It is now commonplace to say that cross is on the horizon. People are always excited about cyclocross and it never seems to go away.
It’s likely that your riding buddies will talk about it in a scholarly manner, and they will tell you that it is something you should do.
The next step is to find a bike that you can cross on. We’ve compiled a list with 5 best cyclocross bikes under $1000 for 2023.
We haven’t confined ourselves to bikes designed for racing only. Instead, we have looked at bikes with multiple uses. You may decide that cross-country riding is not for your taste after racing a few times.
The bike you have invested a lot on shouldn’t be left to sit around or be sold. The bike could be used as a commuter, bikepacker, tourer, gravel bike, or bikepacker.
- 1 Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 2 Review
- 2 Salsa Journeyman Claris 700
- 3 Gravity Liberty CX Review
- 4 Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Pro
- 5 Raleigh Bikes Amelia 2
- 6 Vitus Energie (Apex 1×11)
- 7 What should you look for when buying a cyclocross bicycle?
- 8 What if I have to spend more than $1000?
Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 2 Review
The Key Features
- 16 Speed
- Tektro mechanical disc brakes
- Rack mounts
The Diamondback Haanjo 2 can be described as a gravel bike. Although it is a gravel bike, it can be converted to a cyclocross bike quickly. It can also fit 38mm tires, so it has plenty of mud clearance.
The Haanjo 2 can do many things, just like the Gravity. You can adapt it to run as a commuter or a bikepacking bicycle, and, as with the Gravity above, it has rack mounts.
All of this means you can use your bike all year, not just cross-season. You can use the Haanjo 2 in many different roles, making it a great quiver-killer. This might make it easier to sell to your partner.
The Hanjo 2 includes a Shimano Claris 16-speed groupset. Good news is that the front rings of the Hanjo 2 are 46/34t. This will allow you to have a very cyclocross-friendly gearing. You can easily torque through wet or muddy fields with this gearing.
A set of Tektro Lyra disc brakes will also be included. Lyra brakes offer a bit more stopping power than canti, especially when driving in wet or muddy conditions.
It will also give you the benefit of not slowly damaging your wheel rims when you brake.
The combination of mud and rim brakes can create a paste that can eat away at your wheel rims. This is why many amateur racers use disc brakes to save money on expensive wheels.
Salsa Journeyman Claris 700
The Salsa Journeyman bike is versatile and can be used for cyclocross, but it won’t sit in your garage collecting dust after the season ends. The versatile bike has many mounting points that can be used to attach racks, so it can be used as a fast commuter or light touring on trails.
The aluminum frame of the Journeyman is made from 6061 aluminum. It’s affordable and provides comfort for longer rides.
Both the frame and fork have enough clearance to accommodate larger tires. This means that you will have no trouble finding gravel or cyclocross tires that will fit this frame. The Salsa Journeyman can actually fit a 50c tire, even though it comes with 37s.
The internal routing of all cables on the Journeyman is done internally, which makes it easier to carry the bike across obstacles on the ‘cross course. The bike comes with a Shimano Claris 2×8 Shimano drivetrain. The Shimano Claris line is a great value because of its low price and excellent performance when shifting.
The 160mm disc brakes found on the Journeyman provide excellent stopping power and modulation. This is a must-have if you are going to race cyclocross competitively. Even if your riding conditions are not ideal, the disc brakes will perform well in adverse weather.
The Salsa Journeyman is a versatile bike that will appeal to many riders and keep your wallet happy. This bike is an affordable $950 that will make your smile every time you cross it. You can find it on the REI website.
Gravity Liberty CX Review
- Speed 24
- Tektro canti brakes
- Rack mounts
The Gravity Liberty CX is a great bike for anyone who wants to try cyclocross but isn’t sure if it’s the right sport for them.
Good news: The Gravity Liberty CX also comes with rack mounts if cross is not your thing. If your priorities change, these rack mounts allow you to use the Gravity either as a commuter bicycle or a lightweight touring bike.
The Gravity is affordable. It doesn’t use new parts; it only uses proven parts. You don’t get disc brakes, but you do get Tektro Oryx cantilever brakes (cantis).
Cantis will be lighter than running discs and have more stopping power in the rain/snow/sleet.
A 24-speed drivetrain is also available. Shimano Sora provides all the gears that you need, plus more.
The front derailleur might get blocked up with mud, which could limit its use for races. However, if you are using the bike for light touring or commuter purposes, you will be happy with the additional gears offered by the Gravity Liberty CX.
Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Pro
- 18 Speed
- Fork and frame made of steel
- Rack mounts
Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel pro bike is another that has taken advantage of the growing gravel and adventure market. This bike is made of thin 4130 steel tubes and has a retro appearance.
It gives the bike a great feeling of riding and makes it durable enough to withstand off-road use.
These tires are 38mm wide. You may need to change them for something a bit more knobby for racing. For UCI sanctioned races, 38mm is too big. However, if you go down to 33mm tires, you will have plenty of mud clearance.
Amazing mud clearance is possible when the Adventure Gravel pro can also handle 47mm tires. This bike is capable of handling offroad with 47mm tires.
The Shimano Sora 18-speed groupset is included on the bike. This ensures that you have the right gear for whatever course you are racing on.
You’ll also find cyclocross front chainrings rather than road-style. This allows for a lower gearing, which makes riding offroad more enjoyable. A set of mechanical disc brakes can be added to keep you stopping power high as you ride a course.
Raleigh Bikes Amelia 2
- 18 Speed
- Women-specific design
- Rack mounts
Raleigh Bikes Amelia 2 was designed specifically for women and is targeted at the adventure market. The bike comes with a pair of Clements X’PLOR tires. They should be able hold their grip on some cyclocross courses and don’t require to be replaced as often as the other bikes in this review.
Raleigh hasn’t just pinked a bike for men, despite it being women’s-specific. This bike has been made more feminine-friendly.
A narrower handlebar will suit women’s narrow shoulders. Cross racing will be slightly easier with a narrower handlebar. You’ll feel more confident and in control.
Gearing-wise, the Shimano Sora groupset will give you 18 options, with plenty of choice for cross courses.
You can also rely on the bike’s Tektro Lyra mechanical disk brakes to stop it when necessary.
We have tested the Amelia 2 on other bikes and made sure it can go into other pursuits if cross is not your thing.
There are rack points that allow you to mount panniers. The Amelia 2 is a fast commuter bike and a great touring bike.
Vitus Energie (Apex 1×11)
- 11 Speed
- SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes
- Carbon fiber fork
Vitus Energie is a full-blooded, cyclocross racebike. It is one of the most race-ready bikes we have seen. It is also a very affordable bike. However, the current price is less than $1000.
The Energie is built on an aluminum frame and a Toray T700 carbon fibre fork. This makes the bike lighter than the other bikes tested, but the weight could increase if they are all covered with mud.
The Energie uses a modern cross-bike gearing system. The Energie has a single ring on the front to prevent mud from clogging your front derailleur, causing gear problems.
You’ll find an 11 speed cassette at the back. This should provide the range of gears you need to race and some commuting if you wish to multitask.
WTB provides the tires and wheels, and you can set them up tubeless with just 30 minutes at home. You can lower the tire pressure to get grip on even the most slippery cross-courses by setting them up tubeless. If you are using the bike to commute, it will help you avoid punctures.
We have the strongest brakes yet in this review. The Energie comes standard with the full SRAM Apex Groupset and their hydraulic brakes.
These brakes will stop your car in even the most difficult conditions. You will feel more in control when you race at your limit.
What should you look for when buying a cyclocross bicycle?
Cross races are often muddy and you’ll need frames that can remove mud. You’ll be in a running race if your bike doesn’t shed any mud.
A road bike will have a different gearing. A bike with lower gears will be more helpful in navigating through ruts or off-camber sections.
You won’t get the forward momentum you want if you have too big of a gear.
It should fit
If your bike is too large, it will cause problems on cross courses and make it difficult to control. Although a small bike can be a good option, you should be aware of its limitations. It will make long rides less enjoyable.
Choose a color that you love
You should like how your bike looks if you plan to ride it. You’ll be more likely to ride in a color that you love, even in bad weather.
What if I have to spend more than $1000?
We looked at several bikes on the gravel side. It’s simple: you’ll find them more in the budget range of bikes.
The cost of a cyclocross bike is usually higher and more precise. It is possible that you will not enjoy a racing cross bike so we selected bikes that can do a few functions and then you can decide if it is worth the extra money.
There are always caveats to cycling if you spend more than $1000. You will get a lighter bike with better gear shifting and greater strength.
You don’t want your budget to grow if you are only trying to dip your toes.
The bikes that cost more than $1000 are less able to do multiple roles. You might lose your bottle mounts because the UCI prohibits drinking during cross-race events. You’ll lose the bottle mounts if you don’t have the rack mounts. This will result in a bike that is very race-focused.
Next, racing tires must be 33mm wide. Cross frames that are specifically designed for racing do not allow you to have more space.
33mm tires are wider than the average tire, but you have the option to go larger if you want more grip and comfort for your riding, even if you don’t own many bikes.