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  1. #1
    Robtre
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    Took the Plunge! Bought my first CX bike and I am stoked!

    Been mountain biking for 10 years, now getting into CX riding! I really want to try trails out but a little nervous on how to set up my bike. Do I run high pressure in the tires? Are the rims tough? I bought a stock Redline Conquest, and I know if I like it I will probably build something more blingy. Sure there is some basic advice out there. My first trail I have in mind is rather flowy smooth singletrack shouldent be too much trouble. Also looking to do a race or two this season. Any noob advice?
    -rides bikes for fun.

  2. #2
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    New to cross too, so I don't have any advice.. But sure would like to see a pic of your new bike!!

  3. #3
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    This is a good place to start, 5 tips: How To: Five Tips To Get Ready For Cross Season | Mountain Bike Review

    youtube has some great videos about barriers, a favorite of many:
    Starcrossed 2011 - Joey's Ok - YouTube

    I ride fairly rough singletrack on my cx bike, just a bit higher tire pressure than my xc bike, probably higher than I could (36-38psi).

    Start practicing your run-ups today!, you will have to do run-ups and they will kick your a$$ if you're not ready, and you'll be tired during the race just from the run-ups.

  4. #4
    Robtre
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    Cool advice thanks gents.
    -rides bikes for fun.

  5. #5
    Robtre
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    Took the Plunge! Bought my first CX bike and I am stoked!-redline1.jpg
    -rides bikes for fun.

  6. #6
    rr
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    Looks great, that was my first cross bike too, the frame is still hanging in my garage. Upgrade to discs when you can, you will notice the lack of power w/canti's especially on the trails.

  7. #7
    JHH
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    Don't overthink or train to ride your new cross bike. Just get out on it and ride like hell. Cross favors fitness and good handling skills. A fit guy with good skills on a 15yr old cx bike will win out over any fancy ass latest cx bling you think will make you faster. And enter a race one of the funnest 50 minutes you'll ever have. Even if you puke.

  8. #8
    Noob2Cross
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    This is my first season with a cross bike. I have heard to stay away from disc breaks if you will be riding in dirt and mud. I really like the responsiveness of disc breaks, but I'm afraid to move away from the canti system. I use my cross bike as a commuter and trail bike all the time. What are your thoughts about disc breaks handling dirt, mud and their maintenance vs. disc breaks?

  9. #9
    rr
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    Why would canti's be better than discs in mud/dirt? Please explain what you heard I can use a good laugh The debate over discs for cross reminds me of the late 90's with discs coming on the scene. I've been riding for a long time and have used all types of bicycle brakes over the years. Here's my list of best to worst-

    Hydro discs
    Mech discs
    Road calipers
    V brakes
    Cantis

  10. #10
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    You forgot to mention U-brakes and Roller cams In a flatter course cx race you don't use the brakes a whole lot (nothing like an mtb race), properly set up cantilevers can work very well, but they can be kind of tricky to set up, and be sure to use fairly fresh pads (old hard pads are bad even if they look good). Your finishes will be 99% from your fitness and skills. I raced expert category mtb with cantilevers around '90, last spring I was doing a really muddy mtb race and my xtr discs were practically worthless, - I think it was the wrong pads, I was wishing for anything else including my '90 bike. Great working disc brakes are great for cx, but far from necessary, you will see lots of fast cx racers still using rim brakes. I would think discs would be more necessary for the commuter, since the grit from the wet roads would be so frequent that you would wear out your rims very quickly. I don't train primarily on my cx bike, so it doesn't get as much rim wear as my training bike.

  11. #11
    Noob2Cross
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    My original information was from the mechanic who sold me the bike so maybe he was just looking to make a sale. I'm not sure that my frame is set up to install disc brakes, but I am interested in getting more stopping power and not wearing my rims out. Would I notice a difference in braking power if I bought higher end pads for my cantis?

  12. #12
    rr
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    You forgot to mention U-brakes and Roller cams
    Good call! I used U brakes on my old BMX bike, they rate the same as canti's- PURE SUCK


    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Great working disc brakes are great for cx, but far from necessary, you will see lots of fast cx racers still using rim brakes.
    This is EXACTLY the argument I was refering to in the late 90's, that and they are too heavy or something stupid like that


    All this rationalizing of cantis for cross will go away in a few years anyway (just like it did over a decade ago w/ MB's) once the racers start using discs. Sure a nice set of canti's setup right in good cond's will work fine, but not as good as discs in the same situation. I bet the best canti's would not of worked any better than your discs in that muddy race too, apples to oranges comparison. In my experience, sintered metallic pads lose very little power in wet/mucky cond's, organic pads is another story and I don't use em unless its all I can find

  13. #13
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    You very well might get an improvement with better pads, there's quite a selection on ebay for less than $10 a pair. Lots of guys swear by Kool Stop Salmon, I like those, as well as regular Kool Stops. I bought some cheap Jagwires for a bike I was selling a while back, and I liked them so much I bought a bunch more and put them on several bikes (v-brakes). Currently I'm using regular Jagwire inserts in Cane Creek cantis on the cx bike, and I really like them in the dry, but haven't tried them in wet yet. I will have a set of Kool Stop Salmons on standby for wet.

    Take the time to read and get them set up really right, I think most problems with cantis are from improper alignment to the rim, and from pads that have hardened over time.

    Way-back-when we could easily do nose wheelies with the front brake with cantis, -back when I was 20 and did that sort of thing. Anybody remember Peterson Self-Energizing cantilevers?, -that was quite an idea, my friend still has a set of those on his Scott mtb. Those would use the motion of the rim to add to the brakes pressure on the rim, -those crazy late 80s.

  14. #14
    rr
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonealive View Post
    My original information was from the mechanic who sold me the bike so maybe he was just looking to make a sale. I'm not sure that my frame is set up to install disc brakes, but I am interested in getting more stopping power and not wearing my rims out. Would I notice a difference in braking power if I bought higher end pads for my cantis?
    It is I can see the tabs on the frame/fork, and I'm sure the wheels are disc compatable too. I imagine some high quality pads will make a little difference but I would'nt bother. I remember the first ride on my old Redline, I was used to hydro discs and road calipers on my other bikes, I was literally nervous cause the braking power was so bad. I ordered the mech discs the next day and riding the bike was much more fun.

  15. #15
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    My point is mostly that the new cx racer should not think that he/she NEEDS disc brakes to participate, or even do well. No-one should feel discouraged because they don't have the latest tech.

    The guy I was dicing with in that muddy race also had xtr discs, he had no complaints. I literally had almost zero brake, but it was so muddy that slowing down was not difficult!, -going fast was difficult. I've raced in plenty muddy conditions with rim brakes, and any of my old bikes would have been superior to the xtr discs on that day. I switched to Serfas pads which I like, but it has not been super muddy since.

    Yeah, rim brakes are going to go away at some point, especially as carbon rims become cheaper and more common.

  16. #16
    rr
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    My point is mostly that the new cx racer should not think that he/she NEEDS disc brakes to participate, or even do well. No-one should feel discouraged because they don't have the latest tech.
    Completely agree, I didn't mean to come off that way just giving my 2 cents cause he asked for some input. I went with discs cause I ride trails as well as fireroads and gravel on mine, no racing. I think the cross racing crowd frowns on discs more due to tradition and any perceived weight diff, same as the MB racers did a dozen years ago!

  17. #17
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    You didn't sound bad at all, no worries! I was a little surprised to see so many rim brakes at the start line at the first cx race of the season, I thought I would be one of the only guys still running rim brakes, but it was probably about half and half. Cx racers (like other types of racers) are only about tradition when it's convenient, show them something they think will legally make them faster that they can afford and they'll be all over it.
    I half expect that sometime some guy will show up at the start line with a steel bike, toe straps and bar end shifters and start yelling at everybody, but it will never happen (unless I find an old steel bike with toe straps and bar end shifters ).
    On that note (not intending to hijack), it seems that cx would be a great place for a vintage grid, since that seems to be happening in xc.

    I have really seen significant improvements in braking when replacing older rim brake pads with new pads, for less than $20 it might be worth a try.

  18. #18
    JHH
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    If your truly styling cross, your dis-monuting while rolling and mounting while rolling. Why do you need disc brake stopping power? I'm no crudmegeon. FWIW: my cx bike has canti's and bar end shifters.

  19. #19
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    For the bigger descents in foul weather I can see where it would be nice to have discs. I suppose most non-racers imagine spinning out the big ring in races, my guess is the average speed is somewhere between 12 and 14 mph?, maybe hit 20 in the fastest descent?, it only feels fast! Then slow down to 6 or 8 for a lot of the turns and barriers?, it's nothing at all like mtb racing. The gravel road guys would need discs, although my friend finished well in the Dirty Kanza this year on a rim brake bike.

  20. #20
    JHH
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    In every 'cross race I've done the fastest sections where in the flats mashing in the big ring. It's never ever about the bike in cross. Sure dialed in gear gives you better performance but it's not enough to help you over-take the guy in front of you. Momentum will do that. The thing about cyclocross is that until you do a race your missing a big part of cx authenticity. I'm not saying you have to race always. But any CX bike owner owes it to themselves to experience 40-50 minutes of healthy competitive aggression riding those skinny tires on slick surfaces surrounded by fellow anaerobically maxed out humans. After living through that you will push yourself harder on your skinny knobby sexy beast than ever before.

  21. #21
    Robtre
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    Ok Gents checking in after my first ride. I took it straight to Singletrack! I live in NC and I ride Lake Norman State Park weekly. The trails there are fast and flowy and absolutely a riot on the CX bike! I put 11 miles down in the dirt and 5 on the road! I was really impressed how it handled the road as well. I think the Canti's hold their own no complaints about stopping power. I rode with my buddy I ride weekly with and although he was faster than me on tha trail it wasn't but maybe 10 seconds faster! I hope you guys dont burn me for going straight to the single track!
    -rides bikes for fun.

  22. #22
    rr
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    Nice, I love riding my crosser on singletrack!, that and just hauling butt on fireroads or gravel paths. You guys can keep the racing tho

  23. #23
    Robtre
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    Wolly Sheep! I love this bike!
    -rides bikes for fun.

  24. #24
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    I raced two races last year on my commuter bike and loved it so much that I bought a cx bike this year. My first race is in a few weeks. I am totally stoked by cx also.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by robtre View Post
    Ok Gents checking in after my first ride. I took it straight to Singletrack! I live in NC and I ride Lake Norman State Park weekly. The trails there are fast and flowy and absolutely a riot on the CX bike! I put 11 miles down in the dirt and 5 on the road! I was really impressed how it handled the road as well. I think the Canti's hold their own no complaints about stopping power. I rode with my buddy I ride weekly with and although he was faster than me on tha trail it wasn't but maybe 10 seconds faster! I hope you guys dont burn me for going straight to the single track!
    Cool! Glad to hear your enjoying the new ride.

    I wish I had some CX-able trails near me. All the trails near me are too rough for the CX bike (at least IMO). However, there are fire roads between the trail in the State forests that I've been thinking of taking the CX bike on.

    And as long as you don't have fork shudder, canti's are fine. I have canti's on mine, and while they stop fine on the road if I modulate them correctly, the front fork shudders like a mofo if I get on the front brake too much. I took it on a short trail once in a park and it was pretty scary, the front brake is basically unusable in the dirt.

    I'm going to convert to mimi V's, but haven't gotten around to it yet - I put 28c slicks on it and have been using it as a road bike.

    I want to enter a CX race within the next few weeks though, so I have to do it soon!
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