Bikes - Cyclo cross
Scott's CX Comp comes in just over that magic £1,000 price barrier but if you shop around you can find these being sold for 'Cycle to Work' scheme friendly prices. Mind you, while it shares the innate versatility of all cross bikes and it is not without the odd commuter-friendly eyelet, this is bike aimed squarely at the hurly burly of the race circuit rather than the ride to work.
The Ibis Hakkalügi is a lightweight cyclocross bike that's a real joy to ride. It's best suited to those who like to ride with a bit of finesse rather than those who like to muscle through regardless.
Ibis may have passed you by because, although they've had a road bike in their company quiver almost since their inception 30 odd years ago, they're best known as a maker of mountain bike frames.
The Crux is a rare beast; a thousand pound cyclo-cross bike that's designed for actual cyclo-cross. It's not a jack-of-all-trades utility bike dressed up as a CX bike but a 'cross bike that's designed for what cyclo-cross really is - racing.
Read about Giant's TCX2 on their website and you might think you're buying a full-on CX race iron. "Light enough to hoist and carry, fast enough to put you on the podium, that's TCX", they gush. In reality the £800 TCX is much more of an all-rounder, with a spec that suggests it'll do its miles in the week and spend most of its Sunday mornings tucked in the shed. It's a good bike though, capable of tackling proper off road and long tarmac jaunts too.
The Cotic >X< was born because mountain bike racer Kate Potter (Cotic/Bontrager Race Team) wanted a bike to race during the cyclo-cross season while mountain bike competition was quiet. This bike is the production model of that request. Cotic have a passionate fan-base for their mountain bikes and their steel Roadrat has many commuting devotees, so their new ’cross bike has a lofty reputation to live up to.
Cannondale was one of the pioneers of aluminium bikes, having launched its original ST-500 in 1983. While it now also makes carbon fibre frames, it's still using the same 6061-T6 aluminium that it did back then, making the CAADX frame the result of 27 years of evolution. All that experience is used to good effect to produce a fine riding 'cross all-rounder, that'll handle on-road commuting duties too.
There's no doubting the Charge Filter Hi is a capable bike. It's lively on tarmac and assured off road too. The higher spec bike as tested here has a bit of an identity crisis though. It's not light enough to really be attractive to racers and it's no more versatile than its cheaper stablemate, which looks the better bet if you're after a steel all-rounder.
Trek's Portland urban crosser has hokey cokeyed in and out of their UK range over the past few years like some particularly over exuberant regular down at the Queen Vic, this year it's in and it 'd going to be shaking it all about with the likes of the Specialized Tricross and the Genesis Croix de Fer. Trek say the Portland is a tough, traffic proof and a capable of load lugger which with its mudguards as standard will always get you to work looking your best. So, how does road.cc’s experience with the Portland compare to the marketing blurb?
Pretty well it turns out.
Kinesis have this bike down as a true all-rounder, with the FiveT being touted as a (deep breath) cyclo-cross/tourer/winter trainer/commuter. So is it a true do-everything bike or a jack of all trades and a master of none?
The Marin Toscana is one of a growing breed of 'cross derived urban bikes. It isn't pretending to be an actual cyclocross machine and as such it's only really fair to mark it on how it performs on road and path duties, which it handles with a good deal of assurance. It's well built, reliable and versatile. What it isn't, at £999 though, is cheap, especially when compared to similar machines.