Group set advice for cyclocross bike

Apr 5, 2010
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I'm looking for advice on the best way to build up a 'cross bike that will be used as intended. What group set takes a beating and still delivers?

Also, what do you think of BB30 on a 'cross bike?

Thanks!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Can't comment on BB30 but atmo you can't beat Rival for 'cross. Mainly because you can buy a cross specific chainset and down shift across several gears with one throw of the shifter. The price is the icing on the cake. Don't worry about saving 400 grams by spending an additional grand on your groupset. By the end of the first lap at a muddy race you'll be carrying the equivalent of another groupset in mud on your bike anyway.

Spend the money you save by speccing Rival on a decent set of 32h Velocity Major Toms laced to Hope Pro 3's and go racing. :D
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I'd suggest looking seriously at Campag before you spend on SRAM.

Yeah, I know that Campag will almost send a bunch of guys in suits with strangely heavy violin cases around for a chat if you take their gruppo off road, but they actually work really well.

I run a mix of Veloce and Record on my cross bike. The Record is a square taper BB-crankset combo that got demoted from my roadie to the cross bike. Good thing about running a road crankset is that you can run 39 on the inner ring - "just like the pros do" - which is good if you're racing.

I've run a very wet and muddy season on my bike without any problems. I also used it as a summer commuter and off road trainer (bashed it all around the Gatineau Park if you know trails over our way) and as a winter/snow bike. Only problem I got was a bit of chain skip in heavy fresh snow or super muddy racing - ie., exactly what you'd expect.

I buy most of my stuff on-line from the UK - so my pricing comments reflect that. On that basis, you can buy all of the gruppo bits that you'll need for a cross bike for about C$100 less if you go Campag over SRAM - and you've got the advantage of better spare parts service with SRAM (Lamberts carry all the spare parts in the Campag catalog - plus I think that there's someone over your way who is also an authorised Campag wholesaler).

Another option - based on what I read on another thread - is to see about picking up some Raceface Cadence cranks ... since it looks like Raceface is closing up and will presumably have some stock to sell off ... Feels a bit like grave robbing though ... :(

Oh, and in case you don't trust the random recommendations of a stranger on a forum - Simon Burney (as in the author of the bible on cyclocross) recommended Campag over SRAM (and definitely over Shimano) when I was setting my bike up ... and I definitely trust him to know a thing or two about what works for cross ...!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I think that Campy are now offering up cross specific bb cups and cranks so they seem to be a little less uptight about venturing off road with their 'road' groups.

I've never ridden Campy so would never recommend against anything somebody else posts who does - did that make sense???!!!????? - Didn't you say that Simon - praise his name - is riding SRAM on his 'cross bike now, Kiwi?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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LugHugger said:
I think that Campy are now offering up cross specific bb cups and cranks so they seem to be a little less uptight about venturing off road with their 'road' groups.

I've never ridden Campy so would never recommend against anything somebody else posts who does - did that make sense???!!!????? - Didn't you say that Simon - praise his name - is riding SRAM on his 'cross bike now, Kiwi?
Like you say, Campag are now venturing off road - so the men in pin stripe suits have probably been stood down ... ;)

And I understand your comment about your recommending - any likewise from here (I have used all three manufacturers' products on cross bikes). Any comments I made on those lines are more because there seem to be a lot of posters out there who are convinced that you can only run SRAM or Shimano because that's what the pictures show Powers/Johnson/Nys/Albert (delete as applicable) using - and they forget that the likes of Sunweb team, Enrico Franzoi and Katie Compton all used to run Campag for a while (in some cases up until last season). Makes sense that people would think that mind you - given the marketing strategies of the various manufacturers ...

Of course, any recommendation is subject to the all important requirement that it feels good to the individual concern. Best product in the world isn't worth using if it doesn't feel right to you ...

As for your question about Simon Burney - all I know is what he told me at the same time as I was picking his brains (purely opportunistic on my part - can't claim to actually know him or anything). At that time he said that he was "experimenting" with SRAM, that it seemed good, but that he still preferred Campag.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Haven't tried SRAM. Tried Shimano 105 - didn't like it, too difficult to shift several cogs up/down fars - using glowes.
Mounted some old Campy (8 year old Chorus), realy easy to shift - and works when covered with tons of mud.
If I should buy new stuff it would probaly be Athena or 10sp Chorus (if still available from a dealer) with a cheaper Campy crank.
 

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