CX bike with slicks on group rides - any chance of holding on?

by Bob Fossil   October 25, 2013  

Ladies and Gents,

So the master plan is get a CX bike and two sets of wheels - one with slicks for the chaingang and one with knobblies to take advantage of the towpath I live next to. Maybe even the odd CX race or session in the woods. I am keen on getting a disc equipped bike as I've not got a lot of faith in rim brakes in the wet.

Is a CX bike (such as the Kinesis crosslight pro 6 / CADDX 105 disc) going to be any good as a road based winter trainer, or am I going to be dropped before I know it? I know there is a little extra height on CX bikes, but when you're out with a group on the road, does it make that much difference?

Has anyone got any experience of using a CX bike on road-based club rides?

Cheers,
Bob

24 user comments

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With a decent set of road wheels on, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference to be honest.

posted by othello [279 posts]
25th October 2013 - 17:18

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It will work exactly the same believe it or not.

posted by euanlindsay [75 posts]
25th October 2013 - 17:18

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agree with Euan - I've used my cross bike as a winter bike for years and its fine.

Wheel swapping regularly is a bit of a faff though - I'd rather have two bikes (and don't forget that cross bikes normally have 135 rear spacing which limits wheel choice a little (unless you don't mind springing the stays.)

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
25th October 2013 - 17:20

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Won't be a problem. Used to go out with a group and one of the guys rode a cyclo-cross bike and didn't slow him down one bit. In fact you wouldn't have known he was on a 'cross bike

The lower gearing could be a potential problem if you're really clogging it along, but most people are sensible in the winter and knock the speed right back

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posted by David Arthur [1410 posts]
25th October 2013 - 17:34

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I'll be on my cross-bike every sunday until spring-time (wearing 28mm duranos). Difference should be marginal: my fastest time home from my old job was on cross-bike rather than summer bike.

posted by gavben [23 posts]
25th October 2013 - 18:57

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Theres a guy in our club who total kicks everyone else's heads in on the Tuesday night (summer) chaingang on his cross bike - even with semi-knobblys. The legs make the difference!! In the winter, you will have zero problems.

posted by edster99 [147 posts]
25th October 2013 - 19:11

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All in the legs. There's a dude on our club run who keeps up on a hybrid.

posted by morethansonglyrics [56 posts]
25th October 2013 - 22:50

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My summer bike is a CX bike, with a compact chainset and 28mm Gatorskins. It weighs about 21lbs so maybe a bit weighty on a big hill, compared to a carbon whippet. On the flatter sections and short hills it makes no noticeable difference. At least that's what I've found on group rides.

One day soon I'll get round to putting the knobblies on to take it further off road than the tow path. And if all goes well the CX chainset might get dusted down for a spell. It is nice to have options...go for it, I would say.

posted by Ad Hynkel [46 posts]
25th October 2013 - 22:57

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Cheers guys,

I'm not sure why I got into my head that I would be at a massive disadvantage, but it sounds like I'll be fine.

Now to decide between a Kinesis pro6 / CAADX 105 disc / the new canyon offering...

I can't wait to smash it down the canal towpath/ride in the wet with full mudguards!

posted by Bob Fossil [3 posts]
26th October 2013 - 9:21

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I did a time trial on my cross bike recently. Wasn't the fastest but still beat a few people with pointy hats. Hard to beat a crosser for an all round bike.

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posted by joemmo [773 posts]
26th October 2013 - 15:17

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TheHatter wrote:
... cross bikes normally have 135 rear spacing

Only if it's a disc brake frame, if it's built for rim brakes it will be 130 like any road bike

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posted by joemmo [773 posts]
26th October 2013 - 15:20

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joemmo wrote:
TheHatter wrote:
... cross bikes normally have 135 rear spacing

Only if it's a disc brake frame, if it's built for rim brakes it will be 130 like any road bike

Not always, my several years old, non-disk Tricross (nearly a CX bike) is 135.

posted by Bagpuss [101 posts]
26th October 2013 - 17:43

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Those 3 bikes will all be good. The only negative i heard when researching was problems with the cannondale fork handling disc brakes, but that may have just something i saw on a couple of forums, maybe just a batch of forks that were wonky. There seems lots of happy owners of the Kinesis and they are UK based. Canyons look great and are great value. I would have bought one if they were available. In the end I got last years Boardman for £650 and it is perfect. I did 70 miles on muddy forest tracks and lanes yesterday- great fun!

Wheels wise I am doing exactly the same as you. Just get a spare 135 wheel (mtb spacing) for any of those frames I imagine. Almost all disc frames are 135 now.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
27th October 2013 - 9:23

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My CX with Racing Ralph knobblies is only about 0.5 mph slower than my carbon framed road bike with slicks. With the road wheels it is the same as my road bike, just one with cantilever brakes. Fwiw, I find the Avid Shorty 4 cantis very good indeed, and it allows me to use my road wheels.

posted by Helidoc [5 posts]
27th October 2013 - 11:43

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a couple of guys in our club use their 'crossers' on our sunday clubruns and have no trouble at all in 'keeping up' i'm sure you'll be fine Wink

posted by Adey [98 posts]
27th October 2013 - 21:18

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There's a couple of guys race the local crits on their CX bikes (non-disc and with slick tyres), they're always up there in the bunch.

When I was doing a 22 mile commute, I reckoned the CX (with knobblies) was about 8 minutes slower than a road bike over the whole distance (all on road) but the whole point of the CX was that I didn't have to stick to road!

Great all-rounders and you won't have any problems on club runs.

One thing to watch out for if you're swapping wheels - not all hubs have identical disc spacing, it can vary by a mm or two so it's best to use the same hubs so you don't need to re-adjust the caliper each time. Basically, get two pairs of identical wheels, one with slicks, one with knobblies.

posted by crazy-legs [484 posts]
27th October 2013 - 22:42

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I think it would depend on the quality of your club ride. If you struggle to hold a wheel normally you are going to struggle that bit more. If not, as per most group rides, there's always a factor of give which allows for a slower rider.

If you couldn't ride in the group with it what would you do?

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
28th October 2013 - 8:58

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@crazy legs - yeah, I was worried about there being some kind of issue like that, so guess I'll just pick up matching pairs. Shame, as I would have liked to try different wheels out.

@ilovemytinbred - I'm genuinely torn between the CAADX and kinesis pro6. I know everyone raves about cannondale frames (especially their Ali CAAD range) and the welds do look amazing, but the pro 6 in sick green looks out of this world. Maybe it's just because the colour isn't that far off my first bike which my old man built up and painted himself using Halfords spray pain! Ah, the good of days!

posted by Bob Fossil [3 posts]
28th October 2013 - 10:35

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Just upgraded my Surly CrossCheck hybrid setup, which had flat bars and front suspension to a more traditional CX setup. The CrossCheck has a 132.5mm rear spacing so can fit Mountain or Road wheels and the clever frame design goes further because pretty much any size chain ring will fit without fuss and if I was really keen I could throw a fixie setup on it too.

I had some spare SRAM bits n bobs left over from upgrades on my road bike and wanted to make use of them. That meant working out more hill friendly gearing otherwise the CrossCheck wouldn't be much different than my road bike and I thought it needed to be to make it worth the effort. I dis-counted the SRAM WiFli system as it only allowed up to a 34 rear. I wanted a few more/less gear inches than that so I could make a few swaps next year and do another mini conversion into a fully loaded tourer. I've installed the SRAM X.7 10 spd rear derailleur, which allows up to a 36 rear sprocket and still retain SRAM doubletap indexing. Fair do's its not quite the full blown CX with a 50/34 up front and traditional canti's rather than the latest and, dare I say, pointless fashion of discs, but with a 36 rear it will be great for the few CX Sportives I'm look at doing over winter.

It's not as specialised as the Kinesis Pro6 or CADDX and probably weighs a good deal more at 11.5Kg stripped down to its lightest but what it lacks in specialisation it gains 10 fold in year round usability.

ATB/Commuter Hybrid to CX to Tourer (to Fixie, maybe some day) all in one frame is brilliant.

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
29th October 2013 - 21:42

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I have a Boardman performance Hybrid.... a review I wrote below. Its really a CX with flat bars and road gearing, I have taken it on trails without any problems, and on the road my average speed is the same as on my road bike, the standard tyres are probably a little slick for muddy winters, but on a slightly damp trail dropping the pressure works just fine.

I would suggest an intermediate tyre rather than having 2 sets of wheels, unless funding is not an issue, then I would suggest getting 3 sets Smile

In any case, I say go for it

http://jasontimothyjones.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/boardman-performance-h...

posted by jason.timothy.jones [289 posts]
30th October 2013 - 9:28

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Rode with my normal chain gang on Sunday, but rather than my 'summer bike' (Cervelo S2, aero wheels, GP4000S tyres), I rode my 'winter bike' (Boardman CX Team, disc brakes, CX wheels, full-length mudguards & GP4Season tyres). Others were on their 'summer bikes' I *perceived* that I was having to work a little harder; perhaps due to the combination of slightly higher position, heavier bike and slower tyres, less aero wheels/mudguards. But the difference certainly wasn't large enough that I got dropped.

Will definitely do this again, get stronger as a result, and leave 'em for dead in the spring Smile

PS Disc nay-sayers are talking twaddle. The additional control and confidence is great.

posted by flobble [41 posts]
30th October 2013 - 14:50

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CAAD X is a great bike. Enjoy mine more than my Supersix EVO racebike. Not as fast, but great fun, a complete hooligan of a bike. Have canti's on mine and run continental cyclocross speed tyres, which roll pretty well and handle most off road work other than deep mud. Even did 3 peaks with this set up. 46x12 may not be tall enough to hang on to a fast group, so maybe worth looking at a compact set up or ensuring road wheels have an 11 sprocket and spin those legs.

noobrakes

posted by zzk [15 posts]
30th October 2013 - 15:24

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I use my CX bike (Ridley X-Fire) for road training with a set of Panaracer Pasela 32mm tyres. Average speed is not noticeably different to my racing bike with 23mm Conti's. Very comfy ride too, nice in the winter.

My highest gear is 46x12 which is enough for most rides. Not often I need a 53x11 for a club ride.

posted by seanbolton [124 posts]
30th October 2013 - 15:31

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flobble wrote:

PS Disc nay-sayers are talking twaddle. The additional control and confidence is great.

I was a disc nay-sayer, until my last wet ride....disks in the wet, rimmies in the dry

posted by jason.timothy.jones [289 posts]
30th October 2013 - 19:17

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