Cyclocross used to be the strange European cousin of road racing and mountain biking, a sport for those on the Continent to help stay fit over winter. But cyclocross has enjoyed a real revival, and while it is still huge in some of the heartland countries like Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic and even Switzerland, the growth in the USA and Australia has been phenomenal.

Cyclocross is about racing, but cyclocross bikes are also really versatile machines that can morph from a rugged commuter, to a gravel bike, adventure bike and back again. A cyclocross bike will have a shorter wheelbase and a narrower gear range than a gravel bike. Compared to an adventure bike, a cyclocross bike won’t have as many options for racks or extra bidon mounts, or clearance for wider tyres or 650b wheel size options. But if you want to try cyclocross racing then a ‘cross bike is your best choice. – Mike Blewitt

Our pick

Norco Threshold C Rival 1, $3,799



Best-known for their mountain bikes, Norco do a handy range of road, adventure and cyclocross bikes as well. The Canadian bike company updated their Threshold cyclocross bike for 2018, bringing modern hub standards with 12mm through-axles, greater clearance for mud and adventure rides (where you might fit something wider than a UCI legal 33mm tyre), new geometry and the option to run mudguards.

All of a sudden the Threshold can double as an excellent winter bike if your climate demands one, or even a light-duty adventure bike.

The Threshold C is the top carbon model we receive in Australia, and its spec-list ticks all the boxes. From flared handlebars to facilitate bunnyhops while in the drops, tacky bartape for control, tubeless ready wheels and tyres, a SRAM Rival 1x11 drivetrain, hydraulic brakes, and chain guide, all the way through to an open main frame to assist with shouldering the bike for run ups.

The previous Threshold had a tight wheelbase, which was ideal for highly technical cyclocross courses filled with corners, where a dedicated ‘cross racer could tip from one apex to the next at speed.

The flipside of that was the fact it was a little nervous-feeling for some and had a lot of toe overlap with the front wheel and your shoe – even in the largest sizes.