If you enjoy the thrill of off-road biking, cyclocross is a great challenge of your riding skills; traditionally taking place in (though not confined to) the autumn and winter months, courses are typically hilly, muddy and fraught with obstacles. The best bit is that cyclocross is designed for racing bikes, so having the ability to speed around all these hurdles is a massive factor – making the sport a somewhat exhilarating experience!
If you’re on the lookout for cyclocross bikes; whether you’re a seasoned rider, new to the sport or just need one for the everyday commute, we will have everything you need here at AW Cycles. As a leading provider of high-performance cycles we can supply bikes that have been made to fit your particular requirements.
On first glance, a cyclocross bike looks similar to a road bike – however, there are other features that make them uniquely different, more suited to the purpose of riding on multiple types of terrain. These features include the design of the frame, brakes, gears, pedals, and the tyres – knowing what to look out for will help you to refine your options.
The frames of cyclocross bikes have been adapted from those made for standard road bikes. This can be seen in the increased clearances on the frame and fork – this is done so you’re able to use higher-volumed tyres to provide an increased grip on different terrain. It also allows the wheels to keep turning, even when they’re carrying large quantities of mud and debris.
The frame’s geometry is another sign; a cyclocross bike has relaxed geometry angles to provide them with a more upright position than a road bike. The position it lends will help with shock absorption off-road, while also allowing you to utilise the bike across multiple disciplines (such as touring and commuting).
The material of modern high-end racing bike frames will always-nearly be made from carbon fibre. This is due to its lightweight and vibration absorbing characteristics – ideal for a bike that’s intended to traverse across different types of terrain at high speeds! Other materials that are common in cyclocross frames are steel and aluminium; designed to provide a lower-budget option, they are nevertheless extremely durable for riders who want to use it for touring or commuting.
Most modern road bikes will have their rear brake cables and front derailleur cables routed along the underside of the frame’s top tube; providing a neater look when you’re sat in the saddle. The difference with cables on cyclocross bikes is that they will often be routed along the top of the top tube or routed internally within the tubes. This is done to reduce the chance of them being affected by mud and water, as well as making the frame more comfortable to carry.
Most cyclocross bicycles will have a double chainset on the front, similar to how the gear of a road bike is set up. The difference is that they are lower geared; e.g. a 46 tooth large ring and a 36 tooth inside ring. This is designed to cope with the more extreme nature of off-road terrain explored by cyclocross riders. Some bike manufacturers have gone further, switching their cyclocross models to a single chaining setup – this is designed for the bike to have less clutter and therefore, able to gather less debris. Single chaining setups are also lighter and reduce instances of mechanical failure.
With large amounts of mud, grass and sand to ride over, the brakes on a cyclocross bike will experience the most challenging conditions of all bicycle brakes. Usually, cyclocross bikes were fitted with v-brake or cantilever options; these provide more mud clearances than the calliper brakes of standard road bikes. However, when challenged by wet, muddy conditions, they would still tend to clog up and their effectiveness would be reduced.
Today, there has been an increasing number of cyclocross bicycles that are fitted with either cable or hydraulic disc brakes. These move the braking surface away from the rim, reducing the potential for contamination from surface mud/water. Also, they allow for increased tyre clearance as there is no brake bridge required on the seat stays or forks.
As mentioned, the tyres of a cyclocross bike will have a higher volume than those of the average road bike – done so to provide increased grip, cushioning and puncture resistance. Tyres designed for cyclocross will typically be tubular or tubeless; this reduces the chances of the inner tube from being punctured by the rim whenever the bike makes a heavy impact (otherwise known as ‘pinch flat punctures’).
As for the wheels, on a cyclocross they are reminiscent of those installed on a mountain bike, thanks to the higher spoke count. This provides the added strength and durability needed to progress across different terrain and the conditions they contain – making them ideal for not just high-performance racing, but the daily commute too.
Please continue to browse our selection of cyclocross bikes – click on each product to learn more about their specifications and materials. If you have any additional questions about our bikes or just need more advice on choosing the right model for you, our team are on hand to assist.Give us a call today on 0118 946 3050 or alternatively, you can reach us by e-mail at .