May 10, 2013
As with all bikes, the laws of diminishing returns apply to 'cross bikes too.
With its wide bars, relaxed geometry and comfortable carbon forks the F55X is mountain biker friendly and not overly race-orientated. That’s not to say that if the bug bites and you fancy skating round a field for an hour at the weekend it’s not up to it; it is, although the tyres seem better suited to drier conditions.
The frame is made of hydroformed aluminium and manages to squeeze a BB30 bottom bracket and a slightly flattened top tube (because at some point you’ll probably be slinging it over your shoulder) in at one end and a tapered headtube at the other. Adorning the frame is a smattering of posh bits to get you nods from those in the know, in the shape of the Ultegra drivetrain and FSA cranks, which is XT level in mountain bike parlance. Just as with XT, you can expect clean, crisp shifts even when the drivetrain’s got half a football field glued to it. You’ll also find that canti brakes take a bit of getting used to after the discs that you (probably) have on your mountain bike. If you see them as devices to scrub a bit of speed off, rather than stopping you in a hurry, then you won’t be too surprised.
Overall: Whether you buy the F55X as a first step into cyclocross or you buy a pair to support your racing, you won’t be disappointed with this well-specced and fun bike.