Cyclocross bikes: what are they like to ride?

Words by Mark

on 28/08/2014 09:31:47

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Cyclocross bikes are designed specifically for cyclocross racing on courses of very mixed (often rough) terrain, with obstacles and places where the bike needs to be carried. But the combination of light weight and sturdiness of these road bikes makes them a very versatile, and increasingly popular, choice for more than just cyclocross racers. 'Cross bikes are a great choice for riders looking to explore the road (or path) less travelled, especially when budget (and space) doesn't allow for a different bike for every style of ride.

Cyclocross bikes tend to be lightweight but tough, with narrow tyres and drop handlebars. They soak up the bumps on a cross-country ride, but also deliver pace on the road, and are light enough to sling over your shoulder when you need to hop over a fence or race up a near-vertical slope. Riding position is similar to a road bike, crouched over the handlebars for speed.

The latest models (2014 onwards) are increasingly appearing with mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes, allowing for fast, responsive braking, even in wet, muddy, bumpy conditions.

Browse our range of cyclocross bikes >


The 2015 Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 Cyclocross Bike


  • Cyclocross bikes combine speed with ruggedness and are highly versatile.
  • Handlebars are often dropped, racing bike style.
  • Cyclocross bikes are tough, designed to take a pounding over rutted tracks and obstacles.
  • They're also lightweight, since cyclocross tracks include fences or near-vertical ascents where you'll need to carry your bike for short distances.
  • Thin but grippy tyres will help you through the mud and on hills but also give you a turn of speed on roads.


?Anyone from complete beginner to seasoned cyclist.



?Off-road exploring

?Multi-purpose cycling

?Cyclocross competitions


You're consistently going off-road (see mountain bikes)

You need to carry lots of luggage or want a comfortable ride (see hybrid bikes or touring bikes)

You want an upright position on the bike (see hybrid bikes)

You have a need for speed (see road bikes)

Browse our range of cyclocross bikes >

Top pick

Our top pick for cyclocross at the moment is the fantastic Forme Calver, featuring Shimano 105 gears, carbon fork and disc brakes:

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