1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Talk me into (or out of) a CX bike...

    Currently getting back into biking after riding out of necessity as a youth, getting accustomed to adult conveniences, and then facing adult inconveniences that come from reduced fitness.

    With somewhat of an "SUV" mindset (do everything, never mind weight or drag), I've jumped headlong into 29ers and have a hardtail and rigid that I'm enjoying immensely.

    Now I'm starting to contemplate whether a road / cross / monstercross bike is worth considering.

    Some of my background: As a youth, I rode what was provided to me, which varied from 20" kids rigid MTB to 24", 26", and 27" road bikes from thrift stores, and then a big step up was getting a brand new Huffy rigid MTB in the mid '90s. In the days when I had a road bike, I rode it wherever I could, including park trails and grass. If I couldn't make it, or didn't think I could, I just carried my bike through as fast as I could and remounted. I recall hopping quite a few curbs too. I unfortunately never had the luxury of tires that were both knobby and narrow, as I never set foot in a decent bike store. Of course now I look back at my road bike abuse and realize that I had independently reinvented cyclocross.

    I spent a little bit of time on some road bikes recently, and found them much more, well, "wobbly". As in I turn around in a driveway, completely lose balance, can't get my feet out of the clips, and have a "yard sale", right in the middle of an actual yard sale. In another experience, I was horribly uncomfortable picking up speed, feeling like my front wheel was about to escape from underneath me, or that braking was going to send me over the bars. This comes after going over my bars twice on a recent MTB ride, and not wanting to repeat the experience.

    All of this suggests that a road styled bike is not for me, and that I should be using an MTB or touring style bike for everything. Yet there are those images of cyclocross, there's everyone who says a CX bike is a perfect all-rounder, and there are my memories of doing just about everything on a road bike with roughly 33mm tires.

    What would I use it for? As a road bike, and as a speed oriented trail bike for trails that I have already tried with an MTB and know well enough to speed through. Or on coarse gravel rail trails. Sort of like an additional challenge, or a way to make better time. "I've traveled this somewhat technical trail by MTB, but now I've done it on a cross bike! And shaved off XX time."

    To the end of not flying over my bars, are there options for longer wheelbases, or is that taking me away from cross and into pure MTB? I also am pretty attached to the idea of being able to stand over my bike without dismounting to the side. Not hard on an MTB, but I'm worried whether I can get a CX that is long enough and low enough. I guess I'm thinking CX posture on an MTB wheelbase. I had the insane thought of a disc frame and dual wheel sets with a 700x33 for more pure road and cross style riding, and 650B for more of a Monstercross to do rougher trails. Does this make any CX sense, or at my stage should I leave CX alone and stick to the wide variety of MTBs?

  2. #2
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    A cyclocross bike is an excellent jack-of-all trades bike. You can certainly cover a lot of distance on a cx bike and when your skills develop take it on some easier trails if needed. It is another arrow in the quiver. I would look at a cx bike w/ disc brakes though if you plan on riding road. Cantis are fine for cx racing but in the interest of safety and performance go w/ disc brakes.

    Besides cx bikes lots of companies are putting out "gravel grinders" and off road touring bikes. Check out some of the stuff from Salsa and Surly.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Also, just one other alternative... you could get another set of tires (slicks or file treads) if you wanted to stick w/ just the hardtail. Better yet if you've got the budget but don't want to get another bike, get another wheelset for those slicks or file tread tires. Then you can easily swap 'em out depending on the ride you are doing that day.

  4. #4
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    I don't think I will ever own a true "road" bike unless I wanted to ride with fast groups or race. it's too limiting. keep in mind that most cx type bikes will not handle any sort of technical singletrack well. that's why you have a mountain bike. but it's nice to know that your road bike is not limited to smooth pavement and can take gravel, dirt paths, rough pavement, long rides on country roads, pot-holed city streets, etc.

    the industry might describe the bike you are looking for in three ways:

    cyclocross- purpose built for off-road racing on dirt, mud, and snow. if it's a true CX bike, it might not be great for long distances or lugging stuff around. more agressive riding position.

    touring- designed to be loaded down with heavy gear and ridden long distances, probably at slower speed. looks a lot like a CX bike but with a more upright position and longer wheelbase. makes a better commuter than a cx bike IMO but might be a bit heavy duty for short rides when you want to get somewhere quickly.

    all-road/ gravel grinder (moster cross?)- this is a relatively new category. made for a little bit of everything. this is a growing category because it's probably the best jack-of-all-trades kind of bike.

  5. #5
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    See if I understand right:
    1. If I put slick tires on my rigid MTB (a Surly Ogre), would that more or less make it a touring bike, except with a higher BB and room for larger tires? Would I lose anything over a touring bike other than perhaps being heavier?
    2. Is the off-road element of a CX bike really just a matter of surface material, and still expected to be relatively smooth? Ie gravel, or very smooth singletrack, as opposed to singletrack with a few roots and rocks, small sticks, and lots of vegetation?
    3. For mild to moderately technical singletrack, do the larger tires of a monstercross address the shortcomings of a cyclocross bike, or are there other major disadvantages? The difference I see between monstercross and rigid MTB is rider geometry (including handlebars), and I'm trying to figure out if that puts me at significantly greater risk of flying over my front wheel (again).

  6. #6
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    People often get way too categorical around here.

    A cyclocross bike is a road bike. Most touring bikes are road bikes, but if someone rides an Ogre across Europe with flat bars and panniers, who am I to argue? Massed start road racing bikes are also road bikes and have captured most of the market, but they don't really make 'cross, touring, and endurance/rec road bikes not road bikes. Just less popular.

    I think people underestimate what can be ridden on a road bike because the companies would love to sell you a massed start bike, then sell you another bike. With respect, OP, you're allowing yourself to be drawn into that already. I have five bikes, so I'm kind of the pot calling the kettle black here. :-P

    I think the fat tires that a 'cross bike can clear slow down the handling a little. They usually also have a slightly longer wheelbase. Ramming a 23mm tire as close to the seat tube as it can get allows for some short chainstays. Trying to fit 35mm tires and a little clearance for mud requires longer chainstays. So you might see some slight improvement in stability from a 'cross bike. However, now that mine's in road trim, I can't say I notice much of a difference.

    When I was still making 'cross a training goal, I sometimes rode my 'cross bike on trails in training. I had more trouble managing traction on climbs and tended to run out of gears, and it was more of a handful to keep under control on descents. I never took it on routes with sustained climbing or descending on singletrack for those reasons. However, the takeaway from this should be that I did ride singletrack with it. And yes, with rocks and roots.

    Now, I think you shouldn't buy any more bikes right now. I think you should fix your riding position and stop endoing. I enjoy my road bikes very much, if not as much as my mountain bikes. I like how fast they handle when I don't bungie a bunch of crap to them. I like how consistent the traction is and that I can stop on a dime on pavement. I try to have most of my weight on my feet and I occasionally get behind the saddle. I bet if you hold off for a season and then revisit road bikes when you're more comfortable on bicycles, you'll find you're stable and the quick handling is more fun than worrisome.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I certainly won't be buying a CX or road bike any time soon, given that I have just today been blessed with a right sized road bike with little warning. It's a far cry from cyclocross, having barely room for 33mm tires (might be limited to 30s), but I'm wondering if it will help me get a feel for off-road-road-biking.

    Any thoughts on what would be good or bad things to try with it? It's a roughly 20yr old Centurion with downtube shifters and an elliptical crankset. Currently has 25mm slicks on it. Was going to take it on some paved trail rides, then maybe a limestone rail trail before trying to up the tire size, at which point I would try some simple singletrack that I already know pretty well.

  8. #8
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    Talk me into (or out of) a CX bike...

    I think that most people probably aren't the type of riders who benefit most from most road bikes.

    The aggressive race geometry bikes definitely were light sellers at the shop where I worked. Most folks had more interest in the comfort or endurance geometry bikes, but I even think most people who bought those weren't really buying a bike that fit their riding best.

    I think bikes like the Salsa Vaya, bikes marketed for gravel grinders, CX bikes, and even many touring bikes probably do what most folks want the best. Versatility to ride pavement, rough gravel roads, cut through a grassy park, fit wider, more comfortable tires, and have the ability to take racks and fenders if desired for utility and foul weather riding. Among those types are enough variations in geometry that folks can find what's comfortable for them and how they want to ride. Skinnier tires are almost always an option, but when the design of the bike limits you to 25mm or 28mm tires and it has no braze ons for fenders or racks, overall versatility is hindered.

    Touring bikes USED to be a popular segment that really tapered down to few minimal options until fairly recently.

    It seems to me that in general, more versatile road bikes SHOULD be the bikes that are most popular while the competition oriented bikes take a smaller portion. Hopefully the market for wider tire road bikes continues to grow.

    Fact is, bikes nowadays aren't fitting into neat little categories as well. There are so many categories that are so narrowly defined that just a small component tweak can make a bike better suited for riding the way the owner wants. I like that. Many mtb frames can be adapted into a more road friendly bike. Some road frames can be built into more rugged bikes for versatility. I am a fan of companies like Salsa and Surly and others that make flexible bikes that can do a lot of things depending on how you build them.

    All the power to you if you want bikes with very specific purposes. Sometimes that's fun, too.

  9. #9
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    I had not yet seen the term "endurance geometry" contrasted with "race geometry", so I did a search. Very interesting and helpful to learn. I am not a racer by any means, and my cycling goals are focused on various combinations of distance and terrain.

  10. #10
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    Don't spend any money on the Centurion. I've heard good things about the brand, but if you try to modernize anything, you'll run into one compatibility problem after another.

    Other than that - have at it. The most important things about a road bike haven't changed in decades.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Good to know, thanks. The only expenditure I plan to make is a set of 30mm or 32mm tires, if they'll fit. Hoping the LBS will let me try them on...

  12. #12
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    You'll probably run into trouble there too. Older road bikes in the US had 27" wheels. Contemporary road bikes in most of the world have 700C, which is a few millimeters smaller. It's enough that tires won't fit and brake reach can be a problem when trying to switch.

    But, older road bikes often had 1" or larger tires. So you may already have a cushy tire size.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    It currently has 700x25 tires on it. It looks like a 32 might fit, which I'm hoping to try. If not that, hopefully a 30.

  14. #14
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    If it has 700s, you're already a bit ahead of the game. Without being too much of a jerk, are you saying "700" because they're bigger than 26" and skinny, or because they say "700" on the side?

    I have to say that most of my conclusion about riding road bikes off-road was that I'd rather ride my mountain bike. I'll take my road bike with 23mm tires on the occasional soft-surfaced road and have had them on singletrack - they're not necessarily that limiting until I start needing more bike than a road bike with 700x35 knobbies. Certainly riding MUPs and most rails-to-trails on narrow slicks is no problem. I mostly don't ride those because I find them boring and crowded with walkers and stroller mommies. It doesn't kill me to ride a couple miles on the road (or MUPs, or whatever) on my MTB to access a trail, and once I'm there, I'm on the bike I want for it.

    I think my point is that rather than skipping road riding and going straight to mixed-surface, I'd encourage you to try riding some road routes. You may be surprised. And, don't assume that you can't get across a gravel parking lot or ride a couple miles of service road with your existing tires just because a lot of guys on road bikes are wimps about it. You can. They're just wimps.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    A cyclocross bike is a road bike.
    Important quote above.

    No matter what you choose, buying a CX bike or retrofitting your current bike to a more CX style, the bike is a road bike and will fit and handle like a road bike. You're going to be stretched out, the bike is going to be twitchy (compared to your MTB), and it's going to be a rough ride. Unless you're sick in the head (like so many of us) it's unlikely you'll find much joy riding a CX bike on proper MTB trails. For the non-CX racer, the best reason to have a CX bike is that you'll have a tough road bike. A bike that excels in the city or on rough pavement or if your rides are going to include dirt and gravel roads. CX racers don't ride their bikes on rough MTB trails and you shouldn't expect to either. Unless, of course, you like punishment.

    Didn't really watch this and had the sound off, but it does show a bit of cyclocross riding which is not atypical to cyclocross racing: Cyclocross Racing - YouTube that's the stuff where these bikes excel.

    Did I talk you out of cyclocross bikes? I hope not, just want to make sure you're thinking about what you're going to spend your money on. Here's my very first frame build on it's second [meaningful] ride ever (first ride was an 82 mile "shakedown"):

    Talk me into (or out of) a CX bike...-img_20130826_201205_919.jpg

    How was it? As I'm not unfamiliar with CX bikes it was as I expected on a trail like that: part terrifying and part hilariously fun.

    Anyway, your brakes are going to be the first limiting factor of your max tire size. If you have side pull road caliper brakes your options are very limited. Next will be the fork and frame; their clearance issues are pretty easy to figure out but will usually take a test fit.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  16. #16
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    Indeed I am familiar with ISO tire & rim sizes. My rims are ISO 622 and my tires read 700x25, or 25-622. I am aware of the very similar 27" rim of 630mm.

    It's easy to become an overnight expert by reading stuff on the internet. Finding out what people really mean by "rough MTB trails", "road geometry", "technical", etc... that's what I'm trying to get a grasp of.

    A key term I noted above - "dirt roads". As opposed to trails. Is that a good distinction between what CX is for vs MTB?

    And another thing I'm trying to grasp - CX vs full on Monstercross, as far as what they're good for. How much difference is made by the tire vs the geometry, between the capabilities of CX, MX, and MTB?

    Just a data point here: I know a fellow who set up his 29er MTB with 35mm tires aimed at CX. Meanwhile retaining MTB geometry and flat bars. He commented that his setup was similar to a "flat bar cross bike." I have thought that if I ever did race cross, I might consider a flat bar that complies with the width limits. (I know most US races aren't sanctioned and limited, but in my mind that's part of the spirit of the sport.)

    Meanwhile, there's monstercross that fits full 29er tires, yet is distinct from an MTB, even an MTB that's been fitted with a drop bar. What does this accomplish, and what does one lose, compared to an MTB, or to a regular CX? Would a flat bar monstercross bike not be monstercross? I know monstercross is a label that is not fully defined, but folks seem to love it, and debate what counts and what doesn't. I'm not so much seeking the label as to understand what the goal is.

  17. #17
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    Cyclocross bikes are for cyclocross courses. By MTB standards, 'cross courses are typically super mellow. In sanctioned events, this is even more the case. I suspect American "jungle cross" courses are more fun, and I guess my local series have enough Eurocross courses in the schedule to compare.

    A cyclocross race is structured much like a criterium: racers do laps around a short course taking probably under ten minutes per lap for half an hour to an hour, depending on rider category. Courses are usually at sports venues or parks, so there's usually a lot of riding around on grass. I think a good (or at least good for me, I suck at grass crits) course design incorporates as much vertical and singletrack as the course designer can find, but usually that just means barreling through a couple wooded areas between ball fields and riding up and down an embankment or something like that. Though you don't even get to ride up the embankment - in my region, we've lost access to any legit run-ups, so organizers stick a barrier at the bottom of the least ridable climb.

    Point being that what makes a good 'cross bike is having enough traction to ride around a lawn or a crushed limestone path, accelerating well after all the hairpin corners, and having shoulder clearance for the one course a year that still has an extended run-up.

    The tire clearance is useful for people who miss some of the versatility that massed start road bikes have lost. And I think they have a lot of the appeal of SUVs over mini-vans. They're kind of the crossover SUV of bikes, to drag out the simile a bit. That's why so many commuters use a 'cross bike as the basis of their commute build. I'm happy enough with whatever, as long as I can put fenders on it in the winter.

    Dirt roads are still roads. If you can drive a car on them, you can ride a road bike on them. Jeep roads and many logging roads are getting too hard, at least for me.

    Monstercross is a term people have made up to describe anything in the spectrum from a 'cross bike with a little fatter tire to a MTB with drop bars. So, good luck finding a definition. Even if racing doesn't fit the desires of a lot of cyclists, it can at least furnish more specific definitions of bike types. There's no monstercross racing. (To my knowledge.)

    Since 'cross is a race, I think any legal way to give myself an edge is in the spirit of the race. But I get worse at 'cross every year; if I even go to one this season, I'm just racing my hardtail. Not worth buying new tires and putting my 'cross bike back in 'cross racing trim for a couple races that aren't even a training goal this season.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    A lot of interesting ideas floating around here, so I feel compelled to toss in my 2 cents on these issues...

    First, congrats on your Centurion. Those were great bikes. Perfect do-it-all roadbike. The funny thing is that the newest, latest, greatest thing in the bike industry right now is "gravel" bikes, which are basically old fashioned roadbikes like your Centurion, but with some modern features like disc brakes. Yes, ride your bike in the dirt! If you can squeeze a 35mm tire into your Centurion, I highly recommend the Clement X-plor USH for a good multiterrain tire. And check out this website for inspiration!

    Okay, so I ran my LHT "monstercross" a while back and still do on occasion, so I think I have a good perspective on what that's all about.
    Quote Originally Posted by BATRG3 View Post
    A key term I noted above - "dirt roads". As opposed to trails. Is that a good distinction between what CX is for vs MTB?
    Not really. I've been on dirt roads that were extremely rough and singletrack trails that were very smooth, so that's not really relevant. I guess you could say that CX bikes are designed for smoothish offroad surfaces, which is kind of what a CX race is. Because they are kind of a half-way between roadbikes and mtbs, they have caught on as good all-rounders for mixed terrain riding. Putting fatter tires on a CX bike – a “monstercross”, if you will – makes it more capable offroad.

    Quote Originally Posted by BATRG3 View Post
    And another thing I'm trying to grasp - CX vs full on Monstercross, as far as what they're good for. How much difference is made by the tire vs the geometry, between the capabilities of CX, MX, and MTB?
    The only difference between CX and "full on monstercross" is that monstercross implies bigger than CX-legal tires. That's it. Some bikes, like the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross, are designed specifically run “monstercross” tires, but they are still fundamentally crossbikes, not mtbs. Or you could consider MTBs with dropbars “monstercross”, depending on how you want to define it. I’d consider the common denominators to be dropbars, fat tires, and no suspension, but it’s not worth losing sleep over. Riding a CX or monstercrosser offroad is like riding a rigid mtb offroad, with the added challenge of relatively narrow tires and little-to-no standover clearance. The capabilities of CX/MX and rigid mtbs are pretty much the same, but CX/MX takes more skill to ride offroad.

    Quote Originally Posted by BATRG3 View Post
    Just a data point here: I know a fellow who set up his 29er MTB with 35mm tires aimed at CX. Meanwhile retaining MTB geometry and flat bars. He commented that his setup was similar to a "flat bar cross bike." I have thought that if I ever did race cross, I might consider a flat bar that complies with the width limits. (I know most US races aren't sanctioned and limited, but in my mind that's part of the spirit of the sport.)
    What your friend really has is a MTB with skinny tires - the opposite of “monstercross”, right? They used to call bikes like that “hybrids”, but I think the current marketing term is “dual-sport”.

    Quote Originally Posted by BATRG3 View Post
    Meanwhile, there's monstercross that fits full 29er tires, yet is distinct from an MTB, even an MTB that's been fitted with a drop bar. What does this accomplish, and what does one lose, compared to an MTB, or to a regular CX?
    Any bike with 29 inch diameter tires is , by definition, a 29er. Let’s forget about monstercross for a minute, because I think its tripping you up. Most 29ers are designed for flatbars. Some 29ers are designed for dropbars. Read about the advantages of dropbars here and here. A subset of those dropbar 29ers have a roadish or touring geometry and are often called “adventure tourers”. These bikes, like the Comotion Divide and Salsa Fargo, work best on long stretches of dirt roads. They tend to have low BBs and long wheelbases which makes riding on singletrack more challenging, but not impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by BATRG3 View Post
    Would a flat bar monstercross bike not be monstercross? I know monstercross is a label that is not fully defined, but folks seem to love it, and debate what counts and what doesn't. I'm not so much seeking the label as to understand what the goal is.
    Personally, I think a “monstercross” bike requires dropbars because the term “monstercross” is describing the look, not the function. And cross bikes have dropbars. But, hey, like you said, “monstercross” is not a defined term and is meaningless as far as market categorization goes. There are forums on mtbr.com where people passionately argue over the exact meaning of “monstercross”, so if you want to wade into that sharktank – go for it!

    On categories of Roadbikes. I'm with you on the bewilderment. I was flipping through an "Editor's Pick's" edition of Bicycling magazine one time and marvelling at how they had like 25 categories for what were all essentially 23mm-tired, racing-style roadbikes. Ridiculous. My advice would be just ignore it all. Its all marketting who-ha anyway. If you ever decide to buy a modern 23mm roadbike cuz you're getting serious about racing or something, just get one that fits well and feels good and don't stress about whether its got "comfort" geometry or "endurance" geometry or whatever the latest buzz-term is.

    On going OTB (over the bars). Try shifting your weight to the rear when you brake hard. That should prevent you going OTB. Whatever you do, do NOT stop using your front brake for fear of OTB – that’s where most of your stopping power comes from. Practice emergency stops to develop the muscle memory. Good info here.
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    My favorite, "go to" bike is my Handsome Devil. While technically not a cross bike, it does everything I need it to do. Currently it is set up with drop bars and 42mm Conti knobbies, and I ride it on the road and on the trails. While not as fast on the road as my road bike and not as capable on the trails as my mountain bikes, I ride it more than all of the others combined. (At last count, I have 8 bikes.)

    If nothing else, I enjoy passing carbon fiber roadies on my fat tired 25lb steel "cross" bike almost as much as I enjoy passing carbon fiber full suspension mountain bike riders on uphill trails on my "cross" bike.

    IMO, an all around bike can be the most fun one can have.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Important quote above.

    No matter what you choose, buying a CX bike or retrofitting your current bike to a more CX style, the bike is a road bike and will fit and handle like a road bike. You're going to be stretched out, the bike is going to be twitchy (compared to your MTB), and it's going to be a rough ride. Unless you're sick in the head (like so many of us) it's unlikely you'll find much joy riding a CX bike on proper MTB trails. For the non-CX racer, the best reason to have a CX bike is that you'll have a tough road bike. A bike that excels in the city or on rough pavement or if your rides are going to include dirt and gravel roads. CX racers don't ride their bikes on rough MTB trails and you shouldn't expect to either. Unless, of course, you like punishment.
    My CX bike is exactly that right now - a tough road bike. I've had it on dirt exactly one time, and that was a very brief spin on a nature walk path through the woods.

    Right now I have 28C slicks on it, and it's a fun ride on the backroads.

    I like the idea that it can be used for CX racing or mild dirt trails, but I haven't done it yet. Although I just registered for my first CX race this upcoming Sat, so that will be exciting.

    I also have a MTB, and that's what I use on the trails. The CX bike just wouldn't work on them, they're too technical. Loads of rocks, roots, steep climbs, and soft ground. I'm sure a lot of then could be done on a CX bike, but it wouldn't be much fun. Even doing these trails on my hardtail MTB gets to be a chore.

    OP, it sounds like you'd just need to get used to one, being on a road style bike is much different than a MTB. When II first rode one, I almost changed my mind about buying one, but after a few rides I'm in love with it.

    After I got used to it, I pretty much ride it like my MTB. I bunny hop it, jump curbs, and even with the 28c's (which look more like 25c's), I've taken it on dirt and gravel roads with no problems. I even rode it down a few stairs once.

    You also might want to work on your technique if going over the bars is such an issue for you. It can happen on really technical terrain, it used to happen to me all the time; we even had a saying: "It's not a real ride unless you go over the bars". Now that suspension forks have more than 50mm of travel, it's not much of an issue anymore.

    You may want to try keeping your weight back when you brake, and slowly bring in front brake just after you've applied the rear. A quick grab of the front brake alone is always a non-no! Although if you get a CX bike, this won't be an issue, as the cantilever brakes they come with seem to barely work. I barely use the front brake on mine.
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
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  21. #21
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Cantilever brakes are really sensitive to tuning. I fought with mine for a couple years before putting on my engineer hat and deciding that my particular brakeset also had a crappy design among cantilevers. I bought some cheap mini-Vs - Tektro BX3v - and kicked myself for waiting so long.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Grabbing the front brake alone is something I haven't done since my very first endo around 1991.

    When I got back from my first errand on the road bike, my wife was surprised at how much faster I was. The momentum seemed to magically carry inside the store as well. The dismounts, bike lifts, and remounts seemed to happen more quickly too.

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    I want to get a road bike for those really long pavement rides. I want to go farther easier (50+ miles), faster, in a shorter amount of time. I'd also like to go after some pavement strava segments for fun too. I'm thinking about getting a motobecane something off bikesdirect for around 500-600. Maybe throwing some killer wheels on it later down the road, or whatever else is a good idea to upgrade.

    I thought about getting a CX bike, but i didn't want to lose anything on efficiency etc. as i wanted to make sure it would be as efficient and fast as possible over riding my 26lb 29er w/ Race Kings. So i'm thinking on sticking with a pure road bike. I'm not sure if race or endurance bike will matter. I can make the racey bike more comfortable if needed? That's my only real concern atm.

    Does this seem like a good approach? (motobecane something off of bikes direct instead of cx bike)

  24. #24
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    No. Road bikes are even more sensitive to fit than mountain bikes. Buy locally.

    You don't have a shot at on-road Strava segments without help and/or a time trial bike anyway. Or, you wouldn't in my region. But road bikes (in all their varied form) are much nicer for long road rides anyway. Ride for fun or fitness, and don't worry about what people are doing in pacelines or on training rides for TT and tri.

    The difference in efficiency between a massed start road racing bike and a 'cross bike with slicks is very, very small. Probably smaller than whether or not you zip your jersey. Not that going with a road bike intended for pavement is a bad idea, necessarily - it comes out of the box set up for that kind of riding, which means you don't have to screw around with it beyond fitting.

    For $600, you get a couple choices. Performance Bike and REI are likely to have something. You can buy something used. A couple of LBS brands get that low. Last time I broke a road bike, I ended up buying its replacement from a friend. Failing that, I was going to get a Torker Interurban.

    At the end of the day, the thing about road bikes is that the person riding them pushes a lot more air than the bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    No. Road bikes are even more sensitive to fit than mountain bikes. Buy locally.

    You don't have a shot at on-road Strava segments without help and/or a time trial bike anyway. Or, you wouldn't in my region. But road bikes (in all their varied form) are much nicer for long road rides anyway. Ride for fun or fitness, and don't worry about what people are doing in pacelines or on training rides for TT and tri.

    The difference in efficiency between a massed start road racing bike and a 'cross bike with slicks is very, very small. Probably smaller than whether or not you zip your jersey. Not that going with a road bike intended for pavement is a bad idea, necessarily - it comes out of the box set up for that kind of riding, which means you don't have to screw around with it beyond fitting.

    For $600, you get a couple choices. Performance Bike and REI are likely to have something. You can buy something used. A couple of LBS brands get that low. Last time I broke a road bike, I ended up buying its replacement from a friend. Failing that, I was going to get a Torker Interurban.

    At the end of the day, the thing about road bikes is that the person riding them pushes a lot more air than the bike.
    Oh our pavement strava segments aren't that competitive. I'm already in the top 10 and sometimes top 5 on sprints and longer on my alu 29er HT with, with platforms, race kings, heavy backpack, not aerodynamic at all, and not w/ best cardio or pedaling technique. I seem to top out at 22-23mph on average on the 29er on platforms. Was curious on how much faster i could go w/ a somewhat decent roadbike and clipped in.

    That's just for fun. The bike is mostly for making 50+ mile rides easier, faster, shorter.

    Are the wheels typically heavier on cx bike than road? I guess it would be cool to have two wheelsets, one with burlier tires for do everything (nearly), and another set with most efficient tires?

    Secondary market sucks around here. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot because i don't know really much about road bikes, what i want, what i'm happy with yet. etc.

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