The best cyclocross bikes of 2019

Cannondale SuperX Apex, Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2 and Boardman CXR 9.2 top the list

Cyclocross has been around since the turn of the last century, and is a now a very well-established sport.

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 abuse
They've got to be light enough to carry, stable enough to ride and sturdy enough to take plenty of abuse

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.

Trek's Crockett will make you re-think whether carbon bikes are necessary
Trek's Crockett will make you re-think whether carbon bikes are necessary

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.

The best cyclocross bikes in 2019

Cannondale SuperX Apex

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Super X Apex costs £2,500
The Super X Apex costs £2,500

  • £2,500 / $N/A / AU$N/A

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 bike
Top kit and a high-performing frame make for an excellent bike

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.

Giant TCX Advanced Pro2

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Giant's TCX is another awesome performer
Giant's TCX is another awesome performer

  • £2,299 / $2,995 / AU$3,499

Having been around for quite a few years, the TCX offers race-level technology at more affordable prices due to the trickle down effect.

The TCX has a purposeful looking fork and frame and is equipped with go-to CX kit, such as SRAM’s Rival 1 gears, Apex 1 brakes and a mix of Giant’s own-brand components.

The TCX is ready to hit sand pits
The TCX is ready to hit sand pits

The frame’s profile gives the bike flexy and stiff characteristics where they’re needed most. The top tube’s thin profile and triangular seatstays help with comfort, flexing on rough terrain.

Overall, the bike’s got great poise and it’s easy to attune yourself to how it performs. It’s a bike you’ll just want to ride further — a true top performer.

Specialized CruX Expert

The CruX is a good looker!
The CruX is a good looker!

BikeRadar score4.5/5
  • £4,250 / $4,700 / AU$N/A

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.

Boardman CXR 9.2

BikeRadar score4/5

Stealthy in grey, the Boardman scored well
Stealthy in grey, the Boardman scored well

  • £2,399 / $N/A / AU$N/A

The redesigned CXR frameset gives the bike more tyre clearance and improved handling. The CXR range of bikes all share the same C10 carbon frame and construction.

The bike comes with a 1x SRAM Force 1 drivetrain and 160mm disc brakes, but the frame is compatible with 2x systems if you’re that way inclined.

The Boardman's a solid bet whether you're jumping barriers or running up steps
The Boardman's a solid bet whether you're jumping barriers or running up steps

The 11-36t cassette is paired with a 40-tooth chain ring, and we reckon this setup is perfectly adequate to conquer anything a CX course can throw at you.

Weighing a total of 8.23kg, the CXR 9.2 is as fast and as willing as any competent CX rider. It's a well-equipped, light and manoeuvrable race bike that won’t break the bank.

Trek Crockett 7

BikeRadar score4/5

The Crockett is an almost all-aluminium build
The Crockett is an almost all-aluminium build

  • £2,500 / $2,929 / AU$N/A

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 necessary
Trek's Crockett will make you re-think whether carbon bikes are necessary

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.

Also consider

  • For all our latest cyclocross bike reviews click here.
Alex has been riding bikes since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He first raced back in 2003, winning the Juvenile category on a sketchy hard tail Planet X bike. Alex lived in the Alps for seven years so isn't shy of a climb or two and loves getting out in his bike in all weather. His favorite thing to ride is steep loamy tracks with loads of opportunities to slam the bike into turns and really give it some frame bending welly! He's broken his fair share of frames, so any bike between his knees is going to get a right seeing to.
  • Discipline: DH, Enduro, XC, BMX, Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Epic descents covered in the world's finest loam and hero dirt
  • Current Bikes: Nukeproof Mega 275 / Giant Anthem Advanced 275 1 / LeMond Reno / Deluxe Pro 2 BMX
  • Dream Bike: Giant ATX 1 DH (1999 model)
  • Beer of Choice: Teetotal
  • Location: Bristol, UK

Related Articles

Back to top