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Cross Bikes for All Riders

September 24, 2015

In case you haven’t heard, cyclocross season is here! Fun-filled, low-stress races that challenge riders over mixed terrain on short courses that are a blast for spectators, cyclocross is great for those looking for something fun and different that the whole family can participate in. There are more cross events and riders than ever here in Central Texas–with the Bicycle Sport Shop Six Shooter kicking things off  in Austin October 3-4.

The sport of cyclocross is booming, and with the amazing level of interest there are a plethora of great new bikes for any budget. With so many options, we’re taking a look at four of our favorite cyclocross bikes now ready to roll.

Cantilever brakes have been the norm since cross began, but disc brake-equipped cyclocross bikes are quickly becoming the norm. Traditional drivetrains with two chainrings have not entirely been displaced by 1 x set-ups as they nearly have with mountain bike drivetrains. For riders looking for more versatile gearing with 2 x 11 speed set-ups, we have two options from Trek.

Trek Crockett Disc 5

The Trek Crockett 5 Disc is a great option for the aspiring or new cross rider.

The Trek Crockett 5 Disc ($1,899.99). Trek upped their cyclocross game a couple years back bringing in both Katie Compton and Sven Nys, arguably the sport’s biggest names, to help with the design of the Crockett’s geometry. And it shows. The bike accelerates fast and corners predictably thanks to a modern take on cyclocross bike geometry. The Crockett offers an aluminum frame and carbon fork with a 2 x 11 Shimano 105 build, tubeless wheels, and mechanical disc brakes.

You’ll love it if:

– you’re looking to get into a race-ready bike but want to save some cash for race entry fees

– you want race geometry inspired by the best cross racers

– you want to get started with disc brakes

You might want to pass if:

– you have to ride the absolute latest and greatest

– you care desperately about how much your bike weighs

The Specialized Crux Elite X1 and the Trek Boone 9 Disc are top-end rigs for the dedicated cyclocross racer.

The Specialized Crux Elite X1 and the Trek Boone 9 Disc are top-end rigs for the dedicated cyclocross racer.

Trek Boone 9 Disc ($4,499.99). Trek also offers the same World Cup winning geometry in a carbon frame offering. This the superbike that was born from the Crockett. It’s the bike that current National Champion Katie Compton and former World Champion Sven Nys race now. It features Trek’s award winning OCLV carbon construction as well as the much lauded iso-speed decoupler offering a best-in-class ride quality. Equipped with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, a rear thru axel, and Bontrager’s Affinity Elite tubeless wheels, this bike needs no upgrades.

You’ll love it if:

– you want to ride what the pros ride

– you want race geometry in the lightest platform possible

– you prefer the feel and ease of hydraulic disc brakes

You might want to pass if:

– you need to pay for a season’s worth of race fees and your new skinsuit

– matte black just isn’t your thing

While there are still great 2 x drivetrains out there for cross, the 1 x set-ups regularly seen on MTBs are starting to make a real push to corner the cyclocross game. Given the terrain of most cross courses, a single-ring set-up is often a great option for all but the most daunting of climbs, in which case, it’s simply a run-up. The added ease of not worrying about front shifting and the weight savings over a traditional two-ring drivetrain are good reasons to go 1 x. For 2016, we’re fans of a couple of Specialized models with 1 x gearing.

Specialized Crux E5 X1 ($2,299.99).  The Specialized Crux was born of a need to build a Tarmac for the dirt. And the Crux truly rides like a crit bike with added clearance for CX tires and mud. The bike feels like a roadie when accelerating and offers dynamic, quick steering for tight turns and avoiding other riders on course. Coming to a Bicycle Sport Shop near you in two weeks, the E5 X1 is a privateer, workingman’s perfect race bike. Specialized’s famed E5 aluminum frame mated to SRAM’s 1 x Rival build with hydraulic discs is perfect for the budding cross enthusiast.

You’ll love it if:

– you’re a roadie and want your cross bike to feel very familiar in terms of handling

– you want the simplicity of a 1 x set-up

– you like getting a budget thoroughbred and upgrading it with your favorite finishing bits

You might want to pass if:

– you think “race ready” means “just add sealant”

Specialized Crux Elite X1 ($2,999.99). Imagine a Crux rendered in carbon. Here you go. The same Rival x 1 and hydraulic brake set up as the E5 X1, but with a Fact 10 carbon frame to lighten the package and further improve ride quality. It also features tubeless tires and a rear thru axel design to stiffen the rear end for added efficiency. If you want to spend half as much as the cost of a pro’s bike, but get 90% of the performance, this is the bike.

You’ll love it if:

– you love flashy paint schemes

– you want the fastest handling cross bike out there

– you plan to see “how low you can go” with bike weight and are looking for a good base to start from

You might want to pass if:

– you love matte black paint

Don't miss the Bicycle Sport Shop Six Shooter the first weekend in October.

Don’t miss the Bicycle Sport Shop Six Shooter the first weekend in October.

There are, of course, a host of other cross bikes in stock. from kids’ bikes like the 24″ Redline Conquest and Trek KRX 26″ wheel options, to bikes like the Santa Cruz Stigmata and Niner RLT 9, both of which are great double duty gravel grinder/cross bikes.

Stop by the shop and see the latest cross bikes and head to the Six Shooter for some fun racing and spectating. We’ll be there on the best bikes in the business.

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