What Are Cyclocross Bikes?

There can be quite a bit of confusion around exactly what a Cyclocross Bike is and what they are used for. To the untrained eye, a Cyclocross Bike looks just like a road bike - but in fact they are different, and have benefited from subtle design changes and alterations which makes them suitable for off road riding, as well as racing. In this post, we look at Cyclocross Bikes in greater detail - as well as looking at the sport of Cyclocross.  

What is Cyclocross?

Cyclocross is one of the most intimidating looking sports in the world of cycling, being an off road racing competition, using bikes which are roughly based on road bikes, but with greater clearance, off road tyres and lower gearing. With its roots in mainland Europe, the popularity of Cyclocross has increased massively both here in the UK and in the US. Historically, Cyclocross has always been an excellent way that road racers have trained during the winter months. 

Cyclocross Bikes have proven massively popular, not just with Cyclocross racers. The race bias of these bikes makes them the perfect bike for so many different recreational riders, from commuters right across to those who do compete. Cyclocross bikes are a do it all bike which provides masses of fun. 

Are Cyclocross Bikes the same as Road Bikes?

Road Bikes and Cyclocross Bikes are loosely the same, they both look very similar - but looking closer at the two, it’s easy to spot the off road bias designs of Cyclocross Bikes. Things to look out for include greater clearance, disc brakes, high bottom brackets, and a less aggressive head angle compared to road bikes. 

Race Cyclocross Bikes VS Recreational Cyclocross Bikes

There is a divide between a Cyclocross Bikes which has been designed and developed purely for racing, and one which has been designed for more relaxed, recreational use. A race bias bike will have no mudguards or mounts, whilst the recreational bikes will have - making Cyclocross Bikes the perfect commuter bike, allowing the rider to enjoy off road sections and riding, either as part of a commute or at the weekend. 

Cyclocross Bikes also make perfect touring and sportive bikes - although not as fast as a dedicated road bike, the extra capability and comfort makes them popular choices. 

Cyclocross Design & Geometry


Higher bottom brackets are used VS road bikes, but much of the geometry of a Cyclocross Bike is very similar to road bikes - which is ideal for road bike owners looking for the right size CX bike. As well as higher bottom brackets, Cyclocross bikes also have shorter chainstays, and steeper head angles - which makes for an incredibly nimble and enjoyable ride. 


Aluminium is one of the most common frame materials for a Cyclocross Bike, although steel and carbon fibre framed cyclocross bikes are available. The frame has greater clearance which allows for CX bikes to use bigger tyres. Durability is key here, as well as lightweight performance. 


Top end speed is not required too much in Cyclocross, which is why chainsets and gearing focus on low down gear ranges to allow aggressive riding, helping riders tackle steep ascent with frequent gear changes. 

Unless you are travelling very quickly, the lower gearing of a Cyclocross Bike will not hold you back. 


Disc Brakes are found across a lot of Cyclocross Bikes and provide the best performance. Some Cyclocross bikes have extra brake levers on the top of the handlebars to allow for emergency and rapid braking on difficult terrain. 

Wheels & Tyres

Durable rims are used across Cyclocross bikes, with 700cc wheels being the most commonplace. Tyres are wider than those found on road bikes, with grippier off road bias tread patterns. 

Cyclocross Bikes Online

At Westbrook Cycles, we stock and supply a fantastic range of Cyclocross Bikes which are available to order online. These bikes have been handpicked from the world’s leading bike brands - and are supplied by us with complete confidence.