Cyclocross Bikes: Winter vs. Summer



ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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I want to ride all year round on rought city streets. Bike of choice would be Cyclocross with the proper tires for the conditions. My research showed a variety of bikes to choose from; some with thick, sturdy frames to thin, light frames. Some with a lot of gears, and others with only a single speed.

I never rode in the winter and can’t wait to start. Some articles suggest two separate bikes for the two seasons, but I need to know a few things my research did not tell me.

  • What are the main things I should consider when purchasing a bike for the winter and for the summer.
  • Is single speed better for winter?
  • Do I really need two separate bikes for the two seasons?
  • Which frame is best for each season: thick and sturdy or thin and light or don’t matter?
  • Can you have too many gears, if so for which season?
I know that’s a lot but I have to research so I won’t regret my purchase. I would hate to just buy one without researching then realize a thousand things I should have considered.

Hope you can help.
 

roadhouse

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Aug 2, 2009
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is this a trick question? cross bike for you, my friend. no if's and's or buTts' about it.
 

NoRacer

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Nov 19, 2009
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I'll be using this one for all seasons (Ridley X-Fire):

[Click for larger version]

In the picture, the tires are Continental 4000S 23mm and the bike is geared for road riding (53/39 w/11x28 cassette).

Currently, the bike has 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires on it. [might get some freezing rain tomorrow]

I think a cyclocross bike is very versatile for anything you'd want to do--fast club rides, winter riding, trails.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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roadhouse said:
is this a trick question? cross bike for you, my friend. no if's and's or buTts' about it.

Thank you for taking time to respond. Out of all the bike choices, I narrowed it down to the cross bike, so like you I know a cross bike is for me, however, there were some questions I needed answered to narrow down my options within the cross bike choices.

The questions below are all for better cross bike purchasing decision making. Answers to any of them will serve me well. Thanks again.

What are the main things I should consider when purchasing a bike for the winter and for the summer.
Is single speed better for winter?
Do I really need two separate bikes for the two seasons?
Which frame is best for each season: thick and sturdy or thin and light or don’t matter?
Can you have too many gears, if so for which season?
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
10
0
0
NoRacer said:
I'll be using this one for all seasons (Ridley X-Fire):

[Click for larger version]

In the picture, the tires are Continental 4000S 23mm and the bike is geared for road riding (53/39 w/11x28 cassette).

Currently, the bike has 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires on it. [might get some freezing rain tomorrow]

I think a cyclocross bike is very versatile for anything you'd want to do--fast club rides, winter riding, trails.

Thank you for sharing your insight and photos. Seeing the bike in a winter environment is awsome. It really elevated my interest.
 

roadhouse

New Member
Aug 2, 2009
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ddub said:
Thank you for taking time to respond. Out of all the bike choices, I narrowed it down to the cross bike, so like you I know a cross bike is for me, however, there were some questions I needed answered to narrow down my options within the cross bike choices.

The questions below are all for better cross bike purchasing decision making. Answers to any of them will serve me well. Thanks again.

What are the main things I should consider when purchasing a bike for the winter and for the summer.
Is single speed better for winter?
Do I really need two separate bikes for the two seasons?
Which frame is best for each season: thick and sturdy or thin and light or don’t matter?
Can you have too many gears, if so for which season?

you might have missed it but the name is Roadhouse, not Crosshouse. No cross bike for me just yet as it's all about the giant of all things cycling, road.

Now as No Racer said, the cross bike is much more versatile and you can put road wheels onto a cross frame and have a road bike so to speak and even with just the cross wheelset, it's a road bike pretty much.. and as far as weight is concerned, that depends on how strong you are or your personal preference so thick and sturdy can dominate a thin and light if the engine is up to (IF there even is a difference in weight that is) par but i'd have to go with something in between. if you have the money, try a Moots or a Lynskey as they are both very tough and not likely to be too thick and yet very sturdy, made of titanuim i think for the most part so expensive or try Surly which is stell and a third the cost. I'm sure you can google search them and contact them for some real informative answers, much more informative than my guessings.

and for gears, that depends on how much you have ridden but if this is your first bike i'd go with gears so as you can ride road and fast until you really know what you want to be able to do with your bike and let's not forget that you will be doing some climbs and decents and sprints or at least i hope you will be and one gear isn't gonna cut it.
and back to weight, weight can be factored so much from so many different sources i honestly don't even know where to begin when it comes to a frame being put together with a drivetrain and wheels and so on and so on meaning a solid and heavy frame can turn out to be the exact same weight as a thin frame with a heavier drivetrain and wheels but all in all we're talking grams so nothing to worry about as in todays day and age, it's hard to even go there.

youre welcome. please send cash or money order to :
Helpful Non Cycling Cyclists of America, care of Sir Preston.

bettet yet, go to teamsmack.org and talk to Wb (pro cross racer of decades) but only Wb, the rest don't know their heads from their bums and are pretty weak and childish.

good luck and Merry Christmas.
 

roadhouse

New Member
Aug 2, 2009
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it pretty much boils down to whatever bike you test ride that grips your very soul is gonna be the one and you will know it when you ride it.

whichever bike handles you handling it and responds to your very thoughts on the matter before you even handle it is the one, the one that feels the most an extension of yourself.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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That really removed the mystery behind the weight and gear issue. Now I know not to focus so much on such issues. I will explore the bike companies you told me about.
And you're right, I did miss it, Roadhouse not Crosshouse. :D
Forgive me. Sometimes new cycling eyes can't see, we glance for the answers too quickly.:eek:

roadhouse said:
you might have missed it but the name is Roadhouse, not Crosshouse. No cross bike for me just yet as it's all about the giant of all things cycling, road.

Now as No Racer said, the cross bike is much more versatile and you can put road wheels onto a cross frame and have a road bike so to speak and even with just the cross wheelset, it's a road bike pretty much.. and as far as weight is concerned, that depends on how strong you are or your personal preference so thick and sturdy can dominate a thin and light if the engine is up to (IF there even is a difference in weight that is) par but i'd have to go with something in between. if you have the money, try a Moots or a Lynskey as they are both very tough and not likely to be too thick and yet very sturdy, made of titanuim i think for the most part so expensive or try Surly which is stell and a third the cost. I'm sure you can google search them and contact them for some real informative answers, much more informative than my guessings.

and for gears, that depends on how much you have ridden but if this is your first bike i'd go with gears so as you can ride road and fast until you really know what you want to be able to do with your bike and let's not forget that you will be doing some climbs and decents and sprints or at least i hope you will be and one gear isn't gonna cut it.
and back to weight, weight can be factored so much from so many different sources i honestly don't even know where to begin when it comes to a frame being put together with a drivetrain and wheels and so on and so on meaning a solid and heavy frame can turn out to be the exact same weight as a thin frame with a heavier drivetrain and wheels but all in all we're talking grams so nothing to worry about as in todays day and age, it's hard to even go there.

youre welcome. please send cash or money order to :
Helpful Non Cycling Cyclists of America, care of Sir Preston.

bettet yet, go to teamsmack.org and talk to Wb (pro cross racer of decades) but only Wb, the rest don't know their heads from their bums and are pretty weak and childish.

good luck and Merry Christmas.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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That's really deep and will make me test ride until my heart's content. I won't fall for the "puppy eye in the window" trick (I won't fall for looks alone) I'll see how well it knows me while I see how well I know it. I'll look for the bike that is an extension of myself. :cool:

Thanks a lot.

roadhouse said:
it pretty much boils down to whatever bike you test ride that grips your very soul is gonna be the one and you will know it when you ride it.

whichever bike handles you handling it and responds to your very thoughts on the matter before you even handle it is the one, the one that feels the most an extension of yourself.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
10
0
0
I'm sorry my response was misinterpreted. My original research was full of exterior things that do no matter based on what you were telling me to look for. Your advice really changed my perspective and the way you put it was a way that made me think.

I'm sorry for not making myself clear. I thought you would feel complemented not insulted. Please forgive me, I should have said it better.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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I'm sorry my response was misinterpreted. My original research was full of exterior things that do not matter based on what you were telling me to look for. Your advice really changed my perspective and the way you put it was a way that made me think.

I'm sorry for not making myself clear. I thought you would feel complemented not insulted. Please forgive me, I should have said it better.

By the way, the "puppy eye look" comment I made meant I will not go for a lot of exterior details like frame size, etc and go for how it feels to me like advised. Sorry for not making myself clear. You actually helped me and I thought I was thanking you, but instead I insulted you. Please forgive. I honestly was not spitting on your opinion.
 

ddub

New Member
Aug 17, 2009
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I a man who did not know I was insulting you. I was expressing how much I appreciate you changing my perspective from a lot of trivial things to what's really important. Without that help I would still stuck on poor decision making.

So sorry I didn't make myself clear. Your advice was exactly what I needed. Please don't take offense to my original response. It was never intended to come across that way.
 

roadhouse

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Aug 2, 2009
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if what you say is true than welcome to the wonderful and explicit and members only world of cycling.

now ask for Wb, he's the coolest of the coolest of the mightier of the absolute mightiest when in comes to the world of cycling, near and far. and did i mention that he loves bicycling?

< snip >

Preston.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
126
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ddub said:
I want to ride all year round on rought city streets. Bike of choice would be Cyclocross with the proper tires for the conditions. My research showed a variety of bikes to choose from; some with thick, sturdy frames to thin, light frames. Some with a lot of gears, and others with only a single speed.

I never rode in the winter and can’t wait to start. Some articles suggest two separate bikes for the two seasons, but I need to know a few things my research did not tell me.

  • What are the main things I should consider when purchasing a bike for the winter and for the summer.
  • Is single speed better for winter?
  • Do I really need two separate bikes for the two seasons?
  • Which frame is best for each season: thick and sturdy or thin and light or don’t matter?
  • Can you have too many gears, if so for which season?
I know that’s a lot but I have to research so I won’t regret my purchase. I would hate to just buy one without researching then realize a thousand things I should have considered.

Hope you can help.
I think you may really want to consider a "touring" frame rather than a CX frame ...

A "real" CX frame won't have water bottle bosses OR eyelets for fenders.

Some bike frames, like those made by REDLINE, are commonly used for CX and have water bottle bosses (I'm not sure if they have eyelets on their dropouts) ...

In other words, the bikes in the so-called CX category now run a wider gamut than before.

FWIW. I have a 90s vintage, steel, GIANT Nutra frame which was apparently designed to be somewhere between a touring frame & a CX frame [I respaced the dropouts down to 130mm from 135mm]... other than the length-and-shape of the stays [the cranks I currently have on the frame have a road-width, 150mm Q-factor], the geometry seems to be the same as on the current Giant CX frames.

One day, I decided to see just how much clearance the frame & fork have, so I put a set of wheels in the frame which have 700x52 (29er) tires on them ... the tires fit within the stays with more than enough clearance ... those 29er tires probably won't fit in most CX frames & they might not fit in most touring frames, either.

Basically, decide the maximum tire size you want to use, and look for a frame ...

If you are going to limit the tire size to 700x32, then any CX frame/fork will probably work for you. If you want to use a larger tire, then you may want to consider a Hybrid which uses 700c tires AND which has a solid fork ... OR, a Touring frame which uses a 700c wheels.

If the idea of really fat tires (but, not PUGSLEY big) seems like a good idea, then you may want to consider something like a RALEIGH XXIX+G and retrofit it with drop bars & road shifters if flat bars don't work for you.
 

NoRacer

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Nov 19, 2009
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alfeng said:
A "real" CX frame won't have water bottle bosses OR eyelets for fenders.

This is true.

I started to worry when I saw that some Ridley X-Fire crossbikes had no bottle bosses and others did. (It's a UCI rule that crossbikes used for UCI races will not have bottle cages.)

I was so glad to see the bosses installed, which at least, gives one the option to use bottles for road events, but remove them for cross events.

As far as fenders are concerned, I'm still looking for a good solution for my wider tires, but I can still use Race Blades for the thinner road tires.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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NoRacer said:
...As far as fenders are concerned, I'm still looking for a good solution for my wider tires, but I can still use Race Blades for the thinner road tires.
There are also some very good race worthy cyclocross bikes with both bottle cage bosses and fender eyelets. I race one of these: 2009 Scott CX Comp

It's also my primary winter bike, takes fenders with ease and I've thrown 700c road wheels on it a few times when my road bike was in the shop. Unless you're determined to go to the top end cross bikes, there's plenty that accept bottle cages, after all we have to train on these too and that sometimes means more than an hour on the bike.

If it rains a lot where you live then you might consider a disk brake equipped bike for winter riding. That's pretty popular here in Seattle and I can see why as I chew through brake pads during the rainy season. Something like this: SALSA LA CRUZ CYCLOCROSS BIKE at Cambriabike

-Dave
 

NoRacer

New Member
Nov 19, 2009
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daveryanwyoming said:
There are also some very good race worthy cyclocross bikes with both bottle cage bosses and fender eyelets. I race one of these: 2009 Scott CX Comp

It's also my primary winter bike, takes fenders with ease and I've thrown 700c road wheels on it a few times when my road bike was in the shop. Unless you're determined to go to the top end cross bikes, there's plenty that accept bottle cages, after all we have to train on these too and that sometimes means more than an hour on the bike.

If it rains a lot where you live then you might consider a disk brake equipped bike for winter riding. That's pretty popular here in Seattle and I can see why as I chew through brake pads during the rainy season. Something like this: SALSA LA CRUZ CYCLOCROSS BIKE at Cambriabike

-Dave

Thanks for the info, Dave.

Actually, the Ridley X-Fire that I purchased has bottle bosses (unlike the Ridley X-Night), just nothing for fenders.

Currently, I have RaceBlades on it, because I'm riding with 23mm 700c front and back. The RaceBlades are working out ok. It's only when I have the 35mm tires on it that the RaceBlades are just too narrow.
 

Lovely World

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Jan 24, 2010
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One day, I decided to see just how much clearance the frame & fork have, so I put a set of wheels in the frame which have 700x52 (29er) tires on them ... the tires fit within the stays with more than enough clearance ... those 29er tires probably won't fit in most CX frames & they might not fit in most touring frames, either.