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.
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 cyclo-cross 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 cyclo-cross 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 cyclo-cross courses.
The whole gravel/adventure thing may have softened some bikes a touch to make them more versatile but Boardman's CXR 9.4 is having none of it.
'Ready to race straight out of the box,' it says on Boardman's website and while I'd say it could do with a couple of minor tweaks the CXR 9.4 is one flickable, lightweight off-road rocket which is an absolute blast on the technical stuff.
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 2016s Giant TCX SLR 1, and this is the 2018 equivalent. It gets a brake upgrade to Giant's hydraulics, but retains the fast and nimble aluminium frame as the 2016 bike.
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 2018 version of the Merida Cyclo Cross 400 is the same as 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 400'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 2018 UK range all have disc brakes, and the £3,900 Expert X1 above has SRAM's hydraulics and 1 x 11 transmission.
The impressive spec includes Roval SLX 24 wheels with 33mm Terra Pro tyres. The range starts at £1,300 for the Crux E5, though there are still 2017 models around for £1,062.50.
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.
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.
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 road.cc archive of cyclo-cross bike reviews.
The aim of road.cc 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 in a 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.
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.