Best Cyclocross Bikes in 2017 – Definitive Buyer’s Guide

A cyclocross bike is born for participation in cyclo-cross racing. A cyclocross race occurs in the fall or winter months and takes participants on a grueling 1.5 to 2-mile bike ride.

The race course covers rough and rugged terrain that includes pavement, grass, steep hills, forests and race obstacles.

The cyclocross bike’s sleek design allows riders to dismount easily and carry it through obstacles until back on the course once again. The bike design has large tires and wide frame settings to accommodate the mud and debris it endures on the race course.

Top 10 Best Cyclocross Bikes - Comparison

Best Cyclocross Bikes in 2017 - Reviews

1. Takara Genkai Cyclocross Bike

Takara GenkaiCyclocross Bikes

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The Takara GenkaiCyclocross Bike features a handcrafted, durable, lightweight frame that is ideal for taking charge of the race.

It has a wheelbase that is light without sacrificing strength so you can navigate the rough terrain of the race course quickly and easily.

You can keep your hydration levels up with the dual water bottle mounting system as the base of the frame.

It weighs approximately ten to fifteen pounds making it easy for you to transport the bike to the starting line, along the course and around obstacles as needed without placing stress on muscles already fighting exhaustion. It is available in 22 inches and 25-inch body sizes.

Feature at a glance

  • Chromalloy steel frame and fork
  • 1 1/8" Thread less stem
  • 16-speed Shimano STI drive train
  • Dual water bottle mounts

Pros

  • This Bike is fast to ride on the road.
  • Assembly doesn’t take too much time with this one.
  • You have multiple options when you decide to choose the bike.
  • Disc brakes are a sign of quality.
  • Comes with big tires to facilitate quick rolling.

Cons

  • Brakes need a bit of adjusting at first.
  • This bike is on heavier side of things.

2. GMC Denali Road Bike

GMC Denali Road Bike

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The GMC Denali Road Bike presents you with a sleek design built for long distance and wind resistance.

You have several gear options to select from, and you can easily switch between each gear depending upon which terrain you are currently facing in the race.

The body frame of this bike is aluminum which makes it lightweight and easy for you to transport to the starting line, around race course obstacles and any other time you need to carry the bike without taxing your muscles.

You can save your strength for the course and let this bike do all the heavy lifting for you The GMC Denali Road Bike follows the same creation standard that GMC employs for its top quality truck bearing the same name.

You will know that this bike is one of the best purchase options you can make without breaking the bank. Hydration is never an issue with the water bottle mounting feature on the base of the bike frame.

Feature at a glance

  • Alloy calipers and alloy brake levers
  • High-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • High-performance 700c tires

Pros

  • Has lightweight construction and race-friendly design.
  • Gears function well and beyond expectations.
  • The design allows you to sit upright and comfortably.
  • Great bike at a negligible price.
  • Assembles very quickly.

Cons

  • Doesn’t feature quick release wheels.
  • Parts need upgrading frequently.
  • You’ll have a hard time adding new accessories to the bike because of the frame.

3. Vilano Aluminum Road Bike Shimano

Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano

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The Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano equips you with 21 different gears to operate with depending upon the terrain you are currently enduring.

You can easily switch between each of the gears without losing your place in the race.

It has a lightweight design, weighing approximately 24 pounds. You can easily transport the bike to all areas of the race without straining your muscles.

It is the perfect bike if you are just starting out in the world of cyclocross racing. The bike packs a powerful performance punch while allowing you to learn everything there is to know about racing with having to worry about your bike keeping up.

Your purchase of this bike will come with an extra set of bike pedals at no extra cost.

Feature at a glance

  • Fork: 700c 1 1/8" Threadless
  • Shifters: Shimano A050 SIS Handlebar Mounted
  • Wheelset: 700c Doubled Walled CNC Machined Sides
  • Free Pedals Included

Pros

  • This is a lightweight bike at a cool price point.
  • The shifter works perfectly to cycle through gears.
  • You have mount points to put on cycle computers, water bottles and more.
  • Frame and suspension withstand most of the impact from the road.
  • Features a comfortable seat.

Cons

  • Tires can be a bit of a drag.

4. Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike

Giordano Libero 1.6 Men's Road Bike

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The Giordano Libero 1.6 Men’s Road Bike - 700c features a linear pull brake system which allows for smooth, quick stops as you need on the race course.

The bike is available in a black or red frame from lightweight aluminum.

You can easily transport this bike to anywhere you need, whether on the race course or making your way to the starting line.

It features 16 speeds that are easily switchable depending upon where you are at and what terrain you are currently riding over on the race course.

The wheel size is 700 inches which allows the bike to easily handle mud, sand, grass and other debris on the race course without slowing you down or getting in your way.

Feature at a glance

  • 32 Spoke High Profile Quick Release Alloy Rims
  • 1 1/8" Threadless stem
  • 16-speed Shimano STI drive train
  • Dual water bottle mounts

Pros

  • Entry level bike at a good price.
  • Easy to put together for most people.
  • It is quick to accelerate.
  • Design is catchy with vibrant colors.
  • Gears work in perfect manner.

Cons

  • Shifting gears can take time to get used to.
  • Tires can wear out easily.
  • Brakes are decent and not over the top good.

5. Vilano Shadow Shimano STI Road Bike

Vilano Shadow Road Bike - Shimano STI Integrated Shifters

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The Vilano Shadow Road Bike - Shimano STI Integrated Shifters is the ideal bike if you are just starting out on the race circuit.

It features a lightweight, aluminum frame that can easily transport to any place on the race course that you need without slowing you down or straining your muscles.

The braking system precisely stops with little to no effort from you. It allows you to quickly and efficiently navigate the race course without losing your spot in the race. You will receive an extra set of pedals with your purchase at no additional cost to you.

Feature at a glance

  • Shimano STI Integrated Brake Lever
  • 6061 Double Butted Aluminum Aero frame
  • Dual pivot alloy caliper
  • 700c doubled walled CNC machined side

Pros

  • The 6061 Aluminum frame is at the top when it comes to lightweight and durability combo.
  • The handlebar makes navigating the bike easy and less fatiguing.
  • Alloy brakes with dual pivot stop your bike efficiently when you need them to.
  • You get as many as 14 levels of speed with Shimano drivetrain.
  • Affordable bike for newbies and semi-professionals alike.

Cons

  • Handlebar wrapping may come off easily.

6. Diamondback Steilacoom Cylcocross Bike

Diamondback 2013 Steilacoom RCX Cylcocross Bike

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When we are speaking of Cyclocross bikes, Diamondback shouldn’t be left out of the list. In fact, Diamondback 2013 Steliacoom RCX Bike is one of the best when it comes to handling rough terrains.

Be it grovel, grass, plain road or off-road racing, this bike handles it all like daily business.

The DBR Aluminum 7005 frame is as hard and strong as they come. You can ride on muddy roads, dusty tracks, plain roads, and even on gravel roads alike with this. Being strong doesn’t mean it will put weight on your cross bike. No. In fact, it is super lightweight as well.

Every cross bike needs to have a good suspension and Diamondback realizes that. That is why you see the DBCX Carbon fork in place. This suspension allows you to have full comfort while you ride through hurdles, rough roads and even staircases.

The next thing that impresses me is that it makes way for Shimano front and rear derailleurs. The Shimano 105 set has awesome racing crankset, a pro-grade chain and SPD shifters which also work as brakes. These shifters provide you longer gear spans and impressive speed range.

As far as the tires go, these are large and textured tires to offer better grip on the road. Again, large tires roll quickly and cover more ground. So, that is a plus. Then you have the Tektro CR710 brakes that help you stop your bike as fast as the drop of a dime.

Pros

  • Lightweight but sturdy frame is always a winner.
  • The stiff and sturdy carbon suspension fork is also a winner in my book.
  • Tektro brakes deliver top-notch stopping power.
  • Shimano drivetrain delivers constant speed levels.
  • Lightweight pedals really help carrying overall momentum forward.

Cons

  • Regular maintenance needed when it comes to the brake pads.

7. Retrospec Bicycles AMOK V2 CycloCross Bike

Retrospec Bicycles AMOK V2 CycloCross Convertible

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If you want a cyclocross bike under $500, Retrospec AMOK V2 is a good option. With the 4130 Chromoly frame, the bike is strong and durable for cross racing.

On top of that, the frame is hand built, and TIG welded for performance. So, you won’t find faults with the finishing.

Understandably, the manufacturers made the handlebar flat. This allows you to put all your energy into the bike and pedal forward without worrying about anything else. The handlebar is rigid. So, it will hold up against all the atrocities any terrain will throw at your bike.

Available in four different sizes, you get Shimano Atlas derailleurs along with this cyclocross bike. The 9-speed levels feature greater gear range and are perfect for mountain trail riding (uphill and downhill).

When it comes to the crank and the chain, they are protected thanks to a guard that is in place. Sealed bottom brackets are protecting the crank. Also, riders have sealed hubs that protect the chains and other parts from water, mud or any kind of dirt that might slow you down.

Retrospec Amok has Cantilever brakes. For a cross bike, you must have cantilever brakes as riders will have to face “Off Road” scenario a lot more. You have front and rear brakes. These brakes are easy to fine tune. And, when adjusting, you won’t need to go the extra mile and call in a professional.

When we come to tires, small block tires are used for quick maneuverability. The “Block 8” Kenda tires are great for riding through the dirt. These tires offer great traction when you are riding on gravel roads too. Not to mention, they roll quickly as well to cover more ground.

Pros

  • Double wall rims provide better protection throughout the year.
  • The geometry of the bike is perfect for racing.
  • Frame is lightweight and sturdy at the same time.
  • Pedals are good enough.
  • You need very little maintenance for the bike.

Cons

  • Some of the reviewers mentioned that some components were defective. It was quickly resolved.

8. Tommaso Sentiero Compact Gravel Road Bike

Tommaso Sentiero Compact Gravel Road Bike

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Okay, I am not leaving our Tommaso Sentiero Compact Gravel Road Bike out of my list for the Top Cyclocross Bikes for good reasons.

First of all, the frame and suspension fork combination is a killer!

You have the standard Aluminum frame and a steel suspension fork. Essentially, this is lightweight and durability combined together.

Steel fork absorbs the bulk of the impact you suffer from off-road racing. Plus, the aluminum makes it easy for you to propel forward despite riding on high-speed levels.

Shimano Claris is great drivetrain for this bike. You’ve got a nice crank, steady chain and equally complementing gears that will help you in plain roads, uphill climb and even navigating through rocky terrains. The geometry offers comfortable riding position while the shifter offers smooth gear changes with wide gear range.

As we move down to wheels, riders will enjoy a durable wheel with 28 spokes to its name. The Corsa TC-20D wheelset works great on pavements as it does on gravels and normal roads. Kenda Kwick Trax 32c tires offer great traction for all track types. You can expect this bike to travel quickly while not losing its balance when you are riding at high speed.

Lastly, I admire the disc brakes of this thing. Avid BB5 brakes are known for their performance during all the seasons. These brakes perform well in tandem with the tires to provide the rider an edge amidst riding on different terrains.

Pros

  • Sentiero is awesome on any terrain.
  • The design allows it to perform better on tracks.
  • I felt that it is a nimble bike when maneuvering.
  • The wheels and tires are stout.
  • Awesome customer service.

Cons

  • You need some professional assembly done.
  • People need to modify the pedals to suit their riding styles.

9. Nashbar 105 Road Bike

Nashbar 105 Road Bike

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You’d be correct to refer to it as a “Cyclocross Bike” too. Nashbar 105 is laced with aluminum frame for light weight.

You have full Carbon suspension too. It helps you get around roughest of the roads with great ease. 

The handling is predictable thanks to the tapered steerer and Carbon fork combination. This is what makes this bike a quick one across the turf. You have a flawless Shimano 105 drivetrain that takes care of the gears.

Everything from the chain, crankset, to the shifters is well-organized. Thanks to the Shimano parts, you have 11 levels of speed at your disposal. Each level has a nice gear span that covers up for the terrain.

Of course, you will have 24mm rims made of Aluminum. These things help you immensely when they reduce rotating mass. This way, you can make sure your bike rolls faster and gives you the edge in speed. Also, you have tires that can withstand any weather conditions or terrains. So, it is a win-win situation for those who purchase this bike.

Pros

  • Aluminum frame gives it the lightweight feature.
  • Carbon Fiber Frame doesn’t weigh much and provides great suspension.
  • 11 speeds with wide gear spans.
  • This model has quality rims suitable for racing.

Cons

  • You need to tweak manual settings.

10.Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Haanjo RoadBike

Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Haanjo Trail Complete Alternative Road Bike (Small Size)

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Haanjo is a special bike from Diamondback. Along with the T6061 Aluminum frame, you get what they call “Endurance” geometry. It helps you to ride comfortably.

Even when you are riding for all day long. The aluminum frame is lightweight and as you might have guessed, durable.

The carbon fiber suspension combines with the handlebar. It allows you better steering at crucial turns. The suspension fork works really well to negate bumpy roads and sudden shocks. It does a great job when riding on pavement, through the stairs, clear roads, and rocky terrains too.

2016 Haanjo Complete Alternative Road Bike features Shimano drivetrain and equally impressive Tiagra Cassette. This allows you to harness 9-speed levels whenever you want to. This makes it perfect for busy city roads as well as challenging mountain trails.

Riders will have Kenda Medium size tires at their disposal. These tires tackle punctures and bumps efficiently. Also, the wheels are rust proof. You can ride the bike through extreme summer or winter conditions without any problems.

Pros

  • Assembly is relatively easy with this thing.
  • The FSA crankset is a welcome addition to the mix.
  • The front part of the bike can easy take care of gravel pathways.
  • Tires are awesome and can take care of any surface.
  • It is a comfortable ride.
  • 9 speed levels are perfect for mountain trail riding too.

Cons

  • The price is a bit high compared to others it competes with.

Final Verdict

As a bike enthusiast, I recommend any one of the five cyclocross bikes that I have just reviewed for you. Each one is lightweight yet durable allowing for you to easily pick it up, move around the course obstacle and set it back down again so you can carry on with the race.

When racing you want a bike that practically functions on its own with little to no effort on your part. These cyclocross bikes will do just that. You can quickly navigate the course without worry that your bike will not be up to the challenge.

How to Choose Best Cyclocross Bikes

You may think that a cyclocross bike is a standard racing bike. While there are similarities between the two, a cyclocross bike has unique characteristics that you need to pay attention to when making a purchase.

Here are a few pieces of information that can help you choose the best cyclocross bike for you.

Frame Sizing

Size equals comfort and comfort maximize performance. Everything that your bike can do for you starts with finding the correct frame size for your body type. There are two key measurements that you need to know first.

You will need to know what your standover height measurement is and how it relates to the bike buying process. Standover height indicates how easily you can stand, with the bike between your legs, and not have the bike frame rest too high or too low for your riding comfort. It is a simple measurement of the inside of your leg.

The second measurement you need to help you make the correct bike purchase is your reach measurement. It relates to how easily you can sit on the seat and reach the handlebars. A proper reach will avoid your need to strain to comfortably hold the handlebars while operating the bike.

A positive ape index reach measurement is when your arm span is greater than your height. Likewise, a negative ape index reach measurement occurs when your height is the greater number.

Cable Routing

The top tube on the bicycle frame is the cable routing. It is where you will carry the bike on your shoulder when navigating the course and making your way around the obstacles. As you look at bikes, pick each one up and place it on your shoulder.

You are looking for the bike that feels like an extension of your body and provides a seamless flow. You are looking to see how you can quickly you can pick up the bike and set it down again. It is a beneficial feature during a vigorous race when your muscles are fighting exhaustion.

Chainset Type

You want to look for a bike that features a double chainset with a 46 tooth large ring and a 36 tooth inside ring. It helps the bike navigate the rough terrain of a race course. The course can involve twists, turns, bumps and small holes along the way.

You need to make sure the bike you are considering purchasing has a chainset that will stay in place as you move across these ground obstacles. Nothing will slow you down in a bike race more than having your chain pop off at some point along the way.

Brakes

These bikes have brake systems specifically for the rough wear and tear that you will subject it to on the race course. The twists, turns and jagged edges of the race course jostle your bike as you sprint across the terrain.

In the event that you encounter a rough spot and need to stop quickly, you need to make sure your bike of choice can handle the task. The brake system on a cyclocross bike adheres to the bike frame. It prevents removal, damage or injury while on the race course.

You need to look for a cantilever, v-brake or disc brake system when making your purchase. Each of these brake sets are lightweight yet durable enough to withstand the rigors of the race.

Other Considerations

In addition to the items I just discussed, you need to also consider the tread patterns on the tires. Each pattern type protects the wheels from mud, grass, sand and other debris on the race course. It ensures your bike keeps moving instead of being setback due to a flat tire.

You will also want to take a look at the overall geometry of the bike you are considering. The geometrical shape of a cyclocross bike determines how it will move across race course terrain.

A longer wheelbase gives the bike stability on the course, and the angle of the frame gives you a more natural riding position. You will want to feel as comfortable as possible so your head can stay in the race without having to worry about your overall comfort level.

I took each of these items into consideration when reviewing the following five cyclocross bikes.

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About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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