Cyclocross is a racing discipline involving a short, closed course packed with obstacles like of mud, stairs, sand, barriers, snow, hairpin turns, mud, and more mud. Heckling, cowbells, and the distribution of hoppy beverages is part of the event and culture, which hails from Belgium. If you’re contemplating pinning on a number, cyclocross is a very beginner-friendly style of racing.
Traditional cyclocross bikes have drop bars, cantilever brakes (although disc brakes are now dominant), and relatively narrow 32-35mm tires. The durability, terrain versatility, and handling characteristics of cyclocross bikes have attracted the attention of many non-racers. Cyclocross bikes are easily adaptable for commuting, trail-riding, road riding, gravel road racing, and wilderness exploring.
While this has led to a market explosion of genre-bending bikes, let’s focus for a moment on some of the best cyclocross bikes you can buy today, bikes that are versatile enough to ride to work on a Monday then rip up your local cross course on Saturday . The cyclocross bike that’s near and dear to my heart is the Raleigh RXM (but more on that later).