Cyclocross is currently one of the latest trends in road racing. It’s also known as cross-country racing and cycling. The cycling discipline is held almost exclusively in the autumn and winter months on unpaved, groomed tracks.
Our comprehensive buying guide will help you get started and show you what is important if you want to get a cyclocross bike.
What is cyclocross?
Cyclocross is an entertaining, intense form of cycling, which allows athletes to pass the time even in the colder seasons with exciting races.
In competitions, the discipline is often abbreviated as CX. No one cares about the right weather at the races. It does not matter if it rains, snows or hails – the races are still held and get their charm.
The courses lead over sand, snow or similar impassable terrain and surprise the drivers with numerous obstacles, jumps, Rock Gardens and damn steep climbs. It laps are driven, which are usually about 4km long and rarely exceed a total duration of about 45-60 min.
The versatile circuits demand a lot from the riders and, in addition to sufficient technical skills, also require a special bike that can cope with the harsh conditions and offers enough racing performance to keep up.
A cyclocross bike is strongly geared to the road bike, but has some features that set it apart from its asphalt brothers. The biggest advantage is the versatility: With a cyclocrosser you can comfortably commute to work, ride road bike tours and let off steam during off-road races.
Choosing the right Cyclocross bike
Similar to mountain bikes, cyclocross wheels are designed for off-road use, but their road bike geometry enables high speeds even on roads, making them the perfect everyday bike for every surface throughout the year.
Are you looking for a suitable cyclocross bike just in case? Then you are exactly right in our online bike shop with the largest selection!
At first glance, the cyclocross wheel differs only slightly from the classic road bike . It has 28-inch wheels, a sporty diamond frame and a racing wheel. The differences are in the detail, but are essential for the off-road capability of the bicycles. The most noticeable here are the brakes and the tires.
The most common brakes in cyclocross sport were until a few years ago cantilever brakes, as they are very torsionally stiff and insensitive to pollution by the short lever arms.
On the other hand, modern bikes tend to rely on disc brakes, which offer great advantages through better braking performance in bad weather. The usual in road cycling V-brakes are rarely used.
The wheels of the all-rounder have a grippy cleat profile and are significantly wider than that of the normal road bike to ensure the necessary traction in the field.
This is also urgently necessary, because the races literally lead over hill and dale. The short racetracks of about 3 km in length lead the riders through muddy forest roads, slippery meadows and bumpy paved roads, uphill and downhill in several laps
An overview of all the facts about cyclocross bikes:
- lightweight yet stable frame
- No disturbing additional components
- Reliable disc brakes, occasionally cantilever brakes
- Tire with lug profile for optimum grip in the terrain
- Rear triangle with increased tire clearance
Too steep climbs or obstacles on the roadway forces athletes to shoulder their Cyclocrossers in order to get ahead faster and jump back into the saddle after overcoming the hurdle.
As the shoulders and carrying of the device is an important part of the sport, the weight of the bike plays an important role – as with the racing bike too. Of course, lightweight cyclocross frames are easier to carry, but off-road the frame needs to withstand a lot and keep the bike safely on track.
To achieve this compromise, carbon frames are increasingly being used because, despite their low weight, they are very stiff and stable. However, most frames are still made of the much cheaper aluminum, steel and titanium frames are used less frequently.
Another conspicuousness: The top tube is not so much sloping on cyclocross bikes as on the classic road bike to make it easier for the riders to wear. They also have a longer wheelbase and a more upright seating position.
Higher tire clearance
The tires of cyclocross bikes are wider than the racing bike. The grobstolligen profiles help with traction and ensure good grip and a stable foundation. For this, of course, a higher tire clearance on the rear end or on the fork, so that the tires do not stick to the frame.
In addition, the additional space at the same time forgives all the mud and dirt that the tires can pick up on the way through muddy fields.
The higher tire clearance inevitably leads to a higher fork and thus to a higher overall front of the cyclocross wheel, which is also noticeable in the geometry and the general handling. The wheels are therefore not quite as direct as classic racing bikes.
In addition, interchangeable derailleurs are often used because the rear derailleur in rough terrain can ever be affected. Additional attachments such as water bottle holders or fenders are not provided as standard, as they impede the driver too much.
10 best cyclocross bikes for the money
This results from complex mechanical forming a light and stiff frame. The carbon fork, which was specially developed for cyclocross wheels, ensures precise steering behavior, absorbs vibrations and, together with the narrow seat stays, reduces fatigue.
The seating position is balanced thanks to the race-suitable geometry, the handling is both agile and stable. The Retrospec Bicycles AMOK-16 is suitable for almost everything: from the daily commuter ride, through training, to competitions. A real all-purpose weapon.
2. Takara Genkai Cyclocross Bike
With the Takara Genkai every trail is a temptation, even if it is not paved. The brand new bike combines the best features of our classic racing bikes with those of our cyclocrossers.
With 36 mm wide tires, the incredibly reliable Shimano 105 11-speed gearbox, matching hydraulic disc brakes and our on gravel roads designed cockpit, it is well equipped to continue even if other bikes have long since given up.
Whether you just want to add some variety to your workout or have already planned a long tour in a secluded area – the Takara Genkai will continue to ride with you as you thought possible!
A bike with which you can drive anywhere has to be comfortable and stable and to convey a safe driving feel even on less firm ground. The brand new fork of the Takara Genkai absorbs vibrations thanks to its carbon sheaths and thus increases the comfort even on long tours.
The geometry also matches that of our Attain series, which is designed for comfort, stability and playfulness.
On top of that, the sizes of our Takara Genkai series are borrowed, and the lightweight aluminum frame offers space for tires up to 40 mm wide and mud guards. Should the derailleur hanger become damaged, it can be easily replaced. Last but not least, the internal cable routing ensures smooth shifting, even if the wheel gets really dirty.
3. Raleigh Bikes RXS Single Speed Cyclocross Bike
The Raleigh Bikes RXS is the perfect mix of road bike and cross bike. Thus, tours of the paved road, up to the gravel-covered forest road with ease to deal with.
To attach up to 40mm wide tires to the new aluminum frame, the bike has a fork with carbon sheaths. In addition, the mechanical TRP Road Spyre disc brakes and the stable Shimano Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain ensure fast and safe driving. Thus, one is always ready for any tour.
The Raleigh Bikes RXS aluminum frame has been developed through years of experience manufacturing cycloscross bikes and racing bikes. Its stability, agility and comfort are due to the Attain series, while the sizes are the same as the race bikes.
In addition, up to 40mm wide tires, but also fenders can be attached, so you get safely and cleanly to your destination.
To ensure problem-free switching at all times, the cable guide is laid internally. In addition, you can easily replace the derailleur hanger. The carbon fork sheaths absorb the vibrations, enabling longer and more relaxed off-road driving. So up on the bike and off to the countryside!
4. State Bicycle Offroad Division Single Speed Cyclocross Standard Bike
The State Bicycle Offroad Division Single Speed is your universal bike for lonesome terrain. A Shimano drive, particularly robust Schwalbe G-One tires and Syncros components ensure that the Speedster Gravel 20 is up to any adventure.
For racing cyclists who do not like to dismount. Cyclocross enjoys more and more fans in two ways. On the one hand, it is the sport itself, in which heavy terrain is conquered with particularly sturdy racing wheels with studded tires, on the other hand, more and more classic racing cyclists are switching to these, yet lightweight and powerful bikes.
The much more robust versions are particularly suitable for use in wind and weather, in winter and for those who do not want to dismount with every obstacle.
The internal cables protect the sensitive components from dirt and water. Due to the specially shaped top tube and the cable guide, the bike can be shouldered particularly easily.
The material of the Superlite Advanced 6061 frame is molded using a novel mechanical process and achieves peak values in all categories. It is equipped with a hydraulic disc brake that brakes evenly and venomously under all conditions.
5. Extrbici XC550 Racing Road Bike
The Extrbici XC550 is a perfectly tuned, adaptable bike that will let you experience the best winter training, racing or road exploration.
For agility, comfort and playful handling, thanks to the Superlite aluminum frame and the carbon fork is well taken care of. The reliable Shimano 105 gearshift and powerful hydraulic disc brakes make this Gravel bike an attractive overall package.
The Extrbici XC550 is in a class of its own in terms of stiffness and steering precision – there are absolutely no exceptions. That’s why the frame is equipped with front and rear 12-mm thru-axles and a carbon fork, which is designed specifically for the requirements of Cyclocross.
In manufacturing the entire high-performance frame of the bike, 6061 Superlite Advanced Aluminum was used in the mechanical tube process.
For the best comfort, slim seatstays and carbon fork sheaths absorb vibrations. Thanks to the internal cable routing, the gear changes are perfectly protected against mud and water and thus can not be disturbed. The ergonomic top tube makes the bike easier to shoulder.
On the one hand, it is the sport itself, in which heavy terrain is conquered with particularly sturdy racing wheels with studded tires, on the other hand, more and more classic racing cyclists are switching to these, yet lightweight and powerful bikes.
The much more robust versions are particularly suitable for use in wind and weather, in winter and for those who do not want to dismount with every obstacle.
6. Marin Nicasio LE Gravel Bike
The Marin Nicasio LE Gravel Bike is the flagship of all cyclocross bikes. The high-quality, made of excellent C: 62 carbon frame, is equipped with impeccable components.
Included are the cyclocross carbon fork, the Mavic Aksium Allroad Disc wheels, the Schwalbe X-One folding tire and the new Shimano Ultegra groupset including hydraulic disc brakes. The ideal set for winning races on every track.
In order to be able to efficiently shift as cyclocrosser without problems, the frame has an internal cable routing. In addition, thanks to interchangeable inserts, it is possible to upgrade to an electronic circuit. The high-quality C: 62 frame is very light and promises a breathtaking performance.
To make it possible for everyone, Marin Nicasio LE Gravel Bike offers the bike in five different sizes. Thus, the right bike is for everyone and the adventure can begin.
7. Nashbar Alloy 105 Cyclocross Bike
With the Nashbar Alloy 105 Cyclocross Bike you can be on any road and in any weather. A lightweight HMX carbon fiber frame, Syncros components, durable Schwalbe G-One tires and Sram hydraulic disc brakes provide a sturdy companion ready for any adventure. You should go and discover it.
With wider tires, women-specific design, low standover height and two pairs of brakes, one pair in the lower link and a second pair of Liv-own, ergonomic brakes that are accessible from any angle.
The result is pure safety for every driver. As soon as you move the pedals, you will immediately feel that the Invite was made just for you. The light Invite is not work-shy – you can load it with wheel bags and make it a master accomplice for jaunts over land or through the city.
An advanced mechanical forming process has allowed the engineers to design the tubes to provide the ideal blend of stiffness and comfort.
Thanks to the ergonomically shaped top tube, the bike can also be worn more comfortably. The 12 mm thru-axles ensure maximum steering precision even under the toughest conditions. Comfort is ensured by the slim seatstays and the carbon fork, which absorbs vibrations.
To keep the circuit clean and precise, the trains are of course routed inside – and that’s just one of the many details that guarantee the best possible performance, whether on the road or off-road.
8. Transit Franklin 2 Urban Bike
The Transit Franklin 2 Urban Bike is an indispensable all-round randonneur. The comfortable and sturdy geometry, pannier rack mounts and fenders along with meaningful components make it the first choice for the commute, weekend adventure or occasional cyclocross or gravel races.
With the Transit Franklin 2 Urban, the price-conscious performance brand has once again demonstrated a sense of the essentials and launched a cutting-edge versatile gravel racer.
With its very good price-performance ratio and genuine understatement design, the Transit Franklin 2 Urban invites you to discover the possibilities of this young generation of cyclists yourself.
The sporty sitting position allows a brisk pace on paved and unpaved roads. High-quality 35 mm Schwalbe G-One folding tires on sturdy system wheels provide comfort, traction and puncture protection without having to slow down. With the new Shimano 2x 10 Tiagra Group, the transmission range for road and terrain is more than sufficient.
Experience the true road bike feeling on the road with the Transit Franklin 2 Urban, use the freedom to dodge the field and forest paths whenever you feel like it. Take off at cyclocross events or just enjoy a really fast yet rugged-comfortable bike for daily commute.
9. Bombtrack Arise 700C Cyclocross Bicycle
Thanks to the aluminum frame, Bombtrack Arise 700C is an extremely light and maneuverable road bike. On the other hand, the Carbon Fork and Shimano Claris/Sora attachments make it reliable in every situation, also on slippery surfaces.
A big advantage of this equipment is also a front fork made of carbon composite, which absorbs vibrations and provides stiffness during braking and cornering.
You can not forget about the great wheels with aluminum rims and Maxxis tires, which are ideal for asphalt driving. The bike is extremely attractive, which is due to a great weld, as well as cable guides inside the pipe.
In addition, thanks to the expanding steerer tube with a 1 1/8 “bearing at the top and 1.5” at the bottom and a stiffening head, the equipment control is more comfortable.
Thanks to a solid, lightweight construction with strong accessories, it is the best road bike on the market. Such construction and applied technologies have been appreciated by many cycling enthusiasts, positively assessing the product.
10. Gravity Liberty CX Shimano 24 Speed Aluminum Cyclocross Bike
Gravity Liberty CX is the last proposition with an incredibly aerodynamic frame, which was constructed based on the construction of the best racing bikes. This model has above all a lightweight aluminum frame, thanks to which it weighs only 10 kg.
It also guarantees great maneuverability of the bike while driving, and also makes it possible to move the equipment comfortably up the stairs.
The model also has very good accessories. Strong derailleur, comfortable saddle, brakes and cassette. All this guarantees us stability while driving, and additionally facilitates uphill climbs.
Shimano FD-A070 reliable rear and front derailleurs provide the ability to change gear while driving. Excellent Tektro Comp brakes are reliable while driving on wet surfaces. Excellent maneuverability is ensured not only by the lightweight construction, but also by the very good Syncros steering wheel.
An important factor ensuring safe driving are tires, in this model we have a reliable Schwalbe Racepac 700x25C. The bike is available in various sizes. Thanks to such a technical specification, many cyclists have gained favor.