Disclaimer: Bikexchange is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links on our site.

Best Cyclocross Bikes of 2022

By Mark David Hartley   /  Last updated - April 18, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, CX Bikes, Cyclocross

Best cyclocross bicycles

Cyclocross has a rich history spanning all the way back to late 19th century Europe. Originally a casual French pastime known as ‘steeplechasing‘, it involved racing towards a landmark (usually a church steeple) in the most direct way possible.

Carrying the bicycle up hills, through rivers, and over fences was common. However, it wasn’t until a French soldier organized the first-ever cyclocross race in 1902 that it became an official sport.

Inspired by Road Bikes

Cyclocross (CX) bikes look similar to road bikes with drop bars, lightweight frames, and aggressive racing geometry. However, they have certain modifications that make them capable of competing in cyclocross races. These include thicker, treaded tires for riding off-road and a frame more easily carried on the shoulder. 

Gravel vs. Cyclocross vs. Touring Bikes — Differences Explained

Road bikes and mountain bikes may dominate the cycling scene but in between these two extremes, you'll find several ...

Although often compared to gravel bikes, CX bikes are more similar in design to road bikes. They have aggressive race-style geometry and use lightweight materials not designed to carry weight. Gravel bikes, on the other hand, have relaxed geometry designed for a more comfortable ride over long distances and can accommodate luggage racks for bike packing trips.

Key Features of a Cyclocross Bike:

  • Wide wheel clearance with disc brakes so that mud doesn’t get trapped in the fork or rear seatstays.
  • Wide road tires with thick tread designed to handle everything from gravel, grass, muddy, and sandy conditions.
  • A small, lightweight frame with a shorter reach, a higher bottom bracket, and internal cable routing.


Table of Contents

Top CX Bikes of 2022

Best Under $2,000

FAQ


Best Cyclocross Bikes of 2022


1. Cannondale – CAADX 1

Best first cyclocross bike

Product image for mercury

MSRP: $1,850

The CAADX 1 is an impressive Cannondale cyclocross bike built for cyclo-enthusiasts looking for the best bang for their buck. It features a aluminum frame and carbon fork with wide tire clearance and 12x100m thru-axle. The drivetrain is a 2×10 Shimano GRX 400 with hydraulic disc brakes and a FSA Omega ME 46/30T crankset. The legendary BB30 bottom bracket which Cannondale invented in the 2000s is press-fit rather than threaded which some may not like but you do get an alloy seat post and a sporty Cannondale Stage CX (cyclocross-specific) saddle.

  • Cannondale BB 30 bottom bracket
  • 2x water bottle mounts
  • REI rating: 5/5 out of 3 ratings

The wheels are standard CX 2.0 rims with 700x35c Schwalbe’s CX Comp K-Guard tires which play the beneficial card on any terrain. All in all, a great bike with top-class specs and an incredible 23lbs (10.4kg) on the scales!

Aluminum / 2x10sp Shimano GRX & hydro brakes / Weight: 23 lbs

Buy on REI.com


2. Santa Cruz Bicycles – Stigmata CC GRX

One of the best cyclocross bikes on the market

Santa Cruz Bicycles Stigmata CC

MSRP: $4,799

The Santa Cruz Stigmata CC is a full-carbon CX bike aimed at the high-end cyclocross market. It features top-quality Shimano components with hydraulic disc brakes and huge tire clearance of 45mm on 700c tires or a 2.1″ 650b on tires. The gearing setup is 2×11, with a Shimano Ultegra 11-34t cassette and a Shimano GRX 48/31t crankset. 

  • Shimano GRX Derailleur
  • DT Swiss XR 361 rims with 28x Sapim Race spokes
  • DT Swiss 350 hubs 12×100 (f) 12×142 (r) with centerlock
  • Cane Creek 40 IS integrated headset
  • Mounts for fenders and 3x water bottle mounts
  • WTV Silverado Team saddle

The Stigmata CC comes standard with lightweight and robust-ready DT Swiss 350 wheels i23 rims and Maxxis Rambler 700x40c EXO tires, and a sleek, fully-integrated Carbon CC Frame, Santa Cruz’ highest quality one. 

Carbon CC  / Shimano GRX/Ultegra  /  2×11-speed  / Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Buy on Evo.com


3. Co-op Cycles – ADV 2.3

Afforadable gravel bike by a reliable brand

co-op cycles adv 2.3

MSRP: $2,399

This 6061 aluminum gravel bike would make a great cyclocross option with its lightweight design and responsive carbon fiber fork. It packs in a punch with some solid components, like the 1×11-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset and GRX hydraulic disc brakes.

For technical off-road riding, you get a helpful X-Fusion Manic dropper Post post and a tubeless compatible wheelset.  WTB Nano TCS 700c x 40mm tires make up an impressive list of components for a bike of price. Overall, the ADV 2.3 is a killer adventure bike.

  • WTB Nano TCS 700c x 40mm tires

Aluminum framee/carbon fork / Shimano Tiagra/GRX Groupset / 1×11 speed / Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Find it on REI.com


4. Cervélo – Caledonia

Race-ready carbon fiber bike with 34mm CX tire clearance

cervelo caledonia

MSRP: $3,899

Cervelo’s Caledonia is a versatile race-ready machine with top-end components and tire clearance of 34mm, perfect for cyclocross or road riding. This bike has a Cervelo fully-integrated all-carbon frame and fork which keeps it super lightweight and responsive. 

Shimano’s Ultegra 8020 groupset provides elite-level performance with a low weight. For gearing, you have a 2×11 drivetrain. As it comes, the Calendonia has Vittoria Zaffiro Pro V Folding G2.0 30mm tires, which you can swap out for UCI-approved 33mm cyclocross tires. Finally, you can rely on a Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes for unbeatable stopping power. 

Carbon  / Shimano Ultegra  /  2×11-speed  / Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Buy on Aventuron.com


5. Salsa – CutthroatSalsa cutthroat

MSRP: $3,499

The Cutthroat by Salsa bikes is a high-end gravel bike that performs well for CX racing thanks to its lightweight carbon frame and 2×11-speed Shimano GRX drivetrain. 

Salsa uses in-house Bontrager parts on most of the bike, including a Salsa Guide stem and seatpost and a Cowchipper handlebar. It comes with huge 2.2″ Teravail Sparwood tubeless-ready tires but performs well on a smaller 33mm tire. The ever-popular Shimano GRX has been chosen for the groupset including hydraulic disc brakes.

  • Cane Creek 40 IS headset
  • Race Face Ride 46/30t crankset

Overall, the Cutthroat has all the precision and quality one would expect from Salsa, with excellent versatility to match. 

Carbon / 2×11-speed Shimano GRX / Hydraulic disc brakes

Buy from Aventuron.com


6. 3T – Exploro Race

A highest-end titanium cyclocross bike

3t exploro race

MSRP: $4,599

3T makes high-quality race bikes for discerning riders, with the price tag to match. The company uses the highest quality unidirectional pre-preg carbon to provide a lightweight feel with incredible responsiveness – ideal for the intensity of cyclocross. This is not your average CX racing bike but rather a blend of all-road, gravel, and CX in one. 

 

It’s designed with aerodynamic tubing with huge tire clearance and support for 650b tires, stable off-road geometry, and a 2×11 Shimano GRX drivetrain and brakes. This Shimano setup is precise, lightweight, and reliable, ensuring it can perform in any domain you take on. 

Buy from Aventuron


7. Ibis – Hakka MX Rival 700C

A mixture of gravel & cyclocross bike, that can easily be used as a road bike

ibis white cyclocross bike

Available in 3 different colors!

MSRP: $3,599

The Hakka MX is a very impressive multi-purpose cross bike designed to suit various disciplines, including CX, gravel, and bike packing. The carbon monocoque frame is super lightweight yet strong enough to support a bike-packing rig and tire clearance goes all the way up to 700x40c or 650b x 2.1″.

This makes the Hakka MX adaptable to various styles, all of which benefit from the 1×11 SRAM Rival groupset with hydraulic disc brakes. Another notable factor is the excellent wheelset, consisting of Stan’s Holy Grail rims and Schwalbe G-One tires.

  • Cane Creek 40 headset
  • Praxis bottom bracket
  • Schwalbe G-One 700x40c TLR tires
  • Clearance up for: 700x40c / 650B (27.5) x 2.1″

It may not be the cheapest CX bike on the market but this kind of quality and versatility is hard to beat.

Carbon / SRAM Rival / 11-speed / Hydraulic disc brakes

Buy on CompetitiveCyclist.com


8. Cannondale – Synapse

One of the best endurance road bikes with CX capabilities

Cannondale synapse carbon 3

MSRP: $3,299

Cannondale’s Synapse is one of the most popular bikes on the market. It’s fast, light, comfortable, and versatile, meaning it appeals to a huge range of riders. This model uses a high-quality Shimano 105 groupset and Cannondale’s Proportional Response frame design to provide a uniform ride experience across sizes. 

  • Shimano 105 brakes
  • Shimano RS510, BSA crankset
  • RD 2.1, 28h, 21mm IW rims
  • Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Reflective, 700 x 30c tires 

A lightweight carbon fiber integrates flex zones in the rear triangle, seat tube, and seatpost to make your ride more comfortable without sacrificing performance, perfect for CX terrain. 35mm tire clearance is enough to fit some CX-ready tires while mounts for accessories allow you to turn your Synapse into an adventure companion. 

Carbon / Shimano 105 / 2×11-speed

Buy from Mike's Bikes


9. Rondo – Ruut ST1

Rondo Ruut ST1

Price: from $2,999
Mike’s Bikes

The Ruut range is a selection of Rondo bikes aimed at the riders who want a versatile bike that can get them across any terrain. The proprietary Ruut 2.0 Tange CroMoly steel frame and TwinTip 2.0 carbon fork balance a comfortable and responsive ride feel. 

Rondo also designed this bike with S-shaped seat stays to further boost comfort and an oval top tube for better front-end compliance. For the drivetrain, you have a 1×11 SRAM Rival 1 setup that performs great on any terrain thanks to the 11-42t cassette. The Ruut also has hydraulic disc brakes and tire clearance of 700x40c or 650Bx2.1″ and comes with WTB Nano 40c tires as stock. 

Buy from Mike's Bikes


Best CX BikesUnder $2,000


9. VAAST – A/1

vaast a/1

Prices: from $1,899

The A/1 by VAAST is an all-road, cyclocross, and gravel-ready adventure bike with a sleek design and reliable Shimano GRX components. 

Starting with an AE81 SuperMag frame and a carbon fork, this bike is light and fast. Additionally, VAAST included various mounts on the frame so you can personalize the A/1 for light bike touring. 

The groupset chosen is a Shimano GRX 2×10-speed with hydraulic disc brakes. For the wheelset, you have WTB Riddler 37mm tires and ST i23 rims. This setup is also tubeless-ready for superior durability and comfort off-road. 

Buy from JensonUSA


10. Surly – Straggler

A non-racing cyclocross bike 

surly straggler

MSRP: $1,799

Like all Surly bikes, the Straggler is designed around a striking CroMoly steel frame that promises strength and stiffness at the cost of weight.

It’s a versatile cyclocross bicycle that could easily be used as a tough city commuter or a touring bike. Unusual frame elements like 135mm rear dropouts with screw adjusters make the Surly Straggler highly customizable. It also has tons of mount points for fenders and racks, solidifying its touring bike capabilities.

  • Cane Creek 40 headset
  • SRAM Avid disc brakes

Surly themselves admit it’s not a competitive cyclocross bike but rather a recreational rough-road weekender. It comes standard with a full SRAM Apex 1×11 groupset. Rims are Alex Adventurer and tires are Surly’s own Knard 700c x 41mm.

Steel frame and fork / Sram Apex rear derailleur / 11-speed

Buy from Aventuron


11. Ridley – Kanzo

Ridley - Kanzo

MSRP: $3,800

If you’re looking for a quality CX racing bike, look no further than the Ridley Kanzo. With a full SRAM Rival groupset and Forza Norte DB rims and finishings, you’ll struggle to find anything equal for this price

The 11-speed groupset runs off an SRAM Rival 1 42t crank and includes Rival 1 hydro disc brakes. Naturally, the Kanzo is super light as it is made with full carbon. Additionally, Ridley designed the geometry to be long and stable for off-road riding. 

  • 700c x 40mm WTB Venture tires
  • 5-year warranty on a frame

Carbon / SRAM Rival groupset / 1×11-speed

Buy on Backcountry.com


12. Tommaso – Sentiero Disc 40C

Ready to ride out of the box – Under $1,000 CX bike!

Tommaso Sentiero Disc cx adventure bike 40c

MSRP: $975

Affordable cyclocross bikes are few and far between so this offering from Tommaso makes an excellent entry-level option. For less than a grand, you get a Shimano Claris groupset, 6061 aluminum frame, steel fork, and Avid disc brakes.

  • Shimano Claris crankset
  • Avid BB5 disc brakes

At 26lbs (12kg) for the smallest size, you aren’t going to win any races on the Sentiero but you’ll get a good feel for CX riding. With a strong frame, 700x40c tires, and a full 27 gears, it would also make decent gravel or bike-packing bike.

Aluminum frame, Carbon fork / Shimano Claris / 3×6 drivetrain / Mechanical disc brakes

Buy from Tommaso


13. Tommaso – Illimitate Disc 40C

Best starters’ cyclocross bike!

tommaso illimtate cyclocross bike

MSRP: $1,175

At just over $1,000, the Tommaso Illimitate is an affordable, cheap cyclocross bike with a 6061 aluminum frame. The 20-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset is particularly impressive on a bike in this price range, plus you get Avid BB5 disc brakes and a carbon fork.

On the wheelset, you get fairly subpar Tommaso rims and stock standard 700x40c tires which could do with an upgrade. Overall, it’s a decent bike for the price but any serious cyclist looking to compete in races will need to spend a bit more.

Aluminum frame, Carbon fork / Shimano Tiagra / 20-speed / Avid BB5 Mechanical Disc brakes

Buy from Tommaso


14. NS Bikes – RAG+ 2

Best under $2,000 cyclocross, gravel, and commuter bike

ns bikes rag+ 2

MSRP: $1,799

Mike’s Bikes categorizes this bike to be a great fit for bike tourer, gravel riding, amateur cyclocross racing, or commuting, and we don’t doubt the reason. An AL6061-T6 custom-formed frame, 1x drivetrain, Alex Draw 2.1P rims, TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, and SRAM Apex drivetrain make this a nice catch.

To put it simply, the RAG+ 2 is the best choice for recreational cyclists with some background in road biking who wish to travel all kinds of terrains fast. It is a cool bike, inside-out. It comes fitted with WTB Nano 40mm tires and mounts for accessories so you can go wherever the road or trail takes you. 

  • Aluminum + carbon fork
  • 1×11-speed SRAM Apex
  • 700x40mm

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


FAQ

What is Cyclo-cross?

Cyclo-cross is a bicycle discipline, mainly a bike race that includes tackling different off-road elements. Most CX races also include a run-up section where a cyclist has to dismount their bike.

What is Cyclocross Bike?

A cyclocross bike is a road-bike-resembling bicycle that’s built for speed on multiple terrains such as road, mud, rocks, sand, and even snow.

Should I buy a Cyclocross bike?

Typically, you would only buy a cyclocross bike if you intend to compete in cyclocross races. However, they do make good city commuters if you want something very fast and lightweight. While they are good for recreational off-road riding, you might find a gravel bike more comfortable.

Gravel Bike vs Cyclocross

Cyclocross vs Gravel bikes are closely related and seem to be the main debate cyclists are the most interested in.

Although similar, cyclocross and gravel bikes are not always interchangeable so you should buy a bike specific to the style of riding you plan to do. Gravel bikes are better for slower, long-distance rides or bike-packing trips. Cyclocross bikes are specifically designed for short, high-speed races that involve carrying the bike at times.

cyclocross vs gravel bike comparison

Cyclo-cross vs Road

Although road and cyclocross bikes might be visually indifferent, there are quite a few important differences.

  • CX Geometry: Modern race geometry with higher bottom bracket and shorter rear end.
  • Road bike tires are thinner, generally 23-28mm.
  • Gears: Road bikes have always more gears than cyclocross bikes, mostly 2 chainrings on the front compared to one on a CX bike.

Are Cyclocross bikes good for road training?

Yes, cyclocross bikes handle tarmac and pavement very well although the tires lack the solid contact of smooth, road-specific tires. For road racing, you’ll want smoother tires but in general, all surface cycling, cyclocross bikes are great.

CX bikes weight

CX bikes typically weigh around 20lb, but after all, the frame weight becomes irrelevant when it’s covered in 10 pounds of mud.

Cyclocross bike frame materials

  • Aluminum – One of the most used materials among CX bicycles. Lightweight and affordable.
  • Steel – Durable, affordable. Almost zero flex to the frame with good vibration reduction capabilities.
  • Carbon – Mainly used on professional-level bikes. Super lightweight, vibration-reducing.
  • Magnesium – Almost indestructible to fatigue. Expensive to make.
  • Titanium – Predecessor to carbon fiber, stiffness. Expensive to make. 60% denser than aluminum. As strong as steel, but 45% less dense.

What are the best groupsets for CX bikes?

  • SRAM Rival
  • SRAM Force
  • Shimano GRX
  • Shimano Ultegra
  • Shimano Tiagra
  • Campagnolo

Groupset Overview – Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo, SunRace, microSHIFT

Bicycle groupsets comprise of all the gearing and braking components that make up the mechanical moving parts of a ...

Which cycling shoes to use for Cyclocross?

Due to uneven surfaces, most cyclists use clipless mountain bike shoes.

Traditionally, cyclocross riders wore mountain bike shoes with cleats but nowadays you can get specific clipless shoes designed specifically for cyclocross. However, it’s always best to wear whatever shoes are most comfortable.

What are the best cyclocross bike brands?

  • Felt
  • Santa Cruz Bicycles
  • Canyon
  • Trek
  • Cannondale

Giant, Raleigh, Kona, Vaast etc.

Cyclocross helmets

Most cyclists use a road-bike helmet to cyclocross races. A multi-sport or light mountain bike helmets are commonly being used as well.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Bikexchange
Logo