Cyclocross

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
So got my latest issue of Velonews the other week with Lars Boom on the cover completely coated head-to-toe in mud, and I thought to meself, "hey, that looks like fun..."

Anyone done cyclocross in Japan? Glancing at the Cycle Sports listings there seems to be a small series out in Saitama, but otherwise not much in the Tokyo area. I'm thinking of building up a bike for next season and trying my hand at a couple of races, or at least exploring some of the non-paved roads in the immediate neighborhood and down south.
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
39
Tokyo
#2
Hey, Phil, if you decide to build up a bike - I can tell you where you can find a used (and, therefore, cheap) 58 cm cyclocross frame of Trek XO1 2008 ;)
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
1,812
219
93
多摩区
#4
I hear you, Phil. I have always been attracted by scenes such as the one below and pondered the idea of investing in a cyclocross frame.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyclingnews.com%2Fphotos%2F2007%2Fnov07%2Fworldcup3_07%2Fworldcup3_071%2Fboom_strong_on_the_obstacles.jpg&hash=236a35deb4b8d37add2090298242aa1d


Let us know how your build is progressing.
 

evan06

Warming-Up
Jul 23, 2007
103
0
0
Yokosuka
#5
Phil,

I am there with you on catching the Cross bug. I have been a big fan of Sven Nys, some of his best pictures are where he is completely caked in mud. I have pondered purchasing a cross bike, but not sure the wife will buy off on it after she found out how much my Ridley cost. Ridley ahs some beautiful cross frames and every time a look at them I drool.

I was curious though, do they use typical road shoes or do they use mountain bike shoes? I can imagine the cleats take somewhat of a beating.

James
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#6
I was curious though, do they use typical road shoes or do they use mountain bike shoes? I can imagine the cleats take somewhat of a beating.
I think most racers use MTB shoes and pedals. SPDs and Eggbeaters seem the two top choices; many like the latter for better engagement in the mud. Some people look for shoes with softer soles that don't slip around on the pedal too much when you (inevitably) miss the clip-in.

That's what I've gleaned so far, anyway...still learning about all the equipment differences (42T single chainrings? Low-profile vs. wide-profile cantilevers?)
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#7
Frameset

Well, after a false start or two I have a frameset. Originally ordered a Ridley Crosswind but the head tube was 2 cms shorter than advertised, so that had to go back.

Spent a lot of time searching for another frame; it was hard getting the geometry I wanted. Merckx, Van Dessel, Guerciotti, and various steel options were all candidates, but eventually found the Planet X bike, which had the perfect geometry and also happened to be the cheapest by a long shot :)

UncleJohnFrameset.jpg


Frame looks decent for the price; welds are big and ugly, but the red finish looks good (a few spots that need touching up). Missing a rear mech hanger, though, so have to chase Planet X down for that.

Going to take my time building this up, using only parts from the spares bin and second-hand stuff. 'Cross bikes are often frankenbike collections of cast-off parts, and I kind of want to keep with that tradition.
 

Davad

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2008
116
0
0
Koto-ku, Tokyo
#8
Dear Sages,

I also think cyclocross seems wicked. I have an extremely basic question which will betray my total ignorance regarding the genre, but here goes: Why cantilevers? I remember the Brodie Romax went from rim brakes to disc brakes and now it`s only available with cantilevers. And why, for goodness sake, cantilevers? I have bad dreams of my 1986 Kuwahara 18 speed when I think of cantilvers... Why not V-brakes? Why not mud-proof discs?

d
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#9
Dear Sages,

I also think cyclocross seems wicked. I have an extremely basic question which will betray my total ignorance regarding the genre, but here goes: Why cantilevers? I remember the Brodie Romax went from rim brakes to disc brakes and now it`s only available with cantilevers. And why, for goodness sake, cantilevers? I have bad dreams of my 1986 Kuwahara 18 speed when I think of cantilvers... Why not V-brakes? Why not mud-proof discs?

d
The UCI, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that disc brakes are not allowed on cyclocross bikes. Not an issue unless you want to compete in a UCI sanctioned race...I believe Salsa still makes a Cyclocross bike with discs.
Why not v-brakes...? The cable pull on a road bike brake/gear lever is wrong for a v brake, so they would feel very spongey. It's possible to make it work, but it's fiddly; you need widgets that increase the amount of cable pulled at the brake location.

Personally, I prefer riding my MTB up hills rather than running up them with a CX bike on my shoulder....
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#11
Tradition...

Yeah, I think it's just tradition. UCI also banned flat handlebars a few seasons ago (they had started to appear at top level 'cross races). My theory is that they want to keep the bikes looking as much like road bikes as possible, to differentiate the sport from the various MTB disciplines. Cyclocross was originally just a way for roadies to kill time in the winter, and they used the same bikes they did on the road in the summer.

Tradition is the same reason that they mandate the two-triangle frames for, say, TT bikes, even though there's no reason for that shape with today's modern materials. If there wasn't SOME regulation, then flat TT's would all be ridden in fully-faired recumbents.

UCI gets a lot of stick for their often arcane rules, but to be honest, I like the rules more often than not. Surely, it's pretty arbitrary which era they decide to "freeze" the technology, but still...the older I get, the more I like tradition for tradition's sake. :bike:
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#12
Avid makes road-specific cable-actuated disc brakes.... What`s the logic with the ruling against using them? Is it one of those traditionalism issues? Why not take it all the way? :

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Freslib%2F200802%2Fr227001_901504.jpg&hash=0b98843c0b7fc5928ee2fafa53d936c0
Looks like ony riders 3 and 4 have UCI compliant beards! The extra aero drag must be slowing them right down :D
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#13
Build complete...

So, finished the Uncle John build on the weekend and took it out today for its maiden ride on the farming roads behind the house.

UncleJohn1.JPG
UncleJohnFirstRide1.JPG
BaptismByMud.JPG


The rain on Sunday had left lots of puddles on the trails; had a hoot zooming through them and getting the bike all muddy. Definitely enjoyed the offroad change of pace, although I'll have to work on the 'cross mounts and dismounts if I'm going to race next autumn.

Bike rides nicely, it's a good fit; initially felt very tall because of the super-high BB (50cm drop) and fat tires, but soon got used to it.

Build notes:
- Planet X installed the headset and the LBS handled the BB catridge (BB had to be faced), but otherwise it was a solo effort.
- Star-fangled nuts go in sort-of straight with a threaded rod, rubber mallet, and lots of swearing :warau:.
- Cantilver brakes are as tricky to set up as they say, unless you have three hands.
- Spacing on the rear dropouts was 135mm, but a couple of washers on the hub and the road wheelset was good to go.
- Recycled most of the big-ticket parts from the Pedal Force (crank, shifters, RD, wheels); just had to buy the 'cross specific stuff (cantis, tires) and cables, etc, so didn't cost too much at all.
- Next item on my shopping list is a proper work stand--won't try to build another bike without one.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#14
Looks good. I suppose it will be your rainy season bike as well.
Besides the BB what's the hardest part in building?
Would have to say bar tape for me. I'm exponentially getting better at putting it on but always there is some error or bit that is not right...
Getting the cables right may be difficult as well as adjusting the gears...

:confused:
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#15
Looks good. I suppose it will be your rainy season bike as well.
Cheers. Yeah, I'm going to mount fenders and it'll be a grocery getter/utility bike etc. Unfortunately because of the different dropout spacing I can't easily switch to road tires...might have to find another cheap wheelset.

I kind of enjoy wrapping the bars and running the cables. Cantis were fiddly but surprisingly work fine, no chatter or squealing. FD adjustment remains a mystery to me...I sort of randomly release the cable > reattach it > twiddle the barrel adjuster a bit > repeat until it magically works :). Again, having a work stand would make the job much easier.
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#16
FD adjustment remains a mystery to me...I sort of randomly release the cable > reattach it > twiddle the barrel adjuster a bit > repeat until it magically works :). Again, having a work stand would make the job much easier.
From experience > release the cable on the FD > (important) set the indexing to zero on the STI lever (important) > screw down tube barrel / in-cable adjusters back to zero > set the inner limit screw (with chain on inner chainring & sprocket) > reconnect cable to FD (cable should be taught) > Set outer limit screw (with chain on outer chainring & sprocket).

The usual problem is forgetting to zero the indexing on the STI lever.

Philip
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#18
You know, I never got around to saying congratulations on building your bike up and taking it out on the country roads. Great-looking bike and good photos! I like the one showing the white bars looking out onto the dirt playground like a big panting dog waiting impatiently for his master to say "Git it boy!" so he can bolt after the slimy, pine-needle-flecked tennis ball.

Those pics got me jonesing for some off-road action, myself. I did kind of a weird thing a few weeks ago and removed the straight bars from my kid-seat-having steel KHS Montana mountain bike and replaced them with classic road bars. I suppose I did it so I could feel like I was getting in some training while taking one of my boys to the store to buy bread and milk. It's pretty laughable because the shifters/brakes just kind of slide around on the bars, so I can only be in the drops when I know I won't be braking anytime soon.

It's got big ol' knobby tires that are kind of wobbly and a rusty wreck of a triple crankset. But one of these days I'm going to take the child seat off, swap out the crankset and wheels, oh and shifters, and take that sucker off-road. And when I do, I'll give you a holler, Phil! BTW, does anyone ever convert mountain bikes into cyclocross bikes? Or am I a visionary? I think maybe I'm a visionary. One question -- does anyone know if cyclocross wheels would fit on this bike (see pic below)?

Here's a more colorful version of what I have (mine's silver):
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi28.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fc242%2FSlimpee%2FKHS003.jpg&hash=839ba8ff710f125f73ef56ea188978e7
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#19
Arrrgghhh My Eyes!

Blimey; that colour combination takes me back! I believe it was subsequently banned under the Geneva Convention :D

In short: cyclocross wheels will NOT fit on a mountainbike frame (29ers and Cannondale Bad Boys with disc brakes excepted). The rim diameter is far too big (622mm vs 559mm) so, even if the wheel itself would fit through the frame, the brakes would be hanging in mid air. Which would make for an exciting ride.

And, sorry to burst your visionary bubble, but here's John Tomac, the most successful mountainbike racer of all time, racing his Yeti C-26 with drop bars back in 1990.
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mountainbikes.net%2Fcarbon%2F1990_tomac_Yet_c26_riding.jpg&hash=78ce08baeb78ca14eb059bd737ce6ac6


By the way, most non-UCI sanctioned cyclocross races you could do quite comfortably on a mountainbike. Just stick some narrow tyres (Continental do a 26 x 1.5) or semi-slicks on and you would have most of the speed of a dedicated cross machine.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#20
Thanks Deej! Yeah, the bike is great fun, although I've had a few hairy moments trying to take tight corners on the asphalt with knobbies...

Like Alan says, some people have done 'cross builds with mountain bike frames--the Cyclocross sub-forum on Bikeforums.net has a "show your bike" thread with some examples, I think.

I have seen some examples of 700c wheels mounted on MTB frames with extra big clearance. It takes some fiddling with brakes etc though, and the 135mm spacing means a different hub, or washers+longer axle and re-dishing the wheel.

But definitely let me know if you do the conversion--I'm really enjoying the offroading stuff. Hey, Alan, fancy leading a ride to somewhere not-too-technical in the hills? :mtb05: