Cross vs. Road bikes has always been a comparison with easy at-a-glance answers. “A cross bike is not a road bike because of canti or disc brakes and knobby wide tires and the frame geometry is all wrong.” But guess what? Today, we are seeing something interesting. A true bike to do everything, including racing on both dirt and pavement.
Since the UCI is delving deeply into the disc brake solution for the 2016 competition year, we are at a point where the two styles of bikes are just about identical in equipment. They both have bottom bracket drops within 5 or 10mm of each other. They both have disc brakes. They both are using wider rim size with the road bikes trending toward 28c tires for low low rolling resistance. (Don’t forget that is 5mm less width than the knobby cross tires) Guess what? We have a cross bike out there with a lower bottom bracket on disc hubs that could be put in a UCI legal peloton right now.
I currently have that Fuji cross 2.0 I tried to race this year. The engine was the problem but regardless, It runs on wheels the Specialized Roubaix and the Crux came with. The Roval Pave’ serries. The rim width is 19mm and fits cross tires as well as a set of my winter 25c Gatorskins, if not larger sizes, with ease. So, we have a situation here, where an afffordable 17 pound (or less) bike can exist and be the only bike you could ever need for every single thing you could ever want to do. Period.
A 105 group running mid-compact rings up front could be perfect. How? The inner ring is a 36 tooth. That’s what my cross bike has. Either never touch the outer ring or replace it with a bash guard and you’re good to go for the winter race season. Take that off and put the 52 tooth back on and you got yourself the summer race bike. In fact, I never needed a front ring beyond that 36. The top cross pros only get in the upper 20’s if not touching 30mph during a full out sprint start or a big downhill that’s not going to last long anyway, and for the amateur I am, even if I quit my job and cross race full time, I will never see such a speed. So, a compact or mid-compact with 11-32 gearing will fit the needs of anyone. Just throw on some tubeless or tubular tires on disc hub wheels and you’re good to keep on going.
Road racing a cross bike? Theyre built for acceleration and fast changes of direction allowing the rider to really carve into a corner. So, how is that a downside at all to road racing? It would appear to be a sprinters bike. I still don’t know of a downside to this. Win.
So, let’s go back to the bottom bracket drop issue. My cross bike is within 5mm of my road bike, and within 10mm of other lower road bikes. That’s honestly very little difference in the end. A high BB makes a difference in cross itself for terrain clearance and on the road, a feel difference. But what will that really do when the rider makes the difference to begin with?
This is an nteresting concept. Who will try to race their cross bike in everything possible year round? What bike will they choose? What bike would you choose and why?