Stupid: Difference between tourer and cyclocross?

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
Yes it's stupid question time!

Thinking about my next bike. And, after looking at pictures, I must admit I can't tell the difference between touring and cyclocross bikes. Both seem to have similar geometry and spec.

I'm missing something obvious aren't I.
 

gouldina

New Member
Location
London
I'm certainly no expert but here's my guesses:

Touring: longer wheelbase, more comfortable and flexible frame (prob steel)
CX: Stiffer, lighter frame, higher BB, more brake clearance (hence cantis)
 

style over speed

riding a f**king bike
A touring frame will probably be heavier, mines certainly got thicker tubes in the rear triangle and much longer rear stays. Also more braze on bits, front rack fittings and the ride is a bit different.
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
The line is blurring because a lot of manufacturers are treating 'cross bikes as the new "Do it all" bike.

True crossers have race geometry, minimal braze ons, high BB and are designed to be ridden hard for about an hour or so (long term comfort, therefore, not really a consideration).

The Do It All crosser is likely to keep the high BB, but have mudguard eyelets, bottle cage braze ons &c. As you get further from the racing Cross bike, the geometry might tend to be more relaxed too.

Touring bikes are built for covering long distances while loaded. You'll find they have fairly low BBs, are long (long chain & seatstays in partcular) and stable as opposed to being responsive. Frame weight is less of a consideration because luggage adds so much to the weight of the bike that a "heavy" frame makes little difference overall.

My commuter is built from a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring frame - it's a super comfortable bike that will take up to 45c tyres with mudguards (I'm running 42c now).

If I did more challenging off road (as opposed to trail & towpath riding, which the LHT handles with no bother) a 'cross bike would probably be better.
 

gouldina

New Member
Location
London
John the Monkey said:
The line is blurring because a lot of manufacturers are treating 'cross bikes as the new "Do it all" bike.

True crossers have race geometry, minimal braze ons, high BB and are designed to be ridden hard for about an hour or so (long term comfort, therefore, not really a consideration).

The Do It All crosser is likely to keep the high BB, but have mudguard eyelets, bottle cage braze ons &c. As you get further from the racing Cross bike, the geometry might tend to be more relaxed too.

Touring bikes are built for covering long distances while loaded. You'll find they have fairly low BBs, are long (long chain & seatstays in partcular) and stable as opposed to being responsive. Frame weight is less of a consideration because luggage adds so much to the weight of the bike that a "heavy" frame makes little difference overall.

My commuter is built from a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring frame - it's a super comfortable bike that will take up to 45c tyres with mudguards (I'm running 42c now).

If I did more challenging off road (as opposed to trail & towpath riding, which the LHT handles with no bother) a 'cross bike would probably be better.
Sounds about right but I question how great a CX bike is on "more challenging off road" tbh. I don't think that they're really designed for major off-roading like a mtb for example - more for gravel and grass. I have a CX and I promise you that my previous fastish hybrid was far more at ease on bumpy stuff than the CX.
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
gouldina said:
...I don't think that they're really designed for major off-roading like a mtb for example - more for gravel and grass. I have a CX and I promise you that my previous fastish hybrid was far more at ease on bumpy stuff than the CX.
Better than a tourer though, let me assure you.
 

Norm

Guest
Jezston said:
Yes it's stupid question time!

Thinking about my next bike. And, after looking at pictures, I must admit I can't tell the difference between touring and cyclocross bikes. Both seem to have similar geometry and spec.

I'm missing something obvious aren't I.
I don't think you are missing anything and I am assured that Specialized, for instance, see their Tricross (sold as a psycho-cross bike) as good enough that they don't need a separate tourer in their range.

I've posted this before, so sorry for repeating myself but I bought the Tricross as an all-purpose bike. I have a road bike when I head out for a road ride, an MTB when I head out for an off road ride, and the Tricross when I'm not too sure where the heck I'm going. :evil: It's great not worrying about hitting the tow paths or riding a few miles of gravel track, but not giving away too much when I get back onto tarmac.
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
Norm said:
I don't think you are missing anything and I am assured that Specialized, for instance, see their Tricross (sold as a psycho-cross bike) as good enough that they don't need a separate tourer in their range.
I think that's more likely to be because there's not a lot of money in the market for tourers atm (compared to race bikes, mtbs, all rounders/crossers).

Tricross is a nice bike though.
 

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Location
Crewe
jimboalee said:
You can tour on a CX bike, but try entering a Cyclocross on a tourer....
In neither case is the best tool for the job at hand being used though.

And there are CX bikes and CX bikes - a tour on a proper, racing crosser is not going to be much fun. similarly a 'cross race on an "adventure tourer" like one of Salsa's range would probably be doable.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
John the Monkey said:
In neither case is the best tool for the job at hand being used though.

And there are CX bikes and CX bikes - a tour on a proper, racing crosser is not going to be much fun. similarly a 'cross race on an "adventure tourer" like one of Salsa's range would probably be doable.
I rode ( borrowed ) a 'proper crosser' in the seventies. It was built by Alan Richards ( Tower cycles, Erdington, B'ham ). No-one of my age rode a 'proper tourer' and it was the best alternative amongst my school friends.

It went from Solihull to Santa Pod ( nr Wellingborough ) 04:00 to 10:00 one summer Saturday with a mini tent, lightweight sleeping bag, food and changes of undies.

We cheated by taking the tents and sleeping bags to Wollaston post office on Monday morning and posting them home ;)
 
OP
Jezston

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
Norm said:
I don't think you are missing anything and I am assured that Specialized, for instance, see their Tricross (sold as a psycho-cross bike) as good enough that they don't need a separate tourer in their range.

I've posted this before, so sorry for repeating myself but I bought the Tricross as an all-purpose bike. I have a road bike when I head out for a road ride, an MTB when I head out for an off road ride, and the Tricross when I'm not too sure where the heck I'm going. ;) It's great not worrying about hitting the tow paths or riding a few miles of gravel track, but not giving away too much when I get back onto tarmac.
It's my colleague I've been doing a longer ride with on his single-speed Tricross, fitted with mudguards and pannier that started my thinking that ended up with me posting this thread.

Having said that, only thing I've learned from his bike is a single-speed is definitely not for me :ohmy:
 

Norm

Guest
I think that John tM and jimbo make excellent points. The bikes that are sold as cyclo-cross bikes, such as the Tricross, are not really designed for cyclo-cross racing but are aimed at those who want a do-it-all steed with drops. In that role, they make pretty good all-rounders, IMO.

It will be my touring bike, it's proved comfortable for 4 hours in the saddle and I think it's rather wonderful just being able to jump on and ride without having to worry about whether your bike is suitable for your route. I don't always have a plan when I set out and there are some lovely roads with unmetalled surfaces locally.
 
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