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Cyclo-cross bikes are still somewhat less common and well-known than other types of bikes. However, the popularity of cyclocross is slowly growing, and we take a closer look at what cyclocross and cyclocross bikes are.

  • What is cyclocross?
  • Cyclo-cross bike for everyone!
  • What is a cyclocross bike?
  • Which cyclocross bikes are available and how to find the right one for you?

What is cyclocross?

Cyclocross originated in Europe in the 1900s as a way to stay in shape during the winter. The races went from town to town, and in order to be the first to finish, it was also allowed to cut, or choose a shorter route over fields, fences and other obstacles of all kinds. Everyone had to judge their own abilities and the terrain from their own wisdom, whether here or there was the quickest way forward.

Cyclocross is a sport that can be practised in Estonia. Competitions are held all over the world, but it is still less popular than other cycling sports. Perhaps it is time to bring this fun and intense sport to a wider audience.

The season starts when the other cycling sports are winding down – from September to November. Cyclo-cross is currently the fastest growing cross-country discipline. At first glance, it resembles off-road sport, but it is much more varied and arguably the most fun. Competitors are not in a group and when the big bang and arc flies down, it is with a smile on your face.

The time needed for the race is quite short, just around an hour. However, he is very fast, the pace of the athletes is always up. The trail is technical and varied, with barriers, stairs, sandy ground, dirt, running or riding uphill, steep climbs and much more. Tactical planning and dexterity are needed to complete the course. Often you have to decide whether to ride a bike or wear a bike!

A short video gives a good idea of what the sport of cyclocross looks like:

Cyclo-cross bike for everyone!

Before we talk about cyclocross bikes in more detail, it’s important to note that cyclocross bikes are suitable for everyone because they are so versatile and easily adaptable.

A more upright riding position is more comfortable, and the wheels and tyres are designed to withstand a wide range of shocks. Increasingly, cyclocross bikes are being chosen for their versatility. It’s suitable for daily commuters and active youngsters for more aggressive driving. All kinds of accessories can be placed on the root, from the drilling boards to the pack frame.

In autumn-winter-spring, there’s no need to hide your bike in a shed, because the cyclocross bike rides beautifully through snow, slush and dirt. A wheel with a longer wheelbase than a road bike has better control on slippery and bumpy roads, and a deep tread pattern gives more grip on the road.

It’s also ideal for recreational cyclists, as there’s no need to buy several different bikes. It’s just a matter of adapting the bike to your needs, whether it’s for road riding with narrower tyres, off-road with wider tyres or hiking with all kinds of accessories – frame bags, luggage racks, lights, bottle holders and much more.

Because the cyclocross bike is designed to handle more or less anything, it does not have a specificity like other types of bikes. However, this is exactly the big plus of the cyclocross bike and why it is gaining popularity among different riders.

What is a cyclocross bike?

Cyclo-cross bikes are essentially a further development of road bikes, and most bicycle manufacturers produce them as separate models. These bikes have been designed to be able to negotiate a trail with a wide variety of terrain and obstacles. The track is very technical and the bike has to cope with all the obstacles.

At first glance, they look like road wheels. Despite their similar appearance, road bikes and cyclocross bikes have several differences. The frame is shorter and taller, the lens is higher and the rider’s position is more upright. You don’t have to worry about air resistance in a cyclocross because the speed is much lower. However, this position does give you better control of the wheel, which is particularly useful on the cross-country sections. The fork has more space for mud that accumulates on the tyres, so that the constant scraping of mud against the fork doesn’t slow down the ride.

A cyclocross bike has the construction and aerodynamic advantages of a road bike, but it can be fitted with wider tyres, and can be fitted with frame bags, mudguards and other equipment. They are strong enough to withstand the bumps and jolts of driving on hilly terrain.

Fewer gears, because driving on constantly changing terrain puts a lot of stress on the chain and gears, and it’s easier to maintain the chain when there are fewer components. You don’t need to go very fast in cyclocross either. Fewer components also means a more reliable bike. There is often only one sprocket at the front, so there is no front derailleur, which means the chain can be put under more tension. As a result, the wheel is light and the chain stays on better while riding.

If a cyclocross bike is designed for off-road riding, what is the difference between a mountain bike and a gravel bike?

Off-road and gravel bikes have wider tyres, more gears and are designed for longer distances and higher speeds. The cyclocross bike is designed to negotiate more difficult terrain.

Cyclocross bikes have an aggressive riding position, short wheelbase and high centre line – when riding off-road, it’s important to have room to pedal so you don’t get stuck behind a tree or a tree root. It’s also easier to negotiate obstacles and steep bends with a shorter wheelbase. Gravel wheels, on the other hand, provide a more stable ride thanks to their longer wheelbases and lower centre line. The tyre pattern is deeper on a cyclocross bike than a mountain bike, but the tyre width is smaller.

Cyclo-cross bikes are designed to withstand more intensive use and shocks, traversing all types of terrain – roads, mud, forest tracks, snow and slush. On the road, it is faster than a mountain bike. Off-road, it’s faster than a road wheel. You can ride this bike everywhere. A longer wheelbase and a more upright position than a road bike offers more stability on rough and slippery roads with less grip. That’s why it’s increasingly the bike of choice for everyday rides.

It’s safe to say that a cyclo-cross bike makes everyone a more skilled rider. Riding over boulders, mud, dust and tree roots takes skill, and with a cyclocross bike, you need it fast.

Which Cyclocross bikes are available and how to find the right one for you?

These bikes also come in a wide range of prices. Here’s a closer look at what’s on the market and how to find the right one for you.

Cyclo-cross bikes are versatile, but some are designed more for racing, while others are designed for everyday riding, for example. Some can be fitted with very wide wheels. It is a matter of thinking about where and how most people drive. If you don’t have any preferences, it makes sense to take a bike that’s comfortable everywhere. There is no point in choosing a carbon-framed racing bike when there are more comfortable options.

A light frame, strong wheels and proper brakes are the most important things. Disc brakes are the most common and among the best for their fast braking performance. It is very rare to find cyclocross wheels with other types of brakes. Hydraulic brakes are best, but cable brakes are also good.

The best material to choose for the frame is carbon because of its light weight. However, a decent aluminium frame can be much better than a cheap carbon frame. Stronger wheels cost more, but they are also lighter, and there are some with puncture-resistant solid tyres.

The number of gears on the cyclocross wheels varies. Some bikes omit the front derailleur, which halves the number of gears, but keeps things simple – easier maintenance, less weight and a firmer chain. Front and rear derailleur bikes are suitable for when there is a lot of riding in hilly terrain.

Cyclocross bikes are more practical for regular cycling. They can be fitted with more equipment, such as mudguards and frame bags, to make them suitable for everyday riding or hiking.

Cyclo-cross bikes are niche products, so the price level is a bit higher than a normal road bike. In Velomarket, prices start from €999.