Riding a Cyclocross/Gravel Bike on Trails

This video discusses riding a cyclocross or gravel bike on mountain bike trails. I discuss the benefits and give some tips for doing this.


James Coyne says:

Could be mistaken, but this looks like Santos.

W Egg says:

Clint you may not have this issue in the FL, but I am in Middle TN and a trail bike rider, any suggestions for cold weather(35-45 degree) riding gear (specifically legs and core) layering and best type clothes to layer with?

Leek says:

Riding on trails gets me moving my bodyweight around more and picking the best lines for traction.

Another thing to look out for is wildlife. Kangaroos, wombats, snakes, lizards, ant mounds… Lots to be wary of.

Mark T says:

Wow, you’d go faster on that cross bike than I would on an MTB down a similar trail. Nice.

stevesnailfish says:

Just what I used my CX bike for earlier today……Made a pleasant change from using my 29er hardtail on my local trails/gravel/dirt etc around the north and west of Peterborough, England.
I agree with Clint on the fact that your core gets a workout….Put it this way, you know you’ve ridden trails on a CX….your arms takes up a set of suspension forks to soak up rooty and rocky sections….
Good video Clint

JB? b says:

Would this damage a cyclocross bike?

Prastt says:

What pressure do you use specifically? I usually race at around 23psi but races here are proper mud fests. My first time on a MTB trail I got a snake puncture in less than 10min. After that I pumped up to 60 psi but I don’t really know what a proper pressure should be

XC Painter says:

Cross bikes are a blast on mountain bike trails because you can accelerate so fast and go faster than the bike can handle a lot of times.

Al Duarte says:

Yes I do use My Cannondale Super X cantilever brakes on gravel rides; just use some 30mm Challenge Strata Bianca and bingo!

TheProjectX3 says:

I loved to ride marathon track on CX bike but it felt so harsh not for me but for the bike. However, I was only few minutes slower compared to MTB over an hour ride, riding like that gave me confidence. Probably because I’m not that great on tech sections so I wasn’t any slower on CX but was way faster on straights!

Yan Doroshenko says:

I don’t ride my cross or gravel bike on trails. Why? Because I don’t have a cross or gravel bike.

Ryan Docena says:

yep! that is the reason why I have a mountain bike and a CX bike so you could do both disciplines full time. Great job man!

Eva Maria Fünfgeld says:

Lokk at the Black Forest ! We love it !!!

axxxxman says:

I dont have a cross bike but sometimes I pump up the tires and ride my mountain bike on paved trails. scares the hell out of people.

Michael McFadden says:

I took my CX bike on a pretty rough trail recently having never been on trails on ANYTHING before and it was terrifying – my feet were on the floor regularly! I need to work on my skills on easier terrain but will be on the trail again because it was also a lot of fun 🙂

Larry Conger says:

eMTBs are the things u need to be looking into, most of us work 40-60 hr weeks, Don’t be scared homey, every major bike company has them, even your Giant lol  work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, pls encourage and entertain us with new tech also with your vast amounts of MTB knowledge.

george webster says:

Totally agree there is no bike that does it all.

Frank Mash says:

I ride my gravel bike on singletrack and MTB trails. Done slow and methodical, it is fun and a challenge although you will get some strange looks. The one area that I find the most limiting and hard to get comfortable with is steep descents on loose rooted/rocky trails. On a properly fitted drop bar primarily used on the flat, it is hard to get back far and low enough to shift enough weight back to the rear, tilt your heels down and still maintain the required good grip in the hoods so you can still brake. This leads to the front being a little heavy and reducing the traction in the rear on a rear tire that probably doesn’t have much tread to begin with and the front brake on the verge of locking or kicking out at any time. Also drop bar is narrower reducing your torque so ruts and roots can move the bars around a little more and lack of suspension means you will be bouncing around reducing the braking even more. All add up to a wild ride down those hills. I find going back up those same hills more fun and less tumblesome. +1 on the pedal strikes too. You get used to what you can do and compensate easily on the flat and corners but on an uphill where stopping momentum is not an option, you just have to chance it.

Robert Trageser says:

Just get out and ride. Ride trails on the bike you currently have! You dont need the latest and greatest to be a better rider. Just ride! Ive been doing it on road bikes for years before mtbs. Try fixed gear cx. Now THATS fun!

Tommi Kivimäki says:

That’s so fun to do. It makes local trails more interesting and challenging to ride.

Kerry Vincent says:

Great vid Clint

Tales from the Greenway says:

Great video, you’re very well spoken.

LEvi Howard says:

I never owned a cyclocross gravel bike

Paganiproductions says:

many i am looking to convert my rigid singles speed hardtail to monstercross would that make sense i am want also to use my for commute to work if i don’t sell it

The Gefster says:

By the way Cint… Glad you are ok…. and a secondary that your bike seems to be ok.  Thanks for responding.  Have you ever done a “How to crash” video or “Accident prevention” video specifically off road and looking yourself as well as your bike over.  Thanks again

Erwin Meulman says:

A hardtail MTB slope frame has mostly a 30-40cm seat-post, a gravel / cyclocross a 20-25cm, I have a VCLS carbon split seatpost on my race and a Syntace carbon Hiflex on my 29er, for my body health a longer seat-post is better (more flex), so no gravel / cyclocross bike for me on a MTB trail.

Michael Glidewell says:

I think this really depends on what your “easy” local MTB trails are like, when Santa Cruz was hosting a local demo day I took their cyclocross bike out on what I consider our milder singletrack MTB trail and then on a mild Jeep road and it was just not any fun, mainly because the skinny tires just didn’t have any traction in the loose rocky sections or the sandy smooth sections … so for the southwest desert where I live I don’t see any use for a cyclocross/gravel bike, dropbar hardtail MTB like a Salsa Cutthroat maybe but not a cyclocross/gravel bike with skinny tires

victor arana says:

After doing this a lot, I’ve found that bunny hops are just second nature now since I just do a small, swift hop over roots and rocks instead of the usual one wheel one wheel over so I don’t have to slow down. Lot of small things it helps you with that you don’t realize until you’re out racing cx one day.

INTP tracks says:

I have decided to buy specialized diverge a1 sport 2017.How do you rate it? Are there any alternatives? Is November month perfect for cycle purchasing especially during thanksgiving ? Your suggestions will be quite handy. Thank you

Velofil says:

Handposition on the drops is great for climbing and in relatively smooth terrain, at least for my riding style. Great video as always!

The Gefster says:

Clint…. nice video…. Curious if you have had any wipeouts without going over the handlebars and  scratched up anything on your bike… Just had my first wipeout on new gravel bike… Small scratch on shifter… Made me so mad!  Any scratches on your bikes?  LOL common and make me feel better!

drew Gilker says:

how about flat bars on cx i did it on my road bike

QuebecClassicRock says:

Thanks for the info mate, really useful. I’m about to buy a new bike and I just discovered the Gravel/Cross world. I think it fits perfectly my needs but it’s good to know that I cannot go in every trails I want.

Mariusz Muszak says:

The only bike I can ride is a road and cx bike. Any other bike different the the first ones are only toys. When riding mtb trails I feel well only on my cx bike

Grantland Gamster says:

I am running 50psi rear 47psi front on a 37c tire. I have run 33c, 37, 40c, and am now trying 38c tires. I find that if you go much above a 40c you start feeling like you have the resistance of a MTB I am hoping a high volume 38 is the answer. I run 4oz of Orange Endurance per tire and I have good luck. I always use the drops for almost every downhill (Soma Condor bars are ba) and I am on the hoods for climbing. The flats I change it up a lot so my hands stay fresh. I have a 6hr endurance mtb race this weekend and I will be racing my stigmata. I am faster on my CX in tight single track than I am my Jeffsy 140mm mtb.

Daniel Torres R. says:

My last crash was going down in a slow and technical mountain. My front wheel (35 cm) bump into a big root that was going parallel to the path, therefore it was not a direct impact with the root, but a collision of the external face of my wheel into the border of root. Kind of hard but exiting, that’s why I keep going, but now, stronger.


Do u not wear gloves Clint?

Geordo1960 says:

I know this is off topic but Clint I know you have experience in this: I have decided to pair down to riding my Trance 2 only as it does everything I need in a mountain bike . I have a 2017 Anthem 2 and 2017 Motobecane trail bike for sale. How do you sell your bicycles?

XC Painter says:

I ride my older cann x7 cross on dirt bike trails, in mountanous terrain. I used to do hybrid rides where my buddy rode his dirtbike (xr200) and I rode my mtn or cross bike and we’d go all over. I would end up running or hiking up rocky dirtbike climbs as a good workout and conditioning for cross races.

Connie Back says:

I have a TCX and I’m trying to figure out if it is okay to be riding it on some of the rougher trails near me and if my setup is adequate. Should I lower my seat on trails? Should I be clipped in to hop over tree roots? I’m currently using platform pedals.

PHAM says:

Hey Clint, loving those trails! Keep those videos coming! Anyway, I left a sub. Stay safe! All the best, Philipp from PHAM

Ryan K says:

CX vs gravel tire choice depends on the surface. I used to get away with gravel tires when riding on mtb trails on my gravel bikes in Colorado Springs. I used Clement MSO and Kenda Flintridge. The knobs on both are pretty tightly packed and now that I’m in northern Michigan the gravel tires just don’t hook up as well. Any preferences on knobbier CX tires?

Bas Hartman says:

Great video Clint! Really nailed it here!

Michael Moore says:

I have a Trek crossrip 1, and I ride it on everything, group rides on the road and single track in the woods. All you really need to do is know your bikes limitations and ride accordingly.

David Obi Jr says:

sure looks a lot like San Felasco

 Write a comment


Do you like our videos?
Do you want to see more like that?

Please click below to support us on Facebook!