You’re short of time but you still want to be the local hero on your home trails? The gym’s packed with pumped-up chavs and you’d rather be outside anyway? Then perhaps cyclocross could be the right sort of winter training for you. We got the guys from SCOTT Bike24 Mountain bike Race Team to show us just how much fun you can have in the snow on skinny tyres.

Drift it baby! Trotz oder gerade wegen der schmalen Reifen sind spaßige Fahreinlagen garantiert.
Drift it, baby! Despite, or even perhaps because of the skinny tyres, fun lines are guaranteed.

A cross bike is as flexible as your dropper post – think easy road ride to boost your endurance, or punchy intervals for some extra power. That’s why there are so many irrefutable reasons to get out on your skinny-tyred cross bike in winter.

Vollgas durch den Schnee - mit dem Cyclecrosser kein Problem!
Full speed through the snow – the cross bike takes it all in its stride!

Advantages to cross bikes:

  • given the low rolling resistance (similar to road bikes), any effort when riding is pretty evenly dosed.
  • long endurance-based rides are easy to pull off.
  • put the rollers away and get outside for some proper intervals.
  • thanks to their minimal set-up, simple trails can easily be ridden on the cross bike.
  • train your motor and coordination.
  • improve the core stability.
  • far less maintenance to carry out on your cyclo cross bike.
Grip not found! Nasse Wurzeln sind eine super rutschige Angelegenheit
Grip not found! Unfortunately those skinny tyres won’t give you much traction on wet roots.
Abspringe oder darüber springen, mit dem Crosser ist beides möglich
Jump off it or over it? Both are possible with the cross bike.

Tips for a fun time on your cross bike:

  • Ease yourself into it! First check out how your cross bike rides. The tyres slip quickly, but usually find control in the end, the brakes are like a VW Golf 1 [read: dated] and you’re the suspension. So keep loose.
  • Even tough trails can be conquered on the cross bike. Keep your gaze firmly ahead so you can pick out the ideal line and keep your pace – remember, speed and momentum, are your friend. There’s no better way to train your eyesight and your reactions.
  • Challenge your mates to a sprint battle – not only fun, it’ll train you for those much-needed bursts of power.
  • Less is more! You’ll profit more from a higher cadence than a higher speed – it’ll train your motor skills and it’s particularly good in the cold in order to get your body used to such feats of endurance.
  • The so-called ‘fear levers’ brake levers placed in the middle of your handlebars eases the transition to road bike style handlebars.
  • Just like mountain bike, it’s probably wise to go tubeless so you’ll spend far less time sorting out punctures in the woods and can ride a lower tyre pressure, giving you more grip.
  • Your position is noticeably different to how you ride your mountain bike. Make sure your handlebars aren’t too low, especially at first. We’d recommend having your handlebars and saddle at roughly the same height.
  • If you still don’t ride clipless then a cross bike is the perfect opportunity to get used to them. Clicking in and out is essential here, especially when it comes to the supreme discipline of running over the obstacles.
  • Abspringen und Aufspringen aus der Fahrt – mit langsamer Geschwindigkeit beginnen, die Profis schaffen es aus voller Fahrt! Für Enduro Rennen die ideale Übung, um das Aufspringen nach einer vergeigten Linie zu üben
    Jumping on and off while moving – try it first at a slow speed, but the pros do it at full speed. For enduro riders this is the ideal training for when your chosen line doesn’t work out.
    Auch mit dem Crosser sind Flugeinlagen möglich
    Tricks are possible on the cross bike too.
    Der sonst langweilige Weg wird mit dem Crosser zur echter Herausforderung
    The trail you might have once considered boring turns into a proper challenge on a cross bike.
    Flo vom Scott Bike 24 Race Team zieht ab ...
    Flo from the Scott Bike24 Race Team takes off …
    ...  und Lutz fliegt direkt hinterher.
    … and team-mate Lutz is up next.
    Als Ziellinie für die Sprinteinlagen mit den Kumpels dienen die Ortseingangsschilder. Aber Vorsicht: Achtet im Eifer des Gefechts auf den Gegenverkehr!
    Choose village signs as the finish for the sprints with your mates. But don’t get too caught up in the heat of the moment – pay attention to oncoming traffic!
    Die richtige Kleidung: bei längeren Touren auf der Straße lieber etwas mehr, durch die höhere Geschwindigkeit kühlt man schnell aus. Im Wald wird’s dann aber richtig heiß. Das gute alte Zwiebelprinzip ist auch hier die richtige Wahl.
    The right apparel: for long road rides opt for a bit more as the higher speed means you’ll get cooler quicker. But it’s going to get pretty hot in the woods. The classic ‘onion principal’ of layering is the one to follow here!
    Jetzt heißt es also nur noch: nichts wie raus und ein paar frische Spuren in den Schnee fräsen.
    Now it’s just a case of getting out and laying some fresh tyre tracks in the snow!

    Words: Lutz Baumgärtel / Florian Schön | Pictures: Andreas Grünewald

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