Using a CX bike as a road bike – good idea or not?

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  • Using a CX bike as a road bike – good idea or not?
  • Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    If you buy a bike (eg gravel) which will take larger high volume tyres, that will handle rough roads much better. The trick is finding a good tyre.

    If you decide you don’t like the fatter tyres, there’s always the option of fitting thinner ones.

    If you buy a bike that only takes skinny tyres, then your only option is continue to suffer on the rough roads.

    Unless you are aiming at racing speeds all the time, the bike itself makes little difference, the tyre is what counts.

    kerley
    Member

    Unless you are aiming at racing speeds all the time, the bike itself makes little difference, the tyre is what counts.

    Exactly.  Presumably you already have the largest tyre you can fit on your current bike and if so what size are they?

    And if the roads are really rough the bigger and heavier tyre could actually be faster even if it doesn’t feel like it

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    I’ve got a CX bike, and then bought a road bike, marginal gains and mostly psychological but it is quicker and even on 25mm tyres it’s been ok on back lanes that are more like a gravel track than a road

    whitestone
    Member

    I’ve a Spesh Roubaix road bike and a Genesis Croix de Fer commuter/canal tow path bike. If I was buying a bike now I’d get a gravel bike (or something like that) that could take 45c tyres and get a spare set of road oriented wheels. I don’t ride in chain gangs or do sportives any more so speed and lightness being the absolute end-alls no longer apply.

    I’ve got 37c tyres on my single speed and they don’t feel much if any slower than the 28c tyres I had on there before, Strava times are in and around the same area, some are quicker, some slower but I could have had a tail wind on some segments, etc. The 37c (WTB Riddler) are much, much comfier and also mean if I want to use a bridleway or track then it really isn’t a worry.

    As someone noted above: gravel bikes are the modern incarnation of what we once just called “a bike”. I wouldn’t want to ride The Beast or Cavedale on one but then that’s not what they are for.

    Aus
    Member

    Thanks all and v helpful.  Gravel looks like a way forward on balance.  Re comfort, my bike is a good fit and 25c tyres are the max it can take.  The comfort thought was utilising fatter tyres, poss less stiff frame and maybe a slightly less prone body position rather than bike fit per se.  I have a lust after ti or steel frames, and secondhand is the only option, so any recos of what to look at would be great. The Ritchey Outback looks lovely but it’ll be a few years before it appears on the secondhand market I guess.

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8
    Subscriber

    Genesis Croix de Fer?

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Bear in mind if you do go for a gravel bike you’ll also need to budget for 2 fat bikes to round out the quiver.

    Premier Icon Ben_H
    Subscriber

    I have a Shand Stooshie, which is categorised as a gravel / adventure / all-road bike (delete as appropriate) and has fairly light wheels with 28c all-season road tyres at the moment.   The Shand was meant to replace my Surly Straggler, which is a similarly flexible but heavier frameset, fitted with burlier Hope wheels and Surly’s own 41c tyres.  Both have full mudguards and can take racks etc for touring.

    I used to run the Straggler with two sets of wheels, i.e. its current 41s and those 28s now fitted to the Shand, after I slimmed down my bike collection a couple of years ago.  Other than being a bit porky, I was happy with that setup – and it was my idea to continue with the format of 1 bike with 2 sets of wheels on the Shand.

    However – 5 months after building the Shand – I’m still undecided whether to keep the Surly as a bad weather / singlespeed bike, re-build it into a more focused roadie, or just sell it!

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    Sounds like a Cross Check might fit the bill (plenty of tyre clearance and a forgiving fork) with the caveat that if you’re looking secondhand then you may struggle to find one with enough steerer to bring its traditionally low front end up to where you want it. (Unless you’re happy with a high rise stem: not pretty but perfectly functional.)

    The Truckers are similar, with a higher front end.

    dovebiker
    Member

    I bought my carbon-framed CX bike when the notion of ‘gravel bikes’ wasn’t even a marketing wonk’s wet-dream – it very light, but very stiff. However, running a pair of 40mm tubeless Schwalbe G-Ones @ 40psi makes it very comfortable and quick – only a touch slower than my road bike. It’s perfect in these parts for all-round use – I can ride road, trails, towpath and bridleways. Bigger tyres also means that it manages fist-sized flints far better than regular-size CX tyres. Big tubeless tyres are awesome on a gravel-strewn, pot-holed and rough roads.

    cynic-al
    Member

    OP have you thought of bigger tyres?

    That’s going to be the main benefit of a cross/gravel bike

    daern
    Member

    I bought my carbon-framed CX bike when the notion of ‘gravel bikes’ wasn’t even a marketing wonk’s wet-dream – it very light, but very stiff. However, running a pair of 40mm tubeless Schwalbe G-Ones @ 40psi makes it very comfortable and quick – only a touch slower than my road bike. It’s perfect in these parts for all-round use – I can ride road, trails, towpath and bridleways. Bigger tyres also means that it manages fist-sized flints far better than regular-size CX tyres. Big tubeless tyres are awesome on a gravel-strewn, pot-holed and rough roads.

    This, almost exactly covers me and my bike (except that I only bought mine a couple of months ago). I’m also running these tyres, but I’m finding that I can run them at 30psi and they still roll really well on the road (although I do stick a bit more waft in them if the ride is going to be mostly tarmac). For dirt at 30psi, the bike absolutely flies with a remarkable level of comfort and I’ve been delighted with the tyres, even if they are a pretty snug fit on my bike.

    prezet
    Member

    I transitioned from a regular road bike to a gravel bike this year. I was mainly using the road bike for commuting which is a mixture of pot hole ridden country lanes, dirt paths and road. The skinny, high pressure tyres always gave an uncomfortable ride, so I bought the entry level Genesis CdA instead and put all my 105 components from the road bike onto it.

    The gravel bike is so much fun, big tyres take all the road buzz out and don’t even notice the pot holes now. I don’t think I’d go back.

    As others have said, it’s not a speed machine … but I can sit comfortably around 20mph, and have only added a minute or two onto my commute time. I need to change the gearing a little though as I’m currently running 44 x 11-32, and it’s a bit harsh on the bigger climbs. I’ll probably change to a 40/42 front ring and put a 11-36 on the back.

    Frankenstein
    Member

    It can be fun especially in winter with discs.

    I’ve completed 50 mike road rides easily on my CX but it does restrict the speed with tyres, weight and 11×1 Rival is great but restrictive.

    If I ride with slow friends then I bring my CX.

    If you ride fast then no.

    A double chainset with a lightweight frame absorbing bumps is a must.

    If you cruise and like exploring and can have one bike only then yes.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all the niche drop-bar things kind of coalesced into a bike you could just ride without wittering on about whether it’s a cross bike / gravel bike / touring bike / road bike with loads of tyre clearance etc.

    On the single ring side of things, maybe for normal people, but I recently listened to an interview with one of the guys from Aqua Blue about racing with a one-by drive train and it sounded horrific with changes of chain rings and cassettes plus chains pretty much every day plus cassettes deliberately stacked at one end of the range so the jumps between gears weren’t too savage. Maybe when they get up to 15-speed drive trains…

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    If I had to choose just 1 bike to do it all – it would be the SuperX.

    And it’s gorgeous. One of the nicest I’ve seen. Cannondale really do go for a nice aesthetic.

    grum
    Member

    At the risk of hijacking, any particular reason not to buy this in the same kind of vein as what the OP wants? (unless one of you sneaks in there first of course). It seems to be usually described as a CX bike and has quite a bit higher BB than something like a Diverge, but I’m broke and I want to do some touring.

    https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/kona-jake-2017-bike

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    I think it would do that job admirably

    Alu fork might be a little harsh but that’s relatively easy to upgrade and bigger tyres at lower psi will offset that. Otherwise, fundamentally sound.

    grum
    Member

    Cheers jon – it’s what I thought but good to have a second opinion. Gonna go have a look at them today to check for size.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Won’t be any time soon, but I am definitely gonna go 1x for my next gravelly type bike. If I can afford it, SRAM eTap road shifters with eTap Eagle MTB rear mech sounds perfect (not that it’s an option just yet!!)

    Aus
    Member

    It’s funny having started this thread, it played on my mind on today’s road ride, Kentish lanes around Hever. I really enjoyed the zip of my Airborne and the lightness, but a lot of concentration was spent on avoiding ruts and potholes.

    A roadie friend said it was relatively quick but for me, that’s not the point. I want to cruise along, fast or slow and enjoy the fantastic countryside, feeling of movement, energy without worry. It sounds like a bike that can take fatter tyres will be a significant improvement. My bike is prob 25mm max. Where does the fatter tyre width really start to kick in for comfort.

    Premier Icon TheGingerOne
    Subscriber

    I managed to pick up a heavily discounted Cannondale Slate Ultegra in February. I absolutely love it for commuting, exploring the South Downs on road and less harsh trails and I have also done a couple of 40 mile road rides on it with Schwalbe G-Ones. It is slightly slower than my road bike, but not enough to concern me anymore. As a consequence I have not ridden my Planet X Ti Pro Road since (Quite a bit is as I have got bored of road riding and wanted to get back offroad more, but I am riding it as much as my carbon hardtail at the weekend)

    grum
    Member

    If anyone’s interested I picked up the cheap Kona Jake 2017 from Winstanleys today – really pleased with it especially for £600. Might swap the tyres for something semi-slick and the brakes don’t seem amazing but it felt really nice on my brief ride around the car park. It looks really good too.

    Can’t wait to get some panniers on it and do some on/off-road touring.

    cchris2lou
    Member

    I tested the canyon with funny bars last week and what an amazing bike it is . It was top end model , DI2 and carbon everywhere but if I had budget I would get one with 2 sets of wheels .

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