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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I've recently been thinking about buying a new bike which would be predominantly used for road biking purposes but should have tire clearance for 33mm CX/gravel tires for light gravel and CX riding. I've been eyeing on the Canyon Endurace AL Disc 7.0 which fits the bill well in terms of the requirements, plus the geometry is spot-on for a long-legged rider like me.

However, it just occurred to me that a cyclocross bike, which I spotted on an online store, is very similar in geometry as the Endurace. The CX bike is the Cube Cross Race Pro. I have attached a geometry tables of both the Cube CX bike (size L as highlighted in red) and the Canyon Endurace (size L as highlighted in blue). The main differences between the two are :
  • the 20mm longer wheelbase of the CX bike (15mm in chainstays, and 5mm in fork rake)
  • slightly steeper 73.5° seat tube angle on the Canyon vs. 73° on the Cube (a negligible difference, I believe)
  • 13mm higher stack of the Canyon compared to the Cube (the Cube has 5mm less bottom bracket drop and 13mm shorter head tube but about 14mm higher axle-to-crown length of the fork; the axle-to-crown length of the Canyon fork is about 386mm and the Cube has a 400mm fork)
  • 5mm lower bottom bracket on the Canyon vs the Cube

Both bikes would have the ideal riding position for me, the difference would essentially be 13mm (or 15mm) of stem spacers below the stem on the Cube vs. no spacers below the stem on the Canyon Endurace (I have compared the geometries on an online calculator to my previous road bike fit). The longer seat tube length of the Cube (580mm vs. 562mm on the Canyon is not an issue for me as I'm long-legged like mentioned previously). My question is that, with such similar head tube and seat tube angles, 5mm difference in BB drop (the 68mm of the Cube is already quite close to a road bike) and longer chainstays, and otherwise a similar riding position (saddle-to-bar reach and drop), would I notice much difference on speed when riding on the roads (I'm a recreational rider, live in a rather flat area)? I do realize the CX bike might have perhaps 1 lbs more weight which is negligible on a flat area. Also if the bikes would have the same components (tires, wheels, drivetrain etc.) is there any reason not to take the Cube over the Endurace (as the tire clearance is greater, about 40mm, on the CX bike, it would be more versatile; but then again the main area of use is on the road with 28mm slicks so that's just a nice-to-have option)? The 15mm difference is chainstay length (430mm vs 415mm) is likely to be noticeable, however I think one would adapt to either bike after riding a while (when I started cycling I was riding a CX bike with 435mm chainstays for a good two years and I was totally content with it, not having ridden a road bike with a shorter wheelbase; after that I rode a road bike for a while and definitely noticed the snappier feel of that bike with 415mm chainstays; then again, my road riding doesn't involve much tight corners or sprinting so I would think it's more of a feeling than much of a benefit at all in this application).

So any ideas regarding the topic? Before suggesting to get a bike for both applications, I can only get one of them. The main question I have is if the CX bike really can't rival the road bike on the road? I do realize it eventually boils down to the rider himself/herself (fitness) with regards to the performance rather than the bike, assuming that the setups are quite similar. And to find out the actual facts, there should be some double-blind controlled testing which obviously is rarely done in the cycling industry. If you consider the topic from a purely performance and fit perspective, what are your thoughts?

PS. the bikes are specced and priced similarly so I'm not asking to compare the spec/price, just the questions mentioned above. And yes, the Endurace aluminium does have clearance for 33mm CX tires, it's mentioned on the Canyon website and many accounts can be found online. And the BB drop of the Canyon is not mentioned in the geometry table but is on their website (73mm).

A rather long first post, but I hope to get some advice regarding the topic :). Thanks in advance!

Edit. I know there are other options for this application, too, such as the Allied Allroad and the likes, but these are two options with good value-to-money and the budget is roughly <2000$ which rules out the more expensive options like the Allied. Essentially I want a bike with as close to road bike geometry (73 head tube and seat tube angles) with clearance for light gravel/CX tires, so a typical gravel bike with slacker front end is not an option, whereas a CX bike with a more aggressive geometry is (although with longer chainstays and slightly higher BB as mentioned above).

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I do a lot of gravel/road riding. I actually have a canyon endurace CF, and use it for road riding. I really like it and the way it handles.
For gravel riding I use a Santa Cruz FS with 45 gravel tires. Most of the gravel roads around here have bad sections in them where a FS is required. There is 2 gravel roads that are pretty good though. I really like it for gravel, it has locking shocks, so if it is smooth, climbing, or on a road section, the suspension can be tightened up. As an example, last month I was riding the SC on a gravel road, turned onto a forest road and was going down the road (2 track), came around a corner and hit a big rock (better than the alternative) and double double pinched flat, 3 mile hike back to the main gravel road for a scarey ATV ride back to the van.
Back to your question, the only comment I have is I have both bikes setup with the same cockpit dimensions, stack and reach. When I lock the santa cruz suspension, it feels just like the canyon on handling. I like that.
 

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Don't know what the drive train is on either of those but CX can run different than a conventional road (or even gravel) bike so make sure you are cool with the difference if there is one.
 

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As far as I'm concerned, there's NO difference between an "endurance" bike and a 'cross bike. Typically, in frames of your size the seat angle tends to slacken and be more in the 72-73 degree range. That 1/2 degree can mean a bigger difference when trying to set your saddle fore/aft.

Considering that, I'd go for the Cube because it has the 73 degree seat angle.

The differences in geometry between the two has nothing to do with how much faster or slower you will be.
 

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Speed wise, on the road the road bike is going to be faster. If you can get tires bigger than 33 on the Cube, it will be faster on the gravel cause you can run bigger tires with less air pressure, IMO. If you have roads with gravel larger than pea gravel, bigger tires are going to feel a lot better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, good to hear different thoughts about it. I'm not concerned about drivetrain between the two as both come with 2x11 and I plan on switching the stock chainrings to oval ones anyway.

I realize the term gravel can mean a lot of things. I should've been more specific, the gravel around here is very fine so 33mm tire is definitely sufficient. Though it would be great to have a dedicated gravel bike and road bike for both applications but I want to have one bike with two wheelsets.

The thinking about the seat tube angle was also a good point since I have long legs compared to my body (inseam to body length ratio 0.498). I have previously ridden a bike with 73 STA on which I had a 25mm setback seatpost and there was still some extra rail length left to move the saddle rearwards, but a 74 degree angle would definitely be on the limit. A 72.5 would probably be optimal as Peter P mentioned.

I will give some thinking into this. The benefit with ordering a Canyon is that they offer a 30-day test period after which the bike can be returned if not suitable. The delivery times are currently for November, though, whereas I can order the Cube right away.
 

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Thanks, good to hear different thoughts about it. I'm not concerned about drivetrain between the two as both come with 2x11 and I plan on switching the stock chainrings to oval ones anyway.

I realize the term gravel can mean a lot of things. I should've been more specific, the gravel around here is very fine so 33mm tire is definitely sufficient. Though it would be great to have a dedicated gravel bike and road bike for both applications but I want to have one bike with two wheelsets.

The thinking about the seat tube angle was also a good point since I have long legs compared to my body (inseam to body length ratio 0.498). I have previously ridden a bike with 73 STA on which I had a 25mm setback seatpost and there was still some extra rail length left to move the saddle rearwards, but a 74 degree angle would definitely be on the limit. A 72.5 would probably be optimal as Peter P mentioned.

I will give some thinking into this. The benefit with ordering a Canyon is that they offer a 30-day test period after which the bike can be returned if not suitable. The delivery times are currently for November, though, whereas I can order the Cube right away.
My biggest concern about the cross bike is the higher BB. Lower BB means lower center of gravity and better road handling, all else equal. Plus there is that "getting the leg over the saddle" issue. I have a hybrid for in-town stuff and I really don't like the higher BB compared to my road bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My biggest concern about the cross bike is the higher BB. Lower BB means lower center of gravity and better road handling, all else equal. Plus there is that "getting the leg over the saddle" issue. I have a hybrid for in-town stuff and I really don't like the higher BB compared to my road bike.
Yeah you nailed it, I think the higher BB along with the 15mm longer chainstays are the most noticeable differences between the two. That said, the BB drop only differs by 5mm (68mm vs. 73mm) so I'm not sure if that's something too concerning. Admittedly, when I had the cross bike that I mentioned on my first post, it had a very old-school geo with a BB drop around 50mm and I was happily riding it on the road 95% of the time. Too bad I tried a road bike after a couple of years, and you can perhaps imagine the difference in ride feel being quite drastic after switching from 50mm to 70mm of BB drop ! When I switched back to the cross bike I felt like I was driving a van/truck vs. a sports car ☺ So yeah, the 68mm BB drop of the Cube CX bike I linked is quite close to the road territory. I would obviously feel the longer chainstays on the climbs and sprinting, too. However, the area I'm living in is very flat and I don't really do sprinting on my rides, therefore it's basically just pushing straight forward so I probably wouldn't notice the 15mm longer rear end 99% of the time riding.

Re: high standover (getting the leg over the saddle), not an issue for me as I explained on my first post (I'm very long-legged so I would actually love to have a road bike with a horizontal top tube or very little slope rather than a compact frame... perhaps there will be the day when I take the plunge and order a custom frameset 😏).
 

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As Kerry noted, cross (race) bikes traditionally have a higher BB, shorter chain stays and a slightly more upright tube angles, for more agressive handling is cross race conditions. This may not be ideal for an every day all-rounder, depending on your needs for things like comfort and compliance, and if you prefer more sensitive handling.

For my personal taste (I'm tall with long arms and torso), I like a long reach and significant saddle to bar drop (low stack), but a lower BB, and more relaxed tube angles than a typical 'race' bike would have for comfort and control. Most of the modern gravel bikes and endurance road bikes suit me (not all have long top tubes though).

I have a 2018 Endurace and absolutely love it. If it could take tires larger than 32mm it could potentially be a quiver killer type of bike, but as it stands, I just keep one set of wheels set up for road (28mm) and it's my dedicated road bike. I have other bikes that are more adaptable to variable conditions, and I just keep multiple wheel sets for them with tire widths ranging from 32mm to 42mm.

Bottom line is, it's going to be hard for anyone else to tell you what you like. I wouldn't concern yourself too much with labels (cross, gravel, road, etc..) though. Just compare the things that matter. Once you have a frame that generally fits you in terms of stack and reach, then compare things like BB height, chain stay length, seat/head tube angles, and fork rake to find a bike that handles the way you want to it handle. It might mean riding a lot of bikes (which is hard these days as there is so little stock availability). For me there was quite a bit of trial and error. I have a spreadsheet with 60+ bikes in it with geometry details. I know enough now about what I like in a bike that I can plug in the geometry numbers and know right away whether a bike will work for me or not.

I left the names out (I typically hide this so brand bias doesn't come into play). The top five bikes are bikes I currently own.. the bottom one i really wanted to like (brand bias), but it was just not working for me, even for a commuter - so I sold it to a friend who is quite happy with it).

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I bet you'd be happy with both bikes for most of your road riding. I'd go with the Cube though as it has better tire clearance so it'll be more versatile in the long run. If you like gravel riding, you'll find places where you'll want 36-40mm tires at times and the Cube can handle it. I used to have a road and a cx bike until I did a century on my cx bike one day and realized I didn't need them both. Now I use my cx bike for all my non mtb riding.
 
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