Autumn is officially here, and it brings with it one of the most exciting race blocks of the year. Cyclocross (CX) is a discipline which has surged in popularity in recent years. Its spiritual home can be found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where its favourite sons pass around the rainbow stripes each year. Far from being confined to mainland Europe, though, CX is spreading fast. The ‘cross scenes of the US, Australia and the UK have provided the sport with some incredibly exciting talent, and it is taking hold of amateur riders too. Here are five fantastic options to get cracking in the discipline, or to take the step from recreational rider to racer:
Trek Crossrip 2 Charcoal 2018
The Trek Crossrip is a not a dedicated cyclocross bike, but is versatile enough that it would suit a rider wanting to combine their on and off-road aspirations into a single bike. The Crossrip benefits from all-road geometry, massive tyre clearance and drop handlebars; a model with serious versatility. This machine would be perfectly suited to a rider looking for one bike which will cope with riding on all sorts of terrain. Its alloy frame features mudguard mounts and internal cable routing for a clean aesthetic. It is complemented by a robust Bontrager wheelset and Shimano Tiagra groupset. Tektro mechanincal disc brakes round off a brilliantly confident bike for all seasons.
Trek Crockett 5 Disc 2018
The first dedicated cyclocross bike on this list, the Crockett’s Alpha Aluminium frame with its CX race geometry is developed with the world’s fastest pro racers in mind. Tubeless-ready wheels from Trek’s in-house component brand Bontrager sit beneath the frame and its disc brakes provide precision stopping power in even the worst conditions. The SRAM Rival 1 one-by drivetrain – i.e. just one chainring at the front – is versatile and confidence-inspiring, ideal for tough and technical cyclocross courses in bad weather conditions.
Specialized Crux Elite X1 2018
The Specialized Crux range has undergone a design overhaul to turn it into an out-and-out race bike for 2018. The Fact 11r carbon frame features race-ready ‘cross geometry and comes equipped with thru-axles, ample rear spacing and takes advantage of Specialized’s highest quality carbon production methods. In short, the Crux is a bike which is as responsive as it is lightweight. Once again, the one-by setup and SRAM Rival gearing waves goodbye to front derailleurs and welcomes hassle-free riding with open arms.
Trek Boone 7 Disc 2018
The Boone is Trek’s marquee CX bike, raced by some of the top athletes in the sport. Indeed, it featured as the BikeRadar Editor’s Choice Award Winner, which pits it against the best bikes in its class. The OCLV Carbon frame features integrated IsoSpeed decouplers at front and rear to smooth the rough roads and trails, and it is even equipped with hidden mudguard mounts and internal cable routing. A SRAM Force 1 one-by setup provides efficient shifting and SRAM Force Flat Mount hydraulic disc brakes offer superlative stopping power.
Specialized Crux Expert X1 2018
Without making the step up to the dizzy heights of its S-Works cousin, the Crux Expert is a race bike which “has everything you need and nothing that you don't”. Benefiting from the exact same World Championship-winning geometry as the S-Works in the Fact 11r carbon frame, it enables ultra-responsive handling and punchy acceleration. Lightweight, stiff, with a one-by SRAM setup, hydraulic disc brakes, and Roval SLX 24 wheels, you couldn’t ask for much more.
The time has come to take the plunge into a whole new discipline, a move which will not only allow you to discover the excitement of cyclocross, but which will improve your road riding no end. What are you waiting for?