By far and large, cyclocross bikes are the ultimate all-terrain bicycles. Whether it’s smooth or rough, flat or steep, serious cycling or fun cycling, nothing beats a cross bike, popularly known as a cyclocross bike. But, what is a cyclocross bike good for?
Cyclocross bikes were initially designed for racing over rough off-road and carrying them over obstacles; an event popularized as cyclocross racing. Nowadays, these bikes are a decent choice for commuting, road riding, triathlon, off-road adventures, and touring.
Primarily, their versatility is due to their unique design. These bikes look like road bikes and are nearly as fast as road bikes, but unlike road bikes, they have the geometry and natural toughness of a gravel bike.
With a few modifications, a cyclocross bicycle can be your ultimate multi-purpose two-wheel. We’ll talk about its uses in detail and compare it with others.
In a hurry? Below is our most recommended cyclocross bicycles:
5 Best Cyclocross Bikes
- Raleigh Bikes RX 2.0 – Best Overall for Cyclocross Racing
- Raleigh Bikes RXS – Best for Road Riding and Racing
- Motobecane Fantom 4130 – Best for Commuting
- Diamondback 2013 Steilacoom – Best for Off-road
- State Bicycle Co. Cyclocross Bike – Best for Touring
What Is A Cyclocross Bike Good For?
Generally, a cyclocross bicycle is best for these uses:
1. Cyclocross Racing
Cyclocross bicycles were initially designed for cyclocross racing, and that remains their primary use. The races involve different challenging off-road courses and obstacles.
The bikes’ relaxed geometry, robust wheels, puncture-resistant wide tires, and flattened underside top tubes make them perfect for cyclocross events.
While the Raleigh Bikes RX 2.0 is the most impressive of the lot, there are so many fantastic cyclocross bicycles online for consideration.
2. Road Riding And Racing
Cyclocross bikes come with lighter frames just like road bikes to allow you to ride fast on-road.
Their wheels are also as skinny as those of a road bike, and they enjoy the road bicycle’s drop bar, which makes them aerodynamic.
So, is a cyclocross bike good for road riding? There’s no doubt about it, and one bike that exemplifies that is the Raleigh Bikes RXS.
Cyclocross bicycles enjoy a more relaxed geometry than traditional road bicycles. That means you can ride them more upright, which is essential when commuting on a two-wheel.
A cyclocross bicycle like the Motobecane Fantom 4130 illustrates that. Its geometry makes it perfect for both genders, and riders get to ride upright and comfortably over long-distance.
Another best cyclocross bike for commuting, though for women, is the Raleigh Bike RXW.
4. Off-Road Adventures
A cyclocross bicycle is a fantastic choice for off-road.
They enjoy a frame with a larger clearance to accommodate larger tires. Plus, their tires have more traction, thus perfect off-road.
One cyclocross that exemplifies that is the Diamondback 2013 Steilacoom.
The fact that cyclocross bicycles are for cyclocross racing means they are also perfect for triathlon.
Since these bikes are an all-terrain choice, they make it easy for triathlon athletes to train both on-road and off-road.
Simply put, they offer riders the best skill test across varying terrains, thus perfect for triathlon.
Are you asking, ‘is a cyclocross bike good for touring?’
Cyclocross bicycles feature wheels with a high spoke count to give them strength, endurance, and durability. A majority of their tires also tend to resist pinch flats.
For those reasons, these bikes are a decent choice for touring.
One bike that typifies that is the State Bicycle Co. Cyclocross Bike.
Why Get A Cyclocross Bike?
Since you now know what a cyclocross bicycle is good for, here are the general reasons why you should get one.
- Versatile bike – Cyclocross cycles are the closest thing you can get to a road bike and gravel bike combo. So, their versatility is unmatched, given that they work well on-road and off-road.
- Fast ride – A cyclocross is probably the quickest bike off-road. While a road bike dominates paved surfaces in speed, cyclocross bicycles rule off-road.
- Better riding skill – Riding a cyclocross cycle makes you a more confident and skilled cyclist. Understandably, that’s because you face an array of challenging terrains that you have to conquer.
- Best winter bike – Cyclocross bicycles have more tire clearance and a longer wheelbase to resist snow drag and surface skidding, respectively. As a result, they are the best winter bikes.
- Fun ride – Cyclocross racing is more of a fun sport than a competitive race. The fact that you can ride over rocks, mud, and snow means you can have optimal fun outdoors.
Comparing Cyclocross Bicycles With Other Bikes
a) Cyclocross Vs Mountain Bike
A cyclocross bicycle is designed for cyclocross racing, and the race usually is challenging.
So, a cyclocross has the geometry and physical build to tolerate harsh conditions. That goes for mountain bikes, which are perfectly crafted for off-road.
But, how do you choose between them?
To answer that, you have to ask yourself, ‘Where do I want to use the bike predominantly?’
Given that a cyclocross leans more towards a road bike, it’s best when you want to ride on-road principally. But if you favor riding off-road more, then a mountain bike is a better choice.
A mountain bike comes with suspension and large knobby tires that make it perfect off-road. A cyclocross, in contrast, has skinner tires and a much lighter frame for easy navigation on paved roads.
b) Cyclocross Vs Gravel Bike
Gravel bikes, as the name is suggesting, are intended for gravel surfaces. But still, you can use them on forest trails, rocky grounds, bumpy roads, and other challenging surfaces.
In addition to riding these bikes off-road, you can also ride them on paved surfaces, making them an all-terrain and all-purpose cycle.
So, choosing between a cyclocross and a gravel bike depends on what you predominantly want to use the bike for.
Generally, just like an MTB, a gravel bike leans towards the off-road more, while a cyclocross leans towards the paved roads more. That’s evident in the frame design, tire type, and gear range.
Here are important notes:
- A cyclocross frame is lighter than that of a gravel bike to encourage fast riding on-road.
- Cyclocross bicycle tires are optimized for speed, while the tires of a gravel bike are optimized for off-road.
- Cyclocross bicycles have a narrow gear range for short, challenging courses, while gravel bikes have a wide gear range to tackle varying terrains.
c) Cyclocross Vs Road Bike
From its name, a road bike is designed for road cycling. So, it’s only best for riding and racing on paved roads.
A cyclocross, in contrast, works both on-road and off-road. Thus, you can use a cyclocross as a road bike but not vice versa.
Both bikes combine maneuverability and optimal speed, but you are likely to go much faster on a cyclocross than on a road bike.
Design-wise, these two bikes show some differences in their brakes, gears, wheels, and frame geometry.
Here are important notes:
- Cyclocross bicycles come with either disc or cantilever brakes to suit both dry and wet conditions. Road bikes, in contrast, only come with caliper brakes, which are only best for paved roads.
- Cyclocross bicycles come with lower gears, while road bikes enjoy higher gears.
- Road bike wheels are slicker, about 20-28mm, while those of cyclocross bikes are slightly wider, about 30-40mm.
- Cyclocross bicycles have a more relaxed geometry for upright cycling, while road bikes have a more aggressive geometry for a more aerodynamic posture.
d) Cyclocross Bike Vs Hybrid Bike
Cyclocross bicycles and hybrid bikes have a lot in common, making the line between them somehow blurry.
For starters, both bikes are best off-road and on-road. They can take on the urban roads and forest trails just comfortably.
They also enjoy a more relaxed geometry for a more upright posture but also offer you drop bars for aerodynamic cycling.
But still, there are a few things that set them apart.
You’ll realize that while a cyclocross shares most of its features with a road bike, a hybrid combines the elements of a road bike with those of a mountain bike.
So, the biggest difference is in their riding experience. You are more likely to ride faster, especially on-road, with a cyclocross than a hybrid.
The tires of a hybrid bike are slightly wider, which means the bicycle favors you more off-road than on-road.
The other difference is the brake. While hybrid bikes favor v-brakes more, cyclocross bicycles lean more towards disc brakes.
Overall, disc brakes are more potent than v-brakes but call for more maintenance.
1. What Is A Cyclocross Bike Used For?
Cyclocross bikes are initially designed for cyclocross courses, where you have to go through mud, rocks, and sometimes snow. You also go through obstacles.
But still, these bikes are nowadays used for touring, triathlon, commuting, road riding, and off-road adventures.
2. Are Cyclocross Bikes Good For Road Riding?
Cyclocross bikes come with drop bars, lighter frames, and slightly skinny tires, just like road bikes to encourage easy riding on roads.
So, yes, cyclocross bikes are perfect for road riding.
But still, their design also makes them ideal for off-road use.
3. Is A Cyclocross Bike Good For Commuting?
The fact that cyclocross bikes are road bikes optimized for off-road means they are an all-terrain choice. For that reason, they are commuter-friendly.
These bikes are skinnier and faster than mountain bikes and hybrid bikes and enjoy an upright geometry for comfortable commuting.
4. Can I Use A Cyclocross Bike As A Gravel Bike?
Cyclocross bicycles look more like road bikes than gravel bikes, but they share a few similarities with gravel bikes.
For starters, they have robust wheels and stronger frames like gravel bikes. As a result, you can easily use them on gravel roads.
So, yes, you can use a cyclocross as a gravel bike and even vice versa.
5. Is Road Bike Faster Than Cyclocross?
Though cyclocross bicycles look like road bikes and can move seamlessly on-road like road bikes, they are not as speedy as road bikes.
Therefore, a road bike is the fastest option as it’s generally unrivaled when riding fast.
6. Should I Get A Cyclocross Or Mountain Bike?
While a cyclocross can conquer the off-road, it’s no match for a mountain bike.
On-road, however, a cyclocross has the upper hand over a mountain bike.
Its speed, comfort, and maneuverability are almost unrivaled.
7. Is A Cyclocross Bike Good For Touring?
A cyclocross bicycle is a versatile two-wheel. It can withstand a variety of cycling terrains, thanks to its robust build and relaxed geometry. So, you can comfortably use it for touring.
After all, it has the road bike’s maneuverability and speed and a gravel bike’s off-road toughness.
8. Can You Ride A Cyclocross Bike On The Road?
A cyclocross bike comes with the same skinny tires and drop bars as a road bike. All that makes it suitable for on-road use.
So, yes, you can comfortably ride a cyclocross bicycle on the road, just like a road bike.
9. Should I Get A Road Bike Or Cyclocross?
If you only plan to ride on a paved road, then getting a road bike is advisable. It’s optimized for fast riding and ease of navigation, things you need to ride on-road.
The problem is that a road bike is not best for off-road, but a cyclocross bicycle is. Therefore, go for a cyclocross bicycle if you want a bike that can take on all terrains.
10. Is A Cyclocross Bike Good For Triathlon?
Considering that cyclocross bicycles were initially designed for short courses, there isn’t much difference with preparing for a triathlon.
The bike can take all terrains, something typical with triathlon events, and allows you to build more endurance.
11. Can A Cyclocross Bike Be Used For Touring?
The versatility of a cyclocross bicycle and its endurance and power makes it suitable for touring, among other exploits.
You may have to make a few adjustments like upgrading the seat to improve your comfort or switch to puncture-proof tires if they are lacking.
So, what is a cyclocross bike good for? In summary, cyclocross bicycles are suitable for cyclocross racing, road riding, touring, commuting, triathlon, and off-road adventures.
They are just the perfect multi-purpose and all-terrain cycles.