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?
it doesn't have to be any harder than a wheel change really.
If you have two sets of wheels, with similar rim widths and brake tracks, it shouldn't be too much of an issue switching out wheels (in terms of brakes). And I think the key is two have different cassettes for road and cross, and then it's pretty easy. If you can do a 48t big ring, an 11t road cassette is pretty big for most applications. You could even go with the 50t, which believe it or not, I have on one of my 'cross bikes that serves dual duty (39/50). Then for 'cross, a 12+ or 13+ cassette works well with a 48t or 50t. 13t or 14t cassettes are made, they may be harder to find but mavic and shimano (13-25, 14-25, 15-25...and an amazing 16-27!) make them - jrs. use them for gear restrictions. Changing the rear wheel with a different rear cassette usually won't require rear derailleur adjustment - especially if the hubs are the same (cassettes will be same distance from frame).
I agree changing the front big ring is a pain (usually requires front mech adjustments) but the two wheel setup would be perfect - at least it has been for me.
i was wondering what the major difference between a cross bike with road tires and a road bike is? Geometry? Gearing? I know some cross bikes can be heavy, but supposing that its the same weight as a road bike is there a difference?
It's usually just a difference in brakes, bottom bracket drop (though not as much some newer 'cross bikes) and longer chainstays. There can be some difference in headtube and seattube angles, depending on the manufacturer.
I used to get on my 'cross bike the middle of August, then back on the road bike in April. I sold my road bike 3 years ago when I realized that I rode it less than 4 months a year. One of my 'cross bikes has a 50t big ring for road riding, and I have a set of wheels with slicks on them.
The differences have been stated: a little heavier, slower response(relaxed angles), and the brakes are not as good(but who uses brakes). I think it is a more comfortable ride, and you can hit the trails on the way home with 700x28 slicks.