In reading the cycling news and looking at articles and seeing the occasional picture, there seems to be an increasing amount of Pro/Regional Pro riders racing on their Cross bikes... I think this is awesome, but are more of the normal folks doing the same. I Have been doing my local group rides on my cross bike, with road tires and bigger gears, but thought I was the only one. Practice like you play right? What if any are the REAL disadvantages of a Cross bike on the road, and how many others are riding their winter steeds for year round racing?
I ride my cross bike year round. It's got road tires and bottle cages on it right now. I don't think there is too much of a disadvantage, if anything at all. I saw a pic of Katie Compton riding her Stevens Cross bike on her way to winning one of the time trials at the Teva Games, I think it was a hill climb TT.
I ride my cross bike all year for every type of event. In fact it sees more miles than road bike. Anyone want to buy my Seven Aerios? Really if I could have it my way I'd sell the road bike and buy a second cross bike. CX bikes are getting so close to road specs that I don't think you need a road racing bike unless you're a die hard road racer.
I see no disadvantage of riding my cross bike (2010 Bianchi Axis) on the road. I just picked up another set of wheels (neuvation R28 aeros) that I have setup with a pair of road slicks. These wheels along with my big chain ring (50t) work great on my local group rides. In fact, I don't see myself getting a road bike anytime soon as I will take any extra money I may have (not much given the new bike and wheels) and spend it on upgrades to some of the lower end parts on the Axis.
The only limitation I see is with my own fitness rather than the bike!
I concur, with the others. No disadvantage on 99% of the road rides with a cross bike. The only time I feel like I'm at a disadvantage is on a flat Crit course and I'm trying to keep up with the 53/39ers using my 46/36er. In the end, I need better cross upgrades, so that is where the money goes.
Brakes are the main issue I was thinking about also. Road calipers seem to have much more stopping power than cantis. But if you've been riding with cx bike with no issues, then all the better to stay on it year round.
The braking braking on road bikes tends to be true compared to cyclocross bikes with wide profile, high yoke cantilevers, but a low profile cantilever brake, if set up correctly can have a lot more stopping power than even a dual pivot road caliper (which typically has a mechanical advantage of 5.6:1). You can go to 8:1 or more with a good low profile brake. Not that you should, but you could.
Issue 7 had a ton of stuff on brakes including reviews and setup tips. Should be avail in digital format soon!
There isn't any real disadvantage for the most part. There can be some issues though. My 'cross bikes have always been cheap (two cheap ones are faster than one nice one) so they're heavy. I run single rings so there's the issue of making them double ringed bikes. And 'cross brakes don't stop nearly as well as road brakes. In practice that might or might not be an issue but it's something to think about.
I did setup one bike as a winter bike this year with full fenders. That worked out pretty well.
I must say I can feel the difference especialy on a climb. That said I ride it off season occasionaly but that's mainly for mixed rides or Sportives. I certainly wouldn't dream of rocking up to a road race on it .
I had a great ride on it earlier this year. Rapha the clothing company organised a 100K to pay homage to the Paris - Roubaix. Mostly road but with twenty faux Pavé sections. It came into it's own there.
No real disadvantage. I think the only real difference might be handling in a pack, if you decide to road race. While you can get used to this (I have many friends that do)...cross bikes definitely won't handle quite the same as a road set up, but it is not a deal breaker. You might be able to accommodate for this with different tire size. Outside of that, I am all for it. One bike for everything is my idea of heaven.
Last weekend I got taken into the barriers in a crit so my road bike is out of commission for several days. So, I got out the Salsa Chili Con Crosso, put a 50t on w/ some road wheels and recently raced to a 2nd place in a stacked cat 3/4 field. I went away realizing that the rider is more important than the bike.
To me the big disadvantage is that you don't have a true cross bike to play on. I like to hit gravel roads and trails all year 'round on my cross bike and wouldn't want to have to change out wheels, reset brakes for the 'cross wheels, and change out chainrings when I want to play in the dirt. I set both bikes up similarly - though the road bike is about 2cm lover on the front end - so I can jump back and forth without issues.
Years ago I used a cross bike for everything starting in September, but in the mountains it definitely didn't climb or descend as well on the steep and gnarly stuff. If I lived in the midwest it would likely be less of an issue than in Colorado.