When fall comes around, cyclists start to smile because they know that cyclocross season is just around the corner. For those unfamiliar, this growing segment of bike racing is done on drop-handlebar style bikes with trail-appropriate tires on a course that’s usually a mix of pavement, dirt, grass and mud. The multi-loop course includes obstacles along the route that force riders to dismount and sling the bike over their shoulder to get through them.
The thing is, the bikes that are designed specifically for cyclocross are great for many other purposes as well – from the crushed-limestone trails popular in so many forest preserves to bike commuting. The Cannondale CAADX 105 is an excellent entry-level cyclocross bike that you’ll enjoy riding just about anywhere. The lightweight aluminum frame is very responsive, while the carbon-bladed fork absorbs some of the pounding from a rugged trail. The bike features a 2×11 speed Shimano 105 drive train, which is more than adequate for all but pro riders, and cable disc brakes to make sure you’re able to stop in the mud or rain. Even if you aren’t racing cyclocross this fall, this bike is sure to put a smile on your face.