But in bike terms, it has never stopped evolving, particularly over the last few years with the explosion of ever more advanced carbon fibre construction, the growth in popularity of disc brakes and a shift towards tubeless tyres.
For some time, lower-priced cyclocross bikes have been looked upon as not only racing machines, but also as general workhorses, with rack and mudguard mounts common, often more road-oriented gearing, and occasionally compromised design.
They’ve got to be light enough to carry, stable enough to ride and sturdy enough to take plenty of abuseRussell Burton / Immediate Media
The advent of specific adventure and gravel bikes has not only created more niches for manufacturers to fill, but the specialisation it has brought has given cyclocross bikes their purity of purpose back.
Of course, you could easily convert them for training, commuting or gravel use with suitable tyres.
For consistency, our testing was carried out with the same tyre pressures and over the same routes, allowing differences in tyre volume, grip, comfort and general performance to show up.
Even though this model was released around two years ago, it’s still one of the most successful CX bikes available, thanks to its choice specification that’s perfectly equipped to handle modern cyclocross racing.
The bike retains all of the functionality of the more expensive options but uses less expensive and heavier materials, such as SRAM’s slightly cheaper Apex 1 and Cannondale’s proprietary Si aluminium crankset, which is mated to a 40t X-Sync-toothed chainring.
Top kit and a high-performing frame make for an excellent bikeRussell Burton / Immediate Media
The relaxed geometry (71-degree head angle) inspires confidence on rough terrain or long, fast descents. Overall, the bike’s fantastic frameset and fairly reasonable price open the door to top-level performance and the bike is a great starting point for upgrades.
Using the same FACT 11r carbon frame and FACT 11r carbon fork as the other carbon models in the range, Specialized are claiming that their 56cm CX frame weighs only 900g. This is an impressive figure and is 400g lighter than the outgoing model.
It’s fitted with a SRAM Force 1 drivetrain that is mated to carbon Praxis Zayante cranks. The wheels are also carbon; Roval’s C 38 rims are laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs and with this level of component specification, the full weight of the bike is 7.72kg.
The bike’s geometry treads the fine line between stability and agility and small changes in riding position don’t cause massive, pivoting alterations in trajectory. Tyre clearance is spot on, and you can even fit a 40mm tyre in there, should you wish.
The all-aluminium Crockett frame is mated to an IsoSpeed carbon fork, which is one of Trek’s more proven designs and adds just enough flex and stability to the bike’s ride.
The bike is equipped with SRAM’s Force 1 groupset — although Trek has replaced the cranks with a set of Praxis Albas and a narrow wide direct-mount 40-tooth chainring — while the rest of the bike’s kit is taken care of by Trek’s in-house component brand, Bontrager.
Trek’s Crockett will make you re-think whether carbon bikes are necessaryRussell Burton / Immediate Media
The Crockett feels like a taut race bike, but the 72-degree head angle and 73.6-degree seat angles help it feel comfortable almost anywhere.
The low 8.6kg weight is impressive for an almost all-alloy bike and the Crockett will make you think about the relative benefits of more exotic frame materials.