Cyclocross

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#1
Did you notice Tom has purchased a cyclocross bike. Being Flemish I suppose it is in Tom's blood. Ever since Pucci, Christoph & I discovered thick snow on the Green (?) Line, I have wanted to return on a bike better equiped to handle the conditions.

My interest in escaping the black stuff has been furthered by reading Alan & Naomi's regular off road adventures, Pete's (?) Okutama trail maps, and the occasional "hikling" requirements of the west side. Heck, as a runner, x-country in the winter seems natural.

And now Tom has a cyclocross bike and I want one too. So has anyone any experience of cyclocross races in Japan?

Philip
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
Cycle Sports December issue had an article on cyclocross racing, with some events for Kanto listed. The core of the scene in Japan seems to be in Kansai, unfortunately, but there are some events around Tokyo (Saitama especially).

My cyclocross bug bit last year:

https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=1166

Still have the Uncle John, although it's in road mode with slick tires at the moment.
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#3
Thanks Phil. Looks like we will need to arrange a TCC off-road day. Have you had the opportunity to use your Planet X much during the year? I could buy a new bike or take Alan's / Deej's advice and convert an existing bike. The only trouble with a mountain bike is riding out to the climb (gearing) and weight?

Philip
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#4
Philip,

Not really...... Shimano do a huge range of gearing on the MTB's and you can get some very narrow nobblies for them.

I'm currently running 26/36/48T with a 11-32 at the back. Using a very narrow set of Panaracer nobberlies, able to keep a very good speed up and with the type of dirt here in Japan they are abe to cope with serious cross country riding.

As for the weight, the front shocks will add some extra tonnage but my aluminium KONA with full XT and Marazochi Bombers weighs in at 13kg, going with a set of stiffies you'll knock some weight off.

Right now however I have my eyes on a Carbon MTB frame....;)
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#5
Thanks Phil. Looks like we will need to arrange a TCC off-road day. Have you had the opportunity to use your Planet X much during the year? I could buy a new bike or take Alan's / Deej's advice and convert an existing bike. The only trouble with a mountain bike is riding out to the climb (gearing) and weight?
Definitely count me in for a TCC off-road ride if you decide to get buy/convert a cyclocross bike.

Haven't ridden the Uncle John much because I kept plundering it for parts (bars, crank), and then had to build a new wheelset for it. Finally have it set up and rideable as a winter trainer/distance bike now (without the knobbies) so it's getting a bit more mileage recently.

There are some unpaved rindos down Boso way that are crying out to be explored, but I've never managed to get myself motivated enough to do the 100km round trip on paved roads to get there...you've got me seriously thinking about it again though...
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
4
38
38
Tokyo
#6
I am also very interested in trying some of the unpaved roads of the west (like the east approach to Otoge, north to Wada, east to Matsuhime, Iriyama-toge, rt.76, etc.), i bet there are a lot more, but I'd buy a hardtail MTB for this kind of riding (mix of paved/unpaved) - sturdy flatbar with front suspension.
I might be wrong, but a cyclocross bike could make the ride way too challenging for some of the rocky trails - would be very interesing to hear Tom's opinion on that.

Although, with my S1 frame wasted after the race crash - I cannot afford buying a new frame and a whole new bike, cyclocross or MTB...... or can I? :D
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#7
Almighty cyclocross...

Thanks Sergey and Philip for bringing up the subject; I'm only a beginner though waiting to be initiated to the real thrill of cyclocrossing :warau:

Mountain bikes are designed in the first place to "ride in the mountains" (singletrack, hiking trails, etc.) whereas cyclocross bikes are better suited for "veldrijden," literally "riding in the fields" as the cyclocross discipline is officially referred to in Flanders/Belgium.

Generally-speaking, the rougher the trail, the more advantageous the MTB becomes (especially in terms of comfort and maneuvarability/agility). A cyclocross bike (veldrit fiets) will be faster than a MTB the more paved or quasi-paved sections are part of the ride. Interestingly, I've read that some professional MTB athletes train on cyclocross bikes during the winter months to improve their steering skills and reflexes at faster speeds on a variety of surfaces.

Although I hail from a cyclocross-mad country, I am only a novice and have yet to enter a cyclocross race (which I would love to do!). What I really like about my Ridley X-Fire so far (besides her good looks) is the freedom and versatility of being able to include unpaved routes or mixing paved and unpaved ones in a day's ride. For instance, I can ride up rocky R76 down to Tanzawa and still be able afterwards to outride most :cool: roadies en route to Enoshima. This cannot be replicated easily on a MTB (the flat & fast paved parts) or a normal road bike (the hilly & rocky unpaved parts). Sergey, all the unpaved routes you mentioned are in my humble opinion better attacked on a cyclocross bike than on an MTB or flatbar with front suspension. Moreover, you will get there much quicker!

So far, I've been using 35mm knobby tires which I pump to the max in order to still be "competitive" on the paved parts. I'm still learning and experimenting....:eek:

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I am also very interested in trying some of the unpaved roads of the west (like the east approach to Otoge, north to Wada, east to Matsuhime, Iriyama-toge, rt.76, etc.), i bet there are a lot more, but I'd buy a hardtail MTB for this kind of riding (mix of paved/unpaved) - sturdy flatbar with front suspension.
I might be wrong, but a cyclocross bike could make the ride way too challenging for some of the rocky trails - would be very interesing to hear Tom's opinion on that.

Although, with my S1 frame wasted after the race crash - I cannot afford buying a new frame and a whole new bike, cyclocross or MTB...... or can I? :D
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#10
Tom - how do find the cantilever brakes in comparison to your road bike brakes? Which brand of brakes do you have on your Ridley?

Cheers,

Philip
 
#11
Shimano

Hi Philip, good thinking...a cyclocross bike is probably the best choice if you are considering a second bike that can handle almost any surface :).

I considered a number of brands for the brakes and following up the advice of knowledgeable friends I finally settled on Shimano's BR-R550, not very sexy but reliable in terms of performance and especially availability in this country.
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BR-R550 cantilever brakes compared to road bike caliper brakes (lets say Ultegra):

(1) with 23mm tires on paved road surface: noisy / stressful on downhills (no surgical precision) / takes longer distance to stop and stopping tends to be abrupt / inefficient for sudden "panic" braking situations (and therefore also labeled as "suicide brakes") → clearly not designed to be used in combination with normal road bike tires but still somehow manageable if you can get used to it.

(2) with knobby tires (32/35mm) on unpaved road surface: noisy / excellent control / effective and gentle stopping / superior mud clearance being the most important advantage.

Conclusion: Caliper brakes have more modulation so that you can control braking on the road by degrees whereas cantilever brakes tend to grab. Precision-braking and control are harder to achieve with cantilever brakes but this becomes less of an issue off-road

Cheers,

Tom


Tom - how do find the cantilever brakes in comparison to your road bike brakes? Which brand of brakes do you have on your Ridley?

Cheers,

Philip
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#12
Tom,

Not reallyin the know regarding Cyclocross but why cantilever breaks? This is pretty old technology and was used 10-15 years ago for MTB. Why not V-breaks that offer a more stable breaking platform???
 
#13
Cantilever braking system

James, the answer is simple: Cantilever brakes are light and simple!.

The main advantage of cantilever brakes is that the simplicity of its design provides that all-important mud clearance in cyclocrossing.

V-brakes only work on specific levers that are available for use on straight handlebars and have slightly inferior mud clearance.
MTB V-brakes are designed for use with a cammed lever but most drop-bar brake levers do not provide enough leverage to work with such levers and you would have to adjust the brake pads very close to the rim.

In cyclocross cantilever are the standard (Frogglegs, Spooky, Avid Shorty from SRAM, Cane Creek SCX-6, etc.etc.)...old perhaps, but long-selling technology being constantly innovated !


Tom,

Not reallyin the know regarding Cyclocross but why cantilever breaks? This is pretty old technology and was used 10-15 years ago for MTB. Why not V-breaks that offer a more stable breaking platform???
 
Dec 31, 2009
906
87
48
Matsumoto
#14
Cantis have less power but offer an advantage for mud clearance. They often are squeeky and sometimes angling the pad can relieve that.

TRP hosts a brake that has the ultimate in adjustability but boasts a hefty price tag. $400 US

They hav em in white though, if thats your thing