Bicycle frames are constructed from materials which place emphasis on being strong, lightweight and stiff to aid power transfer. Aluminium, titanium, steel and carbon are widely used in all levels of frame production.
Major bike manufacturers produce a new range of bikes on an annual basis and this determines the model year of a particular bike. This annual turnover is fuelled by advancing technology, industry trends and customer demand for a particular feature or style of bicycle.
Cyclocross bikes are similar to road bike, they are lightweight, with narrow tyres and drop handlebars. However, they also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they utilize knobby treaded tyres for traction, and cantilever style brakes for the clearance needed due to muddy conditions. They have to be lightweight because competitors need to carry their bicycle to overcome barriers or slopes too steep to climb in the saddle. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport, although un-ridable sections are generally a very small fraction of the race distance. Cross bikes also make good winter bikes or commuters, their frames have plenty of clearance which allows for mudguards, while the upright angles make them agile around town, meaning you can hit the trails at the weekend and then fit some road tyres and commute on them during the week. For more information on buying a bike, check out our guide on how to choose the best bike for you