Bikes - Cyclo cross
Genesis's Croix De Fer hardly needs an introduction. You most likely already know that it's a do-it-all bike, and that its credentials were firmly established in 2010 when Vin Cox got the Guinness World Record for riding it around the world faster than anyone had done before.
Trek's Ion CX Pro is a race worthy bike that's perfect for anyone serious about trying cross racing. It's well thought out and executed, and comes complete with the right kit to hammer around a park for an hour. The added versatility of the mudguard and rack mounts is just a bonus.
A budget kid brother to Genesis' popular steel road all-rounder, the Genesis CdF is a solid urban and light-touring ride, as long as you're not in a hurry to get from A to B.
The Genesis Croix de Fer has a good reputation; it was even used to set a world record when Vin Cox rode a Croix de Fer around the world. Genesis say the Croix de Fer is one of their most popular bikes, so they decided to introduce a little brother: the CdF. The frame has the same dimensions, but is made from Reynolds 520, as opposed to the Croix de Fer's 725.
Having a cyclo-cross bike in your possession during the wettest drought in history is a godsend. After the fun I'd had with the Decade Tripster I was looking forward to testing its slightly racier sibling, the Kinesis Crosslight FiveT, for commuting and general day to day riding duties.
Whyte have been pushing their relaxed geometry across their whole range of bikes for a while now; it works well on trail bikes and it works on their flat bar urban bikes such as the Montpellier too. However, I'm not so sure about the crossers. The slightly languid handling is exacerbated here in the Whyte Kings Cross by the equipment choices, making the whole package feel a bit ordinary. For this kind of money, there are better bikes out there.
Despite their all-conquering road and mountain bikes Trek have skulked somewhat in the shadows when it comes to cyclo-cross. They've had models kicking around but you'd be hard pushed to spot them either on the shop floor or the race course. The Cronus range could change all that.
Trek have come out their corner punching hard with four new 'cross bikes – a pair of alloy framed Ion monikered machines and two carbon-based life form Cronus models.
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.