Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS



Fast, fun and nimble – the CEXevo is an excellent cyclocross racer and high-speed gravel racer
Impressive versatility
Decent tyre clearance for a CX bike
Great ride quality
Fantastic fun to ride

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

Primarily designed for the competitive world of cyclocross racing, the Handsling CEXevo is actually a very versatile machine that also works well as a lightweight gravel bike and as an endurance road machine for those of us who want a bike capable of running large volume tyres. Hampshire-based Handsling has created a bike that feels light and responsive, which makes the CEXevo bags of fun to ride whatever type of cycling you use it for. Its overall quality makes it a serious challenger for our best gravel bikes buyer's guide.

> Buy now: Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS for £4699.99 from Handsling


First and foremost, the CEXevo is an absolute blast to ride.

The compact frame feels nimble, and when you take into account the 8.15kg weight in this build, you'll get some idea of just how eager this bike feels. And this is especially true off road.

2023 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - riding 4.jpg

Our bike came with 40mm-wide tyres that are perfect for some gravel action – and this is where I spent most of my time on the Handsling.

2023 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - riding 3.jpg

Putting it through its paces on all kinds of tracks and trails I didn't find a single area where I found it out of place.

2023 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - riding 2.jpg

Riding through technical sections in the woods, the bike's cyclocross race geometry means that it has a very direct feel at the front. This results in quick, positive direction changes, while its comparatively low weight means the rear end follows suit.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - stem.jpg

I have a lovely section of singletrack on my main test route that takes about 15 minutes to ride. It wouldn't be anything technical on a mountain bike, but on a drop-bar bike without suspension you have to keep your wits about you, as the numerous tree roots, peaks and troughs can easily catch you out.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - top tube decal.jpg

During the drier spells of the review period the trail was running hard and fast too, which really exploited the CEXevo's nimbleness. The handling was absolutely spot on, and the weight meant it was extremely easy to bunny-hop or flick the bike about.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - rear mech.jpg

In other areas, such as the long, relentless gravel military roads that I ride regularly, I found the Handsling easy to live with. When the bike's being used in anger the front end is stable, and even on looser gravel it never feels twitchy. In fact, for a bike of its type the CEXevo is very easy to ride. It's quick, and it feels almost as if it wants you to ride it flat out all the time, but when you do take things back a notch or two it's comfortable at steady pace.

And this is comfortable not just in a confidence-inspiring way, but also in quite-a-plush-ride kind of a way.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - seat stays.jpg

The slender seatstays promote flex for rear-end comfort. Rather than part-way up the seat tube, these meet the seat tube at the same level as the top tube, which means there's plenty of length for those slim tubes to flex.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - head tube.jpg

Where it needs to be though, the frame is very stiff, with little if any flex noticeable at the bottom bracket area, nor at the front with its tapered head tube.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - fork.jpg

The fork doesn't let the side down either. The blades are sufficiently stiff for hard cornering efforts or when resisting heavy braking loads.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - fork detail.jpg

While I was out riding, I actually passed another rider on a CEXevo coming in the opposite direction. His bike had a more road-focused build, which got me thinking about what other builds I could try.

I was reviewing a set of 36mm WTB Exposure TCS Fast slick tyres at the same time, so I paired those with some deep-section carbon wheels and turned the CEXevo into a large-tyred road bike.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - head tube badge.jpg

The geometry, while making the steering feel quick off road, feels a little more subdued on tarmac, but in practice this worked well, coping with the greasy, salt-layered surfaces that winter threw at us.

If you are willing to go sans mudguards, then the Handsling would make a very competent commuter or winter trainer. That relaxed, easy-handling front end also makes the CEXevo a pretty handy bikepacking machine.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - front.jpg

I loaded up the Handsling with a bar bag, frame bag, and saddlebag found it comfortable and confident when it was carrying some weight. It behaved very well during a day-long ride, and when I was feeling shattered towards the end the Handsling was still very easy to live with.

The reality is that the CEXevo is very good at the sort of riding it's designed for – while being just as capable and proving great fun for other applications too.

Frame and Fork

The CEXevo's frame and fork is manufactured from Toray T800-grade carbon fibre in Shenzhen, China, with the frame coming from a mould owned by Handsling.  

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - frame detail.jpg

Rather than being designed from scratch - like their A1R0evo road bike - the CEXevo has been created from an existing mould that has then been adapted to suit Handsling's own design features. Plus they design, and have full control over the specific carbon fibre lay up. 

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - bottle bosses.jpg

The CEXevo has been designed with an emphasis on resilience rather than just a low weight, but a 52cm frame weighs just 870g, with the full-carbon fork coming in at 370g.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - seat tube junction_.jpg

Both the frame and fork appear to be high-quality items and Handsling also offers 15 limited-edition colours or even a custom paintjob.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - drop bar.jpg

The CEXevo has full internal routing for hoses, cables and wires, with blanking plates included where entry ports aren't required. The result is not only a clean-looking bike, but the cables and hoses are kept out of the mud.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - bosses 2.jpg

Handsling has gone for a threaded BSA bottom bracket shell, while both the frame and fork have 12mm thru-axles.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - bottom bracket.jpg

Tyre clearances aren't as large as you'll find on some adventure-style gravel bikes, with Handsling recommending a 43mm maximum.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - clearance.jpg

But if you're running 33-35mm cyclocross tyres you'll find that the clearance is impressive.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - rear.jpg

When it comes to sizing and geometry the CEXevo comes in five sizes from 50cm to 58cm with top tube lengths ranging from 51.5cm to 59.5cm.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - head tube.jpg

Our 54cm model has 55.5cm top tube of 55.5cm, a 14.5cm head tube and a 54cm seat tube. The stack and reach are 570mm and 380mm respectively.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - down tube.jpg

The other measurements are a 65mm bottom bracket drop, 600mm from the bottom bracket to the fork dropout (front centre), 425mm chainstays and a 1026mm wheelbase.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - cable routing.jpg

As for the angles, it's 73° for the seat tube, and 71.5° for the head tube.

Finishing Kit

In addition to offering full customisation when it comes to building up your CEXevo, Handsling also lists a range of complete builds on its website.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - lever.jpg
2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - drivetrain.jpg

Our model is based around a 1x SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR groupset with a 40T chainring and 12-speed 10-44T cassette.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - crank.jpg

This provides a wide gear range well suited to the type of riding the bike's designed for.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - rear dropout.jpg

You might find it a little on the low side if you're doing a lot of road work, but if that's the case you could go for a twin-chainring option, and in addition to this Handsling also offers chainsets with power meters.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - front mech plate.jpg

The groupset worked faultlessly throughout testing, even when covered in mud and grit during foul weather at the beginning of the year.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - front disc brake.jpg

Braking proved equally impressive, with the 160mm rotors offering not only plenty of power, but also the modulation required for off-road riding.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - rear disc brake.jpg

The bike is also well specced for the money. There are branded items throughout the kit line-up, including the Deda Zero 100 handlebar and Zero 2 stem.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - bar tape.jpg
2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - saddle.jpg

The Prologo One Touch 2 handlebar tape is also a great choice, offering decent padding and grip on rough terrain, and I found the Prologo saddle extremely comfortable, helped by a carbon fibre seatpost.

Our CEXevo came with Parcours Altas wheels that Aaron reviewed recently on our sister site

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - rim.jpg

As Aaron said, the Altas are an affordable gravel wheelset designed for training, long miles and racing. Aaron's wheels weighed in at 1,490g including rim tape and valves, which is impressive considering their price.

Our test bike's wheels proved tough and reliable companions during a very wide range of weather – and riding – conditions, taking in both wet and muddy spells and some dryer, dustier conditions.

The tracks and trails I tested the bike on aren't exactly renowned for being kind to components, but the Altas wheels took everything in their stride, remaining true and staying free of creaks during testing.

Their 33mm external/24mm internal rim width has been optimised to work with 38mm to 50mm tyres, so the 40mm Pirelli Cinturato tyres fitted a treat.

2022 Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS - tyre.jpg

George tested the RC option that is designed for gravel racing and I tried out I tried out the S option, which has the deepest tread for muddy conditions, while our CEXevo came with the M version for mixed terrain.

The tread pattern worked well on the dry trails and offered decent levels of grip on soft mud – as long as it wasn't too wet and sticky. And if you want a single set of tyres for year-round riding, then they are a good option.

They aren't the lightest tyres, but I found them dependable and durable, so punctures weren't an issue whatever the conditions. And for many of us, that trumps a low weight.


Our test build comes in at £4,699.99. This isn't what you'd call cheap, but when you compare it with some of the other cyclocross bikes around today it actually looks like good value for money, especially when you take the finishing kit into consideration.

Canyon's Inflite impressed us when we reviewed the CF SL 8 back in 2020, thanks to it being fast and fun with brilliant handling, according to Liam.

For 2023 the closest build is the CF SLX 9 Team that costs £4,499, which comes with a GRX Di2 groupset, DT Swiss CRC1400 Spline wheels and a claimed weight of 7.76kg.

Specialized's Crux is touted as the lightest gravel bike on the market, with the top-tier S-Works that Liam reviewed tipping the scales at 7.2kg.

However, the Crux Comp has a heavier frame and lower-end components, so the weight is going to be similar to the CEXevo. The Comp is £4,600 but – and this is quite a big but – it only comes with SRAM's Rival groupset. Not only that, but it's also the 11-speed mechanical version and the wheels are alloy DT Swiss G540 Disc models.

If you want electronic shifting, you are looking at the Crux Expert at £6,300 for Rival eTap – so, a much higher price for a groupset lower down the SRAM hierarchy.


Whether you are a cyclocross racer, or just want a lightweight gravel bike then you won't be disappointed with the CEXevo. It's fast and fun to ride, a proper grin inducing machine with the added bonus that it works on the road as well with as little as change of tyres.


Fast, fun and nimble – the CEXevo is an excellent cyclocross racer and high-speed gravel racer

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website test report

Make and model: Handsling CEXevo SRAM Force AXS

Size tested: 54cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Groupset: SRAM Force AXS XPLR 1x 40t chainring, 10-44t 12-speed cassette

Brakes: SRAM Force, 160mm front, 160mm rear

Wheelset: Parcours Alta (36mm deep, hookless tubeless)

Tyres: Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 40mm (tubeless)

Thru axles: Handsling 12mm Superlight Thru Axles

Saddle: Prologo Scratch M5 Tirox

Handlebar: Deda Zero 100 (42cm centre to centre)

Stem: Deda Zero 2 (10cm)

Headset: Handsling headset 1 1/8th to 1.5in

Bar tape: Prologo One Touch 2

Bottom bracket: BSA DUB

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Handsling says: "The UCI-approved CEXevo is Handsling's ultimate do-it-all frame, with the versatility to race cyclocross at elite level, hit the gravel trails, or act as a tough-as-nails all-terrain tourer."

It is definitely a fast, and highly controllable bike, yet thanks to the comfort and the geometry it's capable of all kinds of riding.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

Handsling offers the CEXevo in a range of builds, although they are all customisable. Builds range from £3,599, and a frame and fork is available for £1,699.99.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

A high-quality frame and fork and you also have the option of a custom paintjob.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The frame and fork are constructed from Toray T800 carbon fibre.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry figures are mentioned in the review and it's designed to give a quick handling machine off-road, and one that feels stable at speed too.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The height and reach measurements are fairly typical for this style of bike.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Comfort was very good, with noticeable benefits from the slender chainstays.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Due to the large bottom bracket shell area, and chunky lower half of the frame stiffness isn't an issue at all.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Power transfer is very good thanks to the stiffness mentioned above.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?


How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Responsive

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Quick and direct off-road, while slightly more sedate if you are using it as a road bike.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I got on well with the shape of the saddle, and the Prologo tape is comfortable even on rough gravel tracks.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The Force chainset is stiff enough for hard out-of-the-saddle efforts.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The range of gears offers a good spread for climbing and descending from a racing and fast riding point of view.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
Rate the bike for climbing:

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
Rate the drivetrain for weight:

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

SRAM's Force eTap is an impressive groupset with quick, precise shifting and powerful braking. Both 1x and 2x chainring options are available.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
Rate the wheels for durability:
Rate the wheels for weight:
Rate the wheels for comfort:

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

A lightweight set of wheels for gravel and cyclo-cross riding, which should prove durable too.

Rate the tyres for performance:
Rate the tyres for durability:
Rate the tyres for weight:
Rate the tyres for comfort:

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

They're not the lightest gravel tyres around, but they offer good grip and they are durable too.


Rate the controls for performance:
Rate the controls for durability:
Rate the controls for weight:
Rate the controls for comfort:

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

A good selection of kit for the money, and ideal for off-road and road use.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

It is well priced when compared to something like Specialized's Crux, and comparable to Canyon's offerings.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your overall score

The CEXevo is a great bike to ride, and a lot of that is down to the fact that it is very well made. The ride quality is high end, and the geometry works exceptionally well to create a CX/gravel racer that can also turn its hand to more endurance-based riding. Overall, the price also is competitive when you consider the finishing kit on offer.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

Latest Comments