How tough a trail can you ride on a CX bike?

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  • How tough a trail can you ride on a CX bike?
  • slowjo
    Member

    I’m still dithering about buying a CX bike and I have started asking myself what sort of trails you can sensibly use them on. To put things into context, I’m in sunny Suffolk and not in the middle of some northern gnarlfest of a place. I’d be using it on a mixture of fire roads, bridleways and of course the black stuff. There aren’t any rocks here and I wouldn’t plan on riding drop offs or the bomb holes in Thetford. On the whole then, fairly tame but certainly not the same as riding round the edge of some local rec.

    How about things like the West Drayton off road sportive….? The terrain was only gnarly (on a fully rigid bike) for about 20 yards or so. Would it be massively less comfortable on a CX as opposed to a MTB? I know about the 3 Peaks race but what I don’t know is whether it is gnarly or just bloomiin’ steep. (I use that as an example of what I’d have thought would be marginal terrain for a cx machine.)

    KINGTUT
    Member

    As long as its not big drop offs I would imagine a CX bike would probably be only limited by the riders ability, although the descents would probably be a bit slower.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I think ‘northern gnarlfest’ is about to become my new favourite expression. Thanks for that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    One of the guys I ride with comes out on his CX bike occasionally, and I’m always impressed with what it can handle (I am oop north). I reckon you’ll be the limiting factor, not the bike ๐Ÿ™‚

    druidh
    Member

    This is quite a nice demonstration

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I take mine out on the same trails in the Lakes and Peaks as I’d ride on a normal bike. It’s slower than an MTB on some stuff, faster on some. I’ve taken it round the North Face Trail at Grizedale in the snow and ice with no problems.

    They’re amazingly capable so long as you don’t try anything too daft like big drop offs. There are pics on here of people riding them down steps, getting air out of bombholes etc.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    One of out lot (Hi Mark!) decided to attempt the Belmont descent on a night ride on his Kinesis Maxlight CX bike. He made it. Complete with drop off and the lot. The bloody fool!!!

    The next morning, he got on said cross bike to ride it to work. It started creaking a bit.

    Result: One completely sheared downtube. Snapped clean through!!

    In my brief (two rides) experience, I’d say if you considered the cross bike as a rigid, super lightweight MTB with very easily punctured tyres, you’d be on to a good start.

    Sometimes I was going slowly to protect the tyres, sometimes to protect the rims, and occasionally because I felt very ‘front heavy’ and wasn’t confident on my ability to loft over things. I’ve done a couple of (under 1ft) drops and jumps over roots and it felt fine.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If you watched that Vid about early 90’s MTB’s that was posted yesterday – it’s pretty much like that.

    Scarey fast, limited braking and rock hard tyres to avoid pinch flats but you can ride most stuff

    meehaja
    Member

    like riding a mountain bike in the early 90’s TBH. Don’t be stupid and you’ll be fine. Never broken mine and i’m a fatty who rides into things.

    plumber
    Member

    I’d say anything you can take an XC bike on you can ride a CX but less fast on the harder bits and fester on the road bits

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s not about what you CAN ride on one, it’s about what kind of progress you’ll make and whether or not the result appeals to you.

    I could for example ride Cwmcarn on one, but I’d rather take my Patriot ๐Ÿ™‚

    slowjo
    Member

    if you considered the cross bike as a rigid, super lightweight MTB with very easily punctured tyres,

    I ride rigid most of the time anyway and there’s nothing scary around here. I must say, the tyre thing does concern me a bit. Even with 700 x 35 I’d have thought I’d have to pump them up pretty hard cos I have just under 15 stone to carry round and it might compromise grip on the bends. I suppose you can always put those puncture strips in.

    aP
    Member

    I used Tufo 34mm tubs on the 3 Peaks pumped up to about 50psi – they were fine, although i did just feel the rim touching the ground a couple of times. I rode Cross Fell on it at the end of August with no problems and also did 7 or 8 rides out over the North Downs/ Surrey Hills inc. BKB/ Waggledance/ Summer Lightning etc as well as Pitch and Winterfold this summer with one puncture easily fixed with a scoop of Stans.
    I’ve actually been riding cx bikes out in hills since the mid 90s, as long as you don’t expect them to ride llike 6″ travel bikes with 2.35″ tyres you’ll be fine.

    leggyblonde
    Member

    as mentioned above, they can take a lot of abuse apart from the tyres. Bombholes are a classic aspect of cross!

    GT black is fine on CX.

    Kuco
    Member

    Mate did the log drop at Chicksands a couple of times on a Kona Jake when Kona had a demo there a few years ago. On the second landing the tyre came of the rim and the wheel slightly buckled.

    gazc
    Member

    you’ll be fine, been riding my crosscheck more than my mtb recently jsut cos its a good laugh. if anything it’ll help your bike skills as you cant’ rely on suspension/grippy tyres/good brakes! the hardest bit is going to be getting to grips with riding in the drops!

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Just watch the clip posted by druidh.

    Easy, the bike will cope.

    It’s the rest of the package that’s the problem…

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    The next morning, he got on said cross bike to ride it to work. It started creaking a bit.

    Result: One completely sheared downtube. Snapped clean through!!

    So it was riding to work that killed it?

    The only problem with XC on a CX is if you have a fixed wheel. Then going down really steep difficult bits – if you’re way back off the saddle – your legs aren’t long enough for the pedal to go right to the bottom of the stroke, so you lock up the back wheel. But it’s pretty well unweighted then anyway, so no real drama.

    Spin
    Member

    Ridden plenty of ‘reds’ on the crosser. As stated above the only thing they don’t like is drop offs and big rocks.

    The best bit is the look on folks faces. Especially if they are on a soft tail.

    cynic-al
    Member

    am pondering the same thing but bought a cx frame anyway. suspect there are quite a few trails I wouldn’t think twice about on an mtb would have me walking.

    looking forward to finding out ๐Ÿ˜€

    wind-bag
    Member

    Use mine on a regular basis here in the Western Lakes, just avoid the really nasty rocky trails and it copes fine – one thing I have noticed is the reaction I get from walkers. They seem to be more friendly towards me when riding a CX bike as opposed to being on a Mtn Bike. Maybe a CX bike comes across as being less aggressive in the way it looks, I dunno?

    Spin
    Member

    “suspect there are quite a few trails I wouldn’t think twice about on an mtb would have me walking.”

    The flip side of that is all the trails that might be boring on the MTB that are a hoot on the CX. It taught me loads about lines as you can’t just ride into stuff on the crosser like you would on the MTB

    MrSparkle
    Member

    FWIW I’ve ridden the ‘Belmont descent’ aka San Marino quite a few times on my cross bike in preparation for the 3 Peaks and not broken it. And I’m sh1t.
    My opinion is get one – they’re ace.

    jfeb
    Member

    This as a compromise?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Drop barred 29er innit.

    slowjo
    Member

    I already have a Swift which I ride rigid, the Gryphon would probably be too similar. Glad to hear about the extra added fun content on old trails, itis what I want!

    More grist to the mill of buying one.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    goldenwonder
    Member

    ‘will’ on here rides his in the Peak District a fair amount, SS too for extra gnarr. Doesn’t seem to have many problems with it either.

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