So I think I want to get into CX...

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So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby sir_camel » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:45 am

On the weekend I went along to the Rapha Supercross event in Sydney Park as a spectator. I was always curious about CX but after seeing it live I really want to have a go. I also had a crappy commute home in the rain on Friday on my roadie with sketchy brakes in slippery conditions.

It got me thinking that maybe it would be a good idea (of course it is...n+1) to find a cross bike somewhere to use as a commuter in average weather and also to have a bit of a go at cross racing. The thing that I really liked about the racing was that it all seemed to be done for fun and there wasn’t much attitude you get with most other racing.

So any tips of good things to look for in a first CX bike and what other gear do you need?

I currently have SPD-SL pedals on my road shoes but guessing if I want to start racing it would be worth getting some MTB shoes and maybe some SPD pedals too.

I know it’s probably an old question as well but pros and cons of canti’s vs discs. I’m probably leaning towards discs as an attraction would be the improved braking for wet weather commuting but I do really like the simplicity of canti’s as well.

Also I know it seems to be growing in Victoria a bit at the moment. Are there any regular races in Sydney?

Any advice would be great.
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by BNA » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:40 am

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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby simonn » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:40 am

sir_camel wrote:I also had a crappy commute home in the rain on Friday on my roadie with sketchy brakes in slippery conditions.


This was how I ended up owning a disc brake CX.

It got me thinking that maybe it would be a good idea (of course it is...n+1) to find a cross bike somewhere to use as a commuter in average weather and also to have a bit of a go at cross racing.


This is what happened to me. Note that if you do a muddy race, you will probably have to disassemble, clean and rebuild your bike which can be annoying if you use it as your commuter.

The thing that I really liked about the racing was that it all seemed to be done for fun and there wasn’t much attitude you get with most other racing.


This is kind of true. I have not really come across the attitude thing much anyway.

So any tips of good things to look for in a first CX bike and what other gear do you need?


Not much different to looking for any bike, other than I'd lean more towards the robust part of the cheap, robust, light triangle. Not much point in a high end groupset either. Unless you have a rich benefactor paying for all your parts :).

I currently have SPD-SL pedals on my road shoes but guessing if I want to start racing it would be worth getting some MTB shoes and maybe some SPD pedals too.


Yes, go SPD. I use Shimano M424s so it doesn't matter if I do not clip in immediately. My wife took a video of me in my first race doing a pretty good dismount, run over barriers, remount... alas I was so knackers I could not clip in properly for a bit with M520s.

I know it’s probably an old question as well but pros and cons of canti’s vs discs. I’m probably leaning towards discs as an attraction would be the improved braking for wet weather commuting but I do really like the simplicity of canti’s as well.


Discs are heavier, effect the chainline, cost more, have to replace pads more, but they don't wear the rim out and actually stop you properly in the wet. I am certainly faster commuting on any of my roadies than my Boardman CX.

Also I know it seems to be growing in Victoria a bit at the moment. Are there any regular races in Sydney?


Not as far as I know, but look for Cyclocross Australia group on facebook, if you are on it. Most races seem to be put up there. I've only done three races though. They never seem to happen at convenient times for me.
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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby grasshopper » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:47 pm

sir_camel wrote:Also I know it seems to be growing in Victoria a bit at the moment. Are there any regular races in Sydney?

Yes, cross is awesome fun, although nationals is a bit more serious than some other events.

As well as the Cyclocross Australia Fb site, have a look at the Sydney Cyclocross Collective on Fb for more local stuff. Manly Warringah MTB has a big hand in cx up there so check out their website. Newcastle is also racing now. There's a few links at the bottom of this page.

If you're buying mtb shoes, try to get them with toe studs or at least a tread that will work in sand and mud and gravel and .... bubbles. :D I only use 520s; the XT are just a smidge too tight for cross for me.

Bikes - big question. But remember you will be lifting and shouldering it a bit, so be aware of the weight. And the rubber - some 'cross' bikes on the market are more commuter than race bike now, but the maximum width for racing is 33mm so best to get the right feet on it from the start.
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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:12 pm

CX races are the most painful fun you can have on a bike... just 1 hour of sprinting with little rests in between :D . If I was younger I would be racing twice a weekend every weekend between October and January but my body really can't handle the intensity of it!.
I just bought a frame 3 years ago... come early october I just swap over my components from my race road bike to my cx race bike. I only do about 10 races from November to January and maybe 1 hour per week on the cx bike training ... although that 20 hours is usually enough to destroy a drive chain and a set of rims :lol: .
The only extra to the frame was canti's and tyres.
I run one generation old XT pedals... better than the new ones for mud clearance.
I run the same wheels on my cx bike as roadie ( normally Kysriums ).
But next year I would like a disc bike... if hydraulic comes out in Ultegra level. It will save me buying new rims ever year!.

Do it... you won't regret it!.
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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby silentbutdeadly » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:37 am

I've a cross bike but I'm yet to race it - I just ride it and commute it. Main thing to remember is that (as others have said) CX is a great way to destroy parts - really expensive parts. Even just riding off road like I do has quickly killed stuff.

Disc wheels will last longer but unless you use the new generation of cable hydro brakes like TRP's then you'll be stuck with expensive brifters that are hyper vulnerable in an off and damnably expensive to replace. If I kill the Rival shifters on mine then I'm going with Retroshifters and one of their derailleur's too (or perhaps a Shimano Zee clutched short cage derailleur). Cheaper/stronger.

Brakes wise I'm staying with canti's because the frame is made for discs though I could go with a new disc fork....[hmmm!]. Though I'm now on the look out for some pads that cope with dust build-up on the rims!!!

Alternatively...I just built a bike out of a 10 year old Giant Cypress frame (a 700c hybrid) that with a little tweaking would make an excellent drop bar CX thrasher and can quickly be modded (via a change of tyres) to a gravel grinder or (with another set of tyres) a commuter. It's currently a 1x10 flat bar family hauler/grinder but with flared drops (in parts bin) and lighter wheels (off the CX bike) would be an adequate CX clunker racer. Not a tricky path to take if you want to test the waters
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby Blakeylonger » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:55 am

silentbutdeadly wrote:If I kill the Rival shifters on mine then I'm going with Retroshifters and one of their derailleur's too (or perhaps a Shimano Zee clutched short cage derailleur). Cheaper/stronger.


used shakes via ebay/forums are cheaper than retroshift. plus you can shift from the drops.

shimano clutched mechs only work with dynasys mtb 10sp shifters. Unless you mod the mech by drilling the lever arm midway. watch the total chain capacity too, short cage are generally only for 1x setups. I'm getting away with a 36/46 & 11-28 with an X9 type 2, but only just.

To the OP: Buy a bike, whatever suits your commute (alloy frame, carbon fork, discs, add slicks & guards, trek crockett for example) and strip the guards and fit knobbies and go shred some trails over summer. then get a race licence and just show up to race & volunteer with manly-warringah next season. don't overthink it.
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Re: So I think I want to get into CX...

Postby sir_camel » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:34 pm

Thanks all. I think I'll wait until I find a great deal on a used bike. A few floating around at the moment too.
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