Choose your weapon… which bike for CX sportive?

Posted on October 10, 2012 by - The CXS Guide

(Updated Oct 2012)

CX Sportive. As we say, it’s for all bikes, all riders and all terrains. So the only headache might be, which bike to choose? Streamline your hardtail MTB? Spec up your road winter training hack for some rough stuff? Bring out your crosser for a ride it could have been born to? Or prove once and for all to the world that singlespeed rocks? The choice is yours and each choice will reward you in different ways on a CX Sportive…

Cyclocross
As the name suggests a cx bike may be the ideal steed for a CX Sportive. Quick and capable over any surface, your crosser is ride ready. Just fit semi slick or mixed surface tyres; something that will roll on the roads as well as grip on the rough stuff.

MTB
‘Mountain bike’ covers a huge range of shapes sizes and styles. Obviously a good XC style MTB is your best CX Sportive choice. Light, fast and comfortable enough for a full day out, an XC MTB can keep your pace respecatble on the roads and really come into it’s own when you hit the dirt! A hardtail is plenty, full suspension will be mostly surplus to requirements here. Again, set up your riding position right for some sustained spinning (no need to lower your saddle for the gnarly stuff!), fit some tyres that’ll roll well at speed and crucially, stick a bit more air in them! 50+ psi will feel like rocket assist on the hard-top!

Road
First things first; step away from your carbon dream machine! Save your super-light bling for the summer, roll out your winter training steed and now you’re in business. If you fancy the challenge, there’s no reason why your winter roadie shouldn’t serve you well enough at CX Sportive, with a few tweaks. A strong set of training wheels is essential, as are a set of cx capable tyres. Think about adjusting your ride position a bit too, to favour handling over pure speed. So not too nose to the ground; maybe drop the saddle and raise the bars a bit. The right set up here will pay dividends on the road and smoother track sections. The trade off may be a bit of hiking on some the shorter and trickier off road sections. Oh, and lose the mudguards, unless you want to spend half your ride unclogging them!

29er
The merits of the mountain bike’s big wheeled cousin have been much debated. But after about five years of the press telling us ‘this is the year of the 29er’ it seems like they’ve finally arrived and we’re seeing them everywhere this year. Now whether that’s good or bad for full on MTB stuff we’ll leave you to decide, but for CX Sportive, they’re great. Plenty capable in the rough, with the turn of speed to eat up the miles on the black stuff. Break out your 29er for the next CX, and give yourself an unfair advantage over your 26 inch brethren!

Singlespeed
So, you ride a singlespeed. You already know why, you don’t need me to tell you. And you already know that it’s the best bike for this event by a country mile, whatever logic or evidence might dictate. Come the revolution, gears will be the first against the wall!

Hybrid / Urban
The humble commute scoot has undergone a transformation in recent years. ‘Hybrid’ used to be shorthand for a cheap, heavyweight, clunker, but now they’re nearly as sleek and nimble as their drop barred cousins, with the benefit of a heads-up riding position. There’s no reason why  yours shouldn’t serve you well on a CX Sportive course – treat it to tyres with some off road grip, ditch the mud guards if you have them (they’ll only clog) and you’re good to go. We’d just refer you to our comments in Road Bikes about super-pimpy carbon exotica (don’t go there), and also  say be prepared that it’ll need a good clean and oil before Monday morning commute duties – unless you want to make a statement, that is.

Fixie
Seriously? Well, it’s your life. Just don’t expect it to still be that colour afterwards.

6 Responses to “Choose your weapon… which bike for CX sportive?”

  1. Neil on

    Hi,
    Just noticed the routes have been marked on the map. Can you tell me if the 80km is clockwise or anti-clockwise? Thanks.

  2. Neil on

    Hi,
    It looks as though I was the only one to make the rather serious error of leaving the mudguards on my crosser. I was thoroughly enjoying the ride until the mud unfroze. The sticky mud compacted between the tyres and the undersides of the guards jamming the wheels solid. The only way I could progress was to either shoulder the bike and run or keep taking the wheels off to scrape out the mud. Next year can you let prospective entrants know that full road mudguards shouldn’t be used.