Let’s face it, it’s hard to get motivated to get out and ride. The weather’s foul, and the roads are peppered with potholes and slippery with leaves. For a lot of people, the turbo trainer is their solution - for us it’s not. Cycling indoors, although sometimes necessary, sucks. A great alternative is to jump on a CX (cyclocross) bike and embrace winter riding. In this post, we explore some top reasons why you should add a CX bike to your fleet.
Variety – CX bikes are really versatile. They roll fast enough to ride on the road and are sturdy enough to ride fire-roads and easy singletrack. If you’re on a road bike, you’re stuck to tarmac; if you choose MTB, road sections become a hard slog; but with your CX bike, you’re free to go anywhere and explore.
Handling – the geometry (the angles that the tubes of a frame form) of a CX bike is similar to a road bike, but it tends to be slacker with a longer wheelbase. What this means is that a CX bike is more stable than its road cousin, which makes descending on winter roads a breeze.
Safety – not only do CX bikes offer increased stability, they also have wider tyres and rims that grip wet and muddy roads. Even better, they often have far better brakes than road bikes (often disc brakes).
Skills – when I first started riding a CX bike, I was apprehensive when it came to muddy or loose off-road sections – how could a skinny tyre match the performance of my MTB? Of course, CX tyres are not going to grip like 2.2-inch MTB tyres, but they do perform amazingly well. Riding a drop bar bike off-road will teach you how to handle a bike and discover its limits.
Protection – winter roads destroy bikes. Grit, water, and everything else attack your bike’s components and make their way into bearings, slowly turning them into a filthy mess. Keep your road bike clean and dry at home and let your CX bike tackle the winter.
Racing – if you like to race, or have always fancied it, you’ll be pleased to know that cyclocross racing is a popular activity during the winter months. Cyclocross races are based on an off-road circuit with obstacles that require riders to dismount, run and carry their bikes. This style of racing pushes your heartrate to the max, and it can be the perfect thing for off season triathletes or road racers.
Mudguards – help keep you, and others you ride with, dry. They also help protect your bike from the elements. Unfortunately, it can be quite fiddly to fit guards to many road bikes because of the limited clearance between frame and tyres. Luckily, CX bikes have wide tyre-frame clearances to avoid mud clogging the frame and wheel. This means that there’s plenty of space to fit mudguards if you plan on riding on the road.
They’re cool – if the previous seven reasons haven’t convinced you, remember that CX bikes look cool and so do the people that ride them.
So, there you have it – eight great reasons that CX bikes rock. If you’ve got any other reasons, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.