Cross Is Coming
14 September 2019 - News
What is Cyclocross/CX/Cross?
The cyclocross season is almost upon us. This particular discipline is becoming more and more popular in the UK. Many events are open to all ages from those wanting to give it a try to Elite racers. But what is it?
Cyclocross, CX or just ‘Cross is a form of bicycle racing performed on a designated off-road course. Competitors will complete multiple laps in a set time, dependent on the ground conditions. It is a cross between mountain biking and criterium racing and takes place over the Autumn/Winter months (September to February).
The History of Cyclocross
It is believed that cyclocross first began in France in the early 1900s, with races quickly popping up in other European countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Originally called ‘Steeple Chasing’ it involved riding to a visible landmark (often the steeple in the next town) and the first to arrive wins! Simple 😜 Arriving at the landmark often involved cycling through farmers fields, hopping over fences and crossing rivers, thus the origins of modern cyclocross were born.
It became a way for early road racers to stay fit over the freezing winter months when the local roads were too treacherous to ride on. The difficult conditions increased the intensity of the race and improved their bike handling skills. The running sections (known as portage) were added to encourage blood flow into their freezing feet and toes!
Increasing in popularity cyclings governing body - The UCI began to regulate the races and the very first World Championships took place in Paris in 1950, more than 40 years after it’s inception!
Nowadays it’s not just popular in Europe, the United States of America are also hooked on ‘cross. Bike racing courses can involve wooded trails, grass, mud, sand pits, steps, steep hills and obstacles that the rider needs to quickly dismount and shoulder their bike (carry), whilst navigating the obstruction to keep racers on their toes.
Professional cross racers have multiple bikes as it’s not uncommon to have mechanical failures, punctures and brake issues on the off-road terrain. They are allowed to change bicycles and receive mechanical assistance during the race. Whilst the rider is out on the course the pit crew will be busy cleaning, repairing and oiling up a spare bike ready just in case.
What is a Cyclocross bike?
Cross bikes are very similar to road bikes. They have dropped handlebars and need to be lightweight so that you can pick them up whilst running and negotiating obstacles. However, there are also many differences between a road bike and a cyclocross bike, such as:
- 🚴 Greater clearance between the frame and the tyres - This allows fatter tyres to be used on the bike making it easier to ride on the challenging course terrain
- 🚴 Lower gearing - a different ratio of gears is useful to climb up steeper sections
- 🚴 Cantilever brakes or Disc brakes - The mud and grit on the course and often wet, wintry conditions require extra braking force when flying down the course descents
- 🚴 Knobbly tyres - the increased frame clearance will not only allow for fatter tyres but for more tread and traction too, helping on the muddy sections
Why Choose a Frog Bike?
The Frog Road range is the perfect bike to give cyclocross a go. There is enough clearance to allow for up to 36mm or 1 ⅝ knobbly tyres and the cantilever brakes are super effective in the mud! Our lightweight bikes are easy for kids to lift and run with and the sturdy aluminium frame will take anything a cross course throws at it.
With internal cabling, it is easy for young racers to carry the bike over their shoulder without any cabling getting in the way or causing discomfort. We use high-quality Shimano components to ensure the bike delivers the highest performance even in muddy and sandy conditions.
Our lightweight frame makes it easier for young riders to learn manoeuvres and skills such as bunny hopping, manuals and wheelies that are essential when trying to save those extra seconds in races.
We have spec’d our bikes with top-mounted, additional brake levers as well as the traditional brakes on the shifters. Not only is this great for smaller hands when they first start riding but it gives the option of riding with their hands on the top or on the drops, depending on what is best for that extra stability on the changing terrain of a cyclocross course.To read a review of our Frog Cyclocross bike click HERE.
For more information on our cyclocross bikes click here 👇