160mm rotors, don't know much about these things being a roadie but will that limit the range of brakes and wheels I can get ? or can I use rotors UPTO 160 ? And how much are rotors or are they include with the brakes ?

    Cheers

    hi, I'll try and answer your questions in order :)

    wheels - yes, the rx05 are probably your cheapest option and ought to be robust and reliable but they are over 2kg in weight so not the lightest. There is a bit of a shortage of decent, reasonably priced disc brake wheels although that is changing and you're looking at about £200+ to get some hand built.

    Disc brakes - there are a few cable operated options from Tektro, TRP, Avid and Shimano. I think Tektro are the cheapest option - not sure of price off hand - Avid BB7 Road and Shimano BR517 are similar price at around £35 per caliper.

    Rotors come in 2 fixing types - 6 bolt and shimano centrelock. If you get shimano hubs then they nearly all use centrelock, as do some DT swiss hubs, everyone else uses 6 bolt. Rotors are typically about £12 upwards each but they last indefinitely - or will on a cx/road bike. Some brakes come with rotors - Avid BB7 and TRP spyre for example, some don't so check before you buy.

    Rotor size - this is dictated by where the caliper is mounted on the frame, the caliper itself is relatively size agnostic. 160mm is a common size for XC/MTB and CX bikes, shimano seem to be favouring smaller 140 rotors for their road systems but you need to get the size that the particular frame demands - 160 in the case of the pro 6.

    hope that helps - it is a bit of a minefield, just more standards to be aware of.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    jomoj wrote:
    If you are building this up to ride off road then I would consider a wider bar (+2cm) and shorter stem (-10cm) than you might fit on the road bike of the same size. It just gives a bit more control leverage on rough ground and allows you to ride on the hoods where you might have felt better on the tops - thus meaning you dont need top levers. cx frames often have a low headtube as well so you can flip the stem to get a bit more rise if needed.
    Not sure I agree with that; I went through various iterations of smaller frames, shorter stems etc, and ended up with a position on my CX bikes which is alomst identical to my road bike; the only difference is that the bars are a bit higher on the CX bike. Your body's doing the same job, from a biomechanical perspective, so I guess it's not surprising that the optimum position ends up being much the same. CX frames do tend to have shorter headtubes, but I think this is actually because the fork crown is higher, because of the extra clearance required for big tyres; if you measure from front axle to top of head tube, they tend to come out much the same.
    Bar width - wider bars give you more leverage, but are harder to fit through narrow gaps (whether in trees or at the start of a race). Again I tried all sorts of widths, and ended up the same as my road bike.
    Downhill, get used to riding on the drops.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Guys many thanks again, so much to think about, particularly the different Rotor sizes and fixing standards. I am really keen for a crosser now, was gonna spend £500 on some new road wheels but I think this cross project will be more fun to do over a few weeks/months and even though it is for winter road riding and family stuff I can see myself heading off to the local parks to ride on some grass and tracks (Allestree and Darley Parks for those that know them). Strangely I have no desire for an MTB but love the idea of a crosser for doing similar things others would do with an MTB.
    I’ll be back with regular questions I’m sure and also a pic when all done.
    Just wondering on Sram Apex or Shimano 105, depends on what has best deals on I suppose.

    Cheers again
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    I've been using SRAM Rival with no real issues, and Shimano seems to be pretty popular too. If you race you're going to end up killing rear mechs, so the cost of replacement mechs might be a factor. For the same reason, I'd check that replacement mech hangers are readily available for your frame of choice (I actually keep a spare mech and hanger in the box of spares I take to races).

    I reckon my CX bike is every bit as capable as the non-suspension MTB I had 20 years ago (and a lot faster and nicer to ride!)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    @TGOTB - re: bar and stem sizes, it's just a suggestion about going up one size (which typically adds 2cm to the width) which is unlikely to cause you becoming wedged between trees unless you were really careless. Personally I like a bit wider / shorter position on a cross bike so it is easier to shift weight about on steep or uneven tracks but if you're mainly blasting along gravel tracks then a more typical road position is just as valid. Personal choice.

    A cx bike is a lot of fun off road and definitely faster than an MTB in some cases but the limitations of riding position and tyres can become apparent once the track becomes more technical, rocky or rutted - fat tyres and an upright stance are a definite advantage there.

    As far as parts go, my crosser is mostly 105 with some Apex cranks, just because I think they look nicer. It doesn't make much sense to me to fit anything much posher on a bike that gets filthy and beaten up but it's a matter of budget and values really.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    jomoj wrote:
    @TGOTB - re: bar and stem sizes, it's just a suggestion about going up one size (which typically adds 2cm to the width) which is unlikely to cause you becoming wedged between trees unless you were really careless. Personally I like a bit wider / shorter position on a cross bike so it is easier to shift weight about on steep or uneven tracks but if you're mainly blasting along gravel tracks then a more typical road position is just as valid. Personal choice.

    A cx bike is a lot of fun off road and definitely faster than an MTB in some cases but the limitations of riding position and tyres can become apparent once the track becomes more technical, rocky or rutted - fat tyres and an upright stance are a definite advantage there.

    As far as parts go, my crosser is mostly 105 with some Apex cranks, just because I think they look nicer. It doesn't make much sense to me to fit anything much posher on a bike that gets filthy and beaten up but it's a matter of budget and values really.
    My experience is based on the terrain on typical race courses, which tends to be relatively fast, and favour a road-like riding position. My observation is that the vast majority of the field, including all the guys at the front, have come to a similar conclusion. The OP's talking about towpaths and riding with the kids rather than gnarly single track descents, so I suspect the same applies to him.

    Sure, you're not going to get wedged between trees with wider bars, but it's slightly less comfortable for no tangible benefit, and I'd rather be clashing shoulders/elbows with the guys next to me than clashing bars...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    Well exactly, race bike position only has to be endured for an hour generally while riding around a field. If you want something more relaxed to ride or off road capable then it's possible to find a better compromise. I'm just suggesting alternatives which I've personally gained a tangible benefit from.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    jomoj wrote:
    Well exactly, race bike position only has to be endured for an hour generally while riding around a field. If you want something more relaxed to ride or off road capable then it's possible to find a better compromise. I'm just suggesting alternatives which I've personally gained a tangible benefit from.
    I didn't suggest "race bike position", I actually suggested similar position to road bike. Most people don't optimise their road bikes for 1-hour rides, unless they're riding crits.

    If you want to optimise your CX bike for riding slowly down technical singletrack, go ahead (or, even better, get an MTB). However, if you actually read the post at the top of this thread you'll see that it's not what the OP wants to do.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    If you read everybody's posts, your own included, you'll see that the OP expresses an interest in riding a cross bike where others might choose an MTB. You'll also see that I point out the limitations of cross bikes in rougher conditions and that you are the only person for whom the suitability for a particular setup in quite specific racing conditions is a main concern.

    FWIW I've raced my cross bike, toured on it, commuted and stuck some aero bars and done some TTs as well. There's all sorts of things you can do with them.

    So, shall we just agree that cross bikes are ace and can be adapted for different purposes depending on the needs and preferences of the owner and all have a big hug?
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Please hug it out guys, been really useful advice from all, hope to show yall what I end up with soon but fear it'll be a month or more so play nice till then !
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    That would be cool, interested to see what you build. Disc brakes, wheels etc will push up the cost so you should probably price it all up and see if it's worth it considering you were originally aiming for cheap.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    As ever I keep upping the spec.
    Perhaps I'll keep looking for a non disc cross frame as it'll be cheaper as will the components if I can use existing wheels but that kinesis pro6 does look real good.
    Start cycles had a 2011 scott cx frame in my size for £300 if I recall correctly.
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Galatzo wrote:
    Please hug it out guys, been really useful advice from all, hope to show yall what I end up with soon but fear it'll be a month or more so play nice till then !
    LOL - no hard feelings to anyone!

    The Pro6 is a nice frame; I have one built up as a commuter, and even with the mudguards there's plenty of clearance to stick on a pair of CX wheels for an off-road ride with the kids.

    If you do go for discs, don't overlook the possibility of getting wheels hand-built. The Novatec D711/D712 hubs are very good for the money. Because there don't seem to be any "value" disc wheels around, it may be possible to get a set built up with decent set of rims, for not a lot more than the cheapest factory disc wheels available (though cantis and budget wheels are still going to be cheaper).
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    re: wheels - search the forum for '700c disk wheels', 'cyclocross disk wheels' and '29er wheels cyclocross' etc. for many threads about the tricky world of finding a reasonably priced wheel. I was lucky to pick up some very nice nearly new handbuilt wheels on ebay so it's worth keeping an eye open on their, forums etc. as well as pricing up some custom ones.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,060 Lives Here
    I suppose me saying how much I like my Pro6 won't help.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Veronese68 wrote:
    I suppose me saying how much I like my Pro6 won't help.

    No it doesn't really :lol:

    Still trying to get my head around which discs brakes would be ok and not much money, shimano alivio br-m3095 seem cheapest at £16 ex rotors.
    Good cheap wheels I'm struggling to find, any recommendations most welcome !
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    I'm not 100% sure but I don't think the alivio brakes will work with a drop bar lever. AFAIK the br517 and cx77 are the only road lever compatible Shimano brakes.

    Update: there's also BR 317 at about £25 each. The other cheapest options are Avid bb5 and tektro lyra.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Noted, thanks.
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    Decided on a Kinesis Crosslight Pro6, LBS are just seeing if Upgrade can find me a 51cm in sick green otherwise I’ll probably get it in white.
    Also checking if Upgrade have a spare pair of the crosslight wheels although stock for them and the sick green says 4 weeks+ on the website.
    Depending on the wheel availability then I may go for the Shimano WH-MX31, in fact I’ll probably go with the Shimano wheels then the £100 I save will get tyres, tubes and brakes.
    Any thoughts on the Shimano wheels ?
    Groupset wise I’ll be scanning Ebay this weekend for the best prices on Sram Apex and Shimano 105 and whichever is cheapest I’ll go for as no preference really.
    Need some tyre recommendations please.
    I know with road tyres there’s a massive difference between tyres less than £20 and those above is it the same with cross type tyres ?
    Use initially will be road 40% towpaths 20% off-road 40%. I guess I’ll need a mores dedicated road set of tyres for it at somepoint but what would you recommend for now based on the estimated usage above ?

    Cheers
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,060 Lives Here
    Good choice, it does look the dogs danglies in green. Not that I'm biased at all. Merlin had 105 groupsets at £300 as I recall, you can then sell the brakes to offset a bit of cost.
  • jezzasnrjezzasnr Posts: 225
    I'm just writing out a spec sheet for similar.
    Think I'll go for the Five T with Pure CX Carbonforks and also try to use bits of existing components & wheels that i have already.
    Orange is the only way for me i think!
    Pics to follow.
    ....like it's golden
  • jomojjomoj Posts: 777
    Good choice on the pro 6 and the 5T - I love the orange. What price are your lbs asking by the way? Just be aware that you ought to be able to get one for well under RRP.

    Re the rx31 wheels, they get decent reviews but they're not very light from what I've read.

    My build is nearly finished, well about half finished...
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