how quick: does a cx bike stack up against a 29er with skinny tyres?
If I want to do a decent length ride from my door, I have to do a fair bit of roadwork to link up not-particularly-inspiring trails. I’ve been thinking of a CX bike, but wonder if a 29er would get more overall use: one set of wheels for local blasts, and another set up with proper tyres for proper trails.
CX bike: gets the road bits over quicker, and will probably be more fun on local, undemanding trails
29er: slower on road (by much?), local trails just steamrollered, but I could race it and be more inclined to use at weekends.
I’ve never ridden either in anger. To buy one, the dust-collecting roadbike would have to be sold, leaving me with just a full suss (and a ss. oh, and a geared 26in hardtail training bike ;-))
I realise wind resistance is going to be the issue on favour of cx on road…and that might just say it.
On the other hand I’m also well aware that one of my LBS’s sponsored riders won the local winter cx series on his 29er with proper mtb tyres on 😆 so they can’t be that shabby.
anyone got good experience of both?Posted 9 years ago
If the trails aren’t steep at all, don’t need any hard braking and have minimal to no roots or rocks, go for a CX bike, but maybe a less racy one + something that could take a bigger tyre if needed – it’ll make the longer off-road bits more comfortable. I love CX bikes but compared to my 29er they can be a bit brutal to ride off-road (towpaths, southern singletrack etc) at speed for more than a few hours – after that the 29er wins due to it’s less fidgety ride and lack of skinny-tyred harshness. I guess it depends on the road to off-road balance.
If linking off-road stuff that has some fun sections is the main reason for your road riding, I’d go for a rigid 29er, maybe with swept/alt bars that have a mixed road/off road kind of position, with some 2.2 x-king tyres or Race Kings in the dry. My fave do-it-all bike of that kind is a rigid 29er, I came to that bike after being very into the disc-equipped steel CX bike for mixed terrain rides. It’s a fine line though, a CX bike would be fine on really simple trails, I just didn’t like the position as much as a MTB/29er when it got to the fun stuff.Posted 9 years ago
I’d say go with the cx. It sounds like it will make your local trails a bit more engaging.Posted 9 years ago
Got both a Rigid inbred 29er running CX tyres and a geared kaffenback.
Use the 29er to commute on, 10 miles of mostly off road, maybe 2 miles of road if that, if there were more road miles I would use the Kaff, but as it stands so far this year, the Kaff has not been touched!Posted 9 years ago
You need both. Anything less shows a lack of dedication. Burn the road bike, don’t sell it.Posted 9 years ago
Hmm, that’s all interesting, thanks. I hadn’t really thought about the braking issue – the tails tend to be fairly straight but fairly steep plummets and assents, so the chance of washing out on a cx bike when the skinny tyres break free are high.
29er with tri bars? 😉Posted 9 years ago
qwerty, i like your style…heheh. titanium won’t burn too well though….Posted 9 years ago
I have to do a fair bit of roadwork to link up not-particularly-inspiring trails
stay on the road then?Posted 9 years ago
jambo, wash your mouth out! ‘any trails is good trails’Posted 9 years ago
fairly steep plummets and assents
CX bikes feel great when climbing, but most have a braking grip position right over the front axle and that makes them rubbish on steep drops that aren’t smooth. I never went over the bars on any bike as often as I did on my 1st CX bike. It was fun, but only for a while.. (edit to add, braking traction is junk compared to a 29er too)
Maybe a Gryphon with H-bars or similar is your ideal bike? (If I didn’t have the 29er I have, it’d be on my very-short list)Posted 9 years ago
Why not get a 29er and stick drops on it? Relaxed geo, space for big tyres but you have drops.Posted 9 years ago
Hardtail 29er or fully rigid one?Posted 9 years ago
I did Mabie red route on my cx bike with 35mm tyres. Coped with it all fine however it took away some of the fun on the rootier parts plus by the end my wrists were agony and the next day I felt sore all over.
Personally I doubt if i’d do it again. If your road bike is titanium then flog it for a decent price and pick up a cheap cx frameset and swap your components over. Might have enough left to part fund a 29-er as well?Posted 9 years ago
I have a CX bike for my commute and regularly add bits of farm track, offroad family trails and the ridgeway on it and it’s great for that.
I rode the HONC on it once, but only once.
I’d go 29er if I were you.
CX bikes have their place, but if you don’t enjoy riding your road bike now, you probably won’t enjoy a CX bike as much as a 29er, and enjoyment is what it’s all about!Posted 9 years ago
If I was you I would try a 29er out then if you like it get rid of the full sus and the other bikes and keep the road bike!?
It’s a tricky thing getting a bike that fits both criteria, personally (and sure others will disagree) a cyclo cross bike is a specific tool, not do it all and I never find them that great on the road. And not quite as much fun off road as a MTB but then they do add a different feel to the trails. I find MTB’s more versatile, but that might just be me.
Are you happy riding in the drops? If you prefer a MTB position there seems little point in going with cx but then if you are happy maybe conceder one.
Find a shop near you that allows you to test ride both, a proper test ride not around the car park.Posted 9 years ago
Thanks for all the responses.
I’m tending toward the 29er. If I got one I’d keep it rigid…maybe get some sus forks down the line for racing. I’ve spent so little time on the roadbike recently that I’m far more comfortable on flat bars than drops….but then it only ever takes a couple of rides to adjust to pretty much any bike IME. H-bars could be a cool idea.
I have a great LBS who I ride with occasionally, and I already know they would be pushing me the 29er way. I’ve always viewed a CX as a do it all bike, but maybe I need to accept there is no such thing, horses for courses, right tool for the job, jack of all trades master of none etc etc and other assorted cliches.Posted 9 years ago
Hmmm. Tricky to answer this.
I’ve got a Surly Crosscheck which I use for a general exploring around bike. I had to get it beacuse whenever I took a road bike out I’d see a bit of trail and could’t resist. It’s the most comfatable bike I have ever ridden, it’s brilliant fun on smooth trails that aren’t too steep, and makes a nice change from my MTB. I use an mtb chainset with 32 and 44 chainrings, which is all I need.
I have a geared rigid 29er as my main offroader – just perfect. I’ve never tried it with skinny tyres, but probally should, though it doesn’t have a big ring.
I’ve used my rigid SS 29er with Mary bars, slicks and a roady gear. It was brill everywhere apart from off road climbs.Posted 9 years ago
There’s a singular peregine on ebay at the mo- takes discs and looks lovely. too small for me tho!
Something like that or a Salsa Vaya would be good for eating the miles…?Posted 9 years ago
that singular looks nice – could run a 2.1 on the front for braking / cornering, and something slim on the back for rolling resistance …might look a bit odd but might work really well. that said, i think my best option at the moment is the 29er route, ‘slam’ the stem, and try out different tyre sizes …and maybe h-bars in the off season….Posted 9 years ago
I got a cxss after my mtb got nicked as a cheap way to keep riding and im riding most of the same trails some technical bits slower but the not so technical faster. It took some getting used to but once your dialed in cx bikes are a great way of improving your offroad skills.Posted 9 years ago
I set up my 29er drop bar and run it as a cx mostly, works great.
for me the point of having different bikes is so they are different. I’d say get a cx then it allows you to try road stuff too, or get some narrower tyres for your 26er.Posted 9 years ago
Have you ever considered trying out a 69er? Apparently its a totally different aproach to riding, its well worth sticking your finger in.Posted 9 years ago
I think the answer for me is going to be 29er first, and then maybe a cx down the line. would be good to try a 29er with different sorts of bars and skinny tyres.
i’ve just been out on my 26er mtb for a 2 hour training ride probably half road / half off road. it has underlined that the road bits are a bit tedious with ‘small’ wheels and 2.1 tyres.
qwerty – 69ers and sticking your fingers in? i think you might have the wrong forum there mate 😀Posted 9 years ago
A year ago I would have said a 29 er but er I’ve just sold mine and gone cx only again. I’m 90% on the road and while the 29 was ace off road it was pretty quick on the roads to.Posted 9 years ago
Cx will be better for some distance stuff I’m planning and I fancy the 3p race again this year.
Salsa Fargo or singular gryphon is what you need, best of both worlds with non of the drawbacksPosted 9 years ago
For what you describe bar ends might be handy on a 29 er to get you lower on the road. I did a time trial on a rigid mtb with long bar ends. I got a good tuck…
Not trendy but functionalPosted 9 years ago
29er would get more overall use: one set of wheels for local blasts, and another set up with proper tyres for proper trails.
If its two sets of wheels presumably with the local set for road/trail use you’d be as well to stick with a 26er and second set of 700c rims on disk hubs. A 700c wheel with a road or slimmer cx tyre will be roughly the same diameter as 26″ wheel with a fat tyre. Putting skinny tyres on a 29er kind of negates it being a 29er
For easy swappage its an idea to use the same make / model of hubs on each set of wheels (or get some syntace hub shims) so that you can switch the wheels without having to adjust the callipersPosted 9 years ago
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a cross bike is anything like a mountain bike… They can be good fun but it’s a totally different sort of riding.
How much road are we talking about here? My rigid XC bike with fast tyres on is a fair bit harder work on tarmac than my cross bike but it’s a far better tool offroad- and it’s no problem to knock off road miles on it when need be.Posted 9 years ago
northwind – we’re probably talking 50:50 over a 2 hour ride. I can do more offroad, but end up riding in circles over the same hill pretty much. the road bits are tedious on the mtb – it’s lots of steep hills and you can feel the tyres squirming on the tarmac a lot more than you do off road when standing to climb. plus the rolling resistance is a ballache on the flats. i guess rolling resistance on 29er tyres would be even greater, but wondered if the effect of bigger wheels – i.e. rolling better when up to speed – would help that. thinking about it, it probably means short steep road climbs would be even more of a pain of a 29er.
i was thinking of 700c wheels with cross tyres on the 26er (a whippet) but realised I’d run out of gears pretty fast on the road (i’m running 34:11-36).
hmm. it’s a nice problem to have…just mulling over different sorts of bikes’ pro’s/con’s is interesting to me in a pleasingly nerdy way.Posted 9 years ago
29er for sure, much more versatile when it comes to doing more technical stuff with a different wheelset. I bought a SS CX bike for local non-tech stuff and although it’s reasonably fun to ride it does my hands in (no top levers so have to stay on the cheapy hoods or drops) and it gets old fast on a ride. Wish I’d gone for a rigid 29er instead – could have at least gone tubeless and used decent width tyres on for proper off-road stuff.Posted 9 years ago
I had the exact same issue, tried both options and have ended up with a rigid 29er with skinny tyres, works for me, despite my previous 3 attempts with 29ers not working, so far, very good 😆 .Posted 9 years ago
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