New CX bike, time for gravel & stuff. But...

So I’ve got my hands on a CX rig.
Given it a pretty easy first 80km on gravel roads, a little bit of single track and some paths.
Talk to me about a few things.

The brakes.
They’re discs and I’m losing my mind with the lack of confidence I have in them. I don’t feel the bite I was hoping for and it makes modulation awkward and as I said, robs me of confidence for hard braking. Will they come good, or am I missing something?

Tyre pressure.
They say “Max 75psi”, but I can’t imagine that’s ideal for CX or even gravel. I ran them around 35psi over 30kms+ of gravel roads and felt great, but was dying trying to get any sort of rhythm o speed on paths/tarmac. Tips for beginners?

MTB pedals & cleats.
Do you ever get used to clipping in with them? I run speedplay on the roadie and straps on the SS, so this just feels weird and awkward and hard to clip in. It’s just me and will improve in time, right?

did you bed the brake pads & rotors in? are you using organic or metallic pads?

stop overthinking the rest

Bed them in… I’m going to go with no.

Organic or metallic… yes

Stop over thinking the rest… but’s its kinda my thing. Bit of a perfectionist (with some stuff). I’l keep riding and I’m sure I’ll stop thinking too much.

FWIW - It was sh** loads of fun to glide over the gravel and down steep dirt descents with confidence in the grip and bike. Looking forward to more.

well there’s your problem.

im assuming your using shimano SPDs? i found them easier to clip into in comparison to my keos. Im sure you’ll get used to it.

You should go riding with people who regularly ride dirt. Try the Wednesday night ride (which goes through Yarra trails), it’s a fun ride.

Brakes: they will be good. Discs can feel weird in terms of modulation when you’re used to rim brakes. They’re different so you just gotta get used to them. If something is really wrong ----> LBS

Tyres and tyre pressure: 35 psi is a good start. Remember that knobbly tires will be slower/feel weird on pavement.

Pedals: Shimano SPDs ftw. M520/M540/M9000

What tyres are you running? If they are quite nobbly, then they will feel floaty on tarmac and roads. For a similar type of riding we did in Canberra - get on some Schwalbe Sammy Slicks. Great for around town, gravel and grass… I have run these on my bike for a long time and am pretty confident on dirt. It all just comes down to being used to dirt as well.

And I do think 35psi is too low when you ride tarmac as well. I’d go for 50psi maybe. Get a frame pump and play around with the pressure.

What do you find awkward with your pedals? It should be much easier to clip in then on road pedals. I use Shimano SLs on the road and Time Attacs on everything else and its like night an day.

Give up now, your CX future is full of tiring rides and tricky pedals!!!

You complete me.

All good advice and I’ll be fiddling around with tyre pressure. I’m running the stock maxxis mud wrestlers 33c. Was expecting the resistance, but, yeah.

Pedals I’ve thrown on Deore XT. I’m sure I’ll get used to them, just a smaller area than road cleats for clipping in. Al already offered to show me some gravel and I’ll be taking him up on that in a couple of weeks.

Where does WNR leave from?

Speedplay user here on road and track, got Time Alium on the cross rig and it originally drove me absolutely nuts! Was kicking my foot down on the pedal and other assorted bad behaviour I won’t mention.

I found for a couple weeks I really had to focus on pointing my toe down and pushing forward on clipping in and now my brain has got it sussed and my “non speedplay” pedals and I are getting on great guns :slight_smile: You really get used to just pushing straight down on Speedplays hey…

^^ This.

I’ve literally just hopped on the bike, tried the technique describe (pointing down) and voila!

I’m sure I answered some of this on the gram…hmmm, seems I didn’t.

Yeah, you asked how I was finding discs and I said “weird”… Then silence. All good though.

As said, you need to “break in” disc brakes, then they’re literally the best thing since sliced bread and nice toasters.

I’m down along Meri Creek right now playing around. Finding that it’s Jekyl & Hyde depending on tyre pressure and surface. Finding the sweet spots and building confidence. Discs are starting to feel more “normal” too. What’s the standard wear in period? I’m getting close to about 100km and starting to feel better about them every time I grab them.

Totally satisfied… calling the rest of the week off :slight_smile:

Yep. First four or five rides of my cross bike I was thoroughly disappointed with cable discs. Now though, they are fucking ace and I can descend MTB trails in the drops with total confidence. The rest will come with experience, but that’s the fun part of something new.

I reckon I must have had a comment to send but it didn’t go through. Was along the lines of have you bedded them in and what kind of pads are you using.

For bedding in I just ride up a hill and roll down with the brakes on lightly, so I take the edge off the pads and the discs, if you don’t have a hill then riding along on a flat with the brakes lightly on does the job. Then on a flat do a lot of start stops without skidding to get them to bed in. It’s a relatively quick procedure.

Given you’ve been riding them without bedding in first you’ll need to clean the rotors and start from zero. Do it proper, it’s not hard.