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Best Cyclocross Bikes 2021
A cyclocross bike is a drop-bar bike that is designed to be raced on off-road trails. Cross bikes have no suspension, and so to most people, they will look like a conventional road bike.
However, they are designed for a completely different purpose. With frame clearance to fit wider tyres and more compliant and comfortable tube shapes, cyclocross can be raced hard off-road and make the perfect adventure bike. Read our beginners guide to cyclocross.
What type of cyclocross bike should you buy?
There are numerous different types of cyclocross bikes. Some bikes are intended for out and out racing, but on the other hand, some cross bikes are more suited toward endurance cycling off-road.
Similar to road bikes, cyclocross bikes can be made out of either aluminium or carbon fibre. All of the bikes in this list use disk brakes and mechanically operated gears. How to train for cyclocross
However, some have the option to fit extra large tyres. Whilst other bikes have innovative handlebar designs. When purchasing a cyclocross bike, you should consider how you will use the bike and what sort of off-road cycling you want to do.
How much do you need to spend?
Budget level cyclocross bikes start at just under £1000, whilst the most expensive race-specific bikes can go all the way up to £5000.
However, you can get great value for money around the £1500-2500 range. Towards the budget end of the spectrum, bikes will feature an aluminium frame with carbon forks. As you spend more, the handlebar, cranks and wheels will also be made out of carbon fibre. Cyclocross tips and advice.
Ribble CX Tiagra
The best cyclocross bike on a budget – Ribble CX Tiagra
For most people, a cyclocross bike will be your first n+1 bike you buy after your first road bike. Or you could be buying a cyclocross bike to use to commute to work.
Well, the good news is that you do not need to splash out lots of cash to get your hands on a good cyclocross bike.
One of the best budget cyclocross bikes is the Ribble CX Tiagra. Costing just under £1000, it features a sturdy aluminium frame and carbon fork and reliable Mavic Aksium wheels with mechanical disk brakes.
The lightweight aluminium frame makes it easy to pick the bike up and shoulder it during a competitive race but will also mean that you can go and chase those Strava KOMS without the frame slowing you down.
The frame and fork combination is not the only thing we love about this bike. The bike has been designed to accommodate tyres up to a 35mm width providing you with confidence on those rough and technical trials whilst giving you a comfy ride when riding on the road.
The best all-rounder cyclocross bike – Cannondale SuperX
Every aspect of the bike design and geometry of the Cannondale generates confidence and comfort for its rider. The raked fork inspires incredible handling confidence allowing you to tackle rutted sections of trail with ease.
Both the forks and seat stays have been designed to be wider than most other cyclocross bikes meaning that you can easily use 40mm tyres in the frame without mud clearance issues.
Alongside the symmetrical chainstays, the super skinny 25.4mm carbon Seatpost flexes just enough to make any off-road track feel like you are riding on the smoothest tarmac.
This clever seat post design alongside Cannondale’s SpeedSave seat-stays ensures that you will be equally comfortable on an all-day adventure and in the heat of a race.
At this price point, the bike is equipped with SRAM’s Force 1 groupset with a one-by drivetrain with a wide-ratio cassette on the back, ensuring that you will have gearing for every eventually.
Specialized CruX Expert
The best cyclocross bike for racing purists (with deep pockets) – Specialized CruX Expert
The Specialized CruX Expert is the same bike as used by the Specialized cyclocross and gravel teams. There is a reason why those teams are so successful.
The full carbon fibre frame and forks are exceptionally lightweight and are the perfect compromise between stiffness and off-road comfort and compliance.
The crux is based on the FACT 11r carbon frame and fork and comes standard in the yellow to orange sunset fade paint job, which looks spectacular and will stand out from other monotone bikes in those muddy races.
The crux is kitted out with Sram Force 1 by drivetrain, with the gearing suited to the quicker racer end of the off-road gearing spectrum.
The bike comes equipped with a carbon fibre Praxis Zayante crankset which is super stiff and will convert all of your pedaling force to forward momentum.
The wheels are provided by Specializes’ in-house component brand roval and are the c38 disk brake model. The design and geometry of the bike lends itself to be focused more on racing.
Additionally, due to the lightweight nature of the bike and the steep tube angles, the bike handles incredibly well. However, with the enormous 40mm tyre clearance, this bike could take on some tough technical trials if that’s more of what you are into. Jacks experience of tackling the bowl.
Canyon Grail cf sl 7
Is it a gravel bike or a cyclocross bike – Canyon grail cf sl 7
The grail is focused on gravel riding, but that does not mean that it can not handle some cyclocross fun.
This bike raised a few eyebrows when it was first released due to its innovative “hover bar”. However, it should be considered if you are wanting to buy a true do it all gravel bike.
The cf sl 7 model is Canyon’s cheapest full carbon frame option in the range of off-road drop handlebar bikes. The bike is matched with Shimano’s specific mechanical gravel groupset GRX.
This GRX groupset features a mechanically operated 2×11 drivetrain that can also be set up as 1×11.
With gravel-specific chainrings and a wide-ranging cassette, you are sure to have the gearing to suit the fastest of bridleways whilst having those emergency gears to get you up those super steep hills.
The Grial has a compact frame geometry with a slightly sloping tube. Like some of the other bikes in this blog post, the grail has huge tyre clearance and can easily accommodate up to 40mm tyres when using standard 700c wheels.
However, the grail has a trick up its sleeve, you can also fit 650b wheels which are a smaller diameter and with these, you can easily fit small mountain bike tyres.
Perfect for when you want to push the limits of what gravel cycling is and take a drop-bar bike on the roughness of trails.
The ability to fit two different wheel diameters in one frame makes the grail super versatile as the bike can be set up as a cyclocross race bike and a do it all adventure bike.
The only downside to this bike is the funky looking handlebar. The “Hover bar” as canyon refers to it, is similar to a conventional drop bar. However, it has two top sections which elevate the hoods.
This technical feature is designed to soak up unwanted vibrations from broken tarmac and rough unpaved surfaces, improving cycling comfort.
If you are searching for a bike that can hold its own at the front of a cyclocross competition and produce all-day comfort, then the grail is one of the best choices on the market. Top mountain biking routes in wales.
Cube cross race pro 2022
The Cube is the newest bike on this list. So new in fact that it is next year’s model. The cross-race pro is based around a lightweight aluminium frame with full internal cable routing.
The bike also features a carbon fork to help iron out those unwanted vibrations when cycling on cracked tarmac or off-road. For just £1699, you truly get a lot for your money with the cross-race pro.
The bike comes equipped with Shimano’s ever-dependable 2×11 105 groupset with hydraulic flat mount disc brakes.
You can tell that Cube has played close attention to detail with this bike and have looked to set it up for racing right out of the box.
Unlike some other cyclocross bikes at this price point, the cross-race pro features cyclocross-specific chainring sizes using the 46x36t blend with an 11-34t cassette.
Which will enable you to lead the front of your local race and have more than sufficient easier gears to tackle the steepest hills you could ever find.
One of the only downsides about this bike is the tyre clearance. With the bike being so focused on maximizing race performance, the frame can only accommodate a maximum tyre width of 33mm, which is the maxim cyclocross tyre width set by the UCI for professional racing, But if you don’t need super-wide tyres or you want a dedicated cyclocross race bike, then it is difficult to look beyond the cross-race pro. Best Cycling routes in UK
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