Off-road or on-road – for years, that was the alternative: either the athletically ambitious cyclist swung onto the saddle of a mountain bike or a road bike. Both have pre-. Disadvantages. In the terrain, the nature experience is immediate, but high speeds are rarely reached and must be constantly reacted to changing situations.
On the road on the cyclocrosser: venturing more off-road
Cyclocrossers and gravel bikes are popular with sporty cyclists. On the road, however, monotony can set in. Often disturbs the car traffic. But it pedals sometimes almost meditative. Can travel long distances. But in the meantime, bicycle manufacturers have closed the gap between the two types of bikes: With cyclocrossers or gravel bikes, it is possible to leave paved roads and still be fast on the road – racing bike feeling off-road. And without fear of plates or other defects. Because is driven with wide. Heavily treaded tires. The wheels are also robustly built and yet lightweights, because they have an aluminum and carbon frame and are reduced to the bare essentials. Disc brakes and derailleurs come as standard. So much for the similarities. The difference between the two types of bike is not always easy to recognize, the boundaries are sometimes fluid.
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Basically, however, it can be said that cyclocrossers are closer to road bikes because they demand a sportier riding position. They are very agile and maneuverable and cope better with rough terrain. Gravel bikes (the English word "gravel" translates as gravel or gravel) focus more on comfort. Can therefore be driven well on longer trekking tours. They usually have a comparatively short top as well as long head tube for a more upright seating position. Also more often damping elements are installed.
Both wheel types are announced at present, but in particular Gravelbikes are virtually torn from the hands of the dealers. In our "field study," however, we used the new cyclocrosser from the Hamburg-based bike manufacturer Stevens: The Super Prestige Di2 has a label from the international cycling federation and is also ridden by professionals. Frame and fork are made of carbon and together weigh less than 1.4 kilograms. They also ensure a safe. Stiff ride even off road.
8.1 kilograms – a bike for the light shoulder
The total weight is just 8.1 kilograms – so if necessary, the bike can also be shouldered sometimes. The Crosser can be driven well on different surfaces. The DTS Swiss carbon wheels run smoothly and, together with the Schwalbe X-One Allround Evolution tires, cushion small bumps. Important: The air pressure must not be too high and should be a maximum of 4.8 bar. In the test 33-millimeter tires were driven. Frame and fork are designed for a width of up to 37 millimeters. Narrower racing wheels can also be used. This allows a high degree of flexibility.
Despite all the damping properties – the more uneven the surface, the more it is felt. Strong impacts are passed on to the rider, and on cobblestones or stony paths you get a good shaking. Because off-road shifting is more frequent to keep in rhythm, a good rear derailleur is required. The electronic Shimano gearshift solves the task with aplomb. It reacts lightning fast and clean. A total of 22 gears is basically enough. For extreme slopes, however, a larger gear ratio would be desirable – when nothing goes, you have to push.
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In many places it becomes clear that the advantage of the crosser is also its disadvantage: it is not specialized. In extreme terrain it sometimes seems overtaxed, on paved roads the increased rolling resistance is noticeable. Cyclocrossers and gravel bikes are not a perfect symbiosis of mountain bikes and road bikes, but a separate category of bicycle that opens up new possibilities. In the best case one does not saddle around, but extends the own vehicle park. However, a lot of "grit" or "gravel" is required for this – at least when it comes to the Super Prestige Di2: The list price is 4000 euros.