Commuting on a cyclocross bike

Can I commute on a cyclocross bike?

We all know road bikes and hybrid bikes are perfect commuters, but can you commute on a cyclocross bike, adventure bike or gravel bike? Absolutely! In fact, cyclocross, adventure and gravel bikes make fantastic mile munchers and are built to withstand all weathers - which makes them perfect for the daily grind.

What are cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes and adventure bikes?

The cycling world used to be split relatively simply into road bikes and mountain bikes, but today there is much more choice!

Simply put, cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes and adventure bikes are a more rugged form of road bike that are built for off-road riding as well as on-road riding. Here are the differences:

Cyclocross bikes

Cyclocross is a sport where you ride bikes with drop bars and skinny tyres off-road, with obstacles that require you to get off your bike. Races usually last an hour.

Cyclocross bike frames are similar to road bike frames, but with larger cutouts, so you can fit wider tyres. Many cross bikes come with disc brakes instead of v-brakes and an extensive range of gears.

The Boardman CXR 8.9 Cyclocross Bike is an excellent example of a superb modern cross bike. An alloy frame and carbon forks provide the basis for this awesome all-rounder, with a 1x chainset and 11-42t rear cogs prove more than enough gears to choose from. At £1000 it’s incredible value.

Traditionally, you wouldn’t find bottle cage mounts, mudguard mounts or rear rack mounts on a cross bike, but things are changing as leading manufacturers such as Boardman recognise the commuter potential of cyclocross bikes.

Adventure bikes and gravel bikes

Gravel bikes and adventure bikes are two terms used to describe a bike that can be ridden both on-road and off it.

Some people class adventure bikes as being more like mountain bikes and gravel bikes being more similar to road bikes, but there’s no rigid definition. Adventure bikes from trusted brands such as Boardman, VooDoo and Raleigh are well-specced for commuters.

You can learn more about the gravel bikes and adventure bikes in our in-depth buyers guide.

What’s the difference between cyclocross

Gravel bikes and cyclocross bikes can often be confused for one another, but there are actually substantial differences between them.

Cyclocross bike frames have an aggressive geometry that stretches the rider out. It’s the perfect position for racing, but not for the comfortable all-day rides most people want a gravel bike for.

Gravel bikes and adventure bikes position the rider in a more upright position, which can make riding more comfortable.

Can I ride these off-roaders on the road?

Yes. There are standard features across cyclocross, adventure and gravel bikes that make them fantastic commuter bikes.

They’ve got solid frames with wide clearances, so you can fit wider tyres. It also makes it easier to install accessories, such as mudguards and a rear pannier rack, with many off-road bikes now having lugs fitted.

Disc brakes are conventional on cyclocross, adventure and gravel bikes, providing more efficient and effective stopping power than v-brakes you’ll find on many road bikes and hybrids.

What’s more, the cables are generally routed to keep them out of the way of mud, which helps keep things working well as the bike gets mucky.

What should I look for?

If you’re interested in using a cyclocross bike, adventure bike or gravel bike on the road, then you can simply swap the knobbly tyres for a set of slick road tyres, and off you go.

However, there are a few other things to look for if you want to build a super commuter or winter warrior:

  • Bottle cage mounts
  • Mudguard mounts
  • Rear mounts for panniers

Daily driver or winter warrior

Cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes and adventure bikes are built for all, which makes them the perfect daily driver or winter warrior.

If you’re riding during the winter, kit your bike out with mudguards, puncture-resistant tyres and lower-end components. Your winter bike or all-weather commuter can take a battering from the weather, leaving your favourite bike fresh and clean for better weather.

Where can I buy a new bike?

At Halfords, of course! We’ve got a superb selection of cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes and adventure bikes ready and raring to go. You can compare models online, or visit a local store to see them in the flesh. We’ve also got a massive range of accessories to personalise and perfect your ride, including tyres, panniers, mudguards and more.

Shop the full range of cyclocross bikes