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  1. #1
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    Hardtail as Cyclocross and XC bike

    Trek Excalibur 8 converted to 1x10 drivetrain.
    I did one CX race on it last year (stock tires)
    I want to use it to do more cyclocross racing and maybe a few gravel/light trail/road rides.

    I want to also be able to ride singletrack.
    Seems like I ideally need two bikes.
    I want to save my bike money for future upgrade of my MTB rather than buy a CX bike.
    Also, I still don't like drop bars.

    My thought is to buy another wheelset for easy swapping between cyclocross and fall/winter trail riding.

    Am I missing something that makes this a bad idea?
    I was thinking about an upgraded wheelset for CX vs buying a cheap disc CX wheelset. (currently running stock wheels/tires but tubeless)
    Any recommendations for a reasonable value wheelset for this purpose?
    (I'm 6' - 220lbs)

  2. #2
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    A lot of purist feel that a CX bike has to have drops. Some races require it but not sure how often that's the case. I just saw one recently that required drops in my area but don't remember what the name of the race is. A lot of people/races don't care either way. I'm on the fence but really...I don't care either way. Flats or drops...doesn't affect me what you ride. Personally...I ride drops.

    If you get another wheelset...I'd grab something that's in the neighborhood of an i23 rim and run something like a 40c WTB Nano tire or whatever is appropriate for your terrain. They also come in a 2.1 for 29 or 27.5. so you might not need another wheelset depending on what you are running now but it could be a PITA if you have to change out the tires very often and you could actually end up damaging one or both sets of tires by swapping them out repeatedly.

    Not sure what your idea of reasonable value is...but I run WTB Frequency Team i23 rims laced to Hope Pro4 hubs on my CX bike.
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  3. #3
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    Ride whatever you want.

    I believe some CX races require a maximum tire width of 32 but if they are requiring that, I would imagine they are also requiring drop bars. It probably depends on where you are but I believe around me, they do not have these requirements, at least at the lower levels.
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  4. #4
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    My current bike setup with 2.2" tires and flat bars is legal in all the races I plan on for the near future.

    Tire and wheelset options seem infinite.
    Picking is the current struggle, especially with not much to compare to.
    Bontrager 2.2" XR1 tires (tubless) on mustang elite rims is all I've ever ridden.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Ride whatever you want.

    I believe some CX races require a maximum tire width of 32 but if they are requiring that, I would imagine they are also requiring drop bars. It probably depends on where you are but I believe around me, they do not have these requirements, at least at the lower levels.
    I'd say both having a tire size requirement and/or a drop bar requirement are pretty uncommon. At least at an amateur level. Last year I raced with 40c tires. There were also people on mountain bikes. It's worth checking into whatever race series or events you plan to do to make sure. But I'd say in a majority of the events it's not an issue. But like I said...I recently was looking at an event and there was a drop bar requirement. I also have seen events that have a flat bar requirement. So it goes both ways.
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  6. #6
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    If it's a race where a license is required, they might require drop bars, if it's a UCI race there's a guy with calipers that won't let you into grid if your tires are too wide, - I think drop bars might be required there.
    Otherwise any bike without 'forward facing bar ends' is often ok, I think the bar-ends ban is to keep them from hooking on the course tape and pulling it all down. The promoters web page usually shows whats allowed, email them if there's still questions.

    I've raced my xc hardtail a few times in cx races, and it's usually more fun than the cx bike, definitely a smoother ride all around. I just use my regular 29x2.2/2.3 xc tires. The only reason you'd want a narrower tire is if there's a LOT of road, or the mud is so thick that it would be easier to slice through with a narrower tire. If there's sand, you'll want the big tires for sure.
    I usually finish about the same or slightly better on my xc bike; the smoother ride of the xc bike over the rough stuff makes up for the weight and slower tires.
    One more thing; I recommend removing the bottle cages for cx racing, you might bust them off shouldering the bike on a run-up.
    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

  7. #7
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    i raced my hardtail all last year, and unfortunately last weekend as well when my new cross bike derailleur broke. here is what i have to say- if you are running a 29er- you can still run smaller tires- like a proper 33mm cross tire. i did this last year and while it looked real funny- it seemed to work pretty well. 29 coverts to 700cc pretty easily. in racing my hardtail last weekend, i can see where it had some advantages, but overall it is heavier and definitely not easy to shoulder for runups. however, the shocks make rough courses easier to navigate- but you loose a lot of energy on the flats.

    if it was me, my prioriity was MTB, and you have a 29er- get a second set of wheels and skinny tires and you'll be golden. even running hardtail and continental mountain king 2.3's last weekend, i ended up middle pack of the 35B's so it couldn't have held me up too much.

  8. #8
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    Guess who's making the pass in this photo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hardtail as Cyclocross and XC bike-jim1.jpg  

    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

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