Used cyclocross bikes are the most versatile bikes of all. Equally suited for commuting, off-road exploring or actual cyclocross racing, the adaptability of cyclocross bikes is a real bonus.
Cyclocross- or 'CX' - bikes were originally adapted from conventional road bikes for a specific discipline called cyclocross racing. A CX race takes place off-road with circuits being a mixture of grass, sand and tracks. The circuits contain a series of obstacles including steps or barriers - most require riders to dismount and carry the bike. Because of the nature of the races, cyclocross bikes need to light but stiff and durable too. Races tend to last less than an hour and as a fitness workout there are few activities that match it.
Sharing similarities to a standard road bike, second hand cyclocross bikes usually feature drop racing handlebars and light frames, but have wider tyres. Race limits allow a width of 33mm, but many second hand cyclocross bikes come with tyre widths of 35mm which gives a great amount of stability and grip. Tread patterns are usually changed to meet the demands of the type of course that is being used for the race. Hard conditions benefit from file treaded tyres but a higher knob size to the tread is best in muddy and wet conditions.
Clearance is important, especially in muddy conditions, so you will find that used cyclocross bikes come with plenty of space between the frame of the bike and the tyres. This is most evident around the chainstays and seatstays and is a clear difference between cyclocross bikes and standard road bikes.
Disc brakes are allowed in competitions. Most high-end models will come with hydraulic brake systems although models at the lower end of the market will still have conventional mechanical disc brakes.
There are differences between cyclocross bikes that are specifically designed for racing and those that are more adaptable and designed for a greater variety of uses. However, drop handles, light frames and wide tyres are common features on all types of second hand cyclocross bikes. They are practical and fun and are equally suitable for use in commuting and high-intensity fitness workouts.
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