Cyclocross frame as road bike

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Myosmith, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Myosmith

    Myosmith Member

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    I've been looking at building myself a road bike as I ride a 30-pound, hybrid/commuter/touring bike now. Looking through the numerous available frames I started wondering if cyclocross frames are appropriate for non-competitive road biking. I'm fairly heavy at 230 pounds and ride some less than ideal roads. Would a cyclocross frame be stronger than a typical road frame in the same material? Is the geometry appropriate for longer rides (century +)?
     
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  2. MMMhills

    MMMhills Active Member

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    I found this article that sums it up.
    Overview Cyclocross bikes and road bikes use similar, but not identical, frames, wheels and other components. While cyclocross bikes are designed for off-road or partially off-road rides, road bikes are designed for riding on paved roads. Designed largely for competitive use, a basic cyclocross bike costs more than a basic road bike.
    Size The rear triangle and fork of a cyclocross bike has more clearance than a road bike to fit wider tires and minimize mud buildup. The typical cyclocross bike weighs more than a road bike because the frame is built to withstand harsher impacts and jolts. It weighs less than a lightweight mountain bike because riders occasionally carry their bikes in cyclocross events.
    Look for the Perfect Tire by Size. Tire Rack is Your Online Source.
    Fit Cyclocross bikes, because they are used on more complex terrain than road bikes, use a slightly more upright seating position than road bikes. According to Bikesport, this translates to around 1cm shorter reach to the handlebars and 1cm shorter seat height, though the ideal fit varies from person to person.
    Tire Features Cyclocross tires are wider than road tires and generally have some tread on them, though significantly less than the large knobby tread of many mountain bike tires. The width ranges from 25mm to 35mm, which is similar to the range of widths for touring and commuting tires. Different types of cyclocross tires are used for different terrain, in contrast to road bike tires, which are designed to perform optimally on a paved road.
    Components Cyclocross and road bikes commonly feature drop handlebars and clipless pedals. CyclingNews.com points out that crossing the brake cables with the brake levers is convenient for cyclocross because it allows you to brake the rear wheel with the left hand as you slow down near an obstacle, clip out of your right pedal and prepare to dismount. Cyclocross bikes might have only one chain ring to eliminate the weight of the front derailleur and shifter and minimize the risk of the chain jumping off the chain ring during shifting. If they have two chain rings, the range of sizes is smaller than those on a road bike, making them more practical for off-road use and less practical for paved road riding.
    Considerations Cyclocross bikes might lack water bottle cages or the holes to attach one because cyclocross is typically a short and intense event and water bottles can fall out of the cages during carrying or mounting and dismounting. The Commute by Bike website notes that many road bikes and cyclocross bikes are not sized to allow the attachment of fenders or luggage racks. If these features are important to you, check for the correct attachments before buying.
     
  3. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Cyclox bikes are great bikes for a lot of people, their more versatile, they can handle more rugged terrain, and the road, most if not all cyclox bikes come with water bottle holders, and all better ones are sized to allow fenders, and some have dual eyelets in the back for fenders and panniers, but all will allow those inexpensive clip on plastic fenders.

    Here's a site that has cyclox bikes for sale cheap, but their mostly good bikes especially the TI bikes if you can afford one! And if you read the details, most come with rear eyelets. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/cross_bikes.htm
     
  4. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    One other consideration... most cyclocross bikes have a higher bottom bracket for better pedal clearance in mud than a road bike. My cyclocross bike's bottom bracket is 1" higher than the one on my road bike. This means that I end up raising the seat an inch and can just get my toes on the ground when I stop. I noticed that the newest Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross bikes have lowered the bottom bracket a half inch inch from where they were in 2010. I prefer the road bike's bottom bracket height but it is not a big deal and the geometry is not much different than my road bike. Well my road bike has a longer stem and the seat is a bit lower, so my position is a bit different between the two but this will really vary frame to frame and depending on the stem in use.

    My 2009 Fuji CrossPro came with Ultegra brifters and derailleurs and a 46/36 tooth crank with a 12/25 cassette. (Two water bottle holders.) I think it was a great deal when I bought it on clearance at Performance in December 2010 for about $1100 and also received 10% store credit. I replaced the the 36 chain ring with a 34 and the cassette with a 12/27. So now I have more low gearing and don't feel the 46 tooth large chain ring is a problem as I'm not racing and only go so fast.

    I commute on it about 3 days a week on a packed gravel trail and have ridden on pavement, other gravel trails quite a bit (C&O canal) and even over a bit of snow and ice last winter. All in all I like the cyclocross bike a lot and if you are looking for a versatile yet still fast solution, it is a good way to go.
     
  5. Myosmith

    Myosmith Member

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    Would there be a problem putting a road double crank with 48-52 tooth and 36 tooth rings on a cyclocross frame? What I'm thinking of building will be basically a heavy duty road bike without being as heavy as the typical hybrid. Would Shimano 105 components be appropriate?
     
  6. Beersk

    Beersk New Member

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    I do not see why not. I ride 2 cross bikes as road bikes, they're wonderful. I have a Kona Jake and a Surly Cross Check. Cross bikes are extremely versatile. Best way to go, in my opinion.
     
  7. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    +1 Beersk, I love my CX bike and use it for everything. I would even do crits or road races with it. I have a Cannondale C9 and it can move. There are a few drawbacks for speed like not being able to get in as aero a position as the fork has more clearance room for knobby tires and cause the bottom bracket is higher off the ground it will not handle turns as well at higher speeds. You can still do it ofcourse. Otherwise I find I love my CX especially for training.

    -js
     
  8. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I thought the higher ground clearance on a X bike is for having a bit more clearance over obstacles so the ring gears don't hit a rock or dirt moguls etc., I would think mud would fly everywhere anyways so the higher ground clearance for mud seems useless since the tires would sink anyway. Am I correct?
     
  9. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    It isn't to keep the mud off of the crank but to keep the pedals and your feet from going into the mud if the tires sink into the mud some. I guess it would help keep the chainring from hitting obstacles too.
     
  10. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Love my CX bike, they are great all-around rides. Pretty quick on the pavement and can take a beating on rough shoulder roads, and still go in the dirt when necessary or desired. Mine has spots for two water bottles and fender provisions. I'm really happy with the 700x35c tire size.
     
  11. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    My Habanero Cyclocross/Touring bike is great. I only use it for on-road riding, so I have 700cX25 tires on it (may go to 23 when these wear out). I have an Ultegra triple groupset, except for the brakes. It's a Ti frame, so compared to other rugged bikes, it is light, though not as light as a carbon road/race bike. It will outlast them, though. Mine came with screws for two water bottles, and provisions for a rear rack/panniers. I had my choice of fork, so I got a Surly Long Haul Trucker (steel) fork, which has the holes for attaching luggage up front. The ride, even on rough pavement is wonderful, and the stiffness of the bottom bracket area and chain stays makes the bike very responsive when accelerating.

    I strongly believe that far too many people buy road/race bikes when a cyclocross/touring style of bike would be more appropriate for the riding they will typically do.
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you're doing half-step plus granny gearing. Don't get too enamored of these cogs without first checking the capabilities of front derailleurs you'd select from. Most modern front derailleurs for triples have large inner plates that require a minimum 10- or 12- tooth difference between the large and middle rings. That means the inner plate will hit the middle ring.
     
  13. Myosmith

    Myosmith Member

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    Oldbobcat,

    I think you misunderstood. I'm looking at a double with a large ring with 48 to 52 teeth and a 36 or so tooth small ring.

    Myosmith
     
  14. Beersk

    Beersk New Member

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    Precisely. Just like the mountain bike craze that happened in the 90s. Now it's road bikes. Gotta get a road bike!
    People don't think practically. Weight weenies, chamois, jerseys...whatever. Is it carbon? I really have to have carbon!
    Steel is the way to go.
     
  15. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Oh, yes. We forgot that "steel is real". Uh-huh. People ought to buy what they determine works best for them and they like. Hopefully they won't buy based on new marketing or worn-out, hackneyed, catch phrases from the past.
     
  16. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Ask Keith Bontrager what he thinks about weekend warriors riding carbon bikes. Something along the lines of "strength, weight and cost-pick two out the three." Then he went on and said: "if 4130 were discovered tomorrow, it would be hailed as the greatest building material in the history of mankind.” lots of rocks getting tossed up from the front wheel into the bottom of the down tube steel/TI tubing will ping and dent while CF can crack and fail. Would be great if Carbon fiber were free but not on my stretched dime I would stick with steel or TI. The problem with CF is that a lot of the time you can't rely on visual evidence to determine whether a frame has been compromised.

    Also Keith Bontrager said this on a forum once: KB wrote,
    I am going out on a limb here because I don’t remember the context for the “greatest material” quote. I have an excuse though – I am old and have landed on my head too many times. Do you have the rest of it dek1165?
    In the meantime, my best guess is: (or i might be my best stab at an ass covering revisionist approach)
    The apparent contradiction in that quote and the answer to the question about steel given above is easy enough to explain.
    I think the former was a statement about the way trends in materials go, how the industry can have a material of the month approach, and was not about the superior performance of steel.
    The material trendiness is over now, more or less. But there was a time when the defense industry flopped and every weird material they had was showing up in bikes.
    (BTW – Just to piss you off, I categorize the use of carbon fiber composites as an evolution rather than a trend, though there is certainly a trendiness to it as well. But there is no higher performance step after carbon in the foreseeable future. It’s IT).
    My more recent characterization of steel is a fairly straight forward deduction from material science and engineering, though possibly done while slightly grumpy, possibly hungover. I don’t remember that either. Augustus kept sending me questions late at night…
    The point of one of the other comments I made above is that if you are not a top pro racer and in a big hurry all the time the fine details of your frame material’s performance don’t really matter that much. If you are not in a big hurry, don’t mind a little rust, and want to be able to replace damaged tubes locally, steel was, is, and will always be fine.
    My Lemond road bike is steel (well, it has some carbon fiber too). I’m confused now.

    Catch phrases? like in regards to carbon fiber bikes: If you can't fix it with duck tape you haven't used enough!

    So anyway's are we still all confused yet?
     
  17. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI. At one time (when "long" reach 49-59mm brakes were "regular" reach and today's "regular" 39-49mm reach brakes were "short" reach), CX bikes were simply Road bikes shod with fatter, "treaded" tires ... that is, the same bike that racers used during the regular season were used in the off-season CX races.

    A problem which many riders find with most contemporary Road bikes is the maximum tire size that can be used ... a 700x28 tire seems doable on the rear for most, but most CF forks see to be limited to a 700x25 tire. On the other hand, for a lot of riders, 700x25 is considered to be a fat tire ...

    • I think, but I am not sure, that a Colnago CF Road fork can handle a 700x28 tire.
    • I think an Alpha Q (700c) fork might be able to handle a 700x28 tire, too.

    A CX frame can handle a 700x32 without any problems. A maximum raceable size of something like 700x40 means that most CX frames probaby don't have much clearance for LARGER tires than that.

    FWIW. Presuming that your current Hybrid has a suspension fork, then ONE thing you may want to consider is simply replacing the suspension fork with a rigid fork -- either a Tandem or CX fork. Both types of forks are available in either steel or CF, with the latter often weighing only about a lb.

    If you consider that a good suspension fork for a 26er MTB weighs about 4+ lbs. then I would presume that the suspension fork on a typcal Hybrid must weigh at least 6 lbs.

    So, you could shed between 3-to-5 lbs. from the weight of your current bike just by changing the front fork

    Hybrids used to come with 700x42 +/- tires. A wheelset with 622-15 or 622-17 rims + 622-28 or 622-30/32 tires will probably shed a couple of lbs. from your current wheelset.

    Inexpensive Hybrids often have inexpensive (i.e., heavier) components -- often, the crank on less expensive bikes have steel chainrings (hey, nothing wrong with some steel chainrings ... I have a steel 39t inner chainring on one of my Dura Ace cranksets!) which are significantly heavier than aluminum chainrings -- a little steel here & there (e.g., even headset cups) and another pound-or-more has been added to the bike, or can be shed.

    Here's an out-of-date picture of an old aluminum Hardtail that I retrofitted with a 700c CF fork + spare Road components ... its rolling weight varies between just over 19 lbs. & about 20 lbs. depending on the components.

    [​IMG]

    • The bike currently has a 118mm Octalink BB + DA Road crank (not pictured) ... without the longer spindle, neither a 52t or 53t chainring would clear the chainstay.
    • The fork is an Alpha Q + Campagnolo Record headset (I reckon that's less than a pound for the fork & headset & spacers).
    • The current rear derailleur is a Shimano 6503, the front derailleur is an XT (top pull), the brake calipers are Tektro long-reach mated to some Campagnolo Chorus shifters.
    • Different wheels & larger tires (and especially, tubes!) might push the weight over 20 lbs. In theory, you should be able to get the weight of your Hybrid (presuming it has an aluminum frame, that is) to between 20-and-22 lbs. without too much effort (or, strain on your wallet) when compared with ponying up for a new frame & fork + components ...
    • Add weight for fenders & racks, if applicable.

    That's a really long way of saying that if I were you then I would simply change the fork & some of the components on your current bike ...

    REMEMBER -- Most of the components which you put on your current Hybrid frame can be transferred to almost any other frame (CX or Road) in the future.
     
  18. Myosmith

    Myosmith Member

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    Nope, no suspension, but everything is chrome-moly and fairly heavy chro-mo at that. It is a home-built hybrid built around a 21.5" old Giant Yukon frame and fork. One of the big things I'm looking for in a road bike is to get 700c wheels. I could convert my bike as there is plenty of clearance, but I'm already maxed out on standover with 1.5" slicks on 26" rims. For the cost of switching out to all lighter components to end up with a 22-24 lb bike that still has geometry and wheel size issues, I could get into a decent used road bike.
     
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