Commuting with a cyclo-cross bike – What’s that all about?
With Summer now in full swing, you might already be cycling to work and taking advantage of the warmer mornings and lighter evenings. If you’re not, we would highly recommend cycling to work, even it’s just one day a week. There are a whole bunch of health benefits plus it’s been proven to boost productivity at work.
Normally, would expect to see people riding hybrids, drop bar road bikes or mountain bikes to work but there is a new trend emerging. More and more cyclists are riding to work on cyclo-cross bikes and they seem to be cropping up all over the place.
What is a cyclo-cross bike?
Cyclo-cross bikes have drop handlebars like a road bike, but generally have fatter tyres which offer way more comfort and grip. The best thing about a cyclo-cross bike is that you get all of benefits of a road bike but with the added bonus of being able to ride the bike off road. OK so admittedly it’s not going to shred the trails like a full suspension mountain bike, but the bigger tyres are less prone to punctures and will roll really well over bumpy terrain.
Also because they have drop bars you can mix up your riding position. For example you can put your hands on the drops, on the hoods or on the flat bit of the bars. Allowing you to be able to change your riding position helps with climbing up hills, descending tricky bits of trail or even just riding at a steady pace on the flat sections of road. Cyclo-cross bikes are a jack-of-all-trades.
What sort of spec can I expect?
At the heart of a cyclo-cross bike will either a good quality alloy (aluminium) or carbon frame. Carbon frames are lighter and stiffer but don’t discount Alloy. Alloy-framed rides are generally less expensive than carbon and still offer an incredibly comfortable ride.
For most people riding to work you don’t need the super duper expensive gears and brakes. Functional is the name of the game. Thinking long term, a bike with a 105 groupset is going to be way cheaper to maintain. Just think when it comes to replacing the chain, cassette and chainrings you’re not going to have to re-mortgage your house. Most cyclo-cross bikes are now equipped with disc brakes.
As a mountain biker at heart, I’ve been riding disc brakes for years and the difference in braking compared to conventional road brakes or v-brakes is night and day. As opposed to the classic 26” mountain bikes I often see when i’m riding to work, cyclo-cross bikes roll with 700c wheels which translates to about 28” in diameter. Those extra inches will pay dividends because bigger wheels roll faster and are easier to turn which equals less effort and more speed!
Where is the best place to start?
To help you on your way, we’ve handpicked a number of cyclo-cross bikes which we think offer exceptional value for money. What’s More we’ve even broken them down into different price points.
Best selling cyclo-cross bikes under £700
Cannondale CAADX Sora is the perfect bike for a commuter who would like to attack some gravel/muddy parts of a path. Rather than building a bike which has all the top end components Cannondale have created a budget minded cyclocross bike. Future proof frame with disc brakes and mudguard mounts the Cannondale CAADX Sora is for all conditions.
Best selling cyclo-cross bikes under £1,000
The Ridley X-Bow 10 Disc is the working horse in Ridley’s stable. Ideal for first cyclocross or cycling experience, while the fender and carrier mounts make it the perfect companion for commuting.
Best selling cyclo-cross bikes over £1,000
The Cannondale CAADX Ultegra if a thoroughbred cyclo-cross race bike. But don’t let that stop you from using this bike as a mega commuting machine. The ultegra drive-train provides the rider with super smooth shifting and the disc brakes will stop you on a sixpence. if you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious cycle to work, this is the ride for you.