The Cross Sport uses the same 7005 aluminium frame as the Revolution Cross we tested last year, but this model has a higher spec, shedding a few all-important pounds. It’s not supermodel svelte, but noticeably lighter than its cheaper sibling.
The frame itself is tough enough for the rigours of being thrown around fields and woods and the very worst road surfaces we could find. There’s an open gusset at the top of the down tube for increased stiffness and strength in that crucial area, while those 35mm tyres insulate you from any potential discomfort.
With its chunky fork the bike has a heavy front end, so handling is on the leisurely side, but it’s well balanced and not so heavy that out-of-saddle efforts are unrewarded. The Maxxis Raze tyres threw off mud quickly and gripped well over rocky ground and loose gravel surfaces alike, and their centre tread has surprisingly good rolling resistance on the road. Their width also makes the bike superbly comfortable.
The own-brand saddle and 27.2mm seatpost also do a good job of protecting you from road buzz, resulting in a bike you really can ride all day. The extra set of cyclo-cross brake levers is a real boon in traffic. Where a ‘soft’ crosser really scores, though, is in its versatility.
There’s loads of room for mudguards, as well as eyelets for them and racks, and the frame’s easily stiff and strong enough to carry you and 20kg of kit without a grumble. So while you might not be flying, you can use this for touring, commuting with all your work clobber or for doing a decent size shop.
A slight limiting factor in its versatility compared with the Revolution Cross is the gearing: that had a triple chainset and 11-32t cassette, while the Cross Sport has a more ’cross-specific 36/46t chainset paired with a tighter nine-speed 12-25t cassette, concentrating gears in the middle. Ultimately, though, this is a high quality, great value all-round road machine. With some road-specific tyres it’ll be spot on for year-round training.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.