Cyclocross bikes

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Anonymous's picture

My brother-in-law is interested in a cyclocross bike. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Does anyone have any recommendations concerning this bike? Also, any thoughts on how one tests out this kind of bike since they are not typically well stocked in local shops.

Also, any local bike message boards he should know about?

Happy holidays!

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
Here's a start


Is he racing? Then he should be able to get info about equipment from the events' organizers, sponsors and participants.

Or does he just want a more more versatile road bike? In which case, a cyclocross is similar to a road bike except:

* Has wider forks/stays and cantilever brakes to clear fatter tires
* A higher bottom bracket to clear rough terrain
* A more laid back geometry to smooth out rough riding
* Wide handlebars with secondary ""interruptor"" brake levers on the uppers
* Overall stronger frame
* Typical gearing might be 11-32 rear and 48/34 front.
* Componentry often a road/mtb mix and if racing.
* Often specc-ed with cheaper components (""Tiagra/Sora"") on the premise that they're going get destoyed by the falls and the mud ayway

If he's on a budget, your freind can find an older steel frame bike with long-reach single-pivot caliper brakes and build it up.

OTOH, if he has 6K to blow:

Anonymous's picture
Gary Katz (not verified)
Cyclocross Gearing

"Neile mentioned 48-34 in the front and 11-32 in the back. I have seen 46-38 as a common combination in the front. The ""close ratio"" allows more of the 16 or 18 or 20 gears to be used, and also allows for quicker shifting between chain rings. The common rear gearing with these bikes would often have an ""easiest"" gear of 27 or so.

Actually, my cyclocross bike was built by its previous owner with 53-39 in the front and 11 - 32 in the rear. When I ride cross, I spend almost all of my time in the small ring. I also use this bike in a touring mode with smooth tires and the same wheels/gears.

Secondary brake levers are common but not universal. Many cross riders reverse their brake cables, putting the rear brake on the left side. This allows you to feather the brake while coasting up to a running dismount.

Finally, single chainring 'cross bikes are also popular. The front ring would be in the mid '40's with a wide range of gears in the back.

Cross bikes are great when used for what they were designed for, great for riding around town, and great for most types of long distance riding as well! I rode a 300 km brevet fairly comfortably last year on the cross 'bike with a clamp on rack.

Good luck."

Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)

Does he plan to race around in the mud and portage? That's what they were originally built for. Today they've replaced the hybrids that were popular a while back. And, overall, they seem a much lighter off-road bike than hybrids. But with that said, what's to prevent one from modifying a decent road bike?

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Capitol Hill Bikes

"Capitol Hill Bikes in D.C. have two 2005 models on sale in certain sizes:
Bianchi Axis
Lemond Poprad

At a lower price:
Bianchi Volpe

Anonymous's picture
Bob Heisler (not verified)
Thanks Neile, Josh

I'll pass your thoughts on to him.


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