QUESTION: I recently bought a Giant TCX cyclocross bike with tubeless tires. I really enjoy the bike and would like to ride it as a road bike as well. Is it better to buy another wheelset with 25s on it, or buy a new bike for the road? My TCX currently has 33s. – Jeff K
RBR ANSWER: There’s a formula in cycling for the correct number of bicycles to own, which N + 1. The N variable is the current number of bicycles that you already have. So according to that formula, we’d never discourage you from buying a road bike too.
In all seriousness though, it’s perfectly acceptable to ride your cyclocross bike as a road bike and just use a spare set of wheels with narrower road tires. We’ve covered this before with a similar question about whether it’s ok to use a gravel bike as your road bike.
The only issue I see with your TCX cyclocross bike setup is that with the single chainring upfront, you might be a little bit under-geared when the going gets fast in a group. I noticed that some of the TCX bikes have a 42 tooth ring. So you’d run into trouble if you tried to race on it, because it’s likely you’ll run out of gears and spin out once you get faster than 25 mph, unless you’re very good at riding with a high cadence.
You could always put a bigger chainring in the front to get the higher gears, but that might lead to also needing a wider range cassette in the back, if you still wanted to have the same low gears for steep cyclocross climbs.
One final option. It’s also perfectly fine to just ride on the road with the wider cyclocross tires and wheels that you already have. Sure, they’ll slow you down a little bit with the extra tire width and the knobbies. But the larger air volume of the tire combined with more rubber on the road gives you a very comfortable ride, with lots of braking power. If you’re just road riding casually and not trying to break any speed records, then you’re ok to use it as-is.