The cyclocross bike is the original off road, drop bar bike. A versatile bike that can ride on road, and off. Back in the day, they had knobbly 25mm wide tyres, powerful cantilever brakes, which were so ineffective that a cross race was about 40% running. As you can see, they have evolved.
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They have wider tyres than road bikes, for more grip and more comfort, they are a little taller to give greater pedal clearance for when riding off road, they have slightly more stable handling so that you can keep control when sliding around in slippery or lose conditions.
But now, there’s a new off road bike in town. The gravel bike. Wider, grippier tyres than a road bike, geometry that makes it easier, safer and more fun to ride in lose conditions, more comfort, either from the frame, or the components on them…
Hang on a minute, wider tyres, more stable geometry, longer wheelbase, comfortable… That’s what mine’s got. You could be forgiven for wondering then, just what on earth the difference between a cross bike and a gravel bike really is.
Canyon have kindly lent us an example of each, their Inflite cross bike and their Grail gravel bike, so we can really get to grips with this issue, one that’s really important to a lot of you out there looking at their next bike purchase. It’s going to be tough Si, riding these two brand new bikes on the finest dirt that the Dolomites has to offer isn’t it? Well it might be for you, given that off road is pretty new territory for you right? Yes, I would describe myself as thoroughly green. It will be particularly interesting to get our two different perspectives on it. Mine, fresh, yours, more experienced.
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Animal – Suffer City
Calling it out – Sebastien Forslund
Funny views – Johan Hynynen
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