In the last post, we discussed performance and endurance road categories of bikes. While they are typically a good option for most riders, some riders like a different experience. Like the previous styles, there is some overlap in styles, so choosing the right bikes depends on what you do most often. In this, we will discuss cyclocross and touring bikes; and even these can share some gray area. If long-distance touring is an interest to you, we recommend talking to one of Erik’s expert staff – many of whom have done some long distance trips.
Cyclocross bikes are sort of a crossover machine. Originally intended as a type of racing, they’ve gained popularity for riders for a wide variety of needs. Racing models are lightweight and free of water bottles to catch when running with the bike over hurdles. All bikes in this category feature strong brakes and wide frame clearance for large tires and muddy conditions. Fitted with narrow road tires, cyclocross bikes are decent road bikes too, though unique gearing can make it tough to keep up in a group ride.
Surface: Anything considered a “road” regardless of surface, and then some.
Riding Style: Spanning from adventure based to racing depending on model.
Ride distance: 10-100 miles. A properly fit bike is the most important part in distance. If you’re into racing, 30 minutes to an hour plus one lap.
Extras: Race versions of these bikes like the Raleigh RXC and Specialized Crux are stripped down versions with few, if any bottle mounts. Models like the Tricross can be well suited to touring applications.
Fit Notes: Depending on the model, these can be low on the front end even considered aggressive positioning or more slightly
Examples: Raleigh RX and RXC models for men, RX for women, Specialized Crux and Tricross for men or women.
Touring, free road, gravel rider, all-season commuter – these are just some of the type of uses for one of these bikes. At Erik’s we carry the Tricross from Specialized, though depending on your style, this can be any number of the bikes we’ve discussed. Some features to look for are: rack mounts on the rear and potentially the front, high power brakes, wider tires (greater than 32C) and stable handling when loaded.
Surface: All out adventure – roads can vary from paved to gravel.
Riding Style: It’s not about the destination, though getting to the campsite or lodging for the day is a must.
Ride distance: How much time do you have?
Extras: More stable than the cyclocross version from Specialized, the Tricross has all the features to make it a great touring bike.
Fit Notes: More upright than the Crux with a longer wheelbase, the Tricross is great for all day riding and exploring.
Examples: Everything in the Tricross family.
So whether racing or exploring is in your blood, if you prefer the road less traveled you should consider a cyclocross or touring bike. For outfitting there are a number of options in racks, trailers, bags and accessories. To find the right size and set up for your adventures, stop into one of Erik’s Minnesota and Wisconsin locations.