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  1. #1
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    Cyclocross bike for mtbing and single track riding?

    I need to build me another mtb, as I got rid of my last one. I'm interested in getting into CX riding so I'm thinking about building me a duel purpose bike. Can one ride a CX bike on singletrack and mtb trails?

    Please excuse my ignorance.

  2. #2
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    Of course you can. It's a blast but it's not the smartest thing to do. The problems are -
    Weaker brakes if you're using cantis.
    Higher gearing.
    Toe/tire overlap if you're riding a smaller frame.
    and the big one, flats. You can try tubeless and maybe you'll be alright but you're going to get a lot of flats if you're using regular tubes.

  3. #3
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    That is the sort of riding I built up my cross bike for. To account for the issues noted above, I opted for disc brakes, lower MTB type gearing (3x10) and slightly larger tires (700x40) and a frame that could fit them:
    - Monstercross Bicycle Build

    I have about 850 miles on it so far, probably 300 on dirt and it does very well. I'm not out riding the toughest black diamond trails. just the easy and moderate ones. About the only really drawback I have run into is I can't bomb descents like you could with larger volume tires and some suspension (fork or FS). But I tend to ride the descents slow and under control anyway, so it is just a bit of a rougher ride on the cross bike. I find the touring tires I am running do very well on the trail and yet ride fast on pavement and don't seem to be wearing much at all, I think it too 400 miles to wear off the mold line on the rear and about 800 miles on the front tire.

    My main goal riding is for the exercise and getting out away from the city. With the cross bike I can ride to/from the trails for the added exercise and with the slightly less capable bike, it makes the trails that much more challenging and I can get out and enjoy being out in the mountains.
    Last edited by 4Crawler; 09-17-2012 at 02:31 PM.

  4. #4
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    Yes!

    I have a vassago fisticuff that I use for commuting and I love taking it on the trails. I too have mtb gearing(3x9) and bb7 disc brakes. I'm running 35c tires but have room for up to 45c or 29x1.9 tires. I run wtb laserdisc trail 29 rims with some cheap but ok novatec hubs. It's more of a 'lightweight mtb' than a cross bike but I love it! Its a solid ride.
    Bikes are effin cool - Fisticuff



  5. #5
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    for some inspiration..........
    Cross Bikes on Singletrack - Post Your Photos

    i currently don't own a MTB, but ride a lot of singletrack on a surly cross check. it's a different ride for sure but i really enjoy it.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone, really good info.

  7. #7
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    I have a great time riding my CX bike on singletrack trails. Limba nailed the drawbacks, to which I'd just add tire wear: if you run knobbies and do much road riding, they'll wear out fast.

    On the other hand, I've found that riding my CX bike to mountain bike trails, doing a quick singletrack loop, and riding home makes for a really satisfying day on the bike.

    I also believe that riding a CX on singletrack can help make you a smoother rider. My mtb is a full suspension, which is fun but covers up sloppy riding when I'm not on my game. Can't get away with that on 33mm tires.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    I don't even have to click that link. It's the guy on the Hakkalugi right? It's one of the greatest bike videos ever. I knew someone would post it.

  10. #10
    rho
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    I ride all kinds of stupid stuff on my cross bike!

    Its fun and will make you a better bike handler. You will also be just how fast a cx bike can be in the dirt.

    Sent by smoke signal.

  11. #11
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    A set-up like RidinHigh's is the shizzle. I ride with the man frequently and he's fast everywhere except the bumpy downhills (which is the drawback). I ride my CX bike on the trails, but usually opt for my mountain bike.

    I ride rigid bikes, and there's a lot of similarities between a dual-purpose CX bike and a rigid MTB. In my stable, I have a 1986 Rockhopper that's very reminiscent of a "fat tire" CX bike. Great for dual purpose, and you don't get beat up so bad. A slight drawback on the road speed, but not by much - and still race'able on a CX course. It's 1X8 currently, but I'm going 1X9 (don't like the jump from 26T to 34T).


  12. #12
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    after years of bmx riding and dirt-jumping, I discovered the pleasure of simple XC riding and especially singlespeed a few years ago.

    Then I started road riding in 2007. Last year I started to miss off-road but did not want a complete mountainbike. I wanted a bicycle that would allow me to ride a lot of miles to get to the off-road spot and then ride it. I finally discovered a cyclocross disc brake bike would be the better solution.

    I built up a titanium J&L CX disc frame with a carbon disc fork, avid BB7, a 1X9 transmission (right road shifter is an ultegra 6510 that goes with a SLX rear derailleur and SLX 11-34 cassette). I fitted a Funn Hooka DH crankset, Da Bomb disc hubs with WTB 29ers rims.
    And I really love riding that bicycle everywhere ! When the weather gets crappy, I drop this bike, have fun with a 30 kms ride to get to the woods, ride singletracks for a few hours in the mud, and then go back to home and destroy charcuterie.

    Honestly this is a real nice solution if you want something able to also practice the miles to the spot. By this way, you don't need a stupid car to carry your bike to go riding.
    Chistole Audax Club - "Unity, Pride and Charcuterie"

  13. #13
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    Might want to look into the surly crosscheck. The ability to fit really fat tires can come in handy.
    Cross-Check | Bikes | Surly Bikes
    Cross-Check SS | Bikes | Surly Bikes

  14. #14
    The Brutally Handsome
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    Depends largely on terrain: a well groomed trail can be a blast, while a steep, rocky trail can be extremely brutal.

  15. #15
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    Build a hardtail 29er and buy a niner rdo rigid fork (has tapered steerer and 15mm thru axle), so you can have a nice 100mm or so hardtail and a rigid almost cx bike. Adjust tires as desired. Here is my highball in cx mode with 1.95 spesh renegade tires. Cyclocross bike for mtbing and single track riding?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1350536156.444831.jpg
    Giant Team Bike & Bean-Marin Co., CA

    https://www.facebook.com/GiantBikeandBean

  16. #16
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    I really don't think a rigid mtn bike captures the same feel as a cx bike. I've been riding a rigid 29er for the last 4-5 years and took my new cx out on the trails for the first time last weekend. They are completely different animals.
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  17. #17
    Monkey Junkie
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    Cross bikes are great fun off road, just don't expect them to handle like a mountain bike. You will get beat up on technical trails, but you will also have a blast and have a few good stories to tell. I always love being able to reminisce about "that time" I took my cross bike down a certain trail. Definitely keeps things in interesting.

  18. #18
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    We had 4 guys on CX bikes and 9 guys on MTB bikes when riding the Stinky Spoke last week. The ride starts off with a 20% hill for ~750m, is mostly non-technical with some sections that are bumpy & technical. I was running inverted tread, others were running knobbly tires, and the CX guys were on tubeless knobbly tires (which I found out recently are $140 per tire).

    They out-rode me on every section except for one, which admittedly is not hard because my offroad handling skills are not the best, but even on the uphills they did really well, mostly because the bike was lighter. They did have to deal with the issue of higher gearing, but given I was the first guy up most of the hills and they still had me beat for almost every section by at least a minute, that says a lot. The one section they didn't do well, as others mention, was bumpy downhill singletrack. I also didn't have trouble keeping up with them on the downhill portion on woodchips, although I think that's mostly because I had around 70 lbs on them for rider + bike.

    All in all, I've been advised that my CX bike is fine for non-technical MTB trails, and I'd agree with that. It's why I haven't sold it yet .

  19. #19
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    I take mine out on singletrack all the time. Nothing beats a well setup mountain bike though. That's why I have both!

  20. #20
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    Here's mine..Specialized Sirrus Comp CX Conversion
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cyclocross bike for mtbing and single track riding?-image.jpg  

    Cyclocross bike for mtbing and single track riding?-image-4-.jpg  

    Cyclocross bike for mtbing and single track riding?-image-3-.jpg  


  21. #21
    Monkey Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by marito1507 View Post
    Here's mine..Specialized Sirrus Comp CX Conversion
    This is awesome!

  22. #22
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    Cross on singletrack is awesome. I've ridden both disc and canti brakes, and both are good (if you set up the cantis correctly: take your time). BB7s in my experience seem to play better with SRAM levers than Shimano. I've found better modulation by not putting the inboard pad close to the rotor but centering the rotor instead. That being said, I ran WTB Dirt Drops and BB7s on my Pugsley for about a year, it was about as crazy a MonsterCross as I've ever ridden, but it is more fun with super wide risers. I replaced it with a steel Spot with Paul Cantis, and with SwissStop pads on aluminum rims I've been very happy. the comments above that you will pick better lines with a 35c tire are very true, and you will be a better rider when you get back on your MTB. Places like 18 Road in Fruita are absolutely amazing on a cross bike.

  23. #23
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    I think single track is a blast on the cross bike if the trail is relatively smooth. Anything realy technical eventually becomes an exercise in futility. I imagine it being similar to riding a mountain bike on a road ride- you can, but it's kinda dumb.

    It's amazing what degree or two and some tire volume will do for bike handling.

  24. #24
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    I ride mine everywhere i would ride my mtb. Its different, but fun. I switched to mini-v's as the canti's didnt provide good enough braking for the trails around me. I use 42mm conti cx tires for singletrack.

  25. #25
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    You're using tubes?

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