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  1. #1
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    Can CX Bike replace a Mountain Bike?

    Hi All,

    I have really enjoyed my time this past year getting started on road but i'm wondering in terms of CX bikes, I don't do downhill biking but do typical single track not terribly difficult (no jumps) and was wondering if CX bike can replace a mountain bike. The other reason I ask is because where we are in our family growth, i had typically towing a trailer either mountain or road, and I realize I'm not a fan of riding mtn bike with hybrid tires on the road. Was wondering if CX bike can be a good compromise to do everything bike?

    Any thoughts would be great!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Can CX Bike replace a Mountain Bike?

    It depends on the trails you ride but yes, it is possible. In Dallas we have a MTB club called DORBA. Of the trails that DORBA maintains I can thoroughly enjoy 90% of them on my SSCX bike. Some of them I won't ride on anything other than a cross bike as it increases the difficulty a little.

    When I travel to other locales to ride I am glad to have my FS and SS as well, but if I only rode in Dallas, and didn't race, I would be fine with just a CX bike. On top of that, if I had to own only one bike it would be my CX bike and the quiver of wheels I have for it.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  3. #3
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    I don't think replace is the right word. More like make due. As xj said, you can ride most of the urban trails and sometimes it adds to the experience. If you do some real mountain biking, a cross bike will pretty quickly reach its limit as you go near anything with rocks or anything longer than a brief descent. Getting a set of narrow 29er tires might help expand the limitations but its always going to be a compromise.

  4. #4
    Fat & Single
    Reputation: ozzybmx's Avatar
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    Im going to say no. A do it all bike would be a hardtail MTB in my opinion.

    All my bikes are fully rigid, HT, SS, Fatbike and Dropbar monstercrossed SS... now waiting on my first geared CX bike to arrive any day now. Been riding the Dropbar SS with CX tyres for a while now and it definitely will not go the places a MTB will go, its goes 95% but I want to ride it all. Ive also suffered more sidewall tears on it than all the other bikes put together.

    Then again it depends on your trails.

  5. #5
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    I ride smooth single track on my CX bike, but avoid the rooty/rocky stuff. I can run on 33c tires, but I prefer 40c because I can run a slightly lower pressure (more volume) to ease the abuse. A hardtail MTB with wider tires would be a better option because you'd have more confidence.

  6. #6
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    Depends on the trails. Rooty/rocky technical trails, you can make it work, but it's slow and requires a higher level of caution. For fast hard pack, sure no problem. I have some trails where I live that are more beginner oriented where you lose nothing in using a cross bike and it's pretty fun. But most trails are the rooty/rocky/technical variety where a cross bike is extremely challenging.

  7. #7
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Sometimes.

    A CX bike can ride a lot of offroad trails, lots of singletrack as well. But there are just some trails (usually the most difficult type) that have drops that will bottom out your rims on a CX bike. And you cannot run very high pressures to prevent this if you want any traction on the CX bike. On the other hand, a real MTB will have enough tire volume to take these impacts (and even then you still occasionally bottom out).

    So yes, using a CX bike really depends on the trail and how technical it is (mostly drops as I've said). Otherwise it's good to go like any 29er rigid.
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  8. #8
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    It depends on the trails/conditions, but bicycles are a whole lot more versatile than most people think.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  9. #9
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    Really depends on the trails and to a lesser degree your weight. Being a clyde, I love my cx bike for rails to trails (crushed limestone), compacted gravel, and hard dirt. As soon as the surface gets loose, rough, roots, rocks I find I can not get the tire pressure low enough to get comfort and traction but still avoid pinch flats.

  10. #10
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    Hell yeah it can bro... I ride a Voodoo LOA and its my only bike. I have two sets of wheels - one for road with some 28 slicks and a 11/21 cassette [48/38 up front] the other for mtb with a 40 in the rear and a 32 up front and a 12/32 cassette. i ride in orange county - whiting ranch santiago petes canyon gonna explore laguna this weekend.

    can you keep up with hard tails - absolutely. can you huck the think off drops - absolutely not.

    anywhere you can ride a hardtail you can ride a CX. plus you get more street cred for being on a skinny tire bike. YEEEEWWWW!

  11. #11
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    I just got back from 90 minutes on our local mtb trails. What a blast!

    If you're light on your bike -- if picking a line and watching for rocks and roots is part of the fun for you -- a cross bike is great on mtb trails. All trails are different, of course, and the threat of pinch flatting is real on any but the smoothest, but I ride every trail we have here and only have to dimount and run the very roughest. You know what, though? I don't mind -- it's a cross bike.

  12. #12
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    I have been mountain biking for over 10 years and can count the number of times I've seen a CX bike on the trail with one hand. And im talking about the XC trails i've road that were on the tame side of things. I can only speculate as to why. But ill have a CX bike built in a month or so and let you know how it is.

  13. #13
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    I've just turned over 2000 miles of riding on my CX bike that was built last summer. Most of the rides are on the order of 1/2 to 2/3 pavement and the remainder gravel/dirt/single track. I run some 700x40c touring tires so it rides nice and easy on pavement yet still has adequate traction in the dirt. I do tend to stick to the easy to moderate MTB trails, but the bike has handled all that with ease. On some of the bumpier descents, I'll get passed by the full suspension MTBs, but then when we hit the pavement, I'll blow by the MTBs.

    I prefer to ride to and from the trails and that involves an hour or so of pavement each way, so for me, the CX bike is ideal. Also I find that with no suspension and slightly less tire grip, even easy trails can be challenging to me, so that keeps things interesting. So unless you are out to ride all the toughest trails, you can still have a blast on a CX bike.

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  14. #14
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    I ride fairly rooty single track on my cross bike sometimes, mostly to improve my skills or just for enjoyment. It's not the best workout because you have to go slower to keep from getting flat tires. In the fall when the roots are slick I end up taking a few of those painful slow speed falls and say enough of this. Being able to ride through the rooty rocky stuff on my fill suspension is really fun.

  15. #15
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    Wink

    Yeah you can ride the trails and pull the trailer on family rides. I like to call them mixers, 60% off road 40% trail. Leave the car at home and be efficient on the road and get a little dirt on the local trails. If it gets gnarly shoulder the bike and hike, that is cross training at its best. In the fall hit up your cross series and race for 45 minutes. The rest of the year enjoy all surfaces. When riding on trails just always bring a couple of tubes cause flats happen no matter where you ride. I have a Lemond Poprad with disc breaks, get a rig with disc breaks and cross stop top bar break leavers.

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