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  1. #1
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    Is CX technology "tapped out"?

    Aside from the disc brake thing going on, is there anything else to upgrade on CX bikes? Seems racers are still using canti's and quite possibly there may be a shift to discs completely over time... but do you see things like electronic shifting, 35mm clamp handlebars, etc. ever creeping this way?

    In the grand scheme of things, there are always ways to improve a bicycle - I'm not sure if CX will have the vast technology gains MTB's do - and not really sure if it's entirely necessary.

    Thoughts on this? Where do you see technology creeping over to CX?

  2. #2
    jrm
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    Compact

    geometry. I'd like to see more of it
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  3. #3
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    CX improvements are more subtle than MTB. Materials, tire designs/compounds, frame geo and such. Dick brakes are probably not going to be the 1st choice for racers due to slightly higher weight, but most amateurs or recreational cx'ers will probably choose disc.

    my 2 cents.

  4. #4
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    I personally feel that lots of so called "improvements" are just illusions. Some are legit, but most are not. A good example is geometry, really? What's to improve there? Or tapered headtube when still using a conventional QR hub, what's the point of that??? A good example of real advancement is materials like carbon.

    My 2 cents

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    Everybody has a different definition of improvement/advancement. And Dion, I think there will always be room for improvement. This is the bike industry; there's no such thing as "tapped out" in this industry, haha. There's always something new to toy with and maybe adopt. That's kinda why I like it.

    Electronic shifting will be next, though some are using it already. 35mm bars are probably excessive, but you never know.

  6. #6
    FKA Malibu412
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    The biggest gains in CX I foresee are actually losses... in weight that is. Lighter, stronger materials. Traction improvements may be another key development.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

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    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    If it's not broke...
    ...why "F" with it?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    geometry. I'd like to see more of it
    You clearly don't race cyclocross.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  9. #9
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    As long as UCI (Union de Crotchety Ignoramus') is the governing body of 'cross, I don't think there will be much change. Open up tire/wheel sizes and allow flat bars, then maybe there might be a revolution, but the rules seem to favor tradition, not performance.

  10. #10
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    Why would this suddenly be a time in a bike's evolution when innovation stops? If it's never happened before, I can't imagine why it would now. So, that would be no.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel View Post
    As long as UCI (Union de Crotchety Ignoramus') is the governing body of 'cross, I don't think there will be much change. Open up tire/wheel sizes and allow flat bars, then maybe there might be a revolution, but the rules seem to favor tradition, not performance.
    then it's called XC mountain biking

  12. #12
    Monkey Junkie
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    Part of what I appreciate about CX racing is the "Run what you brung" attitude. This may not be true for Cat A/Pro races but the spirit of CX is to basically put yourself through hell on whatever bike you brought and try to finish successfully. Can't go wrong with that.

    With that said, many of the major advancements in road racing will continue trickling across to CX and the conditions will dictate whether they work or not. There is also always the fact that many people want to keep CX true to it's roots and not allow disc brakes or other newer technology to be allowed. I can understand that train of thought, although it hardly matters for amateur racing. I do appreciate the aesthetics and tradition of drop bars, canti's, 32mm tires, and lots of mud.

    With too many advancements (aka- making the bikes better suited for off road terrain) CX does basically become mountain bike racing. Have to keep the bikes and courses somewhat true to tradition to make the sport unique and fun. I will however, be riding a rigid 29er this season because I can not afford to buy another CX bike after selling my last and I will lose too much money selling one of my mtb's to make it worth it. Someday I'll be back with the tradition.

  13. #13
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    In my opinion, the advent of CX bikes that are almost entirely built of carbon, 10+ speed, hydro discs and courses that seem very sanitized, it feels almost like an XC mtb race anyways. It seems silly that dampening technology (like Specialized zertz), bar design (no Dirt Drops/Midges/flat bars) and tire width would be the limiting factor. That being said, I still will race a CX bike as my A bike, and my XC bike will be my pit bike, but I'm a lowly B/C class rider- I'd love to see how the Elites would do if they could run whatever they thought was fastest.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel View Post
    I'd love to see how the Elites would do if they could run whatever they thought was fastest.
    Interesting that you mention this. I'm new to cx and at my first race yesterday, after I finished with the Clydes and was in the the pit helping neutral support, and A or B class racer ran in with a carbon ht mountain bike 1.5 laps into his race, with nothing wrong on the mtb. After throwing the bike down in a d o u c h e y domino that knocked over 3 other bikes, he grabbed his pit bike, a cx, to finish the race on. I guess he felt he was too slow on the mtb.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412 View Post
    Interesting that you mention this. I'm new to cx and at my first race yesterday, after I finished with the Clydes and was in the the pit helping neutral support, and A or B class racer ran in with a carbon ht mountain bike 1.5 laps into his race, with nothing wrong on the mtb. After throwing the bike down in a d o u c h e y domino that knocked over 3 other bikes, he grabbed his pit bike, a cx, to finish the race on. I guess he felt he was too slow on the mtb.
    It would seem to me that he's a moreon to begin with.......he was probably slow on the CX bike too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 88 rex View Post
    It would seem to me that he's a moreon to begin with.......he was probably slow on the CX bike too.
    Probably was one or the other. It was a rough course with a lot of sand crossings and I surmise he though the mtb would be more suitable.
    Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel View Post
    As long as UCI (Union de Crotchety Ignoramus') is the governing body of 'cross, I don't think there will be much change. Open up tire/wheel sizes and allow flat bars, then maybe there might be a revolution, but the rules seem to favor tradition, not performance.
    Ew.

  18. #18
    Teen Wolf
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    FS CX!!!

    barf

  19. #19
    jrm
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    u R right

    Quote Originally Posted by Rivet View Post
    You clearly don't race cyclocross.
    ill take comfy geometry and long grinder rides anyday.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  20. #20
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    Personally, while I am for disc brakes, I kinda like the lack of technology improvements in cross. I'm not rich so a bike I bought two years ago to race for 4 months a year is nice to keep for a few years without it being obsolete. I've even been tempted to go back to full steel on the next bike to have a bike that can handle the pile-ups that happen in 100 person fields. keep it simple.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleAddict View Post
    With too many advancements (aka- making the bikes better suited for off road terrain) CX does basically become mountain bike racing. Have to keep the bikes and courses somewhat true to tradition to make the sport unique and fun. I will however, be riding a rigid 29er this season because I can not afford to buy another CX bike after selling my last and I will lose too much money selling one of my mtb's to make it worth it. Someday I'll be back with the tradition.
    Really, there is very little difference outside the barriers between short track MTB races and CX. I would imagine that you'll continue to see a blurring of the line between XC race bikes and CX bikes. Hydro discs will be the next thing to hit the CX scene. At some point, electronic shifting will take over both MTB and CX. (I'd bet there's some guy in a lab at Shimano working on an electronic XTR group right now.)

    If I were a clever marketing guy at one of the big component companies, I'd probably try to launch a CX specific group somewhat similar to what Shimano did with Saint for downhill. Granted, I have no idea what would make it different though.

  22. #22
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    Maybe it's that today's race was more of a grass 'crit, but I think that 'cross bikes really are more competitive on the courses I've raced them on.

    While my experience of short track is more limited and I've really only done 'cross in Seattle and Santa Cruz, I gotta say that I also feel like short track is more technical.

    To be honest, I don't use my 'cross bike all that much outside of racing season. It was always the slightly awkward middle child. While some of that is setup, I do think road frames build up into better road bikes and purpose-built MTBs are a different animal from the burliest bike built on a 'cross frame.

    The traditional geometry facilitates shouldering the bike, a necessity for run-ups.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Mini-Vs penetrate further into the OEM market. I like mine. The 'cross resurgence has some wider tubular rims available that a teammate of mine swears by. I think discs are going to get more and more traction.

    Actually, I do also think that electronic shifting has a pretty strong shot at the 'cross market. A couple reasons - first, the derailleurs can be more enclosed. This model didn't gain market acceptance.


    But since Shimano's are supposed to actually work, and be awesome, imagine sticking a fixed boot over a Shimano electronic rear derailleur. Would be about the same deal (except functional!) and it could be better sealed than the fork boots that never worked.

    Electronic shifting also opens up a lot of space in the shifters for a master cylinder. I think Formula already has a system like that.

    Between 'cross being extra-hard on bikes and it not being my 'A' discipline, it's hard for me to imagine throwing that kind of money at it. But a lot of people find it a lot less difficult to imagine.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Cyclocross is mainly about conditioning, strength, and skill - a 40-60 minute all out sprint is extremely difficult. I like that the bike technology is decades old. The narrow tires add to the challenge and skill required (ie. whether you ride through the sand pits or carry your bike).

    For example, at the race (Charm City Cross in Baltimore) this weekend, I saw a woman run a low-end flat bar road bike with what looked like 25c tires and typical road caliper brakes (no clearance for mud). Granted it was pretty dry, but she made a good showing, finishing ahead of many riders with top end cross bikes.

    Canti's are fine for actual cross racing, since you don't do heavy braking; so I don't wish for disc brakes (on a race bike).

    Here is my wish list:

    Rear derailleurs that don't need to be disassembled and cleaned after each race to get the sand out of the pulley's.

    Better seals on bearings that stand up to mud, sand, and pressure washing, (ie. on crank brothers pedals) so that they don'y need to be repacked constantly.

    "Brifters" that can be crashed without distress and are imperious to sand and water damage.

    Cheaper tubular tire technology (affordable for the masses) that are easier to mount.

  24. #24
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    In addition to disc brakes I think a lot of improvements can be made in tires. The compounding, of the current crop of top end cross tubulars is pathetic, when you compare to top end triple compound tires offered for mountain biking.
    There is no argument that tubular tires are the ideal choice for cross racing, but I feel like the sidewalls could stand to be more durable, so that on off camber sections, with low psi, riding on the sidewall a bit won't absolutely destroy the tire. (I've killed more dugasts this way than I'd like to fess up to)
    As I mentioned earlier tire compounding is another very weak spot, the rubber used by dugast, fmb, challenge, etc is the same rubber that has been used for 10 years or so. Current tire technology for mountain and road bikes has made huge advances in this time. (And Schwalbe tubulars aren't an option....no where near the volume of a dugast, and I'm not a fan of the tread pattern for cross)
    I'd sacrifice and arm, leg, kidney, whatever it takes for the opportunity to work on improving tires for cross specific use. Tire construction has been figured out enough so that we can start making improvements in how the tire as a whole functions. Tire profile, compounding, and tread patterns of the current crop of cross tires are quite archaic, and could stand for a huge update.


    Aside from rubber I want hydro disc brakes...not even remotely interested in mechanical. And WILL NOT shell out for the formula di2 stuff.

    Matt

  25. #25
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    While technology is fun, cool.... and usually expensive as far as CX vs a MT bike for a race it totally depends on the course. The more technical the course, the more it favors a MT bike, the more open long flats etc. the more a CX bike will prevail.

    We do 16 CX events a year, eight are on a "short track" due to area limitations (check out our Folsom RodeoCross... at NIGHT) and the other eight are on various wide open courses of various technicalities. It is easy to see when a course benefits a CX bike or MT bike... and we keep that in mind when we set up a course.

    With all this in mind we push the "A's" to have CX bikes through rules and harassment but anything goes under that.... run whatcha brung and have fun.

    B
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