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I know a bit about road bikes but nothing about cross or mountain. I'd like to pick something up that I can ride off-road and on reasonably non-technical trails. I don't think I want to make the plunge over to mountain. Will a cross bike fit my limited purposes? If so, any particular favorites? Thanks for your help.
 

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I moved to a mountain region, and buying a mountain bike was the best purchase I've made recently (well, if you don't count the house and car... but you get the idea). I believe that 80% of my mtn bike riding could be done adequately on a cross bike, but that is because my skills are not that great yet, and I find myself exploring more and more technical areas. Also, I am still learning the area, and finding more and more trails that fit my ability level. Eventually I will be getting more of its potential out of it.



rcnute said:
I know a bit about road bikes but nothing about cross or mountain. I'd like to pick something up that I can ride off-road and on reasonably non-technical trails. I don't think I want to make the plunge over to mountain. Will a cross bike fit my limited purposes? If so, any particular favorites? Thanks for your help.
 

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100% torqued
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Yeah a cross rig is great for non-technical trail riding. Technical means essentially difficult which is also relative. Something like a Surly Cross check is better in rougher off road terrain than say a more traditional Euro-style bike. The Cross Check takes big tires, Up to 45c. More tradidional rigs top out at 35's. I have seen the Surly used in terrain that would trouble me on a MTB by better riders than me. Any cross bike would serve for fire road riding or on really smooth trails. I like the Surly.
 

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A cross bike is very fun to ride on trails. You will have the most difficulty with large sharp rocks, slick roots and very steep or fast downhills. The main limiting facor is the tendency for the skinny tires to develop pinch flats. The gearing is not a big dea, as you just get off and jog up the hills. I use a 39x27 gear for plonking around on trails with some larger sized tires, my bike is a standard lightweight race bike.
 

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vegan wrench
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it really depends which one you get. a true race machine is designed to be ridden hard for one hour and that's it. therefore it's very stiff and may not even have waterbottle mounts, not something that's designed to be ridden casually for several hours. of course there are suitable bikes out there too, like the crosscheck, which are more versatile.
 

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Number 2 on the course.
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I really like my Soma Double Cross for trail riding. You can fit a 700x45C tire in the rear and even bigger 29" mtb tires in the front thanks to the way that the lugged fork is designed. I also have a Surly Karate Monkey set up with drop bars, canti brakes and 2.3" 29er tires.
 

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Squalor
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PeanutButterBreath said:
I also have a Surly Karate Monkey set up with drop bars, canti brakes and 2.3" 29er tires.
Picture please! Sounds very nice.

For the original poster - I have a CrossCheck and I like it very much. I have 44c tires on it right now and it is set up 34x16 single. Great bike to tool around on. I leave the house, ride it on the road to the trail, do some trail miles, and ride it home.

I also have a Karate Monkey and if I could keep only one...it would be the CrossCheck

Good Luck

LP
 

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Many of us will say YES, a good all-around cross bike will let you do a bit of everything and for me that's part of the appeal...4 hour rides that are half road and half singletrack are my favorite, and I can't imagine a better bike for it. In fact I sold all my MTB's (after 15 years of riding and racing MTB's) two years ago and haven't looked back. To be honest, a CX bike is good at everything and great at nothing, except for pure CX racing. But when it comes to trail riding, that only matters if you (a.) are chasing guys on MTB's, or (b.) you really WANT to ride the most technical, sketchy stuff on the mountain.

That said, there's definitely some fun off road stuff you can't or won't want to do on a CX bike; if you haven't had a mountain bike ever before, you should definitley mess with one for a while and see if it's your thing.
 
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