Do you like getting dirty, being heckled, and having the time of your life? If so, cyclocross might be just the thing for you. Cyclocross racing is fun and inclusive. Plus, it is a great way to stay fit and improve your bike-handling skills.
Even if you aren’t a racer, cyclocross bikes are versatile machines that are perfect for everyday riding. The combination of agile handling and knobby, high-volume tires allows cyclocross bikes to tackle everything from road to gravel to light singletrack. They’re a great option for riders looking to get off the pavement and explore roads less traveled.
Photo: Robert D. Jones | RDJonesPhoto.comIf you’re interested in a cyclocross bike this season, here are seven bikes that are ready to play in the dirt.
Fuji Cross 1.7The Fuji Cross 1.7 is the perfect bike for anyone looking to get into the world of cyclocross without breaking the bank. The aluminum frame is lightweight, reliable, and ready to take a beating. The bike uses a Shimano 105 drivetrain that provides crisp and consistent shifting at a budget price. Mechanical disc brakes provide ample stopping power and make it easy for novice mechanics to service their brakes. The Fuji Cross 1.7 is perfect for any budget-minded rider who wants a bike that rides well and requires no fuss.
Niner BSB 9 RDOThe "BSB" in the Niner BSB RDO stands for blood, sweat, and beers. It is named in honor of the spirit of cyclocross racing, where riders go hard out on the racecourse and then get rewarded with some (often Belgian) post-race beers. The BSB uses Niner’s RDO carbon fiber, which is formed using Niner’s RDO Carbon Compaction system to produce tighter, more consistent compaction of the carbon fabric. This creates a frame that strong, light, and tuned to excel in rough cyclocross race conditions. The newest generation of the BSB has added flat mount disc brakes and clearance for large 40mm tires to take on any type of course. This 3-Star SRAM Rival-build BSB is one of the best value for performance options available.
Kona Super JakeThe Kona Super Jake takes the classic Jake the Snake, Kona’s workhorse all-terrain bike, and gives it a high-performance carbon frame and fork. The Super Jake places a greater emphasis on racing performance with its stiff, lightweight frame, and a SRAM Force 1x drivetrain. Unlike many dedicated cyclocross bikes, however, it retains the practicality of fender mounts. This allows you to convert it into an all-weather daily driver. The Super Jake is versatile enough to get you on a ‘cross podium on the weekend and then switch into a comfortable commuter during the week.
Santa Cruz StigmataThe Santa Cruz Stigmata CC is the mountain biker’s cyclocross bike. Built by one of the most revered names in mountain biking, you know the Stigmata will be capable off-road and able to stand up to abusive riding. The stiff, durable frame is paired with clearance for large 40mm tires (the newest Stigmata can fit even larger 45mm or 2.1” 650b tires) so that the Stigmata can handle a variety of terrain. Whether it’s used for cyclocross racing, long-distance gravel riding, or singletrack exploration, the Stigmata is built to feel stable and inspire confidence. With a massive 50t chainring (which can be swapped for a smaller option), this Stigmata is built for high speeds and fast group rides on flat and rolling gravel roads.
Trek Boone RSLThe Trek Boone RSL is Trek’s lightest and fastest carbon cyclocross racer. The Race Shop Limited (RSL) version takes it to the next level. Trek RSL bikes are developed in collaboration with world-class athletes and built in limited quantities and size runs. They are high-end, rare, and beautifully painted. The Boone RSL is the ideal choice for anyone who wants to ride what the pros ride. The Boone features Trek’s IsoSpeed system in the front and rear of the frame. This provides additional compliance to reduce fatigue and increase traction on rough and bumpy terrain.
Specialized CruX ExpertThe Specialized CruX Expert is designed to be a purebred racing steed. It’s fast, stable, lightweight, and it eschews many of the comfort-focused compromises other cyclocross bikes make to try and cater to a wide range of riders. When it comes to cyclocross racing, the CruX Expert has everything you need and nothing that you don't. It features the same geometry and carbon layup as its World-Championship-winning S-Works cousin. The handling is ultra-responsive and punchy accelerations are enhanced by the stiff FACT 11r carbon frame and Roval carbon wheels. With the latest CruX, Specialized has created a race weapon that is competitive at any level.
Speedvagen Cross Machine
The Speedvagen Cross Machine is a unique, handmade cyclocross bike. Speedvagen bikes are produced in small batches by The Vanilla Workshop based out of Portland, Oregon. The Speedvagen mission is to build only a handful of great bikes that are refined and truly meaningful to their owners. All of its bikes are built out of steel with classic lines and plenty of details (just look at those machined dropouts!) that make bike lovers drool. This Cross Machine is great for handmade bike aficionados and riders who want something different from the rest of the crowd. It uses a Campagnolo Super Record EPS group, ENVE wheels, and Paul Components cantilever brakes.