Top 10 cyclocross essentials

Are you already very ‘cross? Or just ‘cross curious? The end of September brings many things – the official start of Autumn for one – but for the dropbar cyclist it means just one thing. The start of the cyclocross season.

Every year lately it seems that this previously cult-only genre of cycling gets more and more popular and almost mainstream.

Whether you’ve been bitten by the bug or you’re just thinking of dipping your toe in, here’s a few things that will ease the way.

gore professional brake cable set

Gore Professional Brake Cable Set (this is an old post and the linked content no longer exists)

What: A sealed-from-the-elements cable system.
Why: Cyclocross courses are mudfests, sealed cabling keeps your braking crisp and reliable.

zipp service course cx bar tape

Zipp Service Course CX Bar Tape

What: Bar tape with a bit more padding to it.
Why: You tend to grasp your bars tighter during ‘cross and the terrain is inherently rougher.

shimano cx50 cyclocross chainset

Shimano CX50 Cyclocross Chainset (Product no longer in stock)

What: A double chainset with a more usefully sized outer chainring.
Why: If your ‘cross bike came with a massive big ring, this combo will make life a bit easier on steeper terrain.

dexshell waterproof beanie gradient

DexShell Waterproof Beanie Gradient

What: A warm and waterproof hat.
Why: You’ll be glad of something like this during the before and after a soggy ‘cross race.

continental mountain king cx folding tyre

Cyclocross tyres

What: 30-35mm knobbly tyres.
Why: A bit more cushioning and grip.

shimano m520 spd pedalsfizik m5 mountain bike shoes

Mountain bike clipless pedals and Mountain bike shoes

What: Double-sided clipless pedals with lots of mud-shedding room. MTB shoes to go with these pedals.
Why: During ‘cross you’re constantly dismounting and remounting your bike – covered in filth. The shoes have the correct cleat holes and the aggressive tread sole for clambering up grassy climbs.

muc off 8 in 1 bike cleaning kit

Muc Off 8-in-1 Bike Cleaning Kit

What: Pretty much everything that bike cleaning maestros Muc Off make, in a handy tub.
Why: You’ve seen the state of ‘cross bikes after a race right?

k edge braze on double chain catcher

K-Edge Braze-On Double Chain Catcher (this is an old post and the linked content no longer exists)

What: A ramp to guide your chain and reduce the possibility of your chain dropping off the small chainring.
Why: The rough terrain and often panicky gear selections during ‘cross put your chain through lots of demands.

strip start oil 100ml

Secret Training Strip Start Oil – 100ml (this is an old post and the linked content no longer exists)

What: A warming oil that gets your legs warmed up and ready for full-on racing that begins right from the starting pistol.
Why: ‘Cross is cold. Race starts are fast and furious. Perform better and with less chance of muscle injury too.

drossiger cxa3.1 cyclocross bike

Cyclocross bike

What: A bike for cyclocross.
Why: If you don’t have one, you’ll need one. If you do have one, a new one with disc brakes is very tempting.

Find yourself a ‘cross race

The only thing left to do now is find a race to have a go at. There are loads of local races happening every week throughout Autumn and into Winter.

At chance would have it (ahem) the most iconic cyclocross event in the UK – nay, the world – is happening this coming weekend – The 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross.

An impressively ludicrous route involving the three biggest lumps in t’ Yorkshire Dales – Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent. It’s big and it’s hard. The video below makes it look difficult enough. Imagine it if rains though…


  • Benji Haworth

    Benji has been around the cycling industry for over ten years now. He started in ad sales for magazines before jumping the fence over into editorial. He writes words and takes pics about pushbikes, both for his day job and in his spare time too. Bike addict. Benji’s interested in all kinds of cycling but has a particular obsession with mountain biking

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