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Using CX as a road bike

sam1176uksam1176uk Posts: 524
edited January 2016 in Cyclocross
Hi,

Just wanted some opinions on using my current CX bike as a summer road bike, my wife has been using my carbon road bike and enjoying it, so i was considering some slick tyres for my carbon CX bike to use on the road.
Will it be much slower than a carbon road bike? My CX has disc brakes so it seems like a new road bike with disc brakes will be very similar to my CX bike.

Thanks

Posts

  • bobleybobley Posts: 60
    I bet you wouldn't know the difference after a few rides. You can always tweak the setup slightly to adapt it. I've been riding my CX bike last weekend with road tyres on as I was hopping on an off a lot and wanted to be able to walk about in my MTB winter boots. It was lush. Get some 30mm Schwalbe S-One tyres on it and you've got yourself a Paris Roubaix bike.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Hi,

    Just wanted some opinions on using my current CX bike as a summer road bike, my wife has been using my carbon road bike and enjoying it, so i was considering some slick tyres for my carbon CX bike to use on the road.
    Will it be much slower than a carbon road bike? My CX has disc brakes so it seems like a new road bike with disc brakes will be very similar to my CX bike.

    Thanks
    Try it and see!

    Partly depends what gearing you have; the 1x10 setup on my CX bikes might be a bit annoying on the road, but if you have a 2x10 setup, especially with compact chainrings, you'll be fine. You'll probably be slightly less aero, but not enough to make a difference unless you're racing (and possibly not even then). If you use a different position for road and CX it's worth checking you can achieve your road position on the CX bike, but I have mine set up almost identically anyway.

    My commuting bike is built around a CX frame, with road gearing (and mudguards), and I'm very happy with it.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    I've even done a road race on a cross bike and it was fine, didn't feel like a handicap at all. It helps that the position on my cross bikes mirrors the road set up quite well. I've done a TT with 1x10 set up, that was not optimal. Still only about 2 minutes off my course PB.
  • Thanks, it has a compact chainset and 2x11 ultegra, so gearing should be fine. I was mainly concerned about weight and the effect on my strava times! I don't see many disc brake wheel upgrade options available at the moment, which would have helped bring the weight down on the standard Shimano RX31 wheelset.
  • LeePatonLeePaton Posts: 353
    Hunt have some fancy discs wheels available and most wheelbuilders will build you a great set.

    Considering a fair few pro teams, looking at you europcar, still use CX bikes in Paris Roubaix i'm sure that wont be the reason you're strava dreams are ruined.
    It's not so much about winning, I just hate losing.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I've just got a PX XLS 1X11. It's got 32mm studded tyres, the weather's cold and wet, and I've got a heap of clothing and a spare tyre. On me, that is :oops:

    My first couple of commutes suggest that I'm about 10 minutes slower on a ride that takes just over an hour in summer. I expect that if you took out all the other factors apart from the bike (tyres, clothing, weather etc) then the difference would be minimal - I'll try it next summer out of curiosity, do a few rides on each to see.

    FWIW the 1X seems to work fine for me - at 42 X 11-32 it spins out at somewhere north of 30mph, I personally quite like pedalling down some of the steady descents round here at 35-45 but no-one really needs to, do they?
  • I bet you wouldn't know the difference after a few rides. You can always tweak the setup slightly to adapt it. I've been riding my CX bike last weekend with road tyres on as I was hopping on an off a lot and wanted to be able to walk about in my MTB winter boots. It was lush. Get some 30mm Schwalbe S-One tyres on it and you've got yourself a Paris Roubaix bike.

    Good idea with the schwalbe tyres although I'm not sure if my wheels are tubeless compatible.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    The issue with 1x10 is mainly the gap between adjacent ratios. 1x10 is actually not uncommon in the TT world (losing the aero drag of the front mech) but it tends to be a corncob cassette and a massive chainring.

    The highest ratio on my CX bike is ~85". Whilst I've touched 30mph off the start, and gone a lot faster on my track bike with the same ratio, equalling my 25 mile PB would require me to maintain 115rpm for nearly an hour :shock:
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • When CX season comes round I ride one of my CX bikes on the commute and every training ride, religiously for a few weeks before the season opener right through until 4 weeks from now when the CX nationals is.
    The geometry is shorter and more compact than my regular summer road bike so I like to spend all my time on it to adapt. I am less aero on it, its slightly heavier, but not much... I have clip on mudguards for the sunday night conversion back to commuter after a race and its no slower really than any full winter road bike would be.
  • bobleybobley Posts: 60
    I've just built a pile of wheels for my new CX bike. Get some Stans Grail rims and build them up on Novatec hubs for a cheap light combo?
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    With the right tyres it will be slower uphill but smoother elsewhere.
  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    The difference between CX and road bikes that people seem to forget to mention is the geometry.

    Having a BB closer to the ground generally makes a bike handle better. CX bikes often have lower BB drop (BB is further from the groud) for obstacle clearance etc. so won't feel the same on the road as a road bike. Differences in seat-tube and head angle will also mean that road and CX bikes will often handle differently.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    The difference between CX and road bikes that people seem to forget to mention is the geometry.
    I think the reason most people forget to mention it, is that the differences are quite subtle. If you were able to set up a blind test, I very much doubt that most cyclists would be able to correctly identify a frame as road or CX, based on feel and handling alone.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    You might be able to in a blind test, as the contrast will be instant, but when used to a particular bike's handling, you'll never wish it were a bit shorter wheelbase for example.

    I love the razor sharp handling of my roadbike, but when I had to use my cross bike as a substitute, I never missed it, I just enjoyed that bike's strengths, better comfort and stability. The differences are subtle.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I think the geometry difference is pretty minimal now. Most manufacturers seems to be obsessed with softening down CX bikes, in both geometry and stiffness. Then marketing them as the new 'versatile do anything commuter', seemingly because the vast majority of CX bikes are sold to leisure cyclists and commuters rather than CX racers. The fact you can't even buy a complete CX bike with Canti's anymore speaks volumes. Want a bike to race on that costs under a grand? Heres a 14kg behemoth with zero mud clearance and a f*cking rack mount :roll:
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,219
    Yup, but that's a market share thing isnt it. I live in (apparently) the second home of Cyclocross (though the US might be catching up) and when I went round the Major City* trying to find some cross bikes to test ride I found 1, ONE! In about 6 so called Performance Road Bike shops...

    (*Ok, yes Amsterdam is the capital, but most of the important stuff is in The Hague)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • The difference between CX and road bikes that people seem to forget to mention is the geometry.

    Spot on! I borrowed my brother's CX for Rapha HotN and utterly HATED it.

    By contrast I've bought a gravel bike (Jamis Renegade) for my commute and it feels like a road bike just with fat tyres. It has slightly slacker steering but that just inspires confidence on the slippery stuff (of which there's plenty around here).

    Disc brakes are fantastic - but I have those on my favourite road bike anyway - and there are plenty of wheels about. Thru axles (which my Jamis has) are a waste of time (literally) - lots of nonsense spouted about stiffness and ease of fitted with discs etc. They might help MTB forks but not rigid forks.

    As for speed - I'm maybe a minute slower on a 30-minute commute with the Jamis than I am on the Foil - and I can be reasonably certain that it's the difference between 25c Open Pave (Foil) and 35c, 60tpi, nobbly Clement adventure tyres on the Jamis. And the Jamis is infinitely more comfortable.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • I recenty built a CX bike up just to use as a road bike, I ride in the Lakes a lot and I wanted Hydro disc and to be able to run bigger tyres. I fitted an Ultegra 6800 groupset 50/34 with a 32/11 along with some Mavic allroad wheels.

    To be honest it is 95% as quick as my road bikes on normal roads, but on the rougher roads in the lakes it s miles better.
    I often do club runs on it and have no bother keeping up with some high end road bikes it has even done the odd TT with reasonable results.

    I guess it depends on were you ride as to what is the best bike, but if I could only hae one bike it would be a CX bike
  • With the same wheels, my cross bike weighs little more than my road bike, I suspect that there is little difference in speed. The big difference is in stiffness. I can't ride my cross bike on the road for more than a couple of hours without it feeling very uncomfortable.
  • I've just put 28mm slicks on my Norco A1 and using it at as my road Winter Bike. The gears are the standard 46/36.

    On the Sunday Club I've not noticed any difference and last weekend I spent most of the 55 miles at the front pulling the group along.

    Yes it it slower the my Carbon road bike and not as fast to react, but you would expect this as it weighs much more. On the up side it feels really VERY solid on wet roads and benefits from disc brakes. I still ride on the drops but it is far more comfortable than my Summer bike.

    Again as expected it's a bit sluggish up hill, but I was first up the hills on Sunday so says more about my fitness than the bike.

    Overall I'm happy to use my Cross bike on the road!
  • I use my CX bike solely as a road bike (that's why I bought it) for winter, grubby weather and commuting duties. Fitted with 25mm Conti 4 Seasons, lights and full length SKS mudguards it does the job brilliantly. It's no comparison to my "good" bike in terms of speed and lightness, but then as a solid second workhorse I can't fault it.
  • Not only am I using my CX to commute (a Condor Bivio X), I've converted it to flat bar with hydraulics and fitted 37c tyres.

    It flies.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
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