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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    64

    Convert road bike to cross?

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    I'm wanting to try cross this year. I'm really not wanting to buy another new bike (just bought one) so I'm wondering if anyone's converted road to cross. Most of my events will be on packed dirt/grass, nothing major. Would different breaks and tires cut it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    You're gonna love 'cross .

    However, the geometry of a typical road bike does not allow for easy, or any, conversion to 'cross. A 'cross-specific frame has a higher bottom bracket, and wider spacing in the rear triangle to allow for the wider, knobbier tires we use. And some of the 'cross courses in New England are not as "packed" as you might think - especially ones like Amesbury!

    Do you have an MTB? my suggestion would be to try 'cross on that over a road bike...

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    64
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    You're gonna love 'cross .

    However, the geometry of a typical road bike does not allow for easy, or any, conversion to 'cross. A 'cross-specific frame has a higher bottom bracket, and wider spacing in the rear triangle to allow for the wider, knobbier tires we use. And some of the 'cross courses in New England are not as "packed" as you might think - especially ones like Amesbury!

    Do you have an MTB? my suggestion would be to try 'cross on that over a road bike...

    SheFly

    I don't have a MTB. Oddly enough I'm in Atlanta, Boston was my last name b/f I got married.

    The surly cross check is economical if I can't convert it. I know you can make that fixed gear. Could I then take it on the track?? I need a do it all dammit!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,521
    The comment made earlier was a good one. the road bike will not convert well to cross. I don't know anywhere in the country really that I would want to ride cross without a little bit of a knobby - and you need wider area in the triangle to accomodate those tires. I'm not sure there are any tires for a road bike that will work for you unless you are a damned good bike handler! You could go wider, but it would never been optimum and I think you would be totally frustrated

    The track racing you are talking about is a really specific; the bikes do not have brakes, etc. So, I don't think there is any bike that can do cross that can do track. I think you really need brakes for cross! Unless you want to fred flintstone it!

    I've used a mountain bike for cross, and it worked okay, but to go the other way is just probably not going to work

    spoke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    64
    I was just talking about the Surly frame for the track. The whole thing would have to be rebuilt for track, taking off breaks, etc.

    I guess I can see if my road bike could accomodate a knobby tire. If not, we know our answer. No way would I want to do cross on skinny tires, a death wish I do not have!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,521
    I think you are in Georgia? Anyway, some velodromes have bikes they will rent - you could check into that if you want to try it to see if you like it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
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    Quote Originally Posted by bboston88 View Post
    I don't have a MTB. Oddly enough I'm in Atlanta, Boston was my last name b/f I got married.

    The surly cross check is economical if I can't convert it. I know you can make that fixed gear. Could I then take it on the track?? I need a do it all dammit!
    Sorry - my bad for *assuming* on your location!

    I agree with SpokeWench - not sure on the track for a Surly frame. I know our local track also rents bikes. Of course, I'm of the more bikes is better mindset, personally, but that doesn't work for everyone! Track is the one flavor I haven't tasted yet, and I am resisting like crazy - too many (is there such a thing?) bikes already!

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    I really don't think with disciplines as far apart as cross and track I really don't think you could have one bike that does it all....

    The Cross Check is a cross bike - but it could not be converted for track - the drop outs are not horizontal. There are single speed cross bikes, but I really don't know how well they would convert for use on the track.... and then you'd have to race cross with a single speed too.... it is done, but I'm not sure how much I'd suggest it for a beginner.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    64
    Didn't realize the dropouts were not horizontal. trust me, I am a total "horses for courses" kind of gal and our velodrome does rent bikes. I'm desperately trying to save some $ here. I'm going to rent on the track and let my husband figure out if/when we can't convert the roadie and then go from there.
    He's got a TriCross darn it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    You could still move most of your road bike to a cross bike if you pick up a frame (even something used would be fine), some canty brakes, new tires, and possibly stronger wheels, depending on what you're using. If you already have a drivetrain, that would save a lot of money. This is how I built my cross bike for relatively cheap. Then I just switch out the tires and go for a road ride.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    168
    Can you convert your roadie for cross?

    Probably not. Most roadbikes simply do not have the clearance for cross tires. And you don't have canti bosses for canti brakes...a must for muddy conditions. BUT...I have heard of people successfully converting a roadie for cross...really depends on your frames ability to take larger tires.

    Can you convert a Surly Crosscheck for track?

    Absolutely. You can convert almost any bike into a track, fixie, or singlespeed...whatever your desire. The less vertical the rear dropout, the easier. Otherwise you'll need fashion some sort of chain tensioning pulley.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,414
    I'm not sure a Cross Check would be my first choice if I had ambitions to race... I know there are lots of TE'ers who love their Cross Checks, but aren't they a tad on the heavy/clunky side for racing? Also, I know bar-cons are more durable, but STI's are so much easier to use if you're working really hard... I think there are a few other bikes out there in the $1000 neighborhood which you might be happier with.

    By the way, don't listen to me because I've never raced cross in my life.

    Edit: Drat, most of the bikes I was thinking of are now more like $1500. Everything is getting more expensive. The lowest end Redline Conquest is around $1000, not sure how heavy but it is alu instead of steel.
    Last edited by VeloVT; 07-26-2008 at 09:24 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
    Absolutely. You can convert almost any bike into a track, fixie, or singlespeed...whatever your desire. The less vertical the rear dropout, the easier. Otherwise you'll need fashion some sort of chain tensioning pulley.
    Perhaps, but you would have to be careful to confirm that it would be allowable for racing on the track.... they can be pretty strict about the equipment out there and its very much about safety. Anything that might cause a chain to slip or come off is very dangerous (thus no quick release wheels, etc.) I doubt any type of chain tensioner would be allowable period, though there is a special fixed speed hub ($160) that is supposed to work with non-vertical dropouts that might be OK - but its expensive... that $160 is just for the hub, you still have to get a wheel built around it. By the time you get the wheel built you might be able to find a whole used track bike for around the same price... ($300-$400 is typical)

    Also everything (brakes, controllers, cables, derailleurs, 2nd chainring) would have to be stripped off the bike for the track season, so you'd need to redo all of it when cross comes back around. I suppose if you are careful you could reuse the cables and housings, but its very hard to do that.

    I think it would probably be more economical in the end to look for 2 used bikes or rent at the track. Especially if you factor in the time and hassle of converting the bike twice a year. Some tracks (like ours out here) really want more women to participate, so rental bikes are free to them.
    Last edited by Eden; 07-26-2008 at 09:36 AM.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Quote Originally Posted by liza View Post
    I'm not sure a Cross Check would be my first choice if I had ambitions to race... I know there are lots of TE'ers who love their Cross Checks, but aren't they a tad on the heavy/clunky side for racing? Also, I know bar-cons are more durable, but STI's are so much easier to use if you're working really hard... I think there are a few other bikes out there in the $1000 neighborhood which you might be happier with.
    I do love mine. Circumstances made it a good bike for me to buy (right build, right size, right time. However, I have NO ambitions to race (and don't expect to). Heavy yes, clunky - not sure what you mean, but probably no. You certainly could race it -- depending on the level, you might be able to be competitive on it. But it's heavy. A built up cross check is in the 26 lb range (maybe less with a different saddle - I have a Brooks - but not that light). With a 1x9 and a different saddle - maybe 24ish. With a different fork - 22? (I'm guessing). I know you can lighten it considerably if you put a carbon fork on it - my favorite mechanic (who is very sadly - but great for him - moving to Arizona this week weighed his fork and said it's a significant portion of the weight). And I don't think I'd race on bar ends - you can't shift and be in the position to brake at the same time. Not a problem for daily riding (where I can cover the other brake), but not safe for being on someone's wheel IMO.

    Starting from scratch, I'd probably build up a Double Cross (Soma) - not sure how much it would be, though. The tubing is a couple of steps up from Surly. Don't get me wrong - I *love* my bike, and it does everything I want it to do, does it in style, and keeps me comfy. But racing (and truthfully riding cross) isn't one of those things.

    CA

    Edited to Add:

    From Surly's site:

    56cm = 4.88 lbs (2.2 kg)
    Fork - uncut = 2.19 lbs (.99 kg)

    From Soma's site:
    4.2 lbs (54cm)

    Can't find a weight on the Soma fork.
    Last edited by Blueberry; 07-26-2008 at 10:41 AM.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    Some people use bar ends to race cross because they are less expensive and less likely to sustain damage in a crash (and you will crash in cross....). On the other hand you might sustain more damage if you hit a pointy bar end shifter with your thigh in a crash.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

 

 

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