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My entry level hardtail (Trek 4300 disk) has served me well this summer, but the more I checkout the Cyclocross bikes the more I want one. My question is: How much faster, nimble, fun-to-ride would a cyclocross be vs a hardtail mountain bike?

I've considered adding some skinny tires to my bike, but I fill like it will still be like riding a dump truck.. Is this true, or would the skinny tires on a hardtail be about the same as a riding a cyclocross- speed and performance wise?

I mostly ride on smooth rolling off-road trails, gravel and pavement.
 

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NOT the same!

Head tube angle, one very serious difference, will impact how well you can ride a cross bike on single track. Cross bikes have very steep HTA (72-ish deg) compared to most (MTBs 68-70 deg). A cross bike will not give as much control on tight ST due to quick steering and narrower bars. Seat angle can be similar, but typically will be steeper on a cross bike.

Cross bikes will be ~4 lbs LESS than a similarly spec'ed MTB (w/ suspension).

BUT ----- A cross bike can do light single track duty and still be able to hit the pavement and act like a regular road bike.

Tire width - Some cross bikes have enough tire room for 35mm+ tires, but most race oriented cross bikes will have a practical upper limit of about 35mm tire width (due to front fork). For trail riding on a cross bike, the wider the tires they better.... On a HT, you can get ~40mm tires with tread that look like baby MTB tires, go all the way up to 2+" tires for trail duty, or get slicks for light pavement (you'll never keep up with road bike though).

Gearing.... on a MTB with a triple, you can climb anything. On a cross bike with a a double (something like 36/46, you'll get stuck on some climbs. Rear gearing on MTBs is lower and wider than normal cross gearing. However, you can customize all this to suit your needs...

I have a road bike, cross bike, HT (kids trailer puller mostly), and a 6" burly full suspension. I can and have really enjoyed riding the cross bike on buff single track, but it has some real limitations on single track. But, it does make me want a 29-er MTB!

Good luck!
 

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Cross bikes are awesome if you are commuting on and off road. A neighbor uses a Redline which I am very partial to. Also, a cross bike will be very, very different from an MTB with skinny tires. I wouldn't say more nimble, but certainly more racey feeling and it's nice how the 700c wheels roll over brake chatter.

Since this is the AM forum, the cross bike won't last on what I would consider AM riding. I'd fold the wheels on the first drop on my ride :lol:
 

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gticlay said:
Since this is the AM forum, the cross bike won't last on what I would consider AM riding. I'd fold the wheels on the first drop on my ride :lol:
Yeah, try asking in the cyclocross forum @ roadbike review.. there's a link in the MTBR forum listing that takes you right there.
 

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must faster, when you take it on the trails its like a different kind of gnar. You need to pick your lines better as well. On my fs bike i just roll over whatever. I have found that going down hill isnt as fun as going up it though. If youre looking for a bike to ride road, but you have a mtb mindset get yourself a cross bike. You wont regret it.

I saw a vid of some dude on a serotta on youtube that got me pumped.
 

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when i was in between mtbs all i had was my steelman eurocross and i hit a lot of trails with that scooter but i was in "cross" mode. run-ups and lots of dismounts before drops and tech spots. run whatever blows your hair back!! (just have exit plans and ibuprofen!)
 
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