There’s more than just chunky tyres that separate these two bikes.

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While they share similar traits like drop handlebars and wheel size, take a closer look and you can see how and why the two are very different beasts. From pedals to geometry, we explain the key variations in their ride feel, components and purpose.

Watch more on GCN…
How to set up your CX bike 🎥
Road bike vs gravel bike 🎥

Photos: ©Tim De Waele /

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41 COMMENTS

  1. Spoke to a guy (ex XC racer turned roadie & quite fast) yesterday about CX bikes on the road. His experience is that a CX bike is great for commuting & winter training & really comfortable averaging 15mph but makes trying to average 18mph very hard work. Trying to stick with a fast chain gang was hard going. He described doing one of his usual hills 2 mins slower than normal while putting out 80W more power! It is all in the frame geometry. Now that you can get disc brakes on a road bike I'd suggest sticking to one of those if you mainly ride on the road. I'm putting my money where my mouth is & am off to buy a new road bike today! Merry Xmas to me.

  2. don't compare road bike to xc mtb. we'll knew that road bike is more faster than mtb in a race. So please you GCN stop comparing road bike to mtb this is nonsense!!

  3. is a cyclo-cross bike better for a loose chipping covered tarmac and cobble surface? I ride 20 miles a day on my winter Road bike along a canal path in Manchester, and I am top 2% on strava for most segments but would be interested to get a cx bike if it is faster. Cheers in advance.

  4. You have missed 3 little differences: 1. top tube shaped so it would be easy to carry the bike on your shoulder, 2. cables (if not internally routed like the ones you are showing) are on the top tube, so they wouldn't catch all the mud from the front wheel, 3. more clearence between the crank and the ground.

  5. The cx bike has a warning on the krank arm, "this bicycle is to be equipped with a clip-on pedal", and then I am riding my bike with regular pedals, those without clip-on crap, as a commuter cycle 😛

  6. I bought my first bike the other month. Carrera road bike for £250. But after watching these videos on CX bikes I'm deeply regretting it. T – T … fml

  7. So what's the difference between a Cyclocross bike and a Trek Dual Sport? I know the Dual Sport will have a front suspension, flat bars, and 3 rings up front.

  8. Take that Trek and put Mountain bike handlebars and it becomes killer. The ultimate bike for me; 29er with Rigid Carbon forks, BB7 with 180mm front back rotors. Deore XT 10 Drivetrain, Raceface single crank….tubeless tires. Oh and a 740 mm handle bar with tight stem….ya baby. To hell with these $$$ shocks. I will show you cycle cross then ha ha

  9. Is it easier to carry a cross bike on your shoulder? I feel like I'll going to break a bone when I try to look like a cx rider on my aero road bike.

  10. You did not mention:

    1. Cyclocross bike has a higher bottom bracket

    2. Cyclocross bikes should have a horizontal top tube so you can shoulder the bike. For some reason, this is not true of the one in this video.

    -ilan

  11. Quick question about something that is confusing me quite a bit… if not considering racing, what would be the difference in between a cyclocross bike and a gravel bike? Thank you!

  12. You're wrong about brakes. U brakes come in many sizes, and they will fit a cyclocross bike. I have U brakes on my 1.9 inch tyre. And also on 32mm tyres with mudguards in between the tyres and brakes.

  13. One thing I've been missing for a while now regarding all these comparison videos, is CX vs Gravel bike. There's road vs gravel and road vs CX, but what about that one last side of the triangle? At least personally I haven't really grasped where exactly a gravel bike stands between CX and Road bike (as I presume it's somewhere in between… or is it?), and hence, which one should I be looking to buy next Autumn when I'm thinking about getting a "winter" training bike/commuter/whatnot… even tho one can't ride outside here, when the winter proper starts, no way… the temperature [up to whopping minus 30 degrees Celsius] isn't really even the issue, it's the ice & snow…

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