Are you looking for race-worthy best budget cyclocross bikes available on the market today? Cyclocross racing is a fast-growing popular sport in most parts of North America and Europe.
The sport offers a perfect combination of road racing and mountain biking experience. It’s a great way to spend outdoor time during fall and winter when temperatures start dropping.
Best Affordable Cyclocross Bikes for Beginners
Here are our top picks for the best budget cyclocross bikes. We chose the bikes based on key factors such as frame, drivetrain, components, price, and other important features to consider in the best affordable cyclocross bike.
1. State Bicycle Co. 4130 Road Bike
The State Bicycle Co bike is a fine example of affordable cyclocross bikes. It’s made of a double-Butted Grade Chromoly Steel Frame fully fitted with rack mounts and cable stops.
Its saddle is made of synthetic leather for maximum stability and balance. The State Road 4130 Road weighs 23 pounds and reaches a maximum of only 55 cm.
One salient feature that brings out the uniqueness behind the State Road is its drivetrain which comprises an 8 speed 11-28 cassette on the rear while at the front is a 44-tooth unit. The rear cassette is supported by a friction shifter. A Sunrace derailleur is also installed to coordinate everything.
2. Raleigh RXW Women’s Bike
This model was developed specifically for women’s cyclocross riding. As such, it’s lightweight and available at less than 56cm in size.
The mainframe comprises a superlight butted alloy women-specific frame ideal for racing and all-season riding. It has spire actuated mechanical disc brakes that give it great stopping power. Its wheels, which come with a double wall and a Clement MXP, are made easy tiding on all terrains. Fitted with an SRAM Rival 1X11 drivetrain, the bike is adapted to high, low, and even terrains.
The bike’s gear cable is internally routed while the rear brake is a cable neatly routed along the top tube. The top tube is tapered for easy shouldering.
3. Motobecane Fantom Cyclocross Bike
The Motobecane Fantom is one of the best budget-priced cyclocross bikes. It has a French-sounding name but the bike is actually made and sold by a US company known as Motobecane. It’s a great bike that you can get for less than $1,000.
When it comes to the bike’s frame, there’s no doubt that the Fantom was designed for racing. Its lightweight and robust frame is made of 6061 aluminum with hydroformed tubing for additional strength.
In terms of drivetrain, the Fantom is fitted with an excellent SRAM Rival 22 groupset, which works as well as Shimano’s 105. The bike also features a compact 46t/36tFSA Gossamer chainset, which is a good addition for the bike’s price.
4. Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2
This pro-level cyclocross bike is an all-weather performer. Known for its agility, the Giant TCX is fitted with an advanced-grade composite frame which empowers it for accelerating and climbing.
It can easily be handled on any cyclocross terrain. The superlight advanced-grade composite frame designed in strict adherence to race geometry. The chain-stays are asymmetrical, giving it optimal power transfer. It also comes in a beautiful Olympic blue color.
The Giant TCX Pro has remained a distinguished and excellent racer because it provides the rider with resilience and comfort. It comes with heavy Maxxis All Terrain 33mm tires which are essential for riding over rough terrains.
5. Raleigh Willard 2 Cyclocross Bike
This cyclocross bike under 500 weighs only 23.2 pounds and has a size of about 52 cm. The mainframe is made of double-butted A6-SL aluminum which makes it a perfect choice for loose gravel and dirt roads. The frame has been augmented with a carbon fork with an alloy tapered steer to enhance responsiveness.
Classified as a Gravel adventure bike, the Raleigh Willard 2 is an attractive sight to behold. Its frame is made according to the requirements of frame technology.
For its price, the Raleigh Willard 2 does indeed provide value for money, especially for riders who want a bike designed for cyclocross racing with a versatile lightweight aluminum frame.
How to Pick the Best Budget Cyclocross Bikes
Let’s now look at what cyclocross is and the key features to consider in the best cheap cyclocross bikes. To understand the key features to look for in such a bike it’s important to know what cyclocross is all about.
Here are some of the most important features to look for in the best beginner cyclocross bike:
Overall Cyclocross Bike Geometry
The cyclocross bike looks like a standard road bike but it’s designed differently to make it more suitable for tough off-road riding conditions.
Some of the key geometric features to look for in the best budget cyclocross bicycles include a slacker head angle for better handling, a higher bottom bracket for safety, and a longer wheelbase for greater stability.
The bike’s seat and handlebars are almost level to allow the rider to easily weigh around easily as they tackle obstacles on their racing path.
The best budget cyclocross bikes are ideally made of aluminum and a carbon fork. Aluminum is a great frame material because of its lightweight and robust properties. There are also cyclocross bikes made of carbon frames, which are lighter and more robust than aluminum but pricier.
The best budget cyclocross bicycles should at the very least come with an aluminum frame and have all the necessary accessories such as a bottle cage and pannier rack or mudguard mounts.
Weight is another important factor to consider in the best value cyclocross bikes. You should always aim at keeping the bike’s weight as low as possible.
A lightweight bike is easy to pick up and carry when negotiating out of tight corners or going over obstacles that may require you to dismount and carry the bike.
Cyclocross racing also involves dismounting and carrying the bike when clearing large obstacles. A standard tube shape will make it hard and uncomfortable to carry the bike.
A good cyclocross bike should ideally have a flatter underside on the top tube that allows you to easily carry the bike on your shoulder. Keep in mind that there’s a shouldering requirement in every cyclocross racing circuit.
Every cross-racing circuit has a muddy section that you must ride through. It’s, therefore, important to ensure that your cyclocross bike has enough space between the frame and the tires to ensure that the wheels continue turning even when the bike has collected mud while racing.
The bike should have enough clearance between the seat tube and rear tire as well as the bottom bracket.
The best entry level cyclocross bike should have wide tires that provide a firmer grip in off-road conditions. The UCI, which governs bike racing competitions in the world, has a tire width limit of 33mm but most cyclocross bikes come with 35mm tires designed to provide extra grip and better stability.
The bike should ideally have file treaded tires capable of tackling sandy, hard, wet, and muddy terrains.
Cyclocross bikes have wider tires than standard road bikes, which makes it necessary to have a different braking system.
Most cyclocross bikes come with either disc or cantilever brakes designed to accommodate the braking demands of larger tires. Disc brakes can also be either hydraulic or cable operated. Cantilever brakes are often used in entry-level cyclocross bikes although they are also found in some high-end models.
Disc brakes have consistent performance in all riding conditions but add weight to the bike and are pricier than cantilever brakes.
Your Budget for the Bike
Your choice of the best budget cyclocross bikes will also depend on exactly how much you are willing to spend on the bike.
A more expensive cyclocross bike will typically not always provide you with advantages such as low weight, better shift control, comfort, and increased durability.
Bike Requirements for the Cyclocross Sport
Cyclocross, also known in short as CX, is basically a short but extremely intense type of bike racing sport. The sport was created to give riders an opportunity to continue racing during the cold European winters. CX racing is done in every type of weather regardless of the extreme conditions.
It involves racing over dirt, sand, and snow with a wide range of obstacles placed on the way of the riders, such as rocks, jumps, stairs, and steep hills. Most cyclocross racing circuits are 4km or less conducted over a given number of laps. The short but difficult races usually last for 45 minutes to an hour.
To succeed in cyclocross racing you not only need a unique set of riding skills but a perfect bicycle as well. Cyclocross bikes are designed for fast racing and an ability to tackle rough conditions of the circuit. The bikes look like the normal road bike but come with specific features to handle the toughest off-road conditions in cold and hot weather.
The bikes are also versatile enough to be used for normal commuting just like the road bike. They are, however, quite pricey due to the extra features but luckily there are several inexpensive cyclocross bikes on the market today.
The cyclocross bikes reviewed above are some of the best beginner cyclocross bikes that are available at a more affordable price.
They are all great options but we highly recommend the State Bicycle Co. 4130 Road Bike as one of the best budget cyclocross bikes you can buy today.