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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624

    Thinking of starting to ride cross in the fall...

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    Hey all! Long time no see!

    I'm still road riding and currently training to ride a century! Unfortunately, the Missouri weather has not been very helpful with my training goals but I don't plan to ride until sometime in August or September. I'm studying for PhD comprehensive exams in September and the training is allowing me to keep some of my sanity.

    However, I've been lucky enough this year to find a group of female cyclists to do regular rides with. Many of them do some serious cross riding. They are extremely cool and encouraging and seem to think I should give it a shot - especially since I've wanted to try for several years now. But I am not even sure where to start! I feel like I will look like an idiot. These ladies have been so nice but I feel out of the loop. On road bikes, I am not a fish out of water but with a cross-bike... oye vay.

    One of my profs is moving and needs to get rid of her MTB. So, as of now, it looks like I will be inheriting a very nice MTB. Her husband used to race MTB's professionally and says it will be workable for me. She is the same height as me and built very similarly so this bike will work for me for now, at least. The ladies I ride with say the MTB is a good place to start on our local cyclocross circuit. The bike currently is without pedals and tires. It needs some maintenance work, too, but I am always up to that challenge. I am going to keep the 26'' tires that are on it for now. I might make mods and put 700s on in the future if that's possible. The bike shop here told me that I have few options for good cross tires. Any suggestions? The ones they have seem to be feasible and in my price range (about $30.00-$40.00).

    As for drops I don't have plans to put them on (for now). I know it's complicated and expensive and I figure if I like it enough, I will go out and buy a cross bike eventually. Probably when I graduate and have the money.

    But pedals? Oh lordy! I've read through several threads and I still don't know what I'm doing. So. Many. Choices. I have Shimano 105's on my road bike currently but they are BAD NEWS for mud and muck. I have seen some people prefer eggbeaters but I don't think these are the best choice for me either. I have seen you guys rec BMX-type pedals. What would be good for starting out? I used to be the queen of falling over in my Shimanos (I still kinda hate them and may switch them out if I find something I like better) but I practically live on that bike now and clips don't worry me.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Taylor, MI
    Posts
    220
    No advise on cross for you, but I do admire your desire to give it a try. Just wanted to give a 'Hey' from a MIZZOU grad (BA/MA) four decades ago (omg has it been that long??!!). Good luck.

    P2
    Penny Pinson
    2018 Trek Silque SLR6 - Selle SMP Glider
    2018 Specialized Dolce EVO Comp - Selle SMP Glider
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2 WSD -Selle SMP Glider
    2013 Giant TCX W - Oura 143

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    I have SPDs (M545s) on my CX bike, but it mostly gets used as a backup road bike for right now. For actual off-road riding, I think I'd put on a pair of BMX pedals.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624
    Thanks for the feedback!

    pinsonp2, thanks! Cool to see more Mizzou people. Yeah. I'm here still for a couple more years. Well, fingers crossed I get a Fulbright and can bail for a bit but yep. Cycling is just about the only thing that keeps me sane out here And I've always wanted to try. We'll see how it goes.

    Muirenn, so with the 5/10's the goal is for the stiff sole of the shoe to tack onto those little pins so you have stability to pedal. So you don't have anything to clip in and out of? I'm a roadie so I am just used to the standard in and out of road shoes. Oh, and SPD's I have seen a lot of which are still clipping in and out but with different cleats.

    I am looking into something similar to those SPD's right now, Owlie. They work fine on your cross bike, then? I don't plan on doing anything too intense as far as MTB'ing goes. I am not sure I am cut out for it after hearing stories from my prof. It seems a bit daunting.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    If your "serious cross riding" is going to include any racing, you need clipless pedals. I have been racing in MISERABLE conditions for years on my Shimano SPDs, and don't have [many] issues with mud clogging the pedals.

    If, however, you are going to be doing this just for fun, the BMX style pedals may work ok for you.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post


    Or as a beginner? I do have a spare set of SPD's, but figured I'd wait until I gained some proficiency until I converted.

    Shefly, is it a good idea to use a more shock-absorbent saddle on a cross bike than on a roadie? I use a Specialized Toupe on my road bike. I have a Fizik Vesta on my mountain bike. (Haven't ridden the MB much, haven’t had the chance, yet. Seems like a good saddle). My cross is more upright than my roadie, so maybe the channel versus the cutout would work. Any idea? (Cross bike is actually still on layaway, got a killer deal on a new 2012 CAADX. $950.00 for the Tiagra model, and they are upgrading derailleur’s and brifters to 105 for 100.00). My thought was originally a 'do everything' steel bike, but the way this bike handles, power transfer, etc, is making me realize I'm turning into an aggressive rider; the way the bike feels is everything. I spend a lot of time out of the saddle on my roadie going over obstacles most people go around...).


    I have my SPDs set on the lowest setting on my cross bike, and can get in and out of them at will. Other people ride my bike and don't like them that light, but I love them. I have never had an issue trying to release from my pedals before the barriers, or going uphill... If you have clipless pedals on other bikes, this will be an easy transition for you!

    As for saddles, I tend to run the SAME saddle on as many of my bikes as possible, for, um, [maybe not so] obvious reasons . I run the Fizik Antares on most of my bikes, though I do have a Specialized saddle on my road bike. Again, it depends what you are going to be doing on the bike - long touring vs. racing. If you are racing, I would say that you wouldn't need anything more or less plush than what you are used to.

    You will LOVE the CAADX! I run the SuperX for racing and the CAADx converted to a SSCX. Both are AWESOME! I'm only considering upgrading the SSCX this year to move to discs (once you have them, you can't run cantis or Vs ever again).

    Sounds like you have some fun in store! Enjoy.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Had to look up SuperX. Wow!!! Now THAT'S a bike!!! Will you stay with the SuperX if you upgrade?

    The SSCX sounds cool. Why a SS, though? What is the benefit?
    Yeah - the SuperX is a pretty sweet race rig. No upgrading of that for me this year.

    We have a SSCX category here in the East for racing. It's different racing on one gear vs. geared bikes - different techniques to managing the course. I've done the whole series for a couple of years now and had a blast. I was also our regional SSCX champion last year. No thinking about gear shifting, but a lot more thinking about momentum and technique. I train on it as well. Definitely fun, and a whole sub-culture of CX racing! The big benefit is less parts to get mucked up in really muddy races, and no worrying about breaking a derailleur in those same conditions!

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    564
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.” - Mark Twain <- This sums up my cyclocross experience.

    I have SPDs on all my cross bikes, and the ONLY issue I've had with them is after running through sand. So the solution is obvious: try to figure out how to ride through the *&%# sandpit. Or get eggbeaters, like the rest of my team does.

    And I've all but given up on my geared bike and am resigning myself to my *two* SS crossbikes. Whut? One's the pit bike!

    -- gnat!
    Windsor: 2010 S-Works Ruby
    Pantysgawn: 2011 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er
    Whiz!: 2013 S-Works Crux (Singlespeed)
    Boucheron: 2009 S-Works Tricross
    Haloumi: 2013 Tern P7i
    Kraft: 2009 Singlecross
    Gouda: 2005 Electra Betty
    Roquefort: 1974 Stella SX-73

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by gnat23 View Post
    And I've all but given up on my geared bike and am resigning myself to my *two* SS crossbikes. Whut? One's the pit bike!

    -- gnat!
    A pit bike for SSCX is a SMART idea! The only reason I am not the champ this year is that my chainring bolts fell out in the last lap of my race, forcing me to run. A pit bike would have been awesome, since the drive train exploded just before the entrance to the pit.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    I'm only considering upgrading the SSCX this year to move to discs (once you have them, you can't run cantis or Vs ever again).
    This is no joke. I have discs on my mtn bike and fat bike. DS is about to inherit my current CX bike (Redline Conquest) and we'll likely pull the trigger on a '14 Felt F65X for me as soon as they are available (2013s are already gone, otherwise we'd have already ordered one). My next road bike will also have disc brakes. After busting my right wrist I especially find that non-disc brakes make my right wrist really sore and weak fast, since it takes so much more effort to squeeze them. It's not so bad on my road bike, which has pretty decent SRAM brakes. But the Kore canti brakes on my Redline are awful. We had hoped that new pads would help, but Dura Ace pads are no better than the low-rent pads that came on the bike.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624
    Wow. Lots of info in here! I am looking up these bikes you ladies are talking about and simply drooling. My roommate has no clue why a person needs more than one bike. Hahahaha. I told her it's like horses were - you can't just have one and a stable full is always the best.

    I am weighing the options of pedals. Could you suggest any SPD pedals that also have a platform side so that if I want to have a rider come with me on the cross bike or commute in regular shoes to campus on a bike, it could work? My roommate has expressed interest on trail riding with me if I get this bike going and I would love to have company but she is nervous after a bike accident (needs a confidence builder) and while we share a shoe size and are the same size, she is not ready for pain of clipping in and out. As it stands, the shimanos are perfect in that they have a cleat only on one side. Best of both worlds.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    49
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post


    Or as a beginner? I do have a spare set of SPD's, but figured I'd wait until I gained some proficiency until I converted.

    Shefly, is it a good idea to use a more shock-absorbent saddle on a cross bike than on a roadie? I use a Specialized Toupe on my road bike. I have a Fizik Vesta on my mountain bike. (Haven't ridden the MB much, havenít had the chance, yet. Seems like a good saddle). My cross is more upright than my roadie, so maybe the channel versus the cutout would work. Any idea? (Cross bike is actually still on layaway, got a killer deal on a new 2012 CAADX. $950.00 for the Tiagra model, and they are upgrading derailleurís and brifters to 105 for 100.00). My thought was originally a 'do everything' steel bike, but the way this bike handles, power transfer, etc, is making me realize I'm turning into an aggressive rider; the way the bike feels is everything. I spend a lot of time out of the saddle on my roadie going over obstacles most people go around...).
    I have a CAADX 105. This will be my third year racing on it and I love it. I also use SPD's, I set them really loose and have no problems getting in or out (well, except for the that one time, but that's cross...) Don't worry too much to get started, just go out and do it, you'll figure out if you need/want a different saddle or other components as you go. Just get out there and have fun!
    2011 Cannondale CAADX 105
    2012 Jamis Dragon 29er
    2012 Jamis Xenith Endura Comp

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    564
    Quote Originally Posted by colorisnt View Post
    I am weighing the options of pedals. Could you suggest any SPD pedals that also have a platform side so that if I want to have a rider come with me on the cross bike or commute in regular shoes to campus on a bike, it could work? My roommate has expressed interest on trail riding with me if I get this bike going and I would love to have company but she is nervous after a bike accident (needs a confidence builder) and while we share a shoe size and are the same size, she is not ready for pain of clipping in and out. As it stands, the shimanos are perfect in that they have a cleat only on one side. Best of both worlds.
    I would say for a given ride, either clip in or don't, hard-stop. I've had the dual-sided pedals, and whether I was racing or casual riding, I couldn't ever seem to really NAIL which side I needed at a given time, and was super frustrating. Especially during racing, you had better be able to get your feet on/in that pedal in 0.0023576 seconds with no fiddling or guessing.

    My solution? (just like too many bikes...) Have two sets of pedals, one clip-in, one platform. They're super easy to swap out.

    -- gnat!
    Windsor: 2010 S-Works Ruby
    Pantysgawn: 2011 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er
    Whiz!: 2013 S-Works Crux (Singlespeed)
    Boucheron: 2009 S-Works Tricross
    Haloumi: 2013 Tern P7i
    Kraft: 2009 Singlecross
    Gouda: 2005 Electra Betty
    Roquefort: 1974 Stella SX-73

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    624
    Yeah, I was thinking about that. I already have a standard set of platform pedals to swap out with so that's no big deal. I have to get pedals no matter what at this rate. I guess I am such an old pro on the road bike with the pedals that it doesn't bother me at all but I'm not at all in a time crunch when I am getting on the bike. I don't have to swing my leg over and hop on while moving, basically. I'm not Breaking Away or anything. However, with this, I'd probably want them to be on both sides. I need a new pedal wrench anyway so it makes sense.
    ***proud Hoosier, statistics nerd, and mom to a headstrong toddler***
    ****one car family and loving it!****

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Chessie, Scottish Terrier
    Bonzai, Catahoula Leopard Dog

 

 

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