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  1. #1
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    Can a Cyclocross bike be used just on roads?

    I'm in the process of trying to find what type of bike will best suit me for a specific type of riding. Road rides, road bike paths, some chewed up streets, I guess if I was to find myself any type of gravel path but I haven't come across many where I live, and I won't be entering races of any kind.
    Maybe a Diabetes ride to raise money but no long mileage. Would the cyclocross be the right type of bike, or should I go with a regular road bike, or a mountain bike with slicks?

  2. #2
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    Yes to all your questions. Your choice.
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  3. #3
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    I really like the versatility of my 'cross bike. I've ridden the Denali park road on it with knobbies and have done many road rides with slicks. Currently its set up with racks and fenders and is acting as my commuter.

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    Is there a big difference in the geometry between a cyclocross and road bike?

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    Also, it looks like it would be a road frame with wider tires in order to take more punishment. Is it a sluggish bike on road or somewhere in the middle between a road and mountain bike?

  6. #6
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    personally i dont see any reason for a road bike unless you're gunna race. a cross bike aound town is a better option. that being said if budget is a primary concern its easier to get an decent used road bike for cheap than it is to find a decent used cross bike.

    for the most part if the cross bike is the reason you cant keep up you'll need a really nice road bike.

  7. #7
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    I love my cross bike for riding around town and riding paths when I can't mtb for whatever reason. It's fast, still pretty light, and I can ride a lot rougher stuff than I could with a road bike. I say go for the cross!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconpunch79 View Post
    I really like the versatility of my 'cross bike. I've ridden the Denali park road on it with knobbies and have done many road rides with slicks. Currently its set up with racks and fenders and is acting as my commuter.
    Main reason I bought a crossbike 17 years ago. It was faster than my MTB but gripped the wet roads better than a road bike. The bigger tires made curb hopping easier than on a road bike. Mine is a Lyon and I have taken it most everywhere I ride an MTB. I especially love it on singletrack. They stopped making my favorite tires, Ritchey Alfabite trail mix's, so I have been running Bontrager LT3's lately and they do a pretty good job on most surfaces. Not quite as good as my old Ritcheys but hey, they work well.

    Only thing I might do different would be to buy a bigger frame if I were only going to commute or ride roads. I got a 54 cm frame but it is perfect for offroading. If I were only on a road, I'd ride more like a 56-57 cm. I wouldn't trade mine for any other bike.

  9. #9
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    Main mainly gets used on roads and can keep up with some fast roadies in the process so that makes me happy!

    I too like the versatility the CX bike gives me, if I want to bash along broken up roads - no problem, if I want to cut across some cheeky singletrack on the way to and from work, it loves that too. They are a lot of fun and the perfect bike for many.

  10. #10
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    my cross bike has replaced my road bike as my primary commuter. the larger tires make a huge difference over rough pavement and the occasional dirt path.
    I need to ride more...

  11. #11
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    I'm going to test ride some cx bikes. These look like alot of fun. Are the knobby tires on a cx bike a problem for riding on road, or is it a different kind of knobby compared to a mountain bike?

  12. #12
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    They roll MUCH faster, the knobs are a lot smaller and if you go for something like a Bontrager CX0 you get the best of both worlds really.

  13. #13
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    The geometry of most CX bikes makes them feel right at home on the road. The gearing at the cranks is the main difference 50t on most road bikes VS 46T big ring typically on a cross bike. I have put a 48t ring on just so I could hang with the faster road groups
    (18 MPH average and up)that I ride with. During dry conditions I use the same tires on the trails and the road a light touring tire.

  14. #14
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    Well thanks for the feedback folks. I've been acting like a bit of a knucklehead on here lately and want to apologize. I've just been going through a tough time with the passing of my mother and father the last two years. I guess I've been looking for some vision or outlet, and I like the idea of at least test riding some of the cx bikes. It has me excited to try something different and the versatility of the bike is what draws me to it.

  15. #15
    z1r
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    Quote Originally Posted by roc865 View Post
    Well thanks for the feedback folks. I've been acting like a bit of a knucklehead on here lately and want to apologize. I've just been going through a tough time with the passing of my mother and father the last two years. I guess I've been looking for some vision or outlet, and I like the idea of at least test riding some of the cx bikes. It has me excited to try something different and the versatility of the bike is what draws me to it.
    Sorry for your losses. I too have been dealing with family member's health issues and was a huge FAT ball of stress. My wife bought me a new 29er since she remembered how happy I used to be when I rode. Since then, I use my CX bike to commute and train on for my weekend MTB rides. I am a completely different person lately. Like Tricker Joe, I like to go fast on my CX. My average commute speed is just under 18 mph. I have plastic fenders on mine and I think it bugs some of the roadies when you can keep up with them on a commuter bike. I am running a triple crank with 48, 36, 24 chain rings. Love that 48. But I remember when I could really turn that 48 fast, lol.

    Definitely test ride some. I think you will like!

    I think I like to CX so much because it such a do all machine and just plain fun.

  16. #16
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    My budget is 2K and under and I'm going to take my time looking around and test riding but do you folks have any recommended cx bikes you like?
    I saw the Kona Jake the Snake that was mentioned.

  17. #17
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    I used CX bikes as my "road" bike for years, using them for everything from riding to work up to 100 mile organized rides. I finally got a true road bike a couple of years ago, and I like it a lot for long rides on smooth pavement. If I could only have one bike it would definitely be a CX bike.

    Definitely plan to get road tires. Even a file tread CX tire is best saved for grass and gravel. On pavement you'll want a slick tire. They roll faster and have better grip.

    A Kona Jake the Snake would be a good choice. It's got good components for the price, and it's equipped to take rack and fenders if you ever want that. The Cannondale CAADX Disc 5 105 is another good option. If you want something a bit more upright, try the Kona Rove or Salsa Vaya.

    If you want to ride a road bike for comparison, check out a Specialized Secteur. The Secteur doesn't have full on race geometry (which you probably wouldn't want) and it can take wider tires than a lot of road bikes (though not as wide as a cross bike).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post

    Definitely plan to get road tires. Even a file tread CX tire is best saved for grass and gravel. On pavement you'll want a slick tire. They roll faster and have better grip..
    are there any fatter slicks like 35 to 40? those skinny road tires definitely look fast i'm just wondering what happens leaned over cornering

  19. #19
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    Skinny road tires can definitely handle leaned over cornering on pavement. The real downside is that they don't provide much cushion and so you feel anything on the road (cracks, twigs, small pebbles, chip seal...).

    I use 700x35 Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on the cross bike that I use for commuting. They aren't quite as fast as something like a 700x28 Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons, but they still roll pretty well. They have amazing grip on wet pavement. They've got pretty good puncture resistance, and they are fairly durable. I've put about 2500 miles on mine, and the tread on the rear tire was just beginning to show signs of squaring. In that time, I've only had one flat and that was from a wood screw that would have punctured a car tire.

    Schwalbe makes the Marathon Supreme in sizes from 700x28 up to 700x50, plus a couple of 26" varieties. It's expensive, but I highly recommend it for commuting and touring applications. For recreational road use, where I'm willing to trade durability for speed, I prefer the aforementioned Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons or maybe even Conti GP 4000S's, which I'm excited to see are now available in a 700x28 size.

  20. #20
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    I was even thinking about building a cx up from the frame. Maybe a Vassago Fisticuff?

  21. #21
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    Can a Cyclocross bike be used just on roads?

    I ride a 2009 fuji cross comp as my road bike. I wouldn't mind a lower low gear for long climbs. The wheels are beefy and a bit heavy for faster paced road riding. I am considering setting up a pair of lighter road wheels with slicks and keeping the stock rims for gravel/CX bike. Otherwise it does a great job and I do quite a bit of training on it.


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  22. #22
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    I've been blowing away my road bike times on my cross bike. Even managed a road KOM the other day. I'm going to try a nice big climb next week...we'll see how that goes.

  23. #23
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    Agree with the comments above -- Mrs. levity and I are CX bike converts for road riding. After trying them for a few months we decided to sell our very nice Orbea Orca road bikes in favor of cross bikes. CX bikes are more versatile and fun and we find ourselves exploring more "off-piste" routes and enjoying our rides more. Properly set up they give up very little on speed at our non-race pace riding. The comfort of the cross bikes was also a major factor - the more relaxed geometry and larger tires leaves us feeling a lot less hammered after long rides. If necessary we can switch between tires with small knobs for dirt and tires with file tread for mostly pavement. I like Conti Cyclocross Speed 700x35C as an all-around choice. (We do still have our full-squish mtn bikes for mountain trail riding.)

  24. #24
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    I routinely do 30-40 mile road rides on my CX bike, in fact I just did a 75 mile ride last sat. Running 28C slicks, the bike rode and handled well, I was comfortable on it for the entire ride, with the exception of my feet, which is a different issue not related to the bike.

    In fact, I've only used my bike for an actual CX race once. It was a blast though, I look forward to doing more this season.

    I put about 2k on the bike since I bought it in April of last year, all of it road.

    The 2 possible issues are the canti brakes, which are not that bad, and the gearing of 46/34 in front. Having a 46tooth big ring gives up some top end, and you may spin out on long downhills.

    I don't have a problem with that, as the downhills near me are not that long, and I'm not a strong enough rider to push a bigger gear on the flats.

    As far as the brakes, my next bike will have disks. I somewhat regret buying a canti bike. I need to brake a certain way otherwise I get heavy fork shudder. I plan on converting to mini v's, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
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  25. #25
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    Can a Cyclocross bike be used just on roads?

    I prefer my cx over a dedicated road bike. Just change tires to what you are riding.


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  26. #26
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    I sold my road bike and replaced it with a cross bike. The cross bike is so much more versatile. I don't mind riding it on road and it kills multi-use paths where the road bike would quickly get out of its depth.

  27. #27
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    Buy cross bike. Then buy second wheelset to switch back and forth as needed. Get out and ride.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Buy cross bike. Then buy second wheelset to switch back and forth as needed. Get out and ride.
    Based upon your description, Ding....Ding....Ding....This is SO the correct answer.

  29. #29
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    cool thread. i know little about anything but nothing about cross or road bikes. having said that, mine is en route and arrives saturday. i went cross for versatility and my theory it may be a bit more "comfortable". I did ask for a road compact crankset be used knowing it will be used for mostly "road"

    plus, i have literally zero roadie attire and wont buy any so i figured my skate helmet will be more at home on a cross bike.

  30. #30
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    yeah I sold my road bike and now just put road race tires on my CX if I want to be a roadie

    but lately I been keeping the CX tires on at 90psi for road work, and while out... if I feel like woods either ride it like a boneshaker or drop to 60psi and mountain bike with it

    it is nice to reel in and drop roadies (when possible) with my knobbies

    makes a fine road bike, just not exclusively lightweight.... as technically my fat brakes and extra brake levers are holding me back LOL

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    cool thread. i know little about anything but nothing about cross or road bikes. having said that, mine is en route and arrives saturday. i went cross for versatility and my theory it may be a bit more "comfortable". I did ask for a road compact crankset be used knowing it will be used for mostly "road"

    plus, i have literally zero roadie attire and wont buy any so i figured my skate helmet will be more at home on a cross bike.
    Hey Fo

    What did you order yourself?

  32. #32
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    Hey Fo

    What did you order yourself?
    my ex wife has not yet married...or died....so alimony prevents me from being my old self and waste money bi-annually on bikes i dont need. having said that, Mr Redbarnbikes sold me his personal used ride for i think a very fair price. En route is Chad's old Salsa Ti La Cruz. I know next to nothing as you know so i cant really remember parts but it will match my other Ti-framed bikes that i was able to keep so that part is cool to me.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    my ex wife has not yet married...or died....so alimony prevents me from being my old self and waste money bi-annually on bikes i dont need. having said that, Mr Redbarnbikes sold me his personal used ride for i think a very fair price. En route is Chad's old Salsa Ti La Cruz. I know next to nothing as you know so i cant really remember parts but it will match my other Ti-framed bikes that i was able to keep so that part is cool to me.
    Lol sounds good, the part about the bikes, not the ex wife!

  34. #34
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    Lol sounds good, the part about the bikes, not the ex wife!
    nonsense. divorce is the best thing invented, other than short chainstays of course

  35. #35
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    Can a Cyclocross bike be used just on roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    nonsense. divorce is the best thing invented, other than short chainstays of course
    I'd forget all this talk of cyclocross bikes, they're just bikes for old guys that know they won't look good in Lycra and know they'll get laughed at by roadies if they wear their baggies on the road. Get yourself a Banshee or a Canfield and have done with it.

  36. #36
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    I'd forget all this talk of cyclocross bikes, they're just bikes for old guys that know they won't look good in Lycra and know they'll get laughed at by roadies if they wear their baggies on the road. Get yourself a Banshee or a Canfield and have done with it.
    ha...i am used to it. i had a salsa vaya and when i did ride it on the road, i wore my mtb attire entirely and will do so on the la cruz as well. if i buy roadie attire the ex will ask how i can afford it and i dont need any more grief

  37. #37
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    Can a Cyclocross bike be used just on roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    ha...i am used to it. i had a salsa vaya and when i did ride it on the road, i wore my mtb attire entirely and will do so on the la cruz as well. if i buy roadie attire the ex will ask how i can afford it and i dont need any more grief
    Probably for the best, there's far too many prokitwankers about this time of year anyway!

  38. #38
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    Due to some issues with my neck a few years ago, I could no longer handle riding a "traditional" road bike. So I sold my Tarmac and picked up a Lynskey Cooper CX to use as my road bike. I can run larger 700cx28 tires and it's much more comfortable on bad roads than my old road bike. The only thing that makes me want to replace it is that I want to run carbon rims with disk brakes, and the Cooper only has cantilever posts.

    I am not a strong enough rider to overcome the extra weight of the cross bike (mostly in the wheels and tires) to do fast group rides, but I have done the Solvang Century in under 6 hours on it without suffering too much. I consider it about 90%-95% as efficient as a road bike. But when I need to go full gas to stay up with the group on a climb, I feel like I'm giving up a little when I can least afford it.

    I have zero regrets. Besides, if FoShizzle decides that he should get one, you should too.

  39. #39
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    It really surprised me just how efficient CX bikes can be, I thought I'd lose out a lot to a road bike but it doesn't seem to be the case and as soon as the road becomes broken up or rough the CX will pull away from a road bike without too much trouble. CX bikes are the perfect road bike for a mountain biker.

  40. #40
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2TurnersNotEnough View Post
    Due to some issues with my neck a few years ago, I could no longer handle riding a "traditional" road bike. So I sold my Tarmac and picked up a Lynskey Cooper CX to use as my road bike. I can run larger 700cx28 tires and it's much more comfortable on bad roads than my old road bike. The only thing that makes me want to replace it is that I want to run carbon rims with disk brakes, and the Cooper only has cantilever posts.

    I am not a strong enough rider to overcome the extra weight of the cross bike (mostly in the wheels and tires) to do fast group rides, but I have done the Solvang Century in under 6 hours on it without suffering too much. I consider it about 90%-95% as efficient as a road bike. But when I need to go full gas to stay up with the group on a climb, I feel like I'm giving up a little when I can least afford it.

    I have zero regrets. Besides, if FoShizzle decides that he should get one, you should too.
    why the F do you always have to make everything about you?

  41. #41
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2TurnersNotEnough View Post
    I am not a strong enough rider to overcome the extra weight of the cross bike (mostly in the wheels and tires) to do fast group rides,
    but does this have anything to do with it being a "cross bike", or simply the fact that its a bit heavier? an equally heavy road bike would be no different, right?

    and how heavy is your bike....b!tch?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    why the F do you always have to make everything about you?
    That's the whole point of MTBR, isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    but does this have anything to do with it being a "cross bike", or simply the fact that its a bit heavier? an equally heavy road bike would be no different, right?

    and how heavy is your bike....b!tch?
    It's mostly that I'm heavier and the bike is heavier (I think it's around 19 lbs), and when I'm riding close to my limits with a group, the extra couple of pounds (especially in the wheels and tires) makes a difference.

    But you're a physical freak who gets into shape pretty quickly and probably won't run into problems like this once you start riding.

  43. #43
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    I have a cross bike but I've never raced (cross). It gets as many if not more miles as my road bike. I love having a bike that will fit be big fat tires (35-40c). Great for bumpy paths, gravel roads, commuting with a pannier, etc.

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    I did my first mountain pass ride on my Foundry Auger and it was perfect. Almost all PR's which shows me that I was plenty fast. I plan to try a MUCH bigger one later this week.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    They roll MUCH faster, the knobs are a lot smaller and if you go for something like a Bontrager CX0 you get the best of both worlds really.
    +1 on the CX0 tires.
    loving them

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slozomby View Post
    personally i dont see any reason for a road bike unless you're gunna race. a cross bike aound town is a better option...
    what he said.

    unless you need the higher gearing and steeper angles for competition, a cross bike is way more versatile than a typical high end road bike. and since most casual or recreational riders end up emphasizing comfort over performance, typical cyclocross features like a taller head tube (makes it easier to get the bars higher relative to saddle height), longer wheelbase and slacker head angle (more stability), lower gearing, more clearance for fatter tires (as well as fenders), and often-found extras like frame dropouts/eyelets for racks/fenders, make cross bikes more suited to the needs of most riders than road race bikes in my opinion.

    i've been biking since the era when high end road racing bikes were made with lugged steel tubes, 32-hole box shaped rims were considered "aero" (vs the standard 36-hole rims), and index shifting was just being introduced by Shimano--my last road "racer" was a specialized tarmac, but now i do all my road riding (including fast group rides w/ a local club that includes a few racers) on a cross bike. i have wheelsets for both the road as well as dirt, so that makes it easy to have the right tires. occasionally, i'll spin out while pedaling down a fast descent, but aside from that, i don't miss owning a road racing bike.

  47. #47
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    I have been thinking about upgrading my road bike, but this is making me think that I should just get a nicer CX instead. Browsing through the "Post your ride" thread, it looks like Eggbeaters are one of the more popular pedals for CXs. Are you road riders using Eggbeaters or a road pedal?
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  48. #48
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    I ride my cross bike on the road 80-90% of the time... I am running the eggbeaters with no issues.

  49. #49
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2TurnersNotEnough View Post
    That's the whole point of MTBR, isn't it?


    It's mostly that I'm heavier and the bike is heavier (I think it's around 19 lbs), and when I'm riding close to my limits with a group, the extra couple of pounds (especially in the wheels and tires) makes a difference.

    But you're a physical freak who gets into shape pretty quickly and probably won't run into problems like this once you start riding.
    thank your for the kind words of calling me a "freak". having said that, i cannot tap into said freakish qualities unless i do ride and plan to start this weekend. got the new bike after coming home from trip and will throw my mtb pedals on tomorrow to take her for a spin.

    i have a lot to learn about cross parts, to include tires etc so may give you a call today beyotch

    p.s. HTFU

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by eriqjo View Post
    I have been thinking about upgrading my road bike, but this is making me think that I should just get a nicer CX instead. Browsing through the "Post your ride" thread, it looks like Eggbeaters are one of the more popular pedals for CXs. Are you road riders using Eggbeaters or a road pedal?
    I too am just using Eggbeaters. Most guys I see in the races are using Candy's.

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