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Cyclocross Bikes

cyclocross bike

Cyclocross is a French sport that has begun to catch on the United States. This cycling sport was invented by French bicycle racers trying to stay in shape during winter. Rain and frost makes cobblestones and pavement too slick for racing. The French, however, were not deterred. They'd take last year's racing bikes out onto the cow paths and dirt roads in the country side and race in the mud. Over time, this seasonal training method developed into a sport of its own and specialized cyclocross bikes emerged. The sport takes it name from the leg in organized competitions in which cyclists run carrying their bikes slung over their shoulders. Thus, it's cycling crossed with running or cyclocross.

In recent years, as cyclocross has gained in popularity, the bikes have become cheap enough that the recreational cyclist can buy one. They are fast becoming commuter favorites. I ride one myself. A cyclocross bike is very much the sport hatchback of the cycling world, practical and fun to ride. Cyclocross bikes start at around $1000 and competition models can go for $3000 or more. The higher priced ones, however, do not have any means of mounting a rack, reducing their utility for commuting. Cyclocross bikes preserve the fast handling geometry of their road racing forbears, but have heavily reinforced frames compared to their ancestors. They use 622mm by 30 mm or 622 by 35 mm wheels for extra strength. Contrast that with a road racer's 622 by 23 mm wheels. In recent years, disc brakes have also become inexpensive and are showing up on mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes. Disc brakes have tremendous stopping power and they do not loose their effectiveness in the rain.

disc brake

 

There are three models of cyclocross bike I recommend for commuting:

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