Exercise and fun are two words people used to describe cycling. No matter the age and gender, people all agree that cycling is a form of exercise that not only helps one to stay fit but is also a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. One of the most popular type of bicycle used in this sport is the cross bike which can be used in racing competitions as well as in casual morning bike rides.
Featuring components of both road and mountain bikes, cross bikes are a type of bicycle that are also known as a “hybrid” type of bicycle and are designed to be used for cyclo-cross racing. As cyclo-cross events require the cyclists to carry their bikes while running during the event, cross bikes are designed to be lightweight, and hence, are manufactured from light materials.
As mentioned, a cross bike is a compromise between a road bike and mountain bike. That is, it combines features that are found on both road and mountain bikes. The components of a mountain bike that are featured on a cross bike are the three front chain rings and the straight or sweep up handle bars, while the bikes’ tires are designed based from those found on road bikes.
One of the important parts of a cross bike is its frame. In order to cope with the stresses associated with cyclo-cross racing where the bike is carried over the shoulder to as much as 60 times, the bike’s frame should be stiff and responsive, slightly wider to accommodate the size of the tires, and most importantly, lightweight. To achieve these characteristics, cross bikes are manufactured from light materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and titanium.
Choosing the best cross bike in the market is often considered a tedious task in today’s marketplace given the number of options to choose from. As such, various factors should be carefully checked before making a purchase decision. As mentioned, one of the most important parts of a cross bike, and hence, should be checked carefully, is its frame. It should be easy to carry over the shoulder, but at the same time, strong and stiff enough to traverse over wet and muddy terrain. On the other hand, the tires should have plenty of grip and mud clearance while the pedal should not hinder running. As such, it is recommended to shop for a pair of knobbly tires and double sided SPD type pedals. Lastly, the gear combinations and brakes need to be fool proof to prevent accidents during runs on varied terrains and steep inclines.
Cross bikes are indeed superb companions during cyclo-cross racing events. Nonetheless, these bikes are also excellent tools to use for training exercises. As such, investing on these gears can be considered indeed a worthy investment. Hence, it is important to carefully choose among the wide selection of brands and models now available in the market for consumers to choose from which one to invest on.
Michiko Yang is a cyclist based in Switzerland. Throughout her cycling career, Michiko have tried using different types of bikes and one of her favorites is the Crossbike.