What cyclocross bike should I buy? That's a very good question - one I hear a lot - and there's plenty of choice, from race-ready options to bikes that come with rack and mudguard mounts for a bit more versatility.
The cyclocross bikes on this page offer just a selection of the available choice. We've tried to pick bikes that will cater for all tastes, from those specifically looking to buy a bike with a view to getting into racing, to those that are interested in the versatility and ruggedness for a winter training and commuting bike. And, no, we didn't mean to pick all disc-equipped bikes, that's just the way cyclocross bikes have developed.
There are now very few cyclocross bikes with rim brakes. With a handful of exceptions, discs have taken over, a development many die-hard cross enthusiasts said would never happen when the UCI changed its rules to allow them in elite races in 2010. Only a tiny number of top racers are still using cantilevers, and the vast majority of off-the-peg cyclocross bikes have discs.
Vitus has nailed this one. The Energie VR is an excellent tool for thrashing round in the mud for an hour on a Sunday, and it's versatile enough for more general riding. The drivetrain is excellent, it's tubeless-ready out of the box and it looks great. For the money, it's hard to fault.
The Robinson, from British company The Light Blue, offers a really smooth ride, with steady handling and tyres that provide a good balance of fast road riding pace and off-road grip. In this SRAM Rival 1x build with cyclo-cross tyres it's an ideal all-terrain bike, at home on the road or tackling more challenging countryside terrain, or for just tackling rough roads in comfort.
We liked last year's Giant TCX SLR 1, and this is the 2017 equivalent. It gets a brake upgrade to Shimano hydraulics, but retains the fast and nimble aluminium frame as the 2016 bike.
Norco's Threshold C is a strong offering if you're looking for a ready-to-race cyclo-cross bike with a bit of versatility. It's a capable off-roader and you can pretty much roll it out of the box and onto the start line. It doesn't quite have the poise of a fully-focused race bike but it's a good all-rounder, with the tyres and gearing range being the only provisos.
A 2018 model is almost certainly on its way, but if you're average-sized then the 2017 model here is a good deal in the available 50.5cm and 55.5cm sizes.
The Pinnacle range of cyclocross-inspired bikes offers some great choices. Evans Cycles presents them as 'Adventure bikes' now but in truth they're a good choice for those wanting a cyclocross bike for hacking around the woods having a bit of fun on, taking part in any number of the new cyclocross sportives, riding to work and, of course, there's no reason why you couldn't race one.
Aside from a few small details, the 2017 version of this bike is the same as the 2015 version we really liked when we reviewed it. It's a very good all-rounder. It's light and responsive enough to chuck round a race, and versatile enough for more general purpose riding. It's fun to ride and easy to recommend
The Merida Cyclo Cross 500's off-road handling is good. The bike has a generous wheelbase and the steering is predictable, if a bit slower than a fully-fledged race bike. The fork is excellent: the 15mm thru-axle stiffens up the front end noticeably, and tracking over rough ground is really good, with very little noticeable dive under heavy braking.
The first cyclo-cross bike from German company Canyon impressed hugely when we reviewed it, with great handling and a very good parts package for the money. It boasts the sort of versatility that will ensure it appeals to those wanting a bike for more than just racing, but has all the credentials for taking to the start line.
Specialized's Crux is a popular choice among amateur cyclo-cross racers. The four bikes in the 2017 UK range all have disc brakes, and the £2,300 Elite X1 above has SRAM's hydraulics and 1 x 11 transmission.
The impressive spec includes DT R460 Disc SCS wheels with 33mm Terra Pro tyres. The range starts at £1,250, and you can buy the 2016 aluminium Crux E5 frame for £675, making it a fine option if you want to build one up yourself.
This is your typical racing cyclocross bike. The Pro 6 is a perennial favourite with cyclocross racers and for many a Kinesis was probably their first cyclocross bike, bought as a frame and cobbled together from spare parts. You can buy the frame or this complete bike with a Shimano 105 groupset and TRP Spyre disc brakes, a combination that will usually run about £1400.
Read our first ride impressions on the Pro Crosslight Pro6
Read our review of the Kinesis Crosslight Pro6
Find a Kinesis dealer
Raleigh has an eight-bike cyclocross range, of which this is the cheapest with hydraulic brakes and SRAM's 1 x 11 transmission. It's an aluminium frame with butted tubing and a tapered head tube with a carbon fibre fork. They've gone with a 15mm bolt-thru front axle and a regular quick release rear axle.
As well as ideal for racing, this bike is versatile enough for the daily commute with rack and mudguard eyelets.
The On-One Pickenflick is a complete cyclo-cross bike with a titanium frame for a price only bit more than you'd usually pay for a titanium frame. Its handling and adaptability makes it at home on road, cyclo-cross circuit or trail.
The Felt F4X is the cheaper of Felt's two carbon fibre cross bikes with a high-modulus frame that helps keep the weight low, so it's a good choice for racing, with plenty of upgrade potential. It has internal cable routing and a tapered head tube.
Like many manufacturers here, Felt has gone for SRAM's 1 x 11 transmission, giving a decent range of gears without the complication of a front derailleur.
Niner call the RLT 9 (RLT stands for Road Less Traveled) a 29er, a monster cross machine, an all-road mountain bike, and a gravel grinder. It is built around an alloy frame with Niner's own carbon fork plugged in up front, and is, of course, built solely with disc brakes in mind.
The RLT 9 strays a bit from the conventional cyclocross mould and taps into the rising popularity of the gravel racing and adventure scene, so it's a good choice if you want a cyclocross bike not for racing as such, but you want the bigger tyres, disc brakes and geometry for long rides taking in both road and off road surfaces.
One of the newest carbon fibre cyclo-cross bikes on the market, this is actually the first 'cross bike from German company Storck. The company are advocates of disc brakes and the T.I.X. has been designed around disc brakes. The model we tested came with Shimano's hydraulic disc brakes providing excellent stopping power.
Hailing from Belgium, Ridley has one of the biggest ranges of cyclocross bikes,which is hardly surprising given that it's Belgian cycling's winter religion. The X-Bow Disc Tiagra's aluminium frame is hung with Shimano Tiagra components with a proper cyclocross-style 46/36 double chainset. The rubber that hits the (dirt) road is from Challenge and it sits on Ridley's own 4ZA wheels with Shimano hubs.
Want more cyclocross bike options? See the full archive of cyclo-cross bike reviews here.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.