CX bike recommendations

So after a 20 year hiatus, I’ve got back into 'cross, and did my first race at the weekend (I’m 2 weeks too young to race with the vets (40+) this season, so it was hard!)

Anyway, the gravel bike did a sterling job, but ultimately it’s not ideal for the job, and also it’s too expensive for me to want to put it into CX races regularly. So for next season, I’ll be looking for a specialist bike.

My aim is to keep the spend moderate (£2k), and buy, probably 2/h, in the spring/summer when I suspect there may be some bargains around.

The shortlist is quite short. I’m looking at:

  • Canyon Inflite
  • Trek Crockett/Boone
  • Giant TCX
  • Specialized Crux

What have I missed, and any general recommendations? I’m pretty certain I want 1x, and electronic shifting and carbon wheels would be massive overkill for my use case.

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I have an aluminium TCX that came with sram rival 1x. A fantastic frame, I put 2x GRX on it as personal preference. I use it as a road bike in winter too with clip SKS mud guards. Friends have an inflite (one is carbon other aluminium) and both are super happy with it. I tend to list after a Boone but really can’t justify a new bike or really need a carbon frame.
Edit to add: the tcx was about €2100 2 years ago, carbon inflite with Reynolds wheels was €2800 with a racing license discount. I put 38mm tyres on the tcx in summer and use on gravelled canal paths

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I don’t know how it rides for cross, but I have got an 8 month old Boone 5 for sale.
I purchased it as an emergency commuter until my steel gravel replacement turned up.
It is a great ride, very responsive, and did me for a few lightweight gravel rides as well.
With it being 1X and no mudguard mounts it was no good long term

what size?

56cm, in Bristol UK

I’m fairly sure I’d be looking at a 54, but thanks anyway

I’m a big fan of the current Crockett. Get the Crockett 5 and some race wheels to replace the mediocre wheels it comes with (that’s what I’ve been using for a few seasons). I would like to buy a second pure cross bike, and the new Boone looks amazing, but the seat mast and integrated cables give me pause and others (e.g. new Crux, Stigmata) don’t seem to quite make sense as a cross only bike.

Honestly the Inflite and TCX seem like reasonable choices as well.


Kona Jake the Snake is a great alloy frame.


I think any of those would be solid choices. I recently built up a Ritchey Swiss Cross and got to race it this season. It was a blast. Definitely not the lightest frame, but you can build it up to your preference. I really recommend it for the ride quality and the handling. Just feels at home on the CX course.

That said, you can only buy the frameset so that’s a knock against it. And I got mine to do double duty as a gravel bike so the ride quality might not matter as much to you.

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Raced a couple of seasons on a cheapo Planet X frame that I only bought because the deal included Rival 1x at a great price. Don’t do that though, rear QR kept falling out at inopportune times during races. Great groupset though.

Heard good things about Treks, and the rate you can stack it in the mud, maybe a great alloy frame is better than a basic carbon one?One thing I would do is get some decent tyres, I didn’t have the time or money for tubulars and my crappy stock wheels weren’t tubeless ready, but at 75kg I ran Challenge Limus clinchers regular at 18-20psi and never had any puncture issues. Just be prepared for an experience getting them on the rims…

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My gut is pointing me towards an alloy frame with more money spent on wheels and tyres tbh. Not only will that probably be quicker, the old saying ‘don’t race what can’t replace’ is in my head!


A Focus Mares would be another one to look at - cool colours too

And when the beads eventually stretch, be prepared for another type of experience (true story, happened to me with a Strada Bianchia).

How much of tyre can you use on your SwissCross (front and rear) ? I assume you have a disc version - I’d be interested in a rim one (just need some cash to throw at it ^^)

I do have discs yeah. The frame has stated 700x38 max clearance, but I can easily fit 40s. I think I might be able to fit 42s but haven’t tried yet.

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Stevens Vapor? I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that a Belgian brand would know how to put together a CX bike.

I see plenty of Planet X XLS’s at races as well so well worth considering if you fancy a bargain and are not too hung up about the name on the downtube.

Paul Milnes cycles specialises in CX frames, in particular from his own brand and from Ridley. It’s worth a look at his eBay store if you want to go down that route:


thks :slight_smile:

I ride the old Crux myself and is super happy with it. Not sure about the new one (and its very expensive). Always had a soft spot for “simple” cross bikes like the Stevens Superprestige. Force AXS and a couple of cheap carbon tubs sounds like a great race bike.

Looking at the shortlist I’d exclude the Crux straightaway on the grounds that it is too expensive for your use case.

I’d pick the Crockett. Threaded BB, robust, relatively low priced.


It doesn’t seem that you can get Stevens in the UK, annoyingly