Cross Bikes

Cyclo-cross is a great sport that can put both the competitors and the bike they use to the test. If you are not familiar with this sport, it is very common in France and Belgium, as well as other European countries. The circuit involves different kinds of terrain, from tarmac to grass to hills and wooden obstacles that force the competitors to dismount their bikes, carry it and then get back on it as quickly as possible. A race is made of several laps and usually, it lasts under an hour.

You can imagine that the bikes used here are no ordinary bikes. To handle the change of environment and the weather variations, seeing that races take place in autumn and winter, the bikes have to have specific characteristics that will allow the racers to get the shortest time possible.


The overall design resembles that of racing bike but with some differences. The clearance has been increased for the wider wheels and also to prevent mud from blocking them. Weight is a crucial factor with cyclo-cross bikes, seeing that the competitors often have to pick it up and run with as fast as possible over portions of the track. This makes carbon fiber the best choice for professional racers due to its light weight and stiffness.

Everything is adapted to be light and also durable in muddy conditions. The gear setup depends on preferences but each option has its advantages. Using a bike with just one speed can prevent any problems that might appear when too much mud gets in the shifting mechanism. Also, having more gears means choosing the perfect one for specific terrains, thus getting around faster. Usually, a combination of the two is used, meaning that gears only change in the back; it is also said that having less gears puts less stress on the riders and they don’t always have to choose the perfect one.

The wheels are pretty standard with some minor size increase and some competitors may prefer a bit wider wheels for a better grip on muddy surfaces. The tires are very important in cyclo-cross and usually, tubular tires are the best due to the fact that they can be kept at low pressure and so enhance the size of the tire that touches the ground, meaning a better grip.

Amateurs and professionals alike have a strong relationship with the manufacturer. A bike needs to fit perfectly in this sport and it is more a matter of preference when it comes to choosing one. Opus has a line of quality bikes as well as Ridley, Stevens and Vanilla. There are many models to choose from, each with its own small differences and prices usually range from $1000 to $2000 but some models can easily exceed $4000.

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July 28th, 2014 by