Touring on a cross bike?

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Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Pravda » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:32 pm

Hey guys,
I'm in the early stages of planning a bit of touring but I'm also wanting to get into a bit of cyclocross. From my early research it seems like the two can be reasonably interchangeable. Just trying to get a bit of feedback from guys who've done a bit of touring on a modified cross bike and how easy it is especially on longer rides.
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by BNA » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:43 pm

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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby cyclotaur » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:43 pm

I've done it on my CAADX 105. No problems, it has fender and rack eyelets and is fine for light touring (no camping). I've also ridden it with road wheels/tyres (25s) on a fast 3 day trip with just a small backpack.

Check my blog if you are interested.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Baalzamon » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:52 pm

Not a problem.
My 1st self supported tour was on my Masi Speciale cx. Fitted it with 38mm tyres and off I went. Offroad wasn't a problem, tho some areas were a bit skittish.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:53 pm

The only trap to watch out for with many cross-bikes (similar to road bikes) is short chainstay length. This results in heel-clip of your panniers once you have the rack and bags fitted. It's a symptom of the race geometry of the basic bike concept and not easy to fix. Worse for larger riders with bigger feet.

Proper touring bikes have longer chainstays and an overall longer wheelbase, producing a more stable ride which is desireable when riding a fully loaded bike. Generally you need a chainstay length of at least 42cm to get decent pannier clearance. My Thorn has 47cm chainstays - no problem with heel clip at all.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Baalzamon » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:55 pm

il padrone wrote:The only trap to watch out for with many cross-bikes (similar to road bikes) is short chainstay length. This results in heel-clip of your panniers once you have the rack and bags fitted. It's a symptom of the race geometry of the basic bike concept and not easy to fix. Worse for larger riders with bigger feet.


Just make sure you have good panniers, ie ortlieb which can be adjusted to accomodate for that. I have size US 12 shoes and didn't experience pannier clipping
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby cyclotaur » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:04 am

il padrone wrote:The only trap to watch out for with many cross-bikes (similar to road bikes) is short chainstay length. This results in heel-clip of your panniers once you have the rack and bags fitted. It's a symptom of the race geometry of the basic bike concept and not easy to fix. Worse for larger riders with bigger feet.

Proper touring bikes have longer chainstays and an overall longer wheelbase, producing a more stable ride which is desireable when riding a fully loaded bike. Generally you need a chainstay length of at least 42cm to get decent pannier clearance. My Thorn has 47cm chainstays - no problem with heel clip at all.

Good points all. CAADX 105 has chainstay length of 43.2mm and wheelbase of 1023mm (size 54). My feet are not big and I had no heel strike. Whilst not a dedicated tourer, it does a fine job as a versatile multi-purpose bike which is great if you don't or can't have both.

As long as you don't get a full-on comp cross bike (likely to be carbon anyway) you'll have relaxed cross geometry and lugs for racks and fenders. :wink:
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:28 am

Adjusting the pannier mounts (or even the rack) further back to accommodate heel-clearance can be done as a short term fix, but it is not ideal. It tends to push more of the payload outside your wheelbase, which can worsen the bike's stability making it more whippy and erratic in manouvering or on rough roads. The extreme of this is to ride with just two panniers and a heavy handlebar bag - I have on three occasions witnessed quite nasty falls by fellow riders on descents in this configuration.

The rear pannier mount on different frames can be a choice of this:

Image



versus this:

Image

Note the pannier position in relation to the rear axle. In the case of my bike (yellow Thorn) the rear panniers are as far forwards on the rack as they can go.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby cyclotaur » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:16 am

Further to the above, here's my CAADX setup on a lightweight tour (GOR Port Fairy-Melbourne/7 nights) - not too bad, had no stability problems at all BUT... not a heavy load on board as you can see. If I was planning to do heavier/longer independent touring I guess I would be looking for a specialist touring bike. But for the stuff I've done so far, this is fine.

We even met a guy riding back from Adelaide on a road bike with 23s on who had lightweight panniers on board.... he was moving pretty fast as well !!

Image
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Touring on a cross bike?

Postby RonK » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:59 am

Ortlieb pannier mounts have optional fixings so they can be angled to avoid heel strike. This is preferable to mounting them way back, particularly with no front panniers to counterbalance. Spoke breakages are likely if you overload.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:37 am

RonK wrote:Ortlieb pannier mounts have optional fixings so they can be angled to avoid heel strike.

To my knowledge this is only available on Ortlieb's commuter bags - the Office Bag and Downtown. And these can only be used in the angled position. My Ortlieb QL1 mounts have no facility to shift the angle, nor do QL2 either I believe.

Downtown
Image


RonK wrote:Spoke breakages are likely if you overload.

If you're referring to my heavily loaded tourer... no never broken a spoke on it so far (carrying about 25-30kgs in that photo). In fact, even on the previous bike (with dished rear wheel) in 17 years of varied touring and MTB, I never broke any spokes. Even when carrying about 40-45kgs like this. Wore out rims and replaced them every 5 years or so, but never broke a single spoke.

Image
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Tim » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:16 pm

il padrone wrote: RonK wrote:Ortlieb pannier mounts have optional fixings so they can be angled to avoid heel strike.


To my knowledge this is only available on Ortlieb's commuter bags - the Office Bag and Downtown. And these can only be used in the angled position. My Ortlieb QL1 mounts have no facility to shift the angle, nor do QL2 either I believe.


Sorry about being a bit pedantic but Ortleib's QL2 pannier mounts can be tilted, angling the bag back to avoid heel strike. I just had a look at my Back Roller Plus' and checked the instructions.

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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:22 pm

Ah, you mean like this?

Image


OK
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Tim » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:25 pm

Agree, it is only a very slight adjustment. At best it gives about 20, maybe 30mm extra clearance.
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Touring on a cross bike?

Postby RonK » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:56 pm

il padrone wrote:
RonK wrote:Ortlieb pannier mounts have optional fixings so they can be angled to avoid heel strike.

To my knowledge this is only available on Ortlieb's commuter bags - the Office Bag and Downtown. And these can only be used in the angled position. My Ortlieb QL1 mounts have no facility to shift the angle, nor do QL2 either I believe.

RonK wrote:Spoke breakages are likely if you overload.

If you're referring to my heavily loaded tourer... no never broken a spoke on it so far (carrying about 25-30kgs in that photo). In fact, even on the previous bike (with dished rear wheel) in 17 years of varied touring and MTB, I never broke any spokes. Even when carrying about 40-45kgs like this. Wore out rims and replaced them every 5 years or so, but never broke a single spoke.

[

I believe the subject is touring on a CX bike. So no, sorry, I'm not talking about you.

QL2 mounts most assuredly are adjustable, clearly demonstrated in the instructions.
Last edited by RonK on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Baalzamon » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:51 pm

And this was my Masi on tour

Image

Not one issue with stability.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:55 pm

Baalzamon wrote:And this was my Masi on tour....

.....Not one issue with stability.

Yes, for sure you'll tour happily like that. It is all a question of degree however - the closer the weight is kept towards the wheelbase the better and more stable it'll be; and the further outside the wheelbase you place heavy gear the worse it will be for your stability and control. The rider's relative ballast is another factor here as well.


Try loading all your gear up in rearwards-placed rear panniers and feel how whippy the bike gets. Depending on the load and just how far back you place it, things can get almost unrideable on dirt roads. I advocate putting my heavy stuff (mostly food and the big tool kit) in the front panniers because they are closer in to the wheelbase, and being centrally placed on the steering axis, do not adversely affect the steering. It all leads to far better control of the bike.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby KenGS » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:05 pm

This thread has turned into pannier pron :lol:
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:11 pm

And that is wrong because........ :?:

:mrgreen: :twisted:
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Aushiker » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:31 pm

Baalzamon wrote:And this was my Masi on tour

... Not one issue with stability.


and you where a snappy chappy on the dirt roads :)

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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby J Quinton » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:11 pm

So what brands/models are currently out there that are recommended?

If I buy another bike it will probably be a cyclocross. One I can race and tour on.

Il Padrone: what road is that photo taken on?

Comment: you guys take a lot of stuff.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:35 pm

J Quinton wrote:Il Padrone: what road is that photo taken on?

Comment: you guys take a lot of stuff.

That photo of my bike with the Extrawheel was taken on the Oodnadatta Track, somewhere just past Coward Springs to the west of Lake Eyre. The lots of 'stuff' was because we needed to carry all our normal camping gear and clothes (mixed seasons and we'd been on the road for 8 weeks) and we were carrying almost all our food for a 9 day stretch from Leigh Creek to Oodnadatta. I reckon when we rode out of Maree, with food and about 20L of water each we would have been pushing 55kg of payload. Good thing it was all so flat :wink:
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Pravda » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:26 pm

Whoa! This generated a lot of discussion. Thanks for the feedback, at this stage I'm looking at a Kona Jake the Snake which in my size has a 425mm chainstay so probably within the region that I'll need to shift panniers slightly. I'm 6'3, 83kg and wear a size 46. That said I'm not looking at any really epic tours just yet, trying to ease a couple of mates into some serious riding so it'll probably be just 3-4 day treks at this stage.

What other options do I have around the Jake the Snake ($1700-$1900) mark as far as bikes go, given I'll probably need to budget around $500 for other equipment.
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Pravda » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:38 pm

The other thing on the Jake, standard it runs a 46-36 up front and an 11-28 rear I was thinking it might be worth investing in a 34t rear cluster, not sure if a triple crank is worth it though. Thoughts?
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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby Aushiker » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:04 pm

Pravda wrote:What other options do I have around the Jake the Snake ($1700-$1900) mark as far as bikes go, given I'll probably need to budget around $500 for other equipment.


Not sure on the current pricing but the Surly Cross Check might be worth a gander. You maybe get an idea of pricing via Dirt Works. Chain stay length is 420 or 425 depending on frame size.

Image

Also the Masi that Baalzamon is another option if the pricing is right.

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Re: Touring on a cross bike?

Postby cyclotaur » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:15 pm

Pravda wrote:Whoa! This generated a lot of discussion. Thanks for the feedback, at this stage I'm looking at a Kona Jake the Snake which in my size has a 425mm chainstay so probably within the region that I'll need to shift panniers slightly. I'm 6'3, 83kg and wear a size 46. That said I'm not looking at any really epic tours just yet, trying to ease a couple of mates into some serious riding so it'll probably be just 3-4 day treks at this stage.

What other options do I have around the Jake the Snake ($1700-$1900) mark as far as bikes go, given I'll probably need to budget around $500 for other equipment.

The CAADX 105 is in that price range and comes with 46/36 into 12/28. Now I'm much younger than you (haha... 57 :) ) and a bit smaller, but it was fine for the lightweight touring I've done so far. Any more gear on board though and I'd be looking for some lower gearing.

There are some CX bikes around that come with a triple front ring though, for example the Specialiized Tricross, which I was looking at originally. They were out of stock locally when I was ready to buy unfortunately. The Tricross Elite Disc looks a great all-round package for around $2000, and they have a massive 440mm chainstay length.
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