The cyclocross season runs from September to February, usually quite a lean time for other forms of racing. Historically, plenty of road racers have chosen to ride ’cross in the off-season as it’s more fun than turbo training in your garage.
to get yourself into great shape
Unlike most road race disciplines, in ’cross racing there’s no hiding. Drafting isn’t an option, as the short laps are so twisty and turny it’s nigh on impossible to ride on a wheel. The end result is you’ll massively improve your aerobic endurance.
to become a much better rider
A ’cross bike is essentially a road bike with fatter tyres and knobbly treads. You’re riding off-road on slippery, muddy surfaces and undulating ground. Come next spring when the road season kicks off, your handling skills will be vastly improved.
they’re built tough
With beefed-up frames and tough wheels, cyclocross bikes make perfect sense off-road but we also love them asalternative winter trainers. They’re hardy enough for the worst weather and let you get your riding fix when the roads are too icy for a standard bike.
Many ’cross bikes have eyelets for racks, making them good commuting options. Lose the knobbly tyres come summer and the low gearing and racy position mean a ’cross bike can handle road rides and sportives. Keep the knobblies on and you can take on rougher routes too.
Find your perfect cyclocross bike
Cycling Plus has been getting testing cyclocross bikes since 1992 – subscribe here! And our companion website Bikeradar is a great place to find reviews too.