Are you considering buying a new racing bike but can’t decide which one to choose: Cyclocross bicycle or cross-country? Here, I explain the key differences between country cross and cyclocross bikes and how to choose the best one.

A closed-circuit cyclocross course makes this event one of the most exciting off-road cycling events. In general, cyclocross racing is faster and more technical than cross-country racing, making it popular among enthusiasts and amateur racers.

Athletes worldwide participate in cross-country racing, which originated in England. There are often long, vast stretches of terrain when cross-country racing occurs on open courses. It can include multiple stages in cross-country races, which can be long and challenging. Now let’s start our main discussion together.

Cross-Country (XC Bike) Bicycle:

As compared to other mountain bike types, cross-country bicycles have single suspensions for speed and efficiency. In general, suspension travel is limited to 120mm, and the suspension design is optimized for efficiency. When pedaling a bike designed for cross-country riding, the suspension should not be engaged.

  • In exchange for their all-out lightweight, cross-country bikes provide a bit more capability.
  • Most cross-country bikes have 120mm of travel, and they usually feature components that improve descent capabilities, such as longer dropper posts and more rigid tires.
  • In order to distinguish them from trail bikes, cross-country bikes are usually modified XC frames rather than specific designs.

Well, Can You Ride An MTB On The Road?

Ah, Yes! Mountain bikes can be ridden on roads. People prefer mountain bikes over road bikes or hybrids because they can ride off-road if they want.

Cyclo-Cross (CX Bike) Bicycle:

CX bicycles, also known as cross bicycles or cross bikes, are bicycles used in cyclocross racing. Mud, grass, sand, dirt, and even snow all make up the terrain types used in cross-racing.

Aiming to keep cyclists in shape during winter, it was initially designed to help them stay fit. The challenging racing terrain also includes obstacles. CX is a sport that takes place around the world every year. But the original purpose of cyclocross bikes was to be fast both on and off roads. And the modern world offers a wide range of cross cycles, each with its own unique features and design.

  • CX bicycles can be used for more than just training and racing.
  • It can be used on a wide variety of terrain due to its versatility.
  • Cross-country cycling is great for those who enjoy long-distance cycling, backpacking, or high speeds.
  • Some cyclocross bicycles can also be used for regular cycling.

So, I Can Use A Cyclocross Bike For Regular Road-Biking Purposes?

Yes, it is possible to ride a cyclocross bike on the road as well as on trails. A knobbly tire may cause them to have a slightly higher geometry than thoroughbred road bikes. But when it comes to exercising or commuting on your cycle, this is a better option than a mountain bike.

Can You Use A Mountain Bike For Cyclocross?

Due to its drop handlebars, cyclocross bikes are able to handle racing more aggressively than most other bikes. In comparison with an MTB, it will be lighter for cyclocross racing, since it is lighter than a mountain bike.

How Does A Cyclocross Bicycle Differ From Cross-Country Bicycle?

One of the most popular forms of cycling is cross-country mountain biking (or XC MTB). And, it is taking place in the countryside allowing riders to explore bridleways, trails, and fire roads.

In contrast, it is common to race cyclocross bikes on muddy, sandy, rocky, and snowy cyclocross fields. Furthermore, racers must dismount their bikes during run-up sections and jump over barriers either by dismounting or bunny-hopping.

Differences In A Short Note

Differences Cross-Country Bike (XC MTB Bike ) Cyclocross Bike(CX Bike)
Designed For Rough forest paths Variety of terrains such as mud, sand, rocks, and even snow.
Weight Heavier than CX bike Lightweight
Comfortability More Comfortable Less Comfortable
Versatility Less versatile More versatile
Cost Less expensive Expensive

Cyclocross VS Cross-Country: In Detail Comparison With Brief Discussion

Now I will explain how cyclocross and Cross-Country bikes differ and should assist potential buyers in making their choice.


👉 CX:

The cyclocross bike, also known as the cross bike, is better suited for light off-roading, such as riding on gravel or racing on grass or dirt.

  • According to Bike Shark Bike Company, Cross bikes are similar to road bikes but with slight modifications.
  • In another sense, cross bikes can also be considered a combination of mountain and road bikes.

👉 XC:

It is best to travel over rough terrain on a Cross country mountain bike. Even though you don’t plan on riding in the mountains, mountain bikes handle trails better than cyclocross bikes in parks and other outdoor areas.

Moreover, Cyclocross races can be run on mountain bikes, but the bar ends must be removed. But you may also need drop bars if you race Cyclocross at a high level.

Frame Geometry

Cross-country MTB bikes and cyclocross bikes differ principally in their geometries.

  • CX bikes have aggressive geometry, similar to road bikes.
  • Over short distances or navigating technical terrain, the body positioning is not so comfortable.
  • Particularly on steep downhills, it isn’t ideal for braking.
  • And, unlike a road bike, a mountain bike has an upright seat.
  • But the design isn’t elegant and sluggish regarding paving and hard-packed dirt.

Cross races requiring quick acceleration, tight turns, and rapid slowing down need XC mountain bikes to ride on repetitive corners.

  • In terms of riding off-road and on technical terrain, XC, a mountain bike, is the best choice as it is stable and easy to handle.
  • Riding upright, mountain bikers can see, “read,” and blast over obstacles much more effectively.

Braking System

Bikes with road brakes and those with cyclocross brakes used to have significant differences in brakes.

  • The vast majority of road bicycles had rim brakes, while the vast majority of cyclocross bicycles had disc brakes.
  • And, CX bikes used cantilever brakes before disc brakes were introduced.

As CX bikes have wider tyres and are often ridden in muddy conditions, making rim brakes a bad choice. Because the rear bike’s performance will be affected when mud accumulates around the seat stays and chainstays.

As we all know MTB brakes designed for downhill riding, however, are designed to withstand high temperatures. And this extra skill is required when climbing steep hills on trails.

  • To provide more braking power, disc brakes are often used in extreme weather conditions, such as dirt, wetness, and heat.

Gear Arrangement

Designed for riding up and down mountain slopes, mountain bikes are one of the most popular types of bicycles. During incline hikes, they are provided with equipment that assists them.

Steep slopes are traversed by two cogs – a center cog and a rear cog. In order to navigate a variety of terrains, their gearboxes have 46 to 49 chainrings and 16-18 cassette gears.

  • The gearing setup of a cyclocross bike typically consists of 46/36 chainrings and 11-36 cassettes.
  • As a result, the rider can maintain a consistent pedal cadence and power while minimizing gear changes during intense racing efforts.
  • The 46-tooth chainring may seem small to experienced road cyclists at first.

Then Which One To Choose: Cyclocross Or Cross Country?

Choosing a cross bike or mountain bike depends on the way and where you intend to ride it.

  1. An XC mountain bike would handle better in those conditions, for instance, if you’re riding mountain bike trails, bombing through rocks, twisting and flowing dirt trails, or tearing through rugged terrain. Many mountain bike races last about an hour or so, but some races last many hours or even days.
  2. But if you prefer shorter, more intense races, you may want to consider a cyclocross bike. A bike with racks for carrying luggage might be what you need for a long cross-country trek. Also, there may be a time when you want a bike that you can use for both road racing and light off-roading. It may be better to use a cross bike in these situations.

Final Words Over CX VS XC Bicycle Thought

The type of terrain and cycling needs you have will ultimately determine a cyclocross or mountain bike. Cross bikes are excellent for cyclocross racing or light off-roading. In addition to their off-road abilities, cyclocross bikes offer the qualities of gravel and road bikes. Also, it will perform better on pavement and hard surfaces than on gravel bikes.

Additionally, cyclocross and road racing can be done without fatigue to the aerodynamic geometry.

Meanwhile, Cross-Country MTB bikes are an excellent option for riders who prefer more technical mountain terrains. Also, it will be easier to climb steep slopes since they have a wider clearance. And the rugged and rough nature of MTBs makes them an ideal choice for rough terrain. But last of all, selecting between cyclocross and Cross-country bicycles depends upon your ability, cycling knowledge, skills, and preferences.

Spread The Love 👍