Top 10 Differences Among Touring, Cyclocross, and Road Bikes

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If you are an ambitious roadie and want to be on pavement over 75% time then a road bike is your best option. If you plan to head up mountains and want to go single tracks then you can make a cross bike will get your vote, but it'll be difficult to go uphill and even harder coming down, and a touring bike will help you. If you ride on odd adventurous roads, gentle trails and for commuting then a cross bike will work fine. The choice is dependent on what you are planning to do with the bike. This section is going to show up the top 10 differences among touring, cyclocross and road bikes which are much in demand in the world.

Design Direction
These types of bikes are designed for different purposes and directions. A standard road bike is for riding on the road, without baggage and potentially at relatively high speed, designed for performance well mostly on paved roads, usually with a shorter distance between front and rear axles, while a touring bike is intended for riding with baggage, for often long distances, and perhaps sacrificing speed for reliability, and load-carrying ability, designed with utility and rider comfort in mind. While Cyclocross bikes are designed to travel both on and off-road. In fact, Cyclocross is a race discipline that associated with something for road races in the offseason, but the bikes have become very popular outside of racing because they have a wide variety of utilities.

Frame Material
Road bikes are made from either the lightest steel or aluminum or from exotic materials such as, titanium or carbon fiber which makes it less-than-suitable for bearing a heavy (25 - 30 lb) load, causing their light weight and a more responsive feel. Touring bikes are usually built from steel rather than more “modern” material such as aluminum, carbon fiber, or even titanium, substantially heavier and able to carry large loads. Steel frames can be made more flexible due to their tolerance to fatigue, therefore are more suitable for rough terrain. I should also note that when touring in remote areas if in the extreme case a steel frame fails, you can ask help from a local welder to repair it— aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber need specialized tools and skills to form. And the cross bikes vary widely just as other bike types, but to be high-end, carbon fiber is becoming a more prevalent for cross bikes. You may see that aluminum is for budget oriented bikes and carbon fiber for high-end bikes. Aluminum and steel are also common, especially amongst the medium bikes and below. As to the weight comparison, Cross bikes are typically heavier than a comparable road bike but lighter than a comparable touring bike.

The longer wheelbase of a bike, less worried you will be. Thus you will feel your feet grazing the front wheel when taking a sharp turn, as well as don’t have to worry that your heels may touch the pannier saddlebags in the rear. it is an important factor in maintaining balance. The main difference is wheelbase in these three types. The wheelbase of touring bikes is generally longer while the road bikes are of the shortest. Although cyclocross bikes wheelbase is shorter overall, it will be in between that of a road bike and a touring bike.

The touring bikes’ wheels with additional spokesbear heavier weight, such as 40 spoke wheels, while non-touring bikes often have 28, 32 or 36 spokes per wheel, but full touring bikes are made for greater reliability under heavy loads have over 40 spokes of every wheel. Usually, it is the rims, clearance between rear stays, and tires are wider which make cycling more comfortable since the air pressure can be dropped. If you’re planning on long distances and heavy loads, make sure the wheels are up to scratch, so the touring bike will be your good option. As to the road bikes’, the wheels are also of light weight, about always 700c and sometimes they are smaller to the use on very small frames. Tire sizes will typically different from 20-25mm width but the most common width is 23mm, thus the 700x23 is common. Wheels of cyclocross are 700c and tires typically in the 30-40mm width range with small knobs to grip loose surfaces as opposed to the slicks you'll see on dedicated road tires. Cyclocross wheels are often just lightweight than road wheels with low spoke counts and narrow rims.

cyclocross bike

Gearing of touring bike may be a little lower, but will certainly be wider. Sometimes you choose mountain bike components for rear gearing to give the rider extra low gearing. This is less trouble when uphill with a fully loaded touring bike. Gearing will be the highest and narrowest on Road bikes. Traditional cyclocross gearing is a little odd when typically coming with a very close ratio double crankset but this is able to be made up by a wider cassette.

Front and Rear Racks
Touring bikes get attachment points for front and rear racks. To drill for back and front racks is standard, and drillings for extra water bottles are ordinary. Touring bikes make an excellent commuter with its stability and when cooperate with racks or panniers gives you lots of places to put your things on your back. In road bikes, drillings for fitting racks are usually on the less expensive side for its carrying the cyclists and water bottles and not much else. Many cross bikes are drilled for racks and they can double than touring bikes because of the similar geometry. There are racks and panniers available that will clear your heels on cyclocross frames, even if you have boats for feet.

touring bike

Seat and Head Tube
Touring frames traditionally had 72-degree head and seat tubes while road bikes had 73 or 74-degree angles. Touring bikes’ head tube angle is slacker than a road bike. Consequently, a more comfortable seat than would be required on a road bike. Road bike traditionally varied the angle of the seat and head tube to change the wheelbase. Nevertheless, it bears the steepest head tube angles. Cyclocross bikes often have 20-40mm shorter head tubes than touring bikes due to shorter-distance cyclocross racing and being more aggressive on a cycling trip. If you would like a more upright handlebar, head tube and steer length will be an influencing factor in your decision.

The Chain Stays
The chain stay is the part of the frame that closest to your chain, and often gets big gashes in it if your chain hitting it. A shorter chain stay makes it easier to lift the front end of the bike because it puts the rear wheel more forward which move your barycenter behind it without difficulty or effort when you lean back. Touring chain stays are longer to accommodate panniers and avoid heel hit while Cyclocross chainstays are 20-40mm shorter than on a touring bike, meanwhile, road bike chainstays tend to be short. The main issue with short chain stays is shoe clearance to your rear panniers, so it is noted that keep in mind it’s possible to get your panniers to sit further back with well-designed racks and adjustable panniers.

Touring bikes have more fork rake than a road bike. On a touring bike, the greater rake of the front fork will push the front wheel forward. And Cyclocross forks don’t always have eyelets for a front rack and mudguards, especially if the fork is made out of carbon. If you’re planning on using panniers and mudguards, pay attention to fork eyelets.cycling downhill

Geometry Function
Touring bikes make you have a slightly more upright riding posture because its geometry puts the rider in more of an upright position. Its geometry makes steering less sensitive and easier to control - especially on longer rides for enduring long days in the saddle. If you get pain on the shoulder but you still want to ride a bike, try the touring bikes, so you are able to sit more upright and the stress on your shoulder would be less. With steeper head tube angle, lower body position, stiffer frames, The geometry of a road bike frame is designed to put the rider into a more aggressive riding position, which allows the road bike to react to rider inputs quickly and have a low center of gravity which is contributed to the turning. The geometry of cyclocross is usually slightly different from a road bike with it being more relaxed. A cyclocross bike is a great all round choice and perfect for commuting. Compared with a road bike, the geometry is more upright (relaxed).

cycling fun

People ask all the time whether they can go bicycle touring on their cyclocross bike – after all, they don’t look all that different to a touring-specific bike. Here are the top ten differences helping you to learn. In addition to the ten differences mentioned above, these three types are distinctive in other fields. You can tour on any bike because it is really a matter that you plan to use the bike for. If you’re carrying a light load across flatter terrain you will definitely benefit from traveling by a cyclocross bike because of lighter weight and the recent situation that more all-terrain and even fat-tire touring bikes are appearing.