Cyclocross is one of the fastest growing cycling genres, with enthusiasts being attracted to its unconventional appeal on a daily basis. However, it is still a relatively lesser-known sport, thus making it an uphill task to get a high-quality bike unless one knows where to look and what to look for. If you know what to do, you can easily get a single speed cyclocross or a Specialized Cyclocross.
Cyclocross is a short and intense type of riding that was created to keep Europeans racing through cold European winters. The common name for cyclocross is CX, and it is done through different weather conditions nowadays. There can be races through sand, snow, and dirt. There are usually other obstacles like jumps, stairs, rocks, and steep hills. The distance of a CX race is usually short, lasting only about 4 km. The races are usually done in laps, with one lap lasting about 45 minutes or 1 hour.
To be able to effectively participate in a race, the rider needs a unique blend of skills. The bicycle also needs to be complete with certain essential features. At a glance, CX bicycles might look like an ordinary road bicycle, but closer examination will make it easy for you to spot a great cyclocross bike.
The uniqueness and versatility of these bicycles has made it a top choice for people who want to race, commute daily, and ride in groups.
With this guide you will be able to understand the features to look out for in order to get the best cyclocross bike.
The geometry of a CX bike is quite different from that of other bicycles. To start with, the major differences in the design of a CX are the head tube angle and the bottom bracket height.
The head tube of a cyclocross bicycle is steeper than the one for a normal bicycle. The reason for this is that it helps the bicycle ride at slower speeds while descending. Racing circuits are usually short and full of obstacles. As a result, speed isn’t much of a factor if you want to make it safely to the other side.
The bottom bracket area of a CX bike is usually higher than normal to make navigating obstacles easier. However, this raises the rider’s centre of gravity, making handling the bicycle a bit more difficult. To neutralize this effect, a lot of riders tend to lower the seat height by about 1cm.
Manufacturers make the frames from the same material used for other bicycles. They could fabricate them from steel, aluminium, carbon fibre or titanium.
Each of these materials have different effects on the cost, weight, stiffness, durability, strength and overall “feel” of the cycle. You should also note that a lot depends on how the engineers manipulate these materials. What you would typically get from a Specialized Bike would be different from what you are likely to get from another manufacturer so be thorough when going through the offerings on Bike Chaser so you can find the exact specifications you want.
The weight of a bicycle is usually very important in all types of riding, and cyclocross is not an exception to this. A lighter cycle would be easier to ride and carry. This can be very important if you have to negotiate tight corners, or pick up your bike at any point.
Steel frames are usually the heaviest. On the other hand, aluminium is quite light. A material like titanium is as strong as steel but as light as aluminium. However, the lighter the material, the more money you’ll have to shell out, though if you’re thorough enough, you’ll certainly find a cyclocross bike for sale for a great price here at Bike Chaser.
During a race, there will likely be some instances when you’ll need to dismount and carry your bike through an obstacle. This is why CX top tubes are flatter than other bike types. The flatness will make the top tube easily fit on your shoulder, helping you practice an important skill in the sport known shouldering. Also, a flatter underside for the top tube has the effect of making it easier for you to keep good control through rugged terrain.
Traditionally, UCI events state that cyclocross tyres cannot be more than 33c. However, if the clearance is wide enough, a lot of the bikes have tyres that are about 40c wide. Larger tyres are quite good to give more traction, stability and more resistance to punctures. They can also have lower pressures to give more comfort and better shock absorption. The tyres have different psi depending on size, rider preference, and the details of the course. Normally, the psi ranges from 15 to 30 psi.
Generally, tyres have more texture and a graded surface compared to road tyres. They have knobbly treads that would give the cycle more traction and grip. Like road tyres, cyclocross tyres are usually tubular, clincher or tubeless.
The larger tyre clearance also helps to prevent the buildup of mud on the tyres during a race. Since, the course is usually full of mud and other similar materials; they can build up and prevent the tires from rolling smoothly. In most instances, riders normally have extra bikes that they switch to during the race.
The unique attributes of these cycles make them easily adapted to other types of riding with just a change of the tyres. If you switch to a thinner, slicker road tyre, you would feel quite comfortable riding it on tarmac. If you change the tyres to something knobbly and you can easily navigate moderate trails.