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  1. #1
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    looking for basic info on cyclocross (long winded, apologies in advance)

    i'm comfortable mtn biking (fair to describe my riding as aggressive trail) on my full suspension bike (2011 Spec Stumpy FSR 26er), but now i'm looking at complementing that with some road riding. question has (naturally) come as to whether to add a pure road bike or cyclocross. admittedly at this point i am more curious about cyclocross than serious because i've never gone through technical trails on such a bike so not sure how it'd feel/work. that being said, any feedback on the following appreciated just for me to get some framework:
    1) do cyclocross riders use flats as well as clips, or exclusively clips similar to roadies? personally my instinct would be to stick with flats (as i do on my mtn bike).
    2) how well do the carbon frames of cyclocross bikes hold up in trail riding or are steel or aluminum frames preferred for the dual purpose role? which is most durable/best assuming technical trail riding is included rather than just smooth flats?
    3) given the roadie geometry, do cyclocross riders 'prefer' dropper posts so as to be better able to handle technical single-track when the time comes?
    4) what's the main difference(s) between a cyclocross and a rigid mountain bike, assuming same wheels/tires?
    5) cantilever brakes versus disk (mechanical) brakes -- which works best for this kind of bike?
    6) apparently hydraulic disc brakes will be available for some 2014 cyclocross bikes, so is that worth waiting for? i have hydraulic discs obviously on my mtn bike and can't imagine handling the trail at a good speed without them as have ridden the trail hard with trailbikes that have cantilever or mechanical disc brakes and the difference was very notably weaker/inconsistent compared to hydraulic disc brakes. just don't know if the reduced weight on cyclocross bikes really needs anything stronger than cantilever (and no i don't plan on hitting the trail in wet muddy conditions on the cyclocross).
    7) handlebars -- roadie style versus flat mtn bike style?
    8) wheels (not tires) -- how the heck do those roadie type wheels hold up through rock gardens, tree roots, etc? At first glance, i envision a taco fairly easily so correct me if I'm wrong, because there's no way for me to hop or ride around all the stuff in the local trail i use. i've seen others on cyclocross bikes in the trail, so i know 'some' form of riding the trail can be done, but i've never been able to 'actually' see where they jump off the bike and carry it instead of ride through technical stuff, and asking them has only yielded the most extreme examples. i'm still doubtful these guys are being fully honest with me because i just can't see how they get through the other less-extreme technical parts. unfortunately i haven't been able to follow one of the cyclocross guys through the trail because it's rare that i come across them and when i do it always seems to be ironically enough when i'm ending and they're coming in, as well they're almost always solo with a clear focus on training for a race rather than trail riding (headphones on, major intensity, etc.). either way, would be cool to ride 30 minutes to the trail, then hop in and get a good quality run rather than always drive with mtn bike in tow, just don't know if i'd be feeling that way ... when i'm actually in the trail with the cyclocross,

  2. #2
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    1. you can run any pedal you want on any bike
    2. pick the one you like
    3. no. probably wouldn't want to take a cross bike where you need a dropper, IMO
    4. you can't assume same wheels/tires on a cross bike, and the narrower tires are much of the difference.
    5. i like mini-v's, but would go for disks if you don't mind the weight
    6. i've never ridden hydros, but would with bb7s in case there are reliability issues with 1st gen road hydros
    7. drop bars are more fun IMO
    8. the technical degree of difficulty goes up by at least a factor of 2 or 3 on the cross bike. You need to pick your lines carefully, just like a rigid MTB. But it takes a much smaller bump to deliver a hit you notice (some local 'easy' trails can be very challenging on the cross bike). I mostly stick to mellower XC trails on my cross bike, can't imagine riding it through what I'd consider a rock garden would be much fun, and the geometry makes it pretty tough for me to take logs and what not. A drop bar 29er (monstercross) on the other hand...
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  3. #3
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    I am riding in Northeastern Ma where we don't have a lot of trails, we have stretches of dirt that get you from one rock garden to the next. The first thing you will find with riding a cross bike on techy single-track is that your speed will decrease by about half. While I can cruise over a lot of the roots and stuff, I have to be a bit more cautious through the rock gardens. I run a higher pressure on the trails than in a race so I don't pinch flat. The downside to this is more deflection.

    1. I only run flats on my trials bike, but do what you want. It's all good.
    2. Carbon is fine, (just don't wipe out in a rock garden and land on the frame, and I'd still ride it if it wasn't broken), but I like steel.
    3. Nope.
    4. Can't fit mountain tires in most cross frames.... ....but assuming you could, mountain bike; wider bars (more leverage), slacker angles (more stable off road).
    5. Discs are better for stopping power and are becoming more common but if you get a canti equipped bike, get mini-v's.
    6. If I could afford the hydro's I would do it (but would try to make SRAM levers work with Shimano calipers...).
    7. Drops.
    8. Because you have to slow down so drastically you won't hurt your wheels, unless you do something stupid. I won't take my tubulars on the trail, but that's cause I started out with clinchers that I built with the intent of trail riding. I've gone on mellow group MTB rides before and after work with the cross bike cause it's what I had ridden to work. I can't ride everything, but I can ride most of it.

    NECX!!!

  4. #4
    Kilted Cyclist
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    1) Almost all racers are on clipless pedals. I rarely see anyone running flat except first time racers on mountain bikes
    2) I ride an aluminum frame with carbon fork.
    3) I use regular seat post and I have yet to see one with Dropper Post.
    4) Cross bike's geometry is designed with using road handlebar in mine. The Top tube is shorter.
    5) I use Linear pull brakes.
    6) it depends on whether you are going to ride long downhill or not
    7) Drop Bar.
    8) Depends on the wheel set the guys run on their bikes. Riding a rigid bike requires the rider to have skills and ride with finesse. They won't bomb down any hill and hit everything in sight

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