Cyclo-cross bicycles usually resemble road racing bicycles. Cyclo-cross-specific frames differ with their wider tire clearances, knobby tires, cantilever or disc brakes, and lower gearing. Cables are generally routed on the upper side of the top tube, which allows the rider to carry the bike comfortably on the right shoulder through portage sections and prevents cable contamination by dirt. Popular on many cyclocross bikes is routing the brakes opposite that of a classic road bike, meaning the right brake is often the front brake. This is done because a majority of a bicycle’s stopping power comes from the front brake, and many right-handed people can actuate the brake lever more precisely with their favored hand.
Cyclo-cross bike design and frame geometry has evolved over the years. The first cyclo-cross bikes were touring-type road bikes, used for their cantilever bosses, slacker angles and wider tire clearance. Over time as the sport became more formalized, frame angles changed for quicker handling and bottom brackets heights were raised to clear broken ground. Most cyclo-cross frames have a non-compact (flat or near-flat top tube) frame design for easier shouldering. Some design features have recently begun to change, for example, a heightened bottom bracket was typical 10+ years ago; now many cyclo-cross-specific frames do not have elevated bottom brackets, in fact many have a lower bottom bracket than road racing bicycles; this is favorable since the lower seat height makes for easier remounting, and a lower center of gravity increases stability. Many cyclo-cross bicycles are now set up with a single chain ring and chain “drop” guards. A single chain ring setup simplifies mechanics and reduces the chance of the chain derailing on a bumpy course. Many professional-level cyclo-cross bikes are set up with deep-section carbon tubular wheels, not for the purpose of aerodynamics, but to keep the wheel from being entrapped in deep sand or mud sections. Tubular tires are used to avoid pinch flats, decrease rolling resistance and increase grip with lower tire pressures. In addition, single speed cyclo-cross bikes are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons, including lower initial cost of setup, ease of use and maintenance, and decreased likelihood of mechanical failure on the course. If you are currently a cyclo-crosse rider or are looking at getting into cyclo-cross, we usually have a section of our showroom devoted to cyclo-cross bikes. Come on by and check out our selection. You can click on the link below to see a catalog of the cyclo-cross bikes we carry: