Replacing road bike with cyclocross bike for a serious road racer?
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  1. #1
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    Replacing road bike with cyclocross bike for a serious road racer?

    I know this question has been asked many times before, but I want to know if it'd be a good idea or not given that I'm not a recreational rider but a serious road racer and want to use it in road races.

    I also know that many of you will say "why get a cross bike when a road bike will do the job much better?" but I have my reasons. First, I'm a poor college student who wants to reduce the stable down to 2 bikes. Second, after getting a MTB (the bike I'd be keeping over the road bike) and enjoying the awesomeness of trails and traffic-less gravel roads/fire roads, I'll never be truly happy with a bike that's confined to the pavement only again. Thirdly, I love the idea of a bike that does it all. Lastly, I'm open to trying some cyclocross racing.

    So my question is if I get a cross bike that's as close to a road bike as possible (carbon, canti/mini V brakes, steep angles and relatively low BB such as the Specialized Crux) will it hold me back when I race road, and would it be a good idea? I'll also be changing out the gearing to road gearing, as well as the tires.
    Last edited by Soundtallica; 09-04-2014 at 11:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    The typical gearing and tires of a cross bike would be a handicap for road racing.
    You could change the crank and tires depending what types of rides you'll be doing though.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    The typical gearing and tires of a cross bike would be a handicap for road racing.
    You could change the crank and tires depending what types of rides you'll be doing though.
    Thanks! I realize that already and forgot to put it in my original post.

  4. #4
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    I have a friend who does not race, but is a very strong fast rider. He had a Tarmac SL4 and an aluminum Crux. He really loved the Crux and wanted to thin down the herd. He sold the Tarmac and the Crux and got a carbon Crux. He changed the gearing to compact 50-34 and 11-28. He has two sets of wheels/tires. One setup for road, one for cross/gravel. He changed the brakes from canti to some nice TRP mini Vs. A quick wheel swap and he is good to go. He is more of a roadie, and has a MTB for serious off road stuff. The cross setup is more for gravel rides than anything. He seems just as fast on the Crux as he was on the Tarmac. He says he lost a little on climbs, but other than that he is very happy with the setup.

    "one bike to rule them all"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundtallica View Post
    Thanks! I realize that already and forgot to put it in my original post.
    Then as long as you got that covered you should be good to go with a cross bike on the road. I ride with a few guys who use a jerrry rigged (tires and gears) cross bike on the road and it for certain does not slow them down compared to a dedicated road bike.

  6. #6
    ngl
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    I also have a (strong) friend with a cyclocross that just swaps wheels/tires. Works great for him.

  7. #7
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    Replacing road bike with cyclocross bike for a serious road racer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    The typical gearing and tires of a cross bike would be a handicap for road racing.
    You could change the crank and tires depending what types of rides you'll be doing though.
    If you don't mind 50/34, then it's just chain rings, as the BCD is the same as 46/36

    53/39, yes that's a new crank

    But.... Tire swap or wheelset swap for lighter setup, you'll be good

    Cantilever brakes on steep descents..... Well that's not as good as dual pivots.
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  8. #8
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    Certainly can be done. I actually used my CX bike in a few crits. Canti brakes work just fine (if setup properly of course). Overall, a road bike would be a bit better for road racing, but the CX frame will work well enough.

    Some things to note:
    - Some CX frames ONLY work with compact cranksets. My Blue CX frame is such an animal. Not sure about the Crux.
    - You can get away with using a normal road crankset and just change the big ring between a 53 and a 46/44/42, but you'll have to change the chain length when swap chainrings.
    - You may want to change your bar height between CX and road. I like having my bars higher for CX (about level to the saddle).
    - I like to set my CX brakes up as "moto" style, i.e. rear brake on the left. No need to change it back and forth for road. Just ride with that brake setup all the time.
    - Consider having multiple wheelsets rather than just changing tires. CX will abuse your wheels, especially if you have a muddy race, which will take some life out of your rim braking surface. It's a good thing to have multiple wheelsets in general too.
    - Obviously, you'll need to have mountain bike pedals for CX. Yes, you can ride "serious" road races with mountain bike pedals too. Unless you are afraid of offending the roadie fashion police.
    Last edited by GearDaddy; 09-05-2014 at 07:53 AM.

  9. #9
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    I have been riding my cross bike exculsivly for the past year.

    My gearing has been 42-46 but no bigger (with an 11 or a 12 depending on wheelset) I ride my 28mm slicks on the fast rides and even tho Im out of race shape the bike has never slowed me down.

    I might not have quite the top end for the sprint at the end but I can still make the front group on the bike.

  10. #10
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    You will likely sacrifice a few pounds between a high-end cyclocross and a high-end road bike. It would depend on how "serious" you are with road racing. But the actual weight may still come in quite a bit less than the steel bikes from the 80's and 90's.

    Two or three wheel sets would be nice, although I would imagine that most of your training would be on the cross wheels.

    Changing chain rings would be a big pain though. Doable for a race, but not for everyday riding and training. It would seem that you should be able to go with a fairly wide gap in the gears, say 54/34, although it may mean more compound shifting at inopportune times. So, you could consider a triple setup... say 54/46/34. That would give you a wide selection of gears, should cover your bases for both the road and cyclocross. You could then be primarily in the 54/46 for road, and 46/34 for cross, and still have some escape gears and sprinting gears on both ends. Do some fine tuning with your sport specific cassette choices.

  11. #11
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    Most definitely do-able. I've only raced on my CX bike (crits and CX). It certainly wasn't the bike that was holding me bak.

  12. #12
    pmf
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    I had a cross bike years ago and ended up selling it. It was a nice steel Fuji. My first reaction was that those 700c nobbies really slow you down, so I replaced them with road tires. Then came the canti brakes that I could never seem to adjust perfectly. I finally gave up and put on a set of Shimano v-brakes with a travel agent. That worked better, but still not as good as standard road brakes. I had originally hoped to ride some off-road trails with it, but after a year or so of never getting it off the road, I asked myself wtf I'm riding this thing. I prefer road geometry better (even though its not all that different).

    Yeah, its definitely doable, but you have a perfect off-road bike. Nothing wrong with a perfect on-road bike. I guess the only argument in light of your budget is do you really plan to race cross with it. If so, you need a cross bike for the tire clearance. If not, get a road bike.

    As for gearing -- cassettes are cheap and easy to change. You can get pretty much the same gear inch combinations with a compact set up than you can with a standard set up. A compact set-up won't hold you back.

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