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Cyclocross and gravel: we explain the differences

Road bikes rolling by trails and tracks. This would be one definition very simple, but very graphic of what they are cyclocross bikes (CX) i gravel. Both disciplines have a success growing among the cycling fansthanks in large part to multidisciplinary cyclists of recent years. They are halfway between the mountain biking and road, but not even two drops of water are exactly alike. And that’s what happens with the cyclocross and the gravelsimilar yes, but they are not the same.

Even some brands of bikes, until not long ago, did not have a well-defined line that difference the cyclocross from gravel, and browsing their web pages you found identical models in one category and another. Which, luckily, doesn’t happen anymore. And it is that, as we said, the differences between one discipline and another are substantial.

Cyclocross: competitive epic

The cyclocrossby definition it is one competitive discipline who was born in beginning of the 20th century. It consists of giving a certain number of laps in a circuit with sections of asphalt, trails, mud (although, because of climate change, less and less…) and with a series of obstacles (natural or artificial) that oblige the cyclist to get off the bike to draw them… although not always, there are very skilled cyclists.

For to roll in these conditions, therefore, the characteristics of the cyclocross bikes (CX) they are a bit particular and different from the models of road bikes which we are used to:

  • They are equipped with tires wider and with a much more marked pattern
  • The arms of the fork are more separated because the accumulation of mud do not interfere in it performance. Remember that the cyclocross is competition.
  • The pedal shaft height is higher, precisely because avoid hits with the obstacles.

Cyclocross and gravel: we explain the differences

The geometry of the paintings of cyclocross is very similar to that of the competition road bikesthe cyclist adopts one quite demanding positionalthough the wheelbase is smaller than usual in road cycling, as well as one pod length short, in order to look for an agile and fast behavior.

The weight both of painting as of components is very important, to facilitate the maneuver of loading the bike on the shoulder or keep it on hold while they draw obstacles. The components used in cyclocross bikestherefore they must meet all the necessary requirements for offer the cyclist the maximum possible reliability in very demanding conditions

Cyclocross and gravel: we explain the differences

The transmission used therefore will be single plate (less mechanical problems, less parts, less weight). At first, they were used cantilever brakes to avoid the mud accumulationbut these have been giving way to the disc brakeswhich are currently the majority in all the starting grids.

Another characteristic of cyclocross bikes is that the handlebar is narrower than usual, for better maneuverability in the closed curves of the circuits and they are used MTB pedals, easy to use even with the sole of the slippers full of mud.

Gravel cycling: unlimited kilometers



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    • Seriously, dude? If you cant see the difference between the thrill of racing through mud, sand, and obstacles in cyclocross versus leisurely cruising on gravel, then maybe youre missing out on some serious fun. But hey, to each their own!

    • To each their own, but theres something exhilarating about the tight turns, muddy courses, and intense competition in cyclocross. Its a thrilling blend of speed and skill that keeps me hooked. But hey, if gravel floats your bike, power to you!


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