Author Topic: cyclocross bike for long distance touring?  (Read 12208 times)

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Offline bardism

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« on: March 09, 2008, 11:16:16 am »
Hi -  im planning to cycle from san diego to vancouver this spring/summer. Would a cyclocross bike suitable for carrying +/- 210 pds?

In terms of design I prefer these bikes above touring bikes...

Any advise?

thanks!
 

Offline bogiesan

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2008, 12:22:37 pm »
"Design" is not necessarily a good criteria for a touring bike. There are
many reasons we run touring-specific bikes. Look at the long list of
what makes a good touring bike and decide how many of the factors
your cyclocross possesses and which ones you can comfortably live
without.

I would not have considered my Cannondale XS800 as a touring steed
despite it's precision fit and the deliciously plush SilkRoad hedshock.
The lovely aluminum frame would have been a risky repair in the
middle of nowhere and there really wasn't a good way to hang panniers
or tow a trailer that looked technically feasible. That's why, when I
decided I wanted to tour, I got a steel recumbent.

However, if you're thinking of maybe trying a fully supported tour, ride
the bike you love.

david boise ID

 

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline staehpj1

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 12:26:38 pm »
What does the 210 pounds include? Bike? Rider? Gear? Panniers? Racks?


Offline bardism

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2008, 01:28:38 pm »
thanks guys - well, the biker is 180. Add 30-40 voor panniers, rack etc and luggage..try to travel light

I trust aluminium quality on paved roads, but quality of wheels,# of spokes and position on the bike (comfort) are bit more important important than design indeed:)

Does cyclocross bikes meet these criteria?


Offline bardism

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2008, 01:30:52 pm »
xs 800, nice bike btw!


Offline staehpj1

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2008, 06:26:03 pm »
Saw a few folks on similar bikes with similar loads on the TA last summer and they seemed happy with their choice.


Offline RussellSeaton

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2008, 08:46:58 pm »
Going under the assumption that you have no bike at the moment and the cyclocross bike, or touring bike, will be purchased for the Pacific Coast tour.  And based on what you wrote you will be using panniers and racks, front and back.  Also assuming you will be buying a factory built bike, not a frame/fork and picking out all the parts you want individually.

I don't think you will find a cyclocross bike that will work for you.  Cyclocross frames don't have long enough chainstays for panniers so you won't hit your heel on the rear panniers.  Cyclocross forks won't have eyelets on the front so you can mount a low rider rack solidly.  Or eyelets on the back so you can mount the rear rack solidly.  Or seatstay eyelets so you can mount the top of the rack solidly.  P clips work fine and wonderful for mounting fenders or racks carrying just a saddlebag, but I would not trust P clips for a rack with panniers hanging off it.  The wheels on a factory cyclocross bike will likely be somewhat minimal spokes for a racing look.  Such is the fashon now days.  You want lots of spokes on stout wheels for loaded touring.  The shop might switch them for you, but you might also pay extra.

If you pulled a BOB trailer then a cyclocross bike would work fine.  Nothing on the bike and weight is on the trailer and not the rear wheel.  I can understand you want a bike suited for riding unloaded after the tour is over, thus the cyclocross bike.  I don't consider my touring bike a great unloaded riding bike.  My racing bikes are much more fun.  But, a cyclocross bike isn't going to handle racks and panniers.  So pull a trailer or get a loaded touring bike.  Or do an ultralight and/or credit card tour instead of fully loaded camping and cooking.


Offline jl_longstaff

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2008, 08:03:02 pm »
The Bianchi Volpe has eyelets on the front fork and rear.  The chainstays are 425 mm long. Go to crazyguyonabike.com, look up Bianchi an you will find that Bianchi Volpes that have made trans-America trips and at least one went completely around the perimiter.


Offline bardism

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2008, 07:16:07 am »
Thanks guys!

Russell - very informative, appreciate.




Offline WesternFlyer

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2008, 01:16:40 am »
There are really two tiers of cyclocross bikes.   There are the top tier CX bikes, and there everything Russell wrote is spot on, in spades.  Then there are the lower end CX bikes, like my Bianchi Axis, which are really hybrids, designed and marketed as a spirited all weather commuter, weekend fun (road and/or dirt), light touring, and perhaps some real cyclocross racing in the lower divisions.   I read that CX sales have been growing at something like 40% for the last couple of years.  CX racing has not.

Bouncing off Russells and others comments on cyclocross bikes for touring:  My one and only bicycle is my Bianchi cyclocross.  I went in the bike shop intending to buy the steel Bianchi Volpe, which does have cross like geometry, and I was given the aluminum Axis to compare and bought the Axis on the spot.  The liveliness was a noticeable difference.

The rear dropouts are drilled and threaded for fenders and/or racks, and the seat stays have eyelets.  Many other CX bikes have similar setups; Surly and Soma are two (Soma only sells frames).  I got a Tubus Logo rear rack, which fit perfectly.  The Logo puts the panniers down and back, and my size 11 shoes have room to spare.  CX frames have the bottom bracket up a little higher and a shorter wheelbase than most touring frames, which is balance/handling consideration, especially for fully loaded setups.  At best it is a light to medium weight rig.

The fork is carbon/aluminum (and are on many CX bikes), and is set up for fenders only.  I think the Surly has an optional steel fork with low rider mounts.  I put on a small brake-boss mounted rack designed for mountain bikes.  I got it from Nashbar, and it is rated at 15 lbs.  I strap a little soft-sided six-pack cooler to it with maybe 7 to 9 lbs max.

The wheels:  16 front and 20 holes rear hubs, flat blade spokes, with deep aluminum rims.  The little bit of dirt riding I did and pulling an overloaded trailer down the Oregon coast last summer the wheels did fine.  On my last trip of the year with my new rack and panniers a spoke and the rear axle broke on some course pavement (those fiber spokes work!).  Our dearly departed brother Sheldon Brown has testified to Bianchi cutting corners on the wheels and pedals, and he sold them.  I now have 32/36 Shimano hubs and Mavic touring rims.

Im some what a follower of Lao Tzu when he says, A wise traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving, and Robert Frost, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I  I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.  This is where the CX comes into its own for touring.  I carry my dirt tires as my spares.  A CX frame allows you to get pretty fat and knobby between the forks and stays.  And that opens up lots of one less traveled by.  To be fair there are some touring frames that can take fairly wide tires.  

If I were younger and planning a trip around the world with ADVENTURE in my eyes, I would be looking pretty hard at the Surly Travelers Check.  Im looking anyhow.


Western Flyer

My hip hurts when I move my chin, . . .
and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!
   Shel Silverstein
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline jeffreykellogg

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2008, 12:02:57 pm »
Spring 2007
southern tier
2002 jamis Nova Cross bike
fully loaded (front and rear racks with panniers and full fenders)

Had upgraded drivetrain and parts as follows as I had used the bike to race cross and parts were worn out.

Wheels - bought new pait of Mavic Aksium (great wheels)
Compact drive cranks
11-34 rear cassette with long cage rear derailleur
this gave me a 1:1 (34:34) first gear and was amost identical to the triple gearing of the Trek 520 with less confusion

Michelin 28 c tires with tread and reflective sidewall

Cadence on cyclocomputer and seperate heart rate montior - HR doesn't lie so i had to go easy.

Overall a perfect ride - great gearing   (From 34:34 to 48:11)  stable, nice, easy, fun

I would NOT use a high end cross bike - not designed for touring - but my Jamis has braze on's for full fender and racks front and rear (fork braze on's 1/2way down legs)

(Note: some of the high end super light cross bikes are really designed as one season race bikes and would not be touring capable.)




Offline DaveB

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2008, 09:24:39 pm »
Compact drive cranks. 11-34 rear cassette with long cage rear derailleur
this gave me a 1:1 (34:34) first gear and was amost identical to the triple gearing of the Trek 520 with less confusion.


I've never understood the aversion to triple cranks some riders seem to have.  What's so "confusing" about them? An 11x34 cassette, even a 9-speed has huge gaps between the gears and a 48x34 compact crank does too.  

If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough, a triple crank with 24x38x48 chainrings and a 12x25 9-speed cassette provides the same useful gear range (BTW, do you really need a 48x11 or 118 gear-inch high gear on a touring bike?) with many more useful intermediate gears. If you want a somewhat lower low gear a 12x27 cassette gives the same middle cogs and only changes the two largest cogs.    



Offline staehpj1

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2008, 09:10:42 am »
> I've never understood the aversion to triple cranks some riders seem to have.
I don't get that either.  A triple just makes sense on a touring bike.  

> If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough
Actually I don't consider that low enough for loaded touring if real hills or mountains are part of the route.

> BTW, do you really need a 48x11 or 118 gear-inch high gear on a touring bike?
FWIW: I used my 46x11 a lot on the TA and would have used the 48x11 if I had it.  Need it? well maybe not, but still it was very nice to have.  On the flats with a tailwind or on long gradual downhills especially when drafting it was nice.

The comment is often made that you can spin at X RPMs and go X MPH doesn't tell the whole story for me.  There are times when I want to pedal at an easy pace on long downhills just to keep my legs happy and warmed up.  I am referring to multi-mile descents.  I want to pedal at a relatively slow cadence and low resistance in these cases just kind of loafing along, but still feeling a little resistance.  That requires a fairly high gear.

Maybe I am weird in that regard because I never hear anyone else mention doing that.

Also there are times when I want to spin at 120 RPMs and times when I want to mash along at 60 RPMs.  I think that mixing it up helps on a long tour.  I spin a lot of the time, but not all of the time.


Offline DaveB

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2008, 10:00:58 am »
If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough...
 
Actually I don't consider that low enough for loaded touring if real hills or mountains are part of the route.


Neither do I but Jeffrykellog's posting said he did and was content with a 34x34 (27 gear-inch) low gear.  My point is that a triple is a better way to get that gear without leaving huge gaps in the middle gears.  

As to the 46x11 or 48x11, sure, have it if you like.  However, it is an infrequently needed gear and, again, you give up some more useful ratios to get it.  A 48x12 is still a pretty tall high gear and is the same ratio as a 52x13.



Offline bogiesan

cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2008, 10:33:07 am »
I don't do self-contained touring.
I ride long distances for fun and, when touring, with full (and, in the
case of Cycle Oregon, luxurious) support on my recumbent, a steel
Tour Easy from Easy Racers in CA. I cannot imagine running a double.
Many of the roadies on organized training rides and on tours mention
they'd sure like to have a triple. I ask why they did not rig it when they
spec'ed the bike. The replies:
1. Too heavy (??)
2. Too expensive (!!)
3. Sales staff said I would never need a triple. (¡!)
4. Looks goofy.  (¿¡)

Against such prejudices, there is no way to discuss the desirability of
gearing on the touring road.
Retrofitting a triple can be expensive: $200-500 depending on the
bike and your choice of designer jewelry.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent