What do people do on CX bikes?

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  • What do people do on CX bikes?
  • Premier Icon nemesis

    I’m not sure I’d fancy full on trail centre riding regularly – I reckon a CX bike would spoil any flow of that for me.

    For me they’re just brilliant bikes that are right at the compromise point of most return for almost all riding be it road, bridleway, offroad, etc. You can cover loads of ground road bike quickly and then cut off onto bridleways that’d be dull on an mtb and even ride your mtb trails for variety. It still amazes me what you can get away riding on a CX bike in terms of technical.

    Premier Icon surroundedbyhills

    HMM! I have one and have tried riding some trails, the big wheels will surprise you at what the roll over but the frame gets in the way when you want to cant it over. No bad for benign type trails but I’d rather avoid the gnar stuff.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    Ride everything:


    Premier Icon TomB

    Low speed mountain biking with the kids, including trail centres, off road dog walks/runs, commute, general transport, everything except “mountain biking” and “road biking” for which I have more suitable bikes!


    I hear they are great at being carried over planks of wood in muddy fields.

    david jey

    I’ll be carrying mine over planks in muddy fields from next month until January. But in the spring/summer it gets ridden most places I’d ride an (XC) MTB. This year that has included over The Gap and round most of Cwmcarn.

    There’s a local sickeningly talent XC whippet who likes nothing more than riding his CX bike at Bike Park Wales.


    I did exactly the same things I now do on an MTB (only did it faster on the CX bike – both single-speed as well so not a gears thing)

    It was with less comfort and less enjoyment though which is why I moved back to MTB. Over really rooty or rocky stuff the comfort was bad enough to avoid some parts of the route.


    I race cx on mine thats it. Tried it on xc trails but having an xc race type 29er, which is superior in every way off road I don’t really see the point.

    Premier Icon benji

    Racing in the autumn/winter it’s great fun for an hour.


    In the interests of an excuse to buy a 2nd bike…! I don’t feel I need anything more on the mtb side than my Norco Range – it does everything with the most awesome amount of awesomeness. I rarely road bike but have always been interested in getting a CX bike – wondering if people who own them use them for full-on XC and trail centre riding – I think it would be interesting now and then to feel every bump…!

    Premier Icon timidwheeler

    I use mine to go reasonable distances on road and tracks. It’s for days out. I wouldn’t take it to a trail centre, my mountain bike is much more fun.


    bridleway/ farm tracks/ back roads exploring.

    Premier Icon siwhite

    Almost all rides from home are on my CX bike – if a ride is going to be more than about 40% road (which most are round here) then I’ll leave the full sus at home. MTB pretty much only gets used at trail centres now..

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    I think a lot of “CX” bikes aren’t really proper CX bikes (including my own) it’s become a bit of a catch all term now to cover all sorts of capable drop barred bikes.

    Very few bikes bought as “CX” machines will have high BBs and racey geometry, many are serving as winter road bikes, disc braked tourers, year round commuters or just general on/offroad fun bikes…

    What use(s) do you think you might have for one?


    I was just thinking when I do tamer off-road routes with mates who don’t ride as hard as me I could take a CX bike and arse around a bit! Think I’m probably better sticking with mtb!


    Mine has been ridden off road from home to Inverness, raced in muddy fields (badly) commuted to work on and toured over a load of alpine cols.

    Yet to do anything seriously mountain-bikey on it though.

    Premier Icon househusband

    Farm tracks, local woodland, side of fields, some gentler singletrack, hooning around country parks and even…

    …who says you need a fat bike!


    It’s amazing what you can ride on them but on rocky / technical terrain it will always be slower than an MTB. Sometimes it’s fun to take the crosser out on totally inappropriate terrain but doing that all the time might get a bit frustrating.

    What they’re best for though is rides that you might find a bit meh on the MTB or ones where you link up bits of trail with bits of road. The skinny tyres and rigid forks mean you’ve got to keep your eye on the ball in places where you’d just barrel on through on the MTB. That and riding with less able riders where you being on the crosser levels the playing field a bit.


    I’ve done most things on mine. Big offroad rides in the hills, cyclocross racing, 100+ mile road rides, commuting, trail centres, offroad sportives (HONC etc), canal pottering…

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    A mate is down to one bike, a Charge CX bike. One set of wheels with knobblies, one set with slick road tyres. He certainly rides Sherwood Pines and all the local trails on it no problem.


    I went up Ingleborough on mine at the weekend. At the end of September will be doing the 3 Peaks on it.

    Until recently I held a DH Off Road Strava KOM on my CX.

    I use it to train on the road.

    The only thing it’s not great at (within reason) are jagged small rocks that because you don’t have much tyre volume cause you to get pinch flats

    Premier Icon twonks

    I use mine (boardman CX comp) for road riding with a add on bit of off road / double track as the mood takes.

    Not really possible on a road bike and roads are hard work on an mtb.

    As a bike it’s heavier than both my mtbs and a lump on road climbs but as an overall ride on varied terrain it is a good laugh.

    Fancy a go at longer blue routes at trail centres but wouldn’t take it round much more. I’m sure it would handle a few but I’d have to question why when I have better suited bikes.


    Mine has genuinely surprised me at how capable it is off road (Giant TCX). I giggled like a school kid when I hit a big ass bomb hole that I didn’t know was coming up. I also had utter disbelief when a massively dried up and heavily rutted bit of trail didn’t make me do a superman impression. Personally though, I will keep the MTB for that kind of stuff (yes I am a wuss)


    When my KTM Canic turns up this week it’ll get used for all the same stuff as my last cx bike, local trails, paths & bridleways, racing round parks, fields and country houses, cx sportives like monster miles and sling some slicks on it for winter road duties.

    Pretty much the same as a mountainous bike, just with quicker road sections.


    Just got a ridley x-bow with ‘proper’ cross geo a few weeks ago. Nominally for commuting and giving a few cx races a go this winter, however as my mtb is out of action it’s now my only bike. Really enjoying it for the speed on road and over grass/ fire roads. It’s not as fast as my mtb on rocky trails and gives you a bit of a battering but I don’t think it’s massively slower over roots, which don’t seems as jarring. First time I rode it I took it through a rock garden, which was a stupid and unpleasant experience! Earthy twisty singletrack in great though!

    Premier Icon tom200

    Fun mostly. Also good for trying to commute to work in the straightest possible route, the cx bike cuts 3 miles off a 15mile commute and means I can raz through some singletrack on the way home.

    I have punctured every single day I have ridden it so far though.

    Premier Icon allfankledup

    I do the same xc route as I would normally do on my FS as a training circuit, without putting wear and tear onto my FS bike

    The FS bike was being used for riding around a relatively flat circuit – the cx bike lets me do the same course with what I perceive as less maintenance cost

    In addition, I’m doing more cardio type work as I’m mixing in bigger rides out to try to improve my fitness ( need more up hills, more routinely)


    Exploring, crap roads and farm tracks, easy off road, winter road bike, cx racing, the odd bit of harder off road (red grade/level), long distances, pootling along canals.

    JAck of all trades they are. Just don’t expect that 35mm tyres will be as fast as road tyres or that a bike with no suspension and narrow bars will be as good as a full suss. They are a gread do it all bike though for mixed riding.

    Did the C2C on mine yesterday. Lots of road, some rocky bits, some muddy bits and miles of gravel.

    Premier Icon aracer
    1 shed

    Making urban rides rural, ginnels and cheeky paths fun. Exploring stuff and getting in tune with new places.

    Premier Icon kiwijohn

    Riding everywhere.



    and up back passages

    Premier Icon mattbee

    Same as many, used as a sort of ‘tough’ road bike, on a mix of roads (d’uh!) and farm tracks/bridle ways and the odd bit of singletrack.
    With the South Downs not quite on my doorstep it’s great to be able to get out without driving but still get off road and the New Forest down the road isn’t really the natural habitat for a 140mm travel full sus so the CX bike works out best there.
    I’ve ridden the blue and red trails at QECP on it but that’s not really what it’s for.
    I just bought the cheap and nasty Carrera one from Halfords, then replaced the wheels and forks (plus cranks with some from the shed) giving me a reasonably light bike for sub £400. At that price it doesn’t matter to me if I don’t get on it as often as I ought to.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    I commute, road ride, and old school XC on it (farm tracks, bridleways, covering lots of miles to see what’s over the other side of the hill style as oposed to finding twisty singletrack)

    The one thing I haven’t done on it is a CX race. But maybe, a fun one this winter (is there such a thing as fun CX racing 😉 )


    Really Nice collection of pictures.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby

    I’m looking at a CX/gnarmac for my +1 as earlier this year i was up the Ridgeway and (admittedly on a dry hard rutted route) and I smashed all my Strava times on a Whyte Shoreditch Hybrid.
    I was going to get a hardtail for the winter commute/general riding but I reckon a CX or similar will be ideal and I’ll just dump the Whyte.
    Oh, and the FS and the singlespeed of course.


    You must practice it and participate in the race.
    Its great fun.

    Roter Stern

    Apart from racing on it I also use it as a winter training bike(complete with mudguards), a winter commuting bike and as others have said for rides that would be a bit boring on an MTB. I also use it to scope out new trails. I can be riding along the road and see a piece of singletrack and with the crosser and I can go exploring to see if it is worth bringing the MTB.

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