CX bike or not???

venstervenster Posts: 559
edited July 2017 in Road buying advice
Hi.

I've just moved to the Peak District and the terrain is totally different to where I came from - steep hills and I'm guessing lots of mud in wet weather. I've decided that I want a bike with disc brakes, I'm a chunky monkey, and this will obviously allow wider tyres which is useful in gravelly, muddy conditions.

I'm looking towards a road bike with hydraulic brakes, but what differences are there between that and a dedicated CX bike. Personally, I can't see much difference but I've never taken much notice of them before. I don't want to buy a road bike and wish I'd gone for the other....

TIA

Posts

  • fenixfenix Posts: 4,738
    CX bikes usually offer more clearance than road bikes. I have full guards on mine and some 30mm plus tyres with no bother.

    Road bikes sometimes struggle to get the wider tyres and guards without clogging.

    If I had to have just one bike I'd go CX and have slick road tyres for the summer and chunky heavy duty ones for the winter.

    Just make sure you get gears that suit the climbs round you.
  • luv2rideluv2ride Posts: 2,303
    I think you have 3 choices; road bike / gravel (adventure/allroad) / cx bike.

    The CX bike is likely to have quite a racy geometry, as well as larger tyre clearances than a typical road bike, due to their main purpose being thrashed around on for up to an hour. That said, I have a Kinesis Crosslight which has served me well as a cruddy-weather bike, with a few spacers under the stem.

    I've recently taken delivery a new carbon "Endurance" road bike - it has hydro discs, clearance for 30mm tyres and less of a racy geometry - it still flies when you put the effort in though but handles crappy roads really well.

    Gravel bikes are probably somewhere between the two - less racy geometry than a CX bike, but room to take bigger tyres (and in some cases, much bigger 42mm tyres) which when run tubeless also give some decent offroad capability. Many of these may have a single chain ring up front.

    If it where me I'd probably go gravel bike, and get two wheel sets - one shod with 28-30mm road tyres, and the other with tubeless knobblies for off-road. Id probably seek out one with a compact double chainset too. That way you've got all bases covered. Arguably just too much choice now for the bike buyer!
    Scott Solace 10 disc - Kinesis Crosslight Pro6 disc - Scott CR1 SL - Pinnacle Arkose X 650b - Pinnacle Arkose 1x11 "monster cross" - Specialized Singlecross...& an Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 4 string...
  • bold seagullbold seagull Posts: 145
    venster wrote:
    Hi.

    I've just moved to the Peak District and the terrain is totally different to where I came from - steep hills and I'm guessing lots of mud in wet weather. I've decided that I want a bike with disc brakes, I'm a chunky monkey, and this will obviously allow wider tyres which is useful in gravelly, muddy conditions.

    I'm looking towards a road bike with hydraulic brakes, but what differences are there between that and a dedicated CX bike. Personally, I can't see much difference but I've never taken much notice of them before. I don't want to buy a road bike and wish I'd gone for the other....

    TIA

    I bought a Merida Cyclocross 500 2nd hand last year, and it is really impressive as a road bike as well as on tracks across the south downs. As a road bike with 25mm tyres on it I've found it pretty fast, responsive, stiff and really decent for club rides, and rides of 50+ miles. Stick my knobbly trail tyres and it is great, rock steady, handling rough terrain with ease. Don't tell the wife, but it could easily replace my summer carbon frame road bike, without me being too upset it is that decent on the road. That said, I won't be doing that, but if I was in for just 1 bike all year round and I was wondering what too get, wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Merida. Difference is the clearance as others have said, and frame geometry giving you a different position. I ride a bit of a sportive road bike anyway, so the Cyclocross position wasn't that different in terms of a more relaxed riding position, and plenty of frame clearance for chunky tyres.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 4,738
    In terms of speed - a cross bike with road tyres will be 99% as fast as a full road bike.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Peak District = Mountain Bike.

    Thread over.
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  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    For one bike to do it all I would go cross/gravel depending on the geometry you want.

    As far as I see it a 'gravel'/'adventure' bike is too a cross bike what a 'sportive'/'endurance' bike is too a road bike.

    i.e. both are more relaxed versions of their more race-orientated brethren.

    However, I think if I lived in the peaks I would be getting a mountain bike and a road bike rather than one bike to do everything.
  • venstervenster Posts: 559
    Thanks for your replies, it's a hard one to choose.

    However, my budget will dictate what I can go for. (£1,500)

    I already have a Wilier GTR which I love, with 'climber's gearing' on it...but I realised that I need some more powerful brakes. I had already upgraded them to Ultegra and decent pads and still struggle on the tight windy roads where you can't 'let go'....

    A definite no-no for MTB, tried that, but I'm a roadie I'm afraid...
  • Animal72Animal72 Posts: 259
    The Mrs and I are currently in Derbyshire on our new Gravel bikes, we've done a mix of roads and trails.

    They're both set up almost the same as our road bikes, with the bars slightly higher on both. This seems to work better when on stand-up descents.

    More comfy as the road bikes, but that's all down to the bigger tyres. Braking (105 hydro) solid and predictable. Not quite as quick, but who cares.

    Stock gearing not up to the job for the Mrs though, gonna have to go for a wider cassette...
    Condor Super Acciaio, Record, Deda, Pacentis.
    Curtis 853 Handbuilt MTB, XTR, DT Swiss and lots of Hope.
    Genesis Datum Gravel Bike, Pacentis (again).
    Genesis Equilibrium Disc, 105 & H-Plus-Son.

    Mostly Steel.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Couple of points I've not seen mentioned here. CX bikes often come with CX gearing - in particular quite narrow ratio chainrings (46/34?). The geometry of a CX also sometimes have a higher BB - couple that with big tyres and/or guards and I certainly get toe overlap issues.

    I'd either go with a gravel/adventure bike or the endurance road bike. Of the bikes I've owned, the Volagi would do the job perfectly - will take chunkier tyres like Schwalbe S-Ones and guards - but, stripped down, it's every bit as quick as the Foil. Look for a disc road bike with bike tyre and guard clearance unless you plan to do fire roads (which I love) in which case the gravel/adventure bike would be best.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • e999same999sam Posts: 447
    I live within half hour ride of the Peak district. I bought a Cube cross SL last year and I love it. It's great for all weather fitted with mud guards and can cope with most surfaces the Peak district has. One thing that would put me of many of the latest CX bikes is the single ring and wide ratio cassette. The big jumps in gears aren't that good for riding on the road.
  • bmxboy10bmxboy10 Posts: 1,798
    Stretch the budget and get a Cannondale Super X - to me its all the bike most people will ever need.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 6,582
    I tend to mix between my xc mtb or cx bike in the peak district depending on where I'm riding. I would recommend that whatever bike you get make sure it's got hydraulic brakes and gearing suitable for the peaks. My TCX has 46/34 with 11 / 32 on the back and occasionally I have to get off and walk as to hard on steep off road sections.
    Worth looking at last year's models to save money. See link to a lot in budget with a few over.
    https://www.paulscycles.co.uk/m7b0s194p ... yclo-Cross
    Moda Bolero wet bike.
    Giant Anthem SX
    Giant TCX CX bike
    Defy Adv Pro 2 shiny nice bike.
    Boardman comp hardtail. Not so little oxo,s
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    solboy10 wrote:
    Stretch the budget and get a Cannondale Super X - to me its all the bike most people will ever need.

    But, as in my post, the first thing you'll want to do is change the chainrings from 46/36 to something more appropriate for road use.

    For the same money (or less) you can get the Jamie Renegade Elite and it even comes with the right chainset.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • NorvernRobNorvernRob Posts: 1,448
    Are we talking roads, trails or a mix? I do most of my riding in the Peaks and don't see the need for anything other than a road bike, even on the singletracks with iffy surfaces. If you want more topping power I'd just get a road bike with discs.

    I have a CX bike, and it's great fun, but I wouldn't replace my road bike with it. It's nearly 4kg heavier for a start and the gearing is 46/36 which is too narrow for road use, especially in the Peaks when I'll use every gear on the road bike from 34/27 to 50/11 and still wish I had bigger/smaller sometimes!
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    I bought a diverge for the same type of riding. In summer I put on 33mm tyres and ride canal towpaths, byways, forestry trails, and fire roads. In the colder months I put 25mm / 28mm tyres on for road riding. The hydraulic disc brakes work very well, the short reach bars improve the handling, the tyre clearance gives flexibility and it has a similar riding position to a roubaix rather than a head down cx bike.

    On road it is faster downhill than a road bike, similar on the flat and a little slower up hill. Off road it works very well until the trails get too rough.
  • molteni_manmolteni_man Posts: 191
    Take a look at the Orro Terra. I'm really pleased with it. Fantastic on the road, really planted on downhills and beautiful to look at in the green colour. It does everything I want off - road too.
    I got the SE version back in May with hydraulic brakes and 3T components. Doesn't look like they're doing this version which was a steal at £1300 as sold out so quickl, but still worth looking at even though prices have gone up on ' base' model.
    It's become my ' go to ' bike as does everything so well. Good review on it here on Bikeradar.
  • janwaljanwal Posts: 445
    Look at the Boardman cx team.Superb Sram hydro brakes.1x11 groupset,42 front 10-42 back.Same as about 12-32.All the gears you need.Takes full guards with fat tyres.Ok it is a 10kg bike but it Easily copes with Pennine hills around Huddersfield even with my 63 year old legs.I run 28 conti 4000's on it which come up 30 wide at moment as not a fan of knobblies that came with it. Just done Hardknotts and Wrynose on my Trek Domane disc which I converted to 1x11 and that weighs about the same so don't dismiss it.And you will have cash left for other nice things!
    Halfords often have a 20% off offer if you are in no rush.Plus 10% off if you have cycling uk or British cycling membership.When I got mine at Easter they also told me it was end of line so also got £75 free accessories as well So got a Garmin 25 and paid the difference, bonus!
  • venstervenster Posts: 559
    NorvernRob wrote:
    Are we talking roads, trails or a mix? I do most of my riding in the Peaks and don't see the need for anything other than a road bike, even on the singletracks with iffy surfaces. If you want more topping power I'd just get a road bike with discs.

    I have a CX bike, and it's great fun, but I wouldn't replace my road bike with it. It's nearly 4kg heavier for a start and the gearing is 46/36 which is too narrow for road use, especially in the Peaks when I'll use every gear on the road bike from 34/27 to 50/11 and still wish I had bigger/smaller sometimes!

    I had veered towards a CX bike until I read this - I never thought that they'd be considerably heavier, and I do need low gearing, sadly.

    I think I've gone towards a road bike again with hydraulic brakes - just for the improved stopping power. I can then put some wider tyres on it, should I feel the need to go 'off piste'....
  • e999same999sam Posts: 447
    venster wrote:
    NorvernRob wrote:
    Are we talking roads, trails or a mix? I do most of my riding in the Peaks and don't see the need for anything other than a road bike, even on the singletracks with iffy surfaces. If you want more topping power I'd just get a road bike with discs.

    I have a CX bike, and it's great fun, but I wouldn't replace my road bike with it. It's nearly 4kg heavier for a start and the gearing is 46/36 which is too narrow for road use, especially in the Peaks when I'll use every gear on the road bike from 34/27 to 50/11 and still wish I had bigger/smaller sometimes!

    I had veered towards a CX bike until I read this - I never thought that they'd be considerably heavier, and I do need low gearing, sadly.

    I think I've gone towards a road bike again with hydraulic brakes - just for the improved stopping power. I can then put some wider tyres on it, should I feel the need to go 'off piste'....
    I've got 46 36 rings and 11 28 cassette on my CX bike and I very rarely run out of gears on either end. It actually gives me a bigger gear than I used to race on in the 80's. (52 13). I often ride on the Cromford canal, Monsal, High peak and tissington trails which I would never do on my road bike.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 860
    46 x 11 on a road bike is a definite liability for some riders. While it is great off-road, I don't find it useful for when the bike is converted to ride on the road. I also find 50/34 to limit me on some of my rides. 46 is great for going up hill, not so good for coming. (4mph difference at 90rpm which is significant if you want to pedal downhill, take part in chaingangs etc)
    Some riders will be absolute fine with the 46 chain ring. But that doesn't mean other riders will be. If I was buying one do it all bike then the gearing would be a consideration and I personally wouldn't find 46/36x11. I also think the 36 isn't great for road for the people who need help on the hills. If you live in a hilly area I would think that 50/34 would be a better gearing.
    That being said I do think the answer to the OP's question is an Adventure Bike. Cross bikes have been diluted now by the fact that Adventure riding has increased, so people need a Cross Bike to be more than just a cross bike, but to be more adaptable and less race focused.
    I also prefer a 1x set up with the ability to put on a mountain bike cassette, but that's my personal preference. An adventure bike should give you the hydraulic disc brakes you need, a wide ranging cassette and the ability to use wider tyres should you think they are necessary (and once you try a plush set of 40c tyres you won't want to go back!)

    janwal - I'd be interested in your Domane 1x conversion. I have a Domane Disc and the widest tyre I can fit is a 33c due to the front derailleur arm. I've thought about going 1x so I can get wider tyres on it as there is plenty of fork clearance.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 6,582
    Most decent cx bikes weigh little more than a decent road bike, not sure what bike is 4kg more than road bike. My TCX weighs less than 10k with 2 full bottles and wedge bag. As to monsal,tissington and high peak trails they are mostly flat and doable on a single speed or a road bike CTC use it a lot for their rides I've also done it on my road bikes before. The places you want the cx bike for and better gearing are the penine bridal way or the ladybower round classic off road route amongst others. If cx bikes weighed to much they wouldn't be used on such classics as the Yorkshire 3 peaks as they would be to heavy to carry up. I should add if you want it for mainly roadworks then get a road bike otherwise cx or gravel bike whichever floats your boat.
    Moda Bolero wet bike.
    Giant Anthem SX
    Giant TCX CX bike
    Defy Adv Pro 2 shiny nice bike.
    Boardman comp hardtail. Not so little oxo,s
  • e999same999sam Posts: 447
    What I'm saying is how versatile a cx bike is. I'm lucky enough to have more than one bike so if I'm going to ride anything rougher than railway trails and canal tow paths I'll use my mtb, if I'm out in good weather in the Peak district and don't intend to do any type of trail I'll use my road bike. My cx bike is set up with mud guards and heavy touring tyres. It's my bike of choice for winter, bad weather and commuting. Next week we're of to Norfolk so I'll put on a pair of gravel tyres and take of the mudguards. I'll be riding a mix of roads, coastal paths and Thetford forest.
    If I was could only have one of my bikes I would choose the cx bike because it's so versatile.
  • thegibdogthegibdog Posts: 2,106
    If you aren't planning on riding off-road, and just want something to deal with crappy roads, then a road bike with clearance for 28mm & guards would be the best option.
  • venstervenster Posts: 559
    thegibdog wrote:
    If you aren't planning on riding off-road, and just want something to deal with crappy roads, then a road bike with clearance for 28mm & guards would be the best option.


    This is what I'll do...
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,160
    I'm currently selling my Cervelo R3D to make way for a CX bike.

    It will be my daily commuter too (short 9km commute into work).

    If you commute every day of the year, you will know no matter what 25/28c tyres you use, it can be sketchy at the best of times in winter...

    I'm looking forward to being able to blast around fire roads, easy going red routes and then cycle home, not bricking myself every time a bend appears in the road.

    Currently stuck between with the Mason Bokeh, Focus Mares CX and the Cannondale SuperX, all with 1x11 gearing.

    As for gearing, even a 42T up front paired with an 11T on the back, will see you hold 42km/h at 90rpm on 650b wheels. More than fast enough for most on the road.
    '17 Focus Mares Force 1 --- '19 Cervélo S5 Disc Di2

    IG: RhinosWorkshop - Check it out for all my custom builds...
  • rbarcanrbarcan Posts: 206
    If I could take only one bike to my desert island it would definitely be my Kinesis Crosslight. Certainly not heavy and I find the 46:36 / 11:28 combination just fine for the many steepish hills in the Bristol area.
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,887
    I have both a Road and CX bike and mostly ride in the Peak District and rarely take the CX(Boardman CX Comp) over the Road bike (Canyon Ultimate CF SL).
    I generally use the CX on the Trans-Pennine Trail or around Ladybower with the lad.
    cooldad wrote:
    Peak District = Mountain Bike.
    Thread over.
    I would have agreed up to about 2014/5.
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