If you are into cycling, chances are that you have probably heard of the cyclocross bike. These bikes are referred to as hybrid bikes and offer a combination of features that make them suitable for both off-road and tarmac surfaces. The more basic single-speed cyclocross bike is a no-hassle version, which is perfect for commuting.
What is a single speed cyclocross bike? The cyclocross or CX bike is specifically designed for cyclocross racing, which often features a combination of road surfaces with some muddy sections. These bikes offer a combination of different features, which make them suitable for a wide variety of terrains due to the ergonomics of the design.
With cyclocross being a new sport, only emerging in 1902, the sport has recently gained traction among supporters.
However, some might still not be sure exactly how the cyclocross bike works, and this is what we aim to share. The main purpose of this article is to help you understand how the cyclocross bike works.
If you are a beginner interested in a cyclocross bike, I wrote a whole article reviewing the 7 Affordable Cyclocross Bikes For Beginners and how to pick the best cyclocross bike that suits you best.
Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Explained
The cyclocross bike (also known as CX bike) can come in many forms, with most professional options being dedicated to having numerous chainrings and drivetrains. The main purpose of a cyclocross bike is to allow the rider to take on varying terrains, allowing them to progress on each. Since the road bike suffers on off-road terrains and the mountain bike is slow on the tarmac, CX bikes offer the best of both worlds.
A single-speed cyclocross bike does not have a sophisticated drivetrain as you would expect in many others. The single-speed design means that your focus should be on pedaling, and you won’t need to shift into different gears. It should make life slightly easier for the rider and allow them to focus on the task of racing.
In terms of the design, it will boast a similar design to the traditional cyclocross bike. However, the lack of a drivetrain will be the most noticeable feature.
By looking into some of the pros and cons of the single-speed cyclocross bike, you should have a much better idea of whether or not it is the bike for you.
You might also enjoy reading: Gravel Bike Vs. Cyclocross Bike: Differences And Which One To Choose.
Pros Of The Single Speed Cyclocross Bike
To better understand if you need a geared or single-speed bike, we should break down some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
These benefits would show you what the single-speed bike brings to the table and whether you can efficiently rely on it for your journey.
Here are some of the essential benefits on offer.
1- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Cheaper
The most noticeable difference you would experience would be when it comes to the price. The single-speed version does not have as many accessories, which means the manufacturer can sell them for much cheaper.
Since there are no derailleurs or cables and shifters to worry about, the long-term benefit that comes from this would be cheaper maintenance. Instead of needing numerous drivetrain components as spares, you won’t need to worry about these additional components, making it much easier on the budget.
2- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Easier To Maintain
Most bikes need plenty of maintenance, especially when you ride often. One of the main components that often need maintenance is the drivetrain. Linking to the previous point, having fewer parts on the bike means your maintenance will be less.
If we consider the complexity of a drivetrain on any bicycle, removing this component would certainly reduce maintenance by at least 50%.
3- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Generally More Durable
You might wonder how durability factors into this when you have fewer components. However, the drivetrain is one of the components that seem to break down the most on any bike. If you don’t need to worry about the drivetrain breaking, you could push yourself and even do much better in competitions.
As an example, cyclocross might involve many bumpy terrains. The drivetrain might not like bumps and jumps, which might dislodge some of the components. However, the lack of a drivetrain means that you can take on these different terrains without any issues.
4- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Light Weighted
Believe it or not, removing components would also reduce the bike’s weight. If you are competing against geared bikes, they might have limitations to what they can do due to the weight.
Reducing the weight slightly in cyclocross competitions could give you the edge. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about bad landings and broken components.
5- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Very Versatile
One of the ultimate benefits of the cyclocross bike is the ability to take on virtually any terrain. If you have a single-speed bike, you don’t need to worry about changing gears and cadence on flat surfaces.
When it comes to commuting, these bikes will offer you an exceptional value, and you won’t need to worry about gear hassles.
6- Tuning With a Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Simpler
While this might link to maintenance, we often need to make upgrades to our bikes, which calls for various mechanical skills that often involve removing the drivetrain.
To do this, you might need a variety of skills. However, the single-speed bike reduces the need for specialized knowledge. If you have a few dropout bars, it would make upgrades easier.
7- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Is Better Bike For Learning
Many riders hide their weakness behind the various gears. If they find a steep section, they might reduce the gears to make pedaling easier.
Unfortunately, you won’t have the same luxury, so you need to push yourself to the limit. Once you become better and want to compete professionally, you will already know how to do it in one gear. This could give you a significant advantage.
See also: Cyclocross Bike Vs. Road Bike: How do they differ, and which is better for you?
Cons Of The Single Speed Cyclocross Bike
Much like there are many benefits for riders, they also need to be wary of the numerous downsides accompanying cyclocross bikes.
Before choosing a single-speed cyclocross bike, you should look through some downsides. You might need to make a few compensations when competing against the best riders:
8- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Comes With Versatility Limitations
As you would expect, not having numerous gear to cycle through would put much more strain on your legs.
It might be daunting to climb if you encounter a steep uphill section. A geared bike allows you to choose a smaller gear, which means that you can pedal at the same rate. However, the single-speed rider might need to slow down.
9- Single Speed Cyclocross Bike Comes a Risk Of Using the Wrong Gear Ratio
Before you start your journey with the single-speed cyclocross bike, you have a set gear ratio. It is best to adjust the gear ratio to accommodate every part of the track.
However, riders that make mistakes might be in for a lot of pain due to not being able to select the gear if the ratio is wrong. It could take a lot of trial and error to perfect.
10- With Single Speed Cyclocross Bike, the Gears Are Changed Off The Bike
One of the biggest downsides is that you might need a variety of complex tools and gear on hand. You would need to be skilled at removing a single gear and replacing it with something different.
You could find that you will spend a lot of money on these varying gears, making it much harder to perfect your riding.
11- Gear Reliability
While you won’t have as much maintenance with one gear, you will wear out this gear more rapidly. Since all the abrasion is only focused on the single gear, it might wear out much faster.
In terms of costs, it could be a double-edged sword, meaning that you would need plenty of spare components to ensure that everything works.
12- Single-Speed Cyclocross Is Much Harder
To sum up all these cons in one point, it is worth noting that riding a single-speed cyclocross bike is much harder.
When you factor all these downsides in and consider the various natures of different cyclocross terrains, you would find that riding a single-speed bike is much harder, especially at a competitive rate.
Should You Buy A Geared Or Single-Speed Cyclocross Bike?
If you are a competitive cyclocross racer, you might need more versatility and a more dynamic approach. Unfortunately, this means that the single-speed cyclocross bike might not be the ideal option for your journey. A geared bike would offer more versatility and enable you to take on a bigger variety of terrains.
If you find yourself as an amateur with aspirations of becoming a pro rider, the single-speed option is a cheap and effective starting tool. With limited maintenance and a single-speed design, you are forced to learn the hard way, which could only benefit you going forward.
The single-speed cyclocross bike is often one of the best options for beginners. These cheaper bikes will help you break into the sport.
However, they have a ceiling; eventually, you might need something more versatile. Let us know in the comment section if you prefer the single-speed or geared cyclocross bike.
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