Buying a new bike is a big decision. Not only can it be an investment, but it also dictates what you’ll be able to do with your new purchase. If you’re looking for a smooth ride through town, there are bikes for that. But if you are looking for something that will satisfy your urge to compete and better your cyclocross performance, there is a growing line up of bikes explicitly built for the job.
Cyclocross bikes are made to go through grass, muddy fields, sand, and other frequent features in cyclocross courses. They are geometrically built to help navigate this tricky terrain while also protecting their passengers.
These bikes usually have a shorter frame, a higher riding position, and taller bottom brackets. There are many versatile bikes to pick from, but if you’re looking for the best cyclocross bikes under $1500, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the top contenders.
|Trek Crockett 5 Disc
|Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike
|Trek Domane AL 4 Disc
|Marin Gestalt 2
|Giant Revolt 2
Best Cyclocross Bike Under $1500
Trek Crockett 5 Disc – Best Overall
The Crockett 5 Disc is the perfect bike for those who are new to cyclocross, are experienced, and looking for an excellent dropbar racing bike, or for those looking for a versatile bike to get them through their commute or down a dusty gravel road.
It’s designed to be the perfect cyclocross companion. It’s light enough to lift over barriers, handles like a carbon bike, and is at home anywhere that a rider can potentially turn it down, from a paved sidewalk to a rocky turn or even through sandpits.
Crockett 5 Disc features a strong yet light 300 Series Alpha Aluminum frame that is complemented by custom-formed tubes, 12 mm thru-axles, flat-mounted hydraulic disc brakes, and a Trek Cross full carbon fork.
The Crockett 5 Disc’s frame is made from premium-grade aluminum but maintains a carbon look and feel. The size-specific tubes are hydroformed and provide a balance of stiffness and weight that creates a stable, smooth ride. These cyclocross bikes feature a Control Freak cable management system that allows for the shift and brake lines to be routed through the frame and kept out of the way. This cable routing system also helps to eliminate friction so you can shift faster, performing even better.
Working in collaboration with the lightweight frame, the IsoSpeed fork helps with a smoother ride, and the wheelbase is optimized with a unique drop placement. When all of these special features are combined, it provides one of the best cyclocross bikes under $1500.
Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike – Budget-Friendly OptionTommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike
The Tommaso Sentiero cyclocross bike was made for those looking to explore. This cyclocross bike features upgraded BB5 disc brakes and wide tires to help keep you safe and steady on the bike, while the 24-speed shift allows you to take off into the great unknown on any terrain.
With this bike, the value is all in the details. This bike features drill holes that allow for maximum customization to its frame so a rider can add any accessories they may need for their ride.
The Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike has a 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset, which translates to powerful performance and speed that accommodate a variety of terrains. From riding around town to taking to the hills or turning it off of the beaten path, this bike is suitable for any rider at any level.
These durable and reliable bikes are made with a compact aluminum frame that comes with a lifetime frame and fork warranty so you can get the parts replaced if something happens. Not only are they built to last, but the geometric compact frame and handlebars add to its overall power and level of comfort during use.
This bike is highly customizable, with a frame that has been drilled to allow for a variety of racks and fenders.
Are you looking for the best racing option out of the best cyclocross bikes under $1500? Look no further. The Domane AL 4 has an advanced alloy frame that is complemented by higher-quality parts and endurance geometry to create a smooth and comfortable ride.
There are many reasons to look for the best cyclocross bike under $1500, but if finding a bike that will support your racing goals is a reason, then the Domane AL 4 Disc is the one for you. Even though this is the perfect bike for new and advanced racers, it is built to accommodate any adventure on any road making it a fantastic companion for the everyday biker.
The hydraulic disc brakes and improved drivetrain make it a fast bike that’s perfect for racing or group rides. If you are somebody who is looking to train for races or longer rides, look no further. The lightweight aluminum frame is designed to house the cable inside the bike to improve smoothness and reduce friction while riding.
This cyclocross bike has an IsoSpeed Carbon fork that swoops forward. In doing so, it helps to absorb vibrations from the road so that a rider’s arms don’t get tired after a long ride. Not only is it designed for arm endurance, but the geometry of the bike allows for a more stable ride and greater comfort so you can go the distance.
All of the Domane AL 4 Disc cyclocross bike features aid in the creation of a perfect bike for longer, faster rides. If you’re looking for a bike to grow on as you improve in your group rides and breaking your personal speed records, this is the bike for you.
Marin Gestalt 2 – Runner Up
The Gestalt 2 is built to go from the pavement to the dirt and back. It can handle long commutes to work through any weather. This bike also features different fender and rack mounts, a reliable braking system, and larger tires, so you have a smoother way to get around or to go off and have an adventure.
This bike is perfect for people who are looking for the best of both worlds. Are you looking to go off-road and head down dirt-filled, gravel invest, muddy paths? How about going on a weekend tour or just riding down to pick something up from the store? Look no further!
While most of the features on this bike compliment want to go down gravel roads, the gravel stability isn’t as top-notch as some of the others, like the Crockett 5 Disc. The brakes, since they aren’t hydraulic, they don’t have the same feel, although they will get the job done. The frame has two bottle mounts and some for fender and racks on the rear.
That’s not all of the features this bike offers, though.
The Gestalt 2 is made for the everyday rider who can’t decide if they want to stay on the pavement or head into the backwoods. The multiple speeds allow for a smooth ride no matter where the day leads. Disc breaks provide controlled stops in any conditions that the bike may find itself i.
The blend in the Beyond Road Geometry of the bike allows for better endurance handling so you can ride longer, while also improving the stability for when its time to take it off-road.
There are two available frame options. The Series 2 or 3 frame options so you can choose the perfect bike for what you are looking for. The Series 2 has internal cable routing to keep cables out of the way, disc brakes, and eyelets for racks and fenders. If that isn’t enough, the Series 3 frame can add a tapered headtube and thru-axles. If you’re looking to be going off-road more so than riding on pavement, then get the Series 3 frame.
The Revolt 2 is a dependable cyclocross that is up to the challenge of going from smoother trails to slightly gravel terrain. Most of the features on this bike create a reliable and stable ride that is sure to satisfy the needs of the weekend cyclocross. However, if you are looking for a bike that is up to compete as much as you are, you might want to check out some of the other options on this list.
The Shock Absorbing Microfibre bar soaks up some of the vibrations from a long day on the trails, but if you’re looking for something that you want to ride all day through any terrain, this may not be your first choice. What this bike is good for is to go from riding on a road to getting off the beaten path every once in a while.
When making the Revolt 2, manufacturers left a lot of room for tire clearance in preparation for the rough rides ahead. They also brought their expertise from the world of mountain biking into the world of cyclocross when they made this bike. The geometric shape of the bike allows for a confident ride and a reliable way to get onto gravel trails.
The Revolt 2 has a 2x Shimano Sora drivetrain and hydraulic/mechanical hybrid disc brakes. The geometrics of the bike creates a stable ride and smooth handling. However, because the bike itself is heavier, along with the tire rims, the bike reported feels slower when its moving.
This might not be the best bike if you plan on taking it on some rough trails, although it would perform just fine on gravel trails.
If you are new to cyclocross or are looking to upgrade the bike you are currently riding in order to fit in with the things you’ll be asking for it, we’ve put together a quick buying guide on what to be looking for.
The frame of one of the best cyclocross bike under $1500 is going to be one that is lightweight to accommodate fast movement and one that is stable to keep a rider upright when navigating over the demands of a rugged cyclocross course. Most gravel bikes can’t accommodate this kind of ride, so when manufacturers set their sights on creating a bike-specific for cyclocross, they focused on the central part; the frame.
The frame of cyclocross bikes are lighter so that a rider can dismount and quickly pick up and carry their bike over obstacles. While they usually don’t offer places to connect fender racks or other accessories, most of the ones on this list at least have the standard features of a water bottle cage and the option to attach a rack in the back if wanted.
When Geometry Matters
Remember when you were wondering when all of those geometry classes would come in handy? Well, now might be the time when you are considering which of the best cyclocross bikes under $1500 to get and what size would be best for you.
The angles and lengths of the tubes on a cyclocross bike will determine how the bike handles. These frames are usually built for quick turns and for the riding position to be a higher, more upright position than the usual gravel bike.
The size of the cyclocross bike you decide on is crucial for maximizing comfort and performance – something very important if you will be competing with others on a cyclocross course. The size of the bike is even more important when you begin to consider when and for how long you are going to be training.
You already know that the bike you choose is going to impact your health in some way. But if you get a bike that is the wrong size for your body, you could be putting your health in jeopardy. If you pick a bike that is too small, you could be injured from holding a smaller, cramped position. If the bike is too big, it could be hard to pedal efficiently, meaning you’re wasting your energy getting going when you could be using it to race down the course.
The bikes on our list all have sizing guides listed on their websites above. But there are three main rules to know that you have the right-sized bike.
You Have the Right Size Bike When:
- When standing over the top tube, there are two inches of clearance.
- On the downstroke of pedaling, at the bottom, your knee should only be slightly bent.
- You can comfortably reach the handlebars and brake levers while in a sitting position atop the bike.
Special Features Specific to Cyclocross
It wasn’t too long ago that having bolts specific to hold water bottles or racks on the fenders were hard to find on a cyclocross bike. But now, these are becoming a staple of these kinds of bikes. Another common feature of cyclocross bikes are their knobby tires that enable riders to hit any trial they may come across.
From sandpits, gravel, dirty, mud, or just about anything else that a rider may happen to come across while on their travels, these tires and these bikes are made to take it all with stride.
Cyclocross: What it is and How to Get into it
Cyclocross racing is one of the biggest and fastest-growing segments in the racing industry. Not only is it a chance for competitive riders to show what they’ve got – its also really fun!
Cyclocross races typically last around an hour, and instead of riders having to go a set distance to win, they have to have the best time. Races typically take place during the day in your neighborhood park or on a closed course. These obstacles courses are designed to challenge their riders.
They often feature mud, sandpits, gravel, sharp turns, and obstacles that call for riders to dismount and carry their bike over whatever may lie in their path. Sometimes even crawling is on the docket.
If you want the best cyclocross bike under $1500, consider one from the selection above. Depending on your priorities when looking for a new cyclocross bike, we have a few parting notes.
The bike we have deemed best in class is the first choice, the Trek Crockett 5 Disc. While this bike was built to be a top cyclocross competitor with its easy handling and advanced features, it can also be used for gentler rides. This bike was made to be picked up and lifted over barriers that may be in the way during a course while also being stylish and smooth enough to travel down gravel roads closer to home.
Our runner up is the Marin Gestalt 2. It’s the perfect bike for somebody who is looking for the best of both worlds. Cyclocross itself is a competitive sport that brings together competitive people to ride through tough terrain, but it can also be a hobby for those who are looking to add more adventure and freedom into their biking routine. If you are looking for something to serve as an introduction into cyclocross or for a bike to take down your favorite gravel trail, this is the bike for you!
If budget is your main concern, we would suggest the Tommaso Senteiro Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike. Like the Gestalt 2, this offers a best of both worlds kind of package, except some of the features aren’t as superior as the Gestalt 2. This bike can take you from riding down the road to going down a trail while also offering support and a smooth ride. However, it can’t handle rougher trails as well as the Gestalt 2 can.
The question comes down to how often you’re going to be racing through cyclocross courses and tearing down back roads or if you’ll be using this bike as something that allows you from going down the road to tearing off the beaten trail now and then. While all of these bikes offer superior handling and features that aid in stability and overall smoothness, one of them rises to top when considering how it holds up when adventure calls.