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Cyclocross bikes are highly universal and can be ridden both on road and off road.  They tend to come in two forms - race orientated bikes and recreational orientated bikes. Race bikes are designed out and out for racing - they have no mudguard mounts and geometries are designed for going as fast as possible off road. Recreational cross bikes tend to be aimed at all day riding with more comfortable geometries and often have mudguard or rack mounts - these bike are often used for touring or commuting.

Cyclocross bikes will either have an aluminium frame or a carbon frame. Top racers prefer carbon frames for the weight savings, but these come at a high price and most riders will find an aluminium frame is good enough for their needs.

As a general rule cyclocross bikes have either cantilever brakes or sometimes cable disk brakes.  They usually have a double chainset(some may have a triple), 9 or 10 gears at the back and grippy tyres to cope with mud.  We reckon a cross bike is the best all round bike on the market, if you can only afford one bike then make it a cyclocross bike!

A good example of an out and out cross bike is the Stevens Prestige. If you are looking for more of an all rounder take a look at the Specialized Tricross - a firm favourite for many years and popular for touring, cross or even just as an everyday commuter or road bike.