Everywhere Edge

Ask the Expert: Versatility of cyclocross bikes

October 3, 2007

Q: I hear that a cyclocross is a good option for a person seeking a road bike with versatility. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of a cyclocross bike? - Amanda, West Virginia

A cyclocross bike resembles a road bike with its narrow tires and drop handles. And if you’re seeking versatility, there are numerous “pros” to choosing a cyclocross bike and not many "cons". Owning a ‘cross bike (or, its cousin, a “hybrid”) would allow you to have several bikes in one, with something as simple as a change of rubber. Use standard or “slick” road tires and you’ll have a fast, race-worthy machine that will roll nicely on paved roads. Use knobby cyclocross tires on it and you’ll be ready for dirt/gravel surfaces and all but the gnarliest off-road trails.

The generous clearances, cantilever or V-style brakes, and dropout eyelets that are typically found on ‘cross bikes will also allow you to mount fenders and/or racks on the bike. This will set you up nicely for loaded touring or daily commuting. So, you truly can cover all the bases with a cyclocross bike and a couple different sets of tires.