Bike Types Part 1 Cyclocross

The Olympia Webguy is on vacation the next couple of weeks so we won’t have regular product, specials, and used bike updates until mid September, so be sure to call us at 204.888.4586 if you have any specific questions about our stock or service, or better yet come down to the shop 10-9 weekdays and 10-6 on Saturday.

In the mean time a few periodic posts discussing bike types available through our shop have been queued up to display in the next two weeks.

“What type of bike is right for me?” is one of the most asked questions we get in the shop, so we hope that these posts will be helpful.

Bike Type 1  Cyclocross



Starting our list with cyclocross bikes might be a bit backwards because ‘cross bikes are really a variation of the venerable road bike, which might be a better place to start.  However, the local competitive cyclocross season is right around the corner so we figured we’d start here.

Cyclocross bikes cut much the same profile as their road bike cousins, with relatively aggressive geometry that puts the rider in a leaned forward position and tends to favour agility and speed over comfort (though there are ‘cross bike variations that provide more comfort for the long haul).

The biggest distinction between cyclocross bike and road bike geometry is that ‘cross bikes tend to have higher bottom brackets, wider bars, and can accommodate wider tires because of greater tube clearance and canti or disc brakes compared with conventional road brakes.  All of these things make ‘cross bikes more suitable for off road use; they’re capable of riding through mud, gravel, dirt, grass, and sand, so long as the terrain doesn’t get too technical.

Riding Use

Cyclocross bikes were originally designed for, you guessed it, cyclocross racing.  These races are timed, usually between 30 minutes and an hour, and are done on a 2-3 km (or so) loop incorporating most or all of the above mentioned terrain.  Because of their versatility though ‘cross bikes have made their way onto city streets and bike paths as commuters and general fitness bikes.  Heck, there’s virtually no penalty to using one in a full up road bike race. Unless you’re bombing down technical single track or jumping these bikes they can take you almost anywhere.

Brands / Models we carry

We tend to stock cyclocross bikes from Cannondale, Giant, and Focus, though we do carry other brands that have ‘cross bikes on offer as well, like Salsa, Surly, and Focus.

Cost of models we carry

Cyclocross bikes start at around $900, give or take, and can go pretty much as high as you want.  The point of diminishing return is near the low end of the cost spectrum but on the other hand $5000 buys you something you’re guaranteed to dream about every night, and it’ll feel like a dream every time you ride it.


These bike have pretty standard sizing, coming in XS, S, M, L, etc. in some brands, and measured in cm’s (48, 52, 56, etc.) in other brands.


You can adjust things like stem length and rise and saddle hight to adjust sizing, and you can find a handful of fenders that work with ‘cross bikes, but there isn’t generally a lot of customizing you do to these bikes.  They do most things well right out of the box, so there’s not much more that people do to them.


More recently we’ve seen ‘gravel grinder’ bikes take shape as sort of an off-shoot of cyclocross bikes.  They’re pretty much the same thing except that the gravel bikes have more relaxed geometry to make longer rides more comfortable.  They sometimes also accommodate even wider tires and have additional braze ons for things like repair spokes and additional water bottles (much like touring road bikes).