Cyclocross has a few unique demands. Participating in the gritty, brilliant sport entails muddied-up drivetrains and the occasional tumble, so you’ll want a bike that’s purpose-built to handle the abuse and put you on the podium. Whether October mud ruined your drivetrain beyond repair or you’re ready to quit heckling your racer friends and saddle up yourself, these are the best cyclocross bikes you can get right now. (And until next season starts, these rides also make excellent gravel bikes, which are in short supply these days.)

Check out quick info below of the top five models, then scroll deeper for more buying advice and full reviews of these models plus other high-ranking options.

What’s New in Cyclocross

The proliferation of gravel bikes as specialized rigs means manufacturers have returned to building race-specific cyclocross bikes with tight geometry and gobs of mud clearance. The 1x drivetrain has become ubiquitous due to its simplicity and lightness. Manufacturers like Campagnolo and Shimano introduced flat-mount disc brakes a couple of years ago, so you’ll see them more often than not on ’cross bikes. Finally, slick-looking internal cable routing is now the standard.

More Affordable Materials and Modernized Geometry

Carbon fiber is the frame material for mid-range and top-end cyclocross bikes, and you can find quality rides made with it at pretty low prices now. The Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 has a carbon frame and will set you back just $2,500. Many brands continue to increase the bottom bracket drop (how far below the axles the BB sits) on their bikes, which can give them more versatile all-around handling. Manufacturers like Van Dessel are putting out bikes with drops between 68mm and 70mm, although you can still find a traditionally higher BB (and greater pedal clearance) on the 56mm-drop Fuji Altamira CX 1.1.

What You Get for Your Dollar

Here’s how the marginal gains of cyclocross spending break down: The $3,000-4,000 level, where you’ll find the Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie, Fuji Altamira CX 1.1, and Cannondale SuperX Force 1, gets you a precise SRAM Force 1x or Shimano GRX drivetrain and bikes that typically weigh about 17 to 18 pounds. Dropping a little less—below the $3,000 range on bikes like the Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2—gives you a similar-quality carbon frame with a slightly heavier drivetrain and wheelset. Bikes like the VonHof Steel ACX swap in steel frames with carbon forks to save money, but still offer a 1x drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. All of these bikes are race-ready for your local cyclocross event, though.

Why It May Be Harder to Find a Bike Right Now

Ever since terms like “shelter in place,” “stay at home,” and “social distancing” took root in our daily lexicon, we’ve had to find alternative forms of entertainment that don’t involve large crowds, indoor activities, or risky situations (such as travel). More people have caught on to the idea that outdoor escapes like hiking, running, and bike riding are safe, sanity-saving ways to get out and do something—away from others. This has led to a surge in bike sales and, thus, a depletion of stock. That’s a good thing, because it means more people have discovered bikes. But it’s also frustrating if your goal today is to place an online order for a shiny new bike only to find out that you may have to wait weeks or even months to get it. If you see something on this list that catches your eye, and you hit the out-of-stock roadblock, patience (waiting until inventory is fulfilled again), perseverance (it may be available somewhere else online or even somewhere locally), or just being proactive (pre-order is available for many out-of-stock models) might be the way to go. We’ll keep our eye on inventory and update links as often as we can.

How We Tested

Most of the bikes on this list have been ridden hard on the cyclocross course near our Pennsylvania office during a weekly training series, and many have been raced by our team of test editors. We rode fast and dry conditions, as well as nasty, slippery mud. We pushed the bikes through hard, high-speed turns and tight hairpins, as well as slick off-cambers. And because these bikes are plain old fun to ride, we put in our fair share of road and gravel miles on these rigs. Those that we haven’t put through the wringer personally we selected based on experience with the product as well as firsthand knowledge of the parts, most of which we’ve tested separately on other bikes. Often we swapped tires and other components to get a better understanding of each bike. Then we evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, and reliability to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to add a new cyclocross bike to their collection.

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Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie

Trevor Raab
Full Tilt Boogie
Van Dessel

  • Incredibly Light
  • Extremely precise handling
  • Custom build options

  • Some riders may prefer rotors larger than 140mm

Van Dessel’s Full Tilt Boogie is a lightweight race bike with tight angles that delivers high-end performance at a midrange price. Handling is quick and responsive, though not overly twitchy on straight-line blasts, and a high bottom bracket enabled us to use the steep geometry to pedal through corners at speed. Off the ’cross course, the 40mm tire clearance and water bottle mounts give the FTB gravel bike potential. Alternatively, we mounted road tires and used the frame’s accelerative stiffness to gobble up tarmac. Not that you’d pick a bike on looks alone, but the FTB’s beefy fork-meets-tapered head tube profile looks brilliant and completes a cyclocross bike that’s $4,199 worth of sheer lust.



Canyon Inflite CF SL 7.0

Inflite CF SL 7.0

  • Lightweight carbon frame and fork

  • Some racers may prefer tubular tires and wheels

No list of cyclocross bikes would be complete without the bike that was piloted to both the elite men’s and women’s World Cyclocross Championships. The Inflite CF SL 7.0 has the same unique frame shape and Hi-Mod carbon as the bikes ridden by Mathieu van der Poel and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, but Canyon saves you money by using a less complex layup. The brand hung this bike with SRAM’s high value Rival 1 groupset, an aluminum cockpit and DT Swiss C 1850 Spline db SH11 hoops. We challenge you to find a better value elsewhere. Several editors at Bicycling were able to ride this bike near our headquarters in Pennsylvania, and there was a common thread among our experiences: It’s extremely comfortable while remaining fast on all ’cross-specific terrain.



Specialized CruX E5 Sport

CruX E5 Sport

  • Aluminum frame
  • Carbon fork
  • Race-ready geometry

  • Some riders may prefer thru-axles
  • Tires are good for cinder paths but lack adequate tread for cyclocross

This bike lands on our cyclocross bike list, but don’t think you need to pin on a number and toe a starting line to get the most out of it—it’s just as ideal for road and gravel as it is for ’cross. Specialized blends an aluminum frame with a carbon fork and a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain to create a bike that retains the high-performance parts where you need it and uses budget-friendly components where it makes sense. Hydraulic disc brakes offer reliable and consistent braking in all weather conditions. Furthermore, quick-release levers—instead of thru axles—add a level of convenience not often found with disc brakes; taking wheels off and putting them back on again is quick and easy. The use of quick releases instead of thru axles also saves money, allowing Specialized to deliver more value at the same price.



Vynl Cyclocross

Trevor Raab
Vynl Cyclocross

  • Great for road and gravel riding as well
  • American-made

  • Frameset only

There exists a netherworld between stock cross bikes and the land of full custom. The Vynl exists in this space: rarer (and therefore cooler) than a stock bike, but less expensive and easier to get than a custom model. This American-made aluminum frame has more BB drop (70mm) and longer chainstays (430mm) than most, which makes for a stable and predictable ride at speed and in soft and deep conditions. It’s a touch less eager to pivot through 180-degree turns than a more aggressive bike, but the benefit is the Vynl makes a fine road and gravel bike for the other six days of the week. The ride is very smooth and compliant even with the excellent frame stiffness.



Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2

TCX Advanced Pro 2

  • Clearance for 45mm tires

  • Fit may be too aggressive for some riders

The Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 uses stability-inducing geometry and vibration-damping technology that makes even the roughest courses feel fast. A slightly shorter reach and long chainstays (relative to those of its competitors) help the bike feel planted in sloppy conditions, and Giant’s proprietary D–Fuse seatpost improves ride quality while in the saddle. Shifts from the 11-speed, 11-36t SRAM Apex 1 drivetrain were immediate but not as crisp as Force and Red, and the flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes have 140mm rotors for race-level stopping power. At $2,500, the TCX Advanced Pro 2 is a great value as a smooth-handling ’cross bike.



Kona Jake the Snake

Jake the Snake

  • Aluminum frame, carbon fork
  • Cable-actuated hydraulic disc brakes

  • 33c tires are good for cyclocross but on the narrow side for gravel riding

If you’re looking for a bike that can handle daily use as a commuter, mixed surface road riding, and weekend cyclocross racing, this could be the bike for you. The aluminum frame boasts a geometry that balances the performance you need for hitting the ’cross course without sacrificing the comfort and stability you need for road riding and commuting. SRAM’s Apex 1 11-speed drivetrain offers good performance at a great price, and the TRP HY/RD C cable-actuated hydraulic disc brakes give you the power and consistency of hydraulics at the price of cabled ones.


Fuji Altamira CX 1.1

Trevor Raab
Altamira CX 1.1

  • Very light
  • High bottom bracket
  • Also great for hardcore gavel riding

The Fuji Altamira CX 1.1 is a featherweight cyclocross race bike with a surprisingly supple ride. The 17.3-pound bike (size 56cm) has a full carbon frame, fork, and seatpost. The SRAM Force 1 drivetrain has an 11/32t cassette and a 42t Quarq Prime Carbon crankset that’s power meter-ready. The high bottom bracket and short 1,026mm wheelbase are ideal for mid-corner pedaling, and the bike’s lightness is a bonus for shouldering over barriers. The frame’s compliance makes the Altamira CX 1.1 comfortable on longer gravel rides; for racers, it means not getting as beat up on punishing courses.



Cannondale SuperX Force 1

SuperX Force 1

  • Precise handling
  • Great mud clearance

  • Ai offset rear triangle means old wheels will have to be re-dished to fit on this bike

Other than some eye-catching new colors, Cannondale’s SuperX Force 1 isn’t presenting anything fancy or new. There’s good reason for that: It’s been such a consistent high performer, firmly ensconced in everyone’s list of the best ’cross bikes available, that Cannondale has been loath to mess with a product that’s so good. A slacker head tube angle and long, 55mm fork offset add a level of security on descents and technical sections that traditional cross bikes struggle to match. And short, 422mm chainstays keep the rear wheel tucked under the rider for better traction and more nimble steering. And thanks to the Ai offset in the rear triangle, you still get massive mud clearance and a stiffer wheel to boot. At 18.1 pounds for a size 58cm even with aluminum wheels, the SuperX is a very light and race-worthy machine.



VonHof Steel ACX

Steel ACX

  • American-made steel frame
  • Stiffer than you’d expect from steel

  • Heavier than a comparable carbon bike
  • Frameset only

The VonHof Steel ACX provides the core coolness of a U.S.-made steel race frame at a competitive price. With aggressive geometry—particularly the shorter 420mm chainstays and 1,010mm wheelbase (size 54cm), with 67mm of BB drop—complementing a stiff frame, this is an unapologetic race bike. It’s quick, with a sharp edge to both the handling and the ride. Though steel is usually thought of as the smoothest-riding material, this bike is less compliant than many carbon and aluminum ’cross frames without the weight benefits of those materials. But this bike is fast, and it has the stiffness we want for punching out of corners and up rises. The ACX is offered in six sizes, or as a custom frame (starting at $3,250).


Specialized CruX Elite X1

CruX Elite X1

  • SRAM Rival 1x drivetrain
  • American-style geometry

There’s a CruX for every budget between $1,400 and $7,500, and the Elite X1 strikes a balance of performance and (relative) affordability with a sub-19-pound weight (size 54cm). Shifting is courtesy of a SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain with a 40t chainring and 11/32t cassette, and the Royal SLX 24 rims and Terra Pro 2Bliss tires are tubeless-ready. The CruX uses American-style ’cross-bike geometry with 69mm of bottom bracket drop, which lowers the bike’s center of gravity and helps you stay upright rounding sloppy corners. Accelerative and agile during testing, the CruX Elite X1 is a solid workhorse on which to finish out your season.