CX bike handling

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  • CX bike handling
  • American bikes, low BB, Euro bikes hi BB.

    avdave2
    Member

    Cantis not so good

    When I started mountain biking it was only cantis, when V brakes arrived it did seem like an improvement but with it came more problems with mud clearance.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    disks are the way to go and if you can find one with disks go for it.

    cantis are crap in comparison but I’ve manged to fit xtr Vee’s with a little gubbins called an acentuator (or something). Luckily the front fork has a disk mount (kona projects) so I’ve been running a disk up front for about 3 years.

    clubber
    Member

    A “travel agent” is what you’re thinking of ti_pin

    mrblobby
    Member

    Looking at getting a CX bike, mostly to have a go at CX racing and a bit of mixed terrain training.

    Just test rode a Giant TCX 1 and a Spesh Crux Comp Carbon. The handling on both were very different and made me wonder what to expect from CX bikes.

    I really want to like the TCX but there’s definitely something iffy about the handling. Maybe it’s a high BB as ones on my other bikes all tend to be pretty low. My toes rubbed on the front a lot when cornering too. Had mini-v style brakes which seemed really good.

    Then unfortunately rode the Crux… oh dear, it was bloody brilliant. Cantis not so good but it doesn’t half shift. Handles very precisely, could put it exactly where i wanted and it felt really solid. Felt better across bumpy fields than the Giant which was a surprise as I’d assumed the handling meant it would be really stiff. Unfortunately it’s twice the price. And the size I want seems to be sold out for the year.

    So question is what should I look for in CX bike handling? I can see the rational for a high BB though in mud. Is it worth having and getting use to a bit of flip flop handling?

    There is no one type of CX bike. Some will be aimed at traditional CX racing, others might be designed more like rough-stuff tourers.

    So question is what should I look for in CX bike handling?

    If you want to race, presumably something light and sharp handling. Like a road (racing) bike but with mud clearance.

    My toes rubbed on the front a lot when cornering too

    Seems to be quite common now on all sorts of bikes. Presumably they make the front ends short to keep the handling sharp. Seems a bit like sloppy design (to me), but should only be a problem at slow speeds or if you want to fit mud guards.

    Had mini-v style brakes which seemed really good

    Be careful, I think some of these won’t work properly with road brake levers. Old fashioned high profile cantis don’t need as much cable pull to operate.

    I find cantis work fine. I would go for disks on a new bike, but only because they cut down on rim wear.

    I have the TCX and I actually prefer the slower steering/ handling as it’s more predictable, especially on rough terrain. Also never had a problem with the toe overlap. If you’re turning tight corners in cx racing then it’s usually quicker to dismount.

    As for canti’s, if set up well with good pads then I never feel under braked. Very rarely see the top runners using discs but it’s personal preference.

    mrblobby
    Member

    American bikes, low BB, Euro bikes hi BB.

    I’m guessing this is all down to mud clearance?

    If you want to race, presumably something light and sharp handling. Like a road (racing) bike but with mud clearance.

    Light and sharp would definitely be the Crux. Not sure about mud clearance though. A BB drop of 69mm for the Crux, can’t find figures for the TCX.

    Don’t think I’ve seen anyone on here with a Crux in any of the CX threads I’ve read. Wondering if it doesn’t make for a good UK CX bike.

    I have the TCX and I actually prefer the slower steering/ handling as it’s more predictable, especially on rough terrain. Also never had a problem with the toe overlap. If you’re turning tight corners in cx racing then it’s usually quicker to dismount.

    Which year TCX have you got MM? Just been doing a little research and it sounds like Giant have hoiked up the BB in the past couple of years.

    Toe overlap is not nice. You might get some really sharp corners on a CX race where it could be a problem, particularly if you’ve just remounted and not clipped in, because you missed first time and your foot has slipped forwards a tiny bit.

    High BB is a bit better for pedalling all the way round corners and along shocking off-camber sections. You want to be doing this if you’re racing. It can also help with long grass, ruts and the like. Low BB is a bit better for high speed handling.

    Like as not, when it’s mucky enough that cantis aren’t working, there’s not enough tyre grip to use more braking power anyway. I find this with aluminium rims. Carbon rims are a different story – rubbish braking almost all the time 🙂

    JoB
    Member

    mrblobby –

    Don’t think I’ve seen anyone on here with a Crux in any of the CX threads I’ve read. Wondering if it doesn’t make for a good UK CX bike.

    i have a Crux and if you turn up at any CX race you’ll see plenty – excellent bike, used mine for both racing and mucking about on the hills, would recommend one to anyone

    as has been mentioned there is no one handling trait for CX bikes, like different road and mountainbikes they all handle differently from make to make so you can find the one that suits you

    mrblobby
    Member

    as has been mentioned there is no one handling trait for CX bikes, like different road and mountainbikes they all handle differently from make to make so you can find the one that suits you

    Smashing. I was just wondering if the voices of CX experience would suggest steering clear of certain bike traits. Crux seemed brilliant to me, and I did give it a proper ride over most things other than deep mud, but that’s evaluating with my road and mtb experience rather than any CX experience.

    Digger90
    Member

    I had a Crux (alloy version) – a very good layout/geo for a race bike, great handling, steering etc.

    But…. appallingly poor quality welds and very harsh on the road when I used it for winter training rides.

    The carbon ones may be better – I would imagine they’re totally different, but the alu version is basically a very, very cheap & nasty frame. I realise that comment will displease some of the Spesh faithful, but when you consider that Spesh were selling Crux’s (frames/forks/headset/seatpost/seat collar) to dealers sub £200 trade price last season it makes you wonder what the actual manufacturing cost for an alu Crux must be… maybe £100 tops including shipping from China? Ask yourself: how good can a 100 quid frame, fork, post, etc be?

    If you have the money, get the Crux carbon or something of a similar ilk.

    PS – I also briefly had a Cannondale CaadX which was only slightly better quality welds than the Crux… I have a history of buying cheap rubbish! 😀

    mrblobby
    Member

    Hmm thanks for the tip on the alu. Was considering it as a penny saving option. Shall see if I can have a good look at one first.

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    Have a look at Paulmilnes. good frames with better clearance than almost all bigbrands.

    canti’s fine for racing (you dont want to be breaking much anyway)

    I did see a crux frameset 56 for £350 the other week (can’t remember the store)

    obviously steering will feel quite different depending on stem lengths.

    for me mud clearence is one of my biggest concerns. that little bar across the chain stay (near the bb) is a problem for collecting mud.

    seriously speak to PaulMilnes (he knows his stuff about cx racing)

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    Have a look at Paulmilnes. good frames with better clearance than almost all bigbrands.

    canti’s fine for racing (you dont want to be breaking much anyway)

    I did see a crux frameset 56 for £350 the other week (can’t remember the store)

    obviously steering will feel quite different depending on stem lengths.

    for me mud clearence is one of my biggest concerns. that little bar across the chain stay (near the bb) is a problem for collecting mud.

    seriously speak to PaulMilnes (he knows his stuff about cx racing)

    traildog
    Member

    sefton speaks the truth when he says mud clearance is king. Make sure you pay attention to this – especially if you are racing with just the one bike.

    Which is why you rarely see mini-vees on cross bikes – cantis are far superior for clearance.

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    I bought mini v’s for the peaks last year (superb power)

    raced the following week in manchester and they killed my race (collected all the mud and stopped wheels turning) I had low profile pads on so maybe regular pads would have pushed the arms out more?

    your racing wont benefit from great braking power. last thing you want is to keep slowing down too much. just scrub some speed off and keep things smooth.

    discs sounds great but for me this comes down to more mud clearance not stopping power.

    for get fancy groupsets (they wont make much difference) 105 is the benchmark. cheap rear mechs as these regularly get ripped off from mud & crashes)

    good pedals like time atac will be reliable with even the heavest of mud on them.

    good tires (soft compound)

    play around with gearing for a while (ideally replicating a race in a park)

    Sancho
    Member

    been riding the 2013 Kona Jake CX and it sounds like the bike you are looking for.

    Ive been having a hoot on mine, and been really impressed with its off road skills, I ride it as my only bike now and do all the mountain bike trails on it same a a mtb, its very capable.

    LS
    Member

    for get fancy groupsets (they wont make much difference) 105 is the benchmark. cheap rear mechs as these regularly get ripped off from mud & crashes)

    On the other hand, better kit lasts longer. I had the same set of 7800 Dura-Ace on two bikes for 5 full seasons and it still worked perfectly when I sold it. I used to get two seasons tops out of Ultegra-level kit.

    traildog
    Member

    Hmm, I would say: Don’t get what you cannot afford to replace. I was at a race when Stu Reid broke two Dura-Ace mechs. That works out to be a very expensive race.

    mrblobby
    Member

    Thanks all. Paulmilnes bit far from me but will check it out.

    May just get a crosslight and some 105 kit, sounds like you can’t go far wrong. Be a shame not to get it from my LBS though.

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    crosslight & 105 will be a cracker (think they have mounts for guards too, which will be good for commuting etc)

    dont worry about lbs, kinesis is a british brand so all good!

    mrblobby
    Member

    It is tempting… but then which crosslight? My head has also been turned by a Ridley x-fire 😕

    Will someone just tell me what bike to buy! 🙂

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    both tried and tested and will serve you good!

    go for which has the best kit on it

    I personally like the Ridley bikes

    mrblobby
    Member

    Looking at the figures, the likes of Ridley and Kinesis have a BB drop of around 60mm. The TCX is around 55mm. The Crux is 67.

    Would this really make a difference in properly muddy CX races? Can appreciate the pedalling out of corners argument though again, does 7mm really that much of a difference?

    LS
    Member

    I’ve ridden Ridleys, Kinesis and Empella (Paul Milnes) over the years and now have a TCX for training on. I’d be stuffed if I could tell you the difference between any of them. Only having the one bike will be your biggest problem if it gets really muddy – I’ve switched bikes every half-lap when it’s bad.
    Buy the one you like best – although the Milnes frames are great value and I’d recommend one, spend the saving on decent tubulars which really will make a difference.

    JoB
    Member

    mrblobby – Member

    does 7mm really that much of a difference?

    in reality, not really
    CX bikes historically have high BBs as a throwback to the days of clips and straps when height was needed to keep them from dangling in the mud, as everyone runs clipless now BB heights are generally getting lower and lower because bits flapping in the mud isn’t an issue

    on the plus side a lower BB can mean more stability in places where a higher BB bike might feel more nervous which might mean you’re faster overall than not being able to pedal trough a corner, swings/roundabouts

    you’re probably overthinking it, i’ve ridden CX bikes with all sorts of BB heights and just got on with it to be honest

    mrblobby
    Member

    Thanks JoB, yes STW levels of overthinking here! The carbon Crux was brilliant to ride. I think I’ll have to do some haggling down my LBS… 🙂

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    ditto what the above say. I can guarantee when your ploughing through a race at your max the last thing you’ll be thinking about is bb height (or the bike)

    I wouldn’t go tubs for your first season. challenge make some very good clinchers now.

    oh just noticed you said (carbon crux) jesus! this will be all the bike you’ll ever need!

    not sure on the price of the carbon but if it was me 2 cheaper bikes would get you better times! (mud again) 🙄

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    We’ve got a Trek CrossRip in the shop. We’ve all ridden it (and another one we sold) and we all agree that they are a fantastic ride. Might be worth a look I think. 🙂

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