Cyclocross is a discipline that combines both off-road and on-road cycling characteristics.  Typical cyclocross terrain can include grass, woodland trails, pavement, mud and even sand, not to mention obstacles forcing you to dismount the bike and run with it.

Cyclocross bikes are therefore a bit higher off the ground than road bikes and have lots of clearance around the tyres for mud.

Steel and titanium are still used occasionally for cyclo-cross bikes, but the need to keep the bikes light so they can be carried in running sections means aluminium and carbon fibre dominate.

In the last few years many riders have realised that a cyclocross bike’s ability to accommodate wider tyres makes it a great round-town pothole-basher. That’s led to ‘soft’ cyclocross bikes with mounts for racks and mudguards and less racy gears. With a change of tyres these bikes can tackle anything from a sportive to dirt roads to your first cyclocross race.

Part cyclo-cross bike, part sportive bike and part touring bike, the emerging category known as gravel bikes or adventure bikes might just be the most versatile drop-handlebar bikes around.

The distinguishing features of gravel bikes are room in the frame for very fat tyres, and a riding position and handling that’s not as racy as a cyclocross bike.  That means they’re great for riding dirt roads and less technical trails, but they’ll also roll along happily on the road too, and they point and laugh at potholes and crummy road surfaces.

Versatility is a vital part of the concept, so gravel bikes will accommodate racks and mudguards. You can use them for commuting and even light touring, though few have the low gearing of a purpose-made touring bike.

That said, you do get wide range gearing on gravel bikes, just not quite as wide as a touring bike.

With no silly equipment rules or influence of tradition, gravel bikes universally have disc brakes.

They’re usually made from aluminium or carbon fibre for light weight, though there are steel variants and Litespeed has recently launched a titanium gravel bike frame.

The good news is, you can ride all year round and you just need the right bike from Big Bear Bikes.  We are open 6 days a week and 0% finance and Cyclescheme options are available on all bike purchases.

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