Information for the new or leisure cyclist Information for the racing or touring cyclist Cycling initiatives, routes etc.
Information and advice for advance touring or racing cyclists
Fit your bike
Advanced bike fitting
Body pains explained
Braking at speed
Leaning in turns
Some major Tours
Bike Line
Legal lighting
Cycle Training
Different cyclists
Weight training
Strength training
Heart Rate training
Cross training
Turbo training
The Training Diary
Nutrition for Cycling
Weight control
How much to eat
Main energy sources
Increasing caloric output
Effects on digestive tract
Factors affecting digestion
Optimal cycling diet
Nutrition for common rides
Post ride nutrition
Performance enhancers 1
Performance enhancers 2
Final considerations
Road Racing
Track Racing
Bikes and equipment


Setting your bike up
Braking and descending
Hill climbing
Lifting the front wheel
Lifting the rear wheel
Tips for women
On the trail kit

Bikes, Equipment and Typical Courses

Bikes and Equipment

A classical cyclo-x bike looks very much like a road bike, but there are significant differences. The rear triangle and fork have more clearance to allow for wider tyres, and to help reduce mud buildup. Cross tyres are wider than road tyres, though the tyres a rider chooses will depend on the course and how wet, muddy or sandy it is. 25-35mm is more or less the common width range and have small knobs.

Cross bikes have cantilever brakes for mud clearance and control. The handlebars are road-style drops which reflects the sport's origins as off-season training for road racers. Historically the gear shifters were fitted to the end of the handlebars and known as 'bar-cons', but STI and Ergo have become very popular.

Cross bikes are usually somewhere in weight between a road bike and a light XC mountain bike they need to be as light as possible because of the significant amount of lifting and carrying of the bike that is required. Suspension is very rare as they would add too much weight. It's not uncommon to see a cross bike with only have one chain ring which is sometimes sandwiched between "rock rings". This allows for shorter chains, and therefore less chance of the chain bouncing off, as well as reduced weight from the elimination of the front derailleur and shifter. Pedals are often double-sided clip less SPD style, used with off-road shoes that sometimes have spikes or knobs under the toes to improve traction.

Typical Courses

The courses used are usually a mixture of grass, dirt roads, relatively short tarmac sections, some sand, some mud or stream crossings and several forced dismounts and running sections. The natural obstacles in cross courses are often less severe than in mountain bike courses, but many mountain bike racers will say that cyclo-x is physically harder and more painful than mountain bike racing,..

For example, there are no long, rocky single track descents in cross, infact there are rarely any rocky sections. However, the descents might be significantly steeper, albeit shorter and on grass. Forced dismounts and running sections are the thing that really sets cross apart from other types of racing. .

There's a particular grace in the way an accomplished cross racer can approach a set of barricades at full speed, dismount and begin running while shouldering his or her bike, then jump the barricades, set down the bike, remount and pedal off. Remember that this all happens in continuous, fluid motion and there is very little reduction in speed. Other popular forced dismounts are short, very steep climbs that can't be ridden, or, sometimes, stair climbs.

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