Best Cyclocross Bikes: Reviews & Comparisons

If you’re considering getting into cyclocross, you probably have at least some idea of how demanding a sport it can be on a bike, and are likely attempting to determine which would best suit your needs.

The Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 Di2 fared quite well as the best of the cyclocross bikes which we review, with the Ridley X-Night being the runner-up and the best budget option.

Our Picks for the 5 Best Cyclocross Bikes

The above links will take you to eBay & Amazon, where you can check prices and see some similar bikes.

What makes a good cyclocross bike?

The 5 Best Cyclocross Bikes Compared Side-by-Side

Let’s compare 5 of the cyclocross bikes on the market to see how they shape up relative to the features which we just identified as being extra important for cyclocross bikes.

Weight


When you’re grabbing your cyclocross bike with one arm and staggering through mounds of mud or jumping small obstacles, you’re going to want to be carrying a bike like the Canyon or the Trek. These two bikes are nearly 2kg lighter than their compatriots, which can make a noticeable cumulative difference.

Jake the Snake is the regrettable heavyweight here, weighing in at nearly 10kg.

Reach


Reach = the level distance between the bottom bracket and the top middle point of the head tube.

The reach of these bikes stays clustered tightly around the 38cm mark, though Jake The Snake has an extra cm, which could make it a bit more challenging to handle the bike effectively during a sharp turn.

Chainstay Length

Chainstay lengths stick very closely to 42cm, with no real outliers to speak of.

Wheelbase Length


Wheelbase length = the level distance from the front to rear wheels.

Unlike the others, the Canyon has shaved off a few centimeters from its wheelbase length to be as nimble as possible and provide as many opportunities for overtaking the competition as a rider can manage

Seat Tube Angle

Like many of the other metrics, there is little variation among the seat tube angles of these bikes intended for cyclocross. It’s unlikely that the half degree deviations from 73 degrees are going to have any major impact on your ability to handle the bike. Likewise, there’s probably not much comfort or competitive advantage to be found in these half degree differences.

Review Of Ridley X-Night Disc Rival 1

Stack (554mm)
Reach (386mm)
Price

The Ridley X-Night Disc Rival 1 has the potential to be a beast of a cyclocross bike. The Ridley has a lot of extremely durable components which make the bike extremely responsive if perhaps a bit difficult to use outside of cyclocross. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

This bike uses a Clement MXP 700x33c wheelset.

This wheelset is meant to endure a lot of abuse from sharp cornering, and it’s probably one of the bike’s stronger points.

Pros

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    Groupset is compact, durable, and unlikely to fail during a cyclocross run, but it’s not going to be efficient for casual riding outside of the competition.
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    Frame is thick enough that you won’t have to worry about it chipping or cracking, leading to a total loss of the bike as can often happen with carbon frames.
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    Great stopping power without much fear of the brakeset wearing down—it’s a tank.

Cons

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    A very heavy bicycle, which makes it hard to carry during portions of cyclocross courses where carrying the bike is the best option.
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    Extremely expensive, and when bought from the manufacturer in stock configuration, does not come with pedals.
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    Requires a lot of maintenance if you want the groupset to last, especially if you’re regularly engaging in cyclocross. 

For a bike that is purpose-built for cyclocross, the Ridley X-Night could probably perform pretty well in the hands of a sufficiently skilled biker. Even if you wanted to use it in a different setting, the Ridley X-Night could also easily perform well in very rugged conditions typically scaled by higher-end mountain bikes.

Expert Opinions

“It has a lot of helpful little features that help during cyclocross that prevent it from losing the chain.”-Le Tour de Plants

“It’s got the enthusiasm of a mountain bike. It’s the stiffest ride that I’ve ever had, and this could function as a road bike which is amazing to me.” -Graeme Street of CycloClub.

“All the parts are tied together with parts from other really reliable brands.”-Global Cycling Network

Review of Kona’s Jake the Snake


Stack (600mm)
Reach (395mm)
Price

Kona’s Jake The Snake might not be the craziest cyclocross bike out there, but it’s competitive if you’re willing to make do with a few of its weaker components. Overall, Jake The Snake might be a good choice as a first cyclocross bike. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

This bike uses Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminum Butted frame.

Jake’s frame is nearly 10kg in weight, which wins it no awards. The frame is the weakest point of the bike.

Pros

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    Might be a good bike for someone who is just getting into cyclocross because of the frame’s durability.
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    Could double as a mountain bike for anyone interested in activities other than cyclocross.
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    Could be a great bike to train on for portions of cyclocross tracks that require carrying the bike. 

Cons

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    Extremely heavy and suffers from a weak groupset that is likely to fail.
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    The frame, while tough, is carbon fiber, meaning that if it is damaged, the entire bike is lost.
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    Underpowered brakes paired with its heavy weight make for substantial concerns regarding stopping the bike after picking up speed downhill or on straightaways. 

There are many better cyclocross bikes than Jake the Snake, but if you’re looking for a bike that can double as a mountain bike and withstand a lot of abuse, it still might be the right bike for you.

Expert Opinions

“It has a lot of configurability—you can use it as a racing machine, or a mountain rider, or even a dirt path rider.” -Full Cycle Ottawa

“Awesome bike. I tore mine apart and put it back together again with no problems, and it’s a beast.”-Mountain Powder Hound

“Very well priced, very well specced bike—they’re designed for performance and handling, but for most people, they customize it to make it into whatever they want.”- Bicycle Works

Review Of The Trek Boone 7 Disc


Stack (580mm)
Reach (387mm)
Price

The Trek Boone 7 Disc is a carefully constructed cyclocross bike that incorporates some of the high-quality components that we’ve seen mentioned before in other bikes. The Trek can cyclocross, race, or even be a city bike. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

This bike uses a Bontrager CX3 Team Issue, 120tpi, aramid bead, 700x32c wheelset.

The wheelset is one of the strongest parts of this bike because it bolsters the bike’s ability to make sharp turns and handle the slippery terrain. The Bontrager wheelset is also extremely durable, and can easily be transferred from cyclocross to mountain biking or any other kind of aggressive biking sport without fear of damage.

Pros

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    Very light and helps the user maintain an aerodynamic posture during cyclocross.
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    Groupset is extremely reliable, and guarantees the ability to turn on a dime even in the muddiest and most difficult of driving conditions.
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    Excellent wheelset which makes it competitive with most other cyclocross bikes right out of the box. 

Cons

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    Pretty expensive and is rarely on sale as a result of its popularity. 
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    Saddle and seatmast are not comfortable, even by cyclocross standards, making the occasional bump during sharp turns somewhat painful. 
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    Very responsive to user input and will be too sensitive for novice bikers to use properly.

If you’re in the market for a cyclocross bike, consider the Trek Boone 7 to be a strong contender, assuming you can afford it.

Expert Opinions

“It’s meant for cyclocross, but I consider this one bike for all roads.”-Ingemar Gardell

“Trek Boone included a little bit of a suspension system that doesn’t get much attention, but if you think about it, saving your back from all those little impacts during the race is going to help you out a lot at the end of the day.”-Global Cycling Network

“Love the bike. I originally got this because I wanted a bike that could do it all, and I was pretty pumped to configure it so that it could do so.”-Wild Outdoor Living

Review of Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 Di2


Stack (567mm)
Reach (382mm)
Price

Hailing from Slovenia, the Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 Di2 is the cyclocross bike built for those who want to combine style, power, and versatility. Surprisingly, Canyon manages to offer all of these attributes at a low cost without compromising on the quality of the components. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

The Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 Di2 uses a Canyon Endurace CF SLX DISC Frame, which is carbon.

Canyon’s frame is very light—around 7kg—meaning that it’ll be easy to carry while on the cyclocross course. There is a slight problem with this, though: a light frame made of carbon may be prone to breakage due to the torqueing of the turning necessary to navigate cyclocross.

There haven’t been any specific complaints about the Canyon’s frame breaking, but it’s worth remembering when it comes time to buy a new bike. 

Pros

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    A top of the line cyclocross bike that doesn’t compromise in any one place.
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    Can easily be used as a mountain bike when it isn’t cyclocross season.
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    Great groupset which provides smooth transitions and rapid braking at the discretion of the rider.

Cons

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    Doesn’t come standard with pedals, so you’ll need to purchase those separately.
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    May have a frame that isn’t strong enough for cyclocross, resulting in a total loss of the bike after a chipping.

In short, the Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 9.0 Di2 is cyclocross bike that’s built to be perfect and may approach perfection except its frame. The only other thing to mention about this bike is that because it’s manufactured in Slovenia, getting customer service or interpreting the purchasing information can be very difficult, so plan accordingly.

Expert Opinions

“This bike is a weapon. It’s a cyclocross bike. It’s a mountain bike. It’s a road bike.”-The Sick Biker

“Let’s be honest. This bike looks good. And yeah, it sounds good. The sound of the rear hub is to my liking.” -Jaiven

“The groupset is a fantastic performer. The SWISS DT wheels are a great addition, too.” -Cycling Weekly

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