Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Best cyclocross bikes 2022 — drop-bar dirt bikes for racing and playing in the mud

How to pick the best cyclocross bike for your needs, whether you're a beginner or seasoned racer

Whether you're new to the sport or have already taken a few laps in the mud, choosing the best cyclocross bike can be a dauting task. 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.

>>Read more: Beginner's Guide to cyclocross essentials

12 of the best cyclocross bikes

Kona Jake the Snake 2022 — £1,799.00

2022 Kona jake the snake

A long-standing favourite of amateur cross racers, the latest Jake the Snake boasts modern features like disc brakes and a single chainring, all hung on a tidy 6061 aluminium frame.

Find a Kona dealer

Cannondale CAADX 1 2021 — £1,499.99

2021 Cannondale CAADX 1

Cannondale was one of the first companies to put discs on their cyclocross bikes and teh CAADX 1 is bang up to date with Shimano GRX hydraulic discs and versatile with a 46/30 chainset and 11-36 cassette. If you want more racing-friendly gears it'd be straightforward to swap out the inner ring for a 36, or keep it for general playing-in-the-trails antics.

Find a Cannondale dealer

Cube Cross Race Pro 2022 — £1,699

2022 Cube Cross race Pro

Cube's Cross Race Pro gives you Shimano hydraulic brakes, a proper cyclocross-friendly 46/36 chainset and UCI-legal 33mm-wide Schwalbe X-One Allround tyres.  This is a a fast and nimble cyclocross bike ideally suited to beginner racers, and has had a few crucial upgrades since we tested the 2020 version: it now seems to come with tubeless-ready wheels and tyres.

Read our review of the 2020 Cube Cross Race Pro
Find a Cube dealer

Merida Mission CX Force Edition — £4,200

Merida CX Force Edition.jpg

Merida's Mission CX Force Edition is a top-quality cyclo-cross bike that's ready to race straight out of the box. It'll turn its hand to fast gravel riding and winter riding too, if you're looking for something more than just a dedicated race bike.

The Mission CX is designed as a cyclo-cross race bike and as such it's not going to mollycoddle you over rough ground: this is a bike for attacking stuff on. It's at its best when you're sprinting up a steep, loose gravel climb or you're finding a fast line through a swoopy bit of singletrack. It's a direct, responsive bike that goes where you point it.

Steering response is very good: the bike isn't twitchy, but neither does it have the relaxed feel of more gravel/distance-orientated bikes. With a head tube angle of 72 degrees and a seat tube angle of 74 degrees, that's not really surprising.

Read our review of the Merida Mission CX Force Edition

Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105 — £1,399

Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105 review

Ribble's CGR AL Shimano 105 is a hugely versatile and superb value bike for everything from gravel bashing to cyclocross and road commuting. The aluminium frame isn't overly compliant and the kit needs a few tweaks if you intend to mostly stick to dirt, but that's easy enough to custom spec it to your heart's content when you order.

The CGR bit of the name stands for Cyclocross, gravel and road, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about where this bike is pitched, namely as a do-it-all drop bar bike. The impressive thing is that it actually delivers on this promise, having taken in everything from gravel rides, road Audaxes and tow-path bashing commutes.

Read our review of the Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105

Boardman CXR 8.9 — £1,100

Boardman CXR 8.9

With race-orientated handling, a single chainring for simplicity and hydraulic brakes for control, the Boardman CXR 8.9 is a bargain entry to the world of drop-bar dirt bikes.

Find a Boardman dealer

Vitus Energie Evo CR 2021 — £1,999.99

2021 Vitus Energie Evo CR

Chain Reaction house brand Vitus has a track record of making excellent cross bikes, so we're excited about their latest Energie models, which boast a revised geometry with longer top tube and shorter stem for better handling and, Vitus says, a new carebon layup that's lighter and stiffer than before.

It comes configured for racing with tubeless-ready 33mm tyres, but it's versatile: there's a seatstay bridge for mudguards in the package so you can configure it for winter road riding, and mud clearance you could fly a light aircraft through.

Read our review of the previous Vitus Energie CRX

Canyon Inflite CF SLX 9 2021 — £4,699

2021 Canyon Inflite CF SLX 9

Canyon's DNA is pure racing, and the Inflite CF SLX frame is a clear statement of intent: a frame that builds into bikes fit for the toughest and most demanding cyclocross racers and budding amateurs alike. It's light – 940g for a frame – disc brake-only and 1x and 2x compatible, and features the most distinctive top tube we've ever seen.

The Inflite CF SLX might not be the prettiest cyclocross bike ever produced, but there's nowt ugly about its performance, which is nothing short of stellar. Over a couple of months, tester David Arthur rode it in loads of local races to really get its measure. The Canyon immediately impressed. It brings sheer speed and easy handling to the Sunday morning mud party, with a delightful nimbleness that makes it easy to steer the bike around often awkward and fiddly cyclocross courses.

Read our review of the (rather cheaper) Canyon Inflite CF SL 8

Read our review of the Canyon Inflite CF SLX 8.0 Pro Race, which shares the same frame

Merida Cyclo Cross 100 — £900

2019 Merida Cyclo Cross 100

The latest version of the Merida Cyclo Cross 100 has a lot in common with the 2015 Merida Cyclo Cross 500, which 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 platform serves up good off-road handling. 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 thru-axle stiffens up the front end noticeably, and tracking over rough ground is really good, with very little noticeable dive under heavy braking.

Read our review of the Merida Cyclo Cross 500

Specialized Crux Comp — £4,000

2021 Specialized crux comp

Specialized's Crux is a popular choice among amateur cyclocross racers. All the bikes in the current UK range  have 1X transmissions, and the £4,000 Crux Comp above has SRAM's hydraulics and 1 x 11 transmission.

The spec includes DT Swiss R470 rims on Specialized's own hubs with 33mm Tracer Pro tyres. The 2021 range starts at £2,750 for the cheapest Crux. Specialized no longer lists an aluminium-framed Crux, perhaps reasoning that riders who want a cheaper cyclocross bike will go for the versatility of the Diverge E5 family instead.

Read our review of the Specialized Crux Elite
Read our review of the Specialized Crux Elite X1
Find a Specialized dealer

Kinesis CX Race — £765.00 (frame & fork)

2020 Kinesis CX Race frame

The Kinesis CX Race frame builds up into your typical racing cyclocross bike. For many a Kinesis was probably their first cyclocross bike, bought as a frame and cobbled together from spare parts. The CX Race is the successor to Kinesis' perennially popular Crosslight Pro6 and now gets a Columbus Futura Cross fork to lead out its Super Plastic Formed Scandium alloy frame.

Read our review of the Kinesis Crosslight Pro6
Find a Kinesis dealer

Bianchi Zolder Pro — £3,365.00

2022 Bianchi Zolder Pro

This is the bike of three-time cyclocross world champion Wout Van Aert, and takes its name from the Belgian province where he triumphed in 2016. The full carbon frame is disc brake-only, and can be set up for 1x or 2x drivetrains. It can take up to 40mm tyres if you want thicker rubber for when you're not racing, and the geometry is classic CX with a raised bottom bracket and plenty of reach. A neat addition requested by Van Aert himself is the positioning of the seat tube bottle cage bolts lower down, for greater comfort when shouldering the bike. 

Find a Bianchi dealer

Want more cyclocross bike options? See the full archive of cyclocross bike reviews.
About Buyer's Guides

The aim of buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

Here's some more information on how makes money.

You can also find further guides on our sister sites and ebiketips. buyer's guides are maintained by the tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

Add new comment


Dicklexic | 6 years ago
1 like

A year on from purchase and I'm still pretty happy with my Boardman. It finished off the winter as my commute bike and was used for a few gravelly rides, but has not seen much use for the past 4 months or so, save a couple of rides towing the youngest in a trailer. The CX season starts for me this Sunday so tonight I plan to strip off the mudguards and swap the wheels ready for racing again.

jterrier wrote:

I bought a cx team and am just about to do exactly that -lighter wheels without the xd driver and a narrower cassette plus smaller chainring. Would love to hear exactly what bits you bought and how it has improved.

Apologies jterrier, I didn't notice your reply until today. The wheels were swapped for some Hunt 4 Season Disc wheels which have been doing double duty on my road bike for the last two and a half years as well, and were fitted with WTB Cross Boss TCS tyres, set up tubeless. Tyres were great and coped pretty well with all the conditions they faced, although they may struggle with really muddy conditions. Chose these over the Schwalbe equivalent as they are 35mm not 33mm (more comfort), were actually available and were quite a bit cheaper. They'll be going back on tonight ready for this Sunday. The tyres combined with the wheels have a huge impact upon ride quality and saved a good chunk of weight too. Where there was a dull and heavy feel before, the bike feels much more responsive and racy. The only other change was to swap the chainring for a smaller SuperStar Components I/O chainring to shorten the gearing slightly.

I'd like to add a carbon seatpost to improve comfort a little bit more at some point. 

I've got just the one issue at the moment, and that is the shoddy bottom bracket. Creaked a LOT almost from new, and has been on my list of 'things to do' for ages. I think the bearings themselves are okay but like many pressfit BBs it's the bearing race moving very slightly in the shell causing the noise. Very annoying. I really must sort it soon.

LarryDavidJr, I'm glad to report I've not had any serious issues like you (yet) but can't help thinking that the frame is definitely built down to a price. I'm no brand snob but would love to at some point in the future rebuild the parts onto a more premium frame. This one certainly couldn't be described as being well refined!

LarryDavidJr replied to Dicklexic | 6 years ago
Dicklexic wrote:

LarryDavidJr, I'm glad to report I've not had any serious issues like you (yet) but can't help thinking that the frame is definitely built down to a price. I'm no brand snob but would love to at some point in the future rebuild the parts onto a more premium frame. This one certainly couldn't be described as being well refined!

Well mine was the older 2014/15 model don't forget.  The newer ones look like much better value for money generally.

If bottom bracket creak is getting you (it did on mine) just give up on the pressfit and get an SRAM threaded conversion adapter.  I did this and it was the end of creaky problems. (you will need another crankset for that though obviously, I got a used one on ebay for about a tenner)

There are better bottom brackets to convert to threaded from the likes of Praxis etc. but on the old evrsion (the one I had) the bottom braket shell was narrower in the middle and so the adapters that 'screw together' in the frame could not be used.

Avatar | 7 years ago

I bought a cx team and am just about to do exactly that -lighter wheels without the xd driver and a narrower cassette plus smaller chainring. Would love to hear exactly what bits you bought and how it has improved.

RoadieRoadie replied to | 3 years ago
1 like

I bought a new Vitus Énergie VR rolling frameset 2019 version, wheels tyres & discs included from Wiggles Flea Bay outlet for a song & then bought a load of bits from various online outfits in the sales. I ended up with SRAM Force 1 x11, 3T carbon ergoterra bars, carbon seatpost, WTB cross boss 35's. Only think I'm going to change are the WTB i23 nova tech's which are a bit dull, flat & heavy to ride. I'm not an out an out CX nut, but wanted something that could be used as a winter bike / occasional gravel route machine. Have just added Vélo Orange mudguards in hammered black too which are fab & frame had all the hidden lugs needed. All in cost so far is £950 which I think is pretty amazing for the quality of components. I chose the Énergie VR for the build quality of frame / paint & fit slack geometry so that it rides fast & is comfy. All told pretty chuffed with results. Thinking about upgrading wheels to a pair of Scribe road alloy, or Hunt 4 seasons. Both around 1500 grms & about 350£. Anyone got any experience of either wheelset ? I'm hoping that swapping out the above for some sprightly hoops will liven it up a bit 

Latest Comments