CX Bike Recommendation - New Inflite, used Crux, other?

I’m looking for a CX/gravel/road bike. I’m wanting to race CX on something other than my full suspension mtb, but I am also wanting to still be able to take it on longish “adventure” rides. Is a dedicated CX bike like the crux or inflite decent for 6+ hour rides? As of now I’m looking at a new Canyon Inflite CF SL 8.0 for $3,400 shipped to me and a used 2018 Specialized Crux Expert X1 for $3,200 shipped to me. The geometry is very similar with the exception of the seat tube angle. I’ve ridden a 2016 crux on a 2 hour ride and it felt just like a normal road bike to me. Thoughts? Should I look at something else?

I have the Canyon 8.0 inflite and so far it’s been a fun bike to ride. Floats over grassy sections and cornering is very “twitchy” which is good for cx and road racing. I have done a 5 hour ride not 6 and haven’t had any complaints as far as comfort for those rides. So far it’s been a great bike and haven’t had any issues with the quality. Honestly the quality is top notch IMO.
If you know how to work on bikes yourself it’s great for the price point, I have heard some shops being rude to canyon owners. If that happened with me I just wouldn’t go to that shop.
Anyways what you get for the price is incomparable to other bikes in the same price range, in my opinion. I can run 38 width tires on it. I have heard you can run 40s on the front but 38 is the maximum back

Pic just because :joy: I did put my extra set of wheels on the bike for now and save the carbon ones for race days.

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Tires make a big difference for long gravel adventures. I’d make sure whatever you choose can fit at least a 40mm tire for the long off road rides. I believe the Crux can go that big, but not sure about the Inflite.

I used to have a Santa Cruz Stigmata and it could handle wide tires and was pretty solid as a cross bike as well. I had multiple wheel sets/tires for it and used it as a cross/gravel/road bike for a couple years. Worked great until I got the itch to buy more bikes!

I ended up with a dedicated cross race bike (Felt FX) and a Diverge for the longer gravel rides/races. Probably overkill, but I like bikes and the whole N+1 thing…

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They are going to be super-similar, maybe a millimeter or two on tire clearance, maybe small differences in the fit, but they will both be very good for CX racing and pretty good for gravel rides. Neither will be better than a dedicated gravel bike at gravel rides, obviously. I have a Crux and a couple of Canyon bikes. I’d recommend the Crux if you want to work with a shop for repairs and maintenance, but if you are comfortable doing it yourself, the Canyon is obviously more affordable. Oh, and it is also easier to get replacement parts for a Specialized (derailleur hangers, frame plugs, seatpost clamps, etc) than a Canyon

Buy an aluminum cross bike to start is my recommendation. You will likely crash a lot and while cross bikes are pretty rugged there is always a nonzero chance you break it. You then won’t have to nurse it and also be able to toss it around and do stupid shit without worrying about it. Give it a few years and if it sticks, upgrade.

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This is a good point. I have a Canyon Lux and while I really like the bike, customer support has been a pain.

Are bad crashes a common thing in the races you’ve done? Most crashes I’ve seen (in person) are simply sliding out in a muddy corner or doing and endo trying to bunny a barrier.

I have no problem tossing my carbon Lux around a CX race but maybe traction is better and crashes are less likely. I’ve never actually raced a CX bike though.

Crashes are common but they are almost always slow speed, low energy crashes falling into grass or dirt or gravel (not asphalt or concrete).


The majority of crashes are benign but there are a lot of them especially if you are in big fields. I’ve seen quite a few cracked seat and chainstays and the occasional top tube.

I’ve only seen a couple of serious injury types on a CX course. They are related to either someone trying to bunny-hop a barrier and failing (or just tripping over them while running), or getting caught up in a metal barrier during a sprint or start

Focus makes a great cx rig as well. Our old team was on the Mares. Quick and snappy.

Just for consideration, I have a Trek Crockett 7 Disc. It is Trek’s modern alloy CX bike and very light, but also pretty bomb proof. I’ve race three seasons of CX and multiple gravel races and it has been really solid.

Anyway, to answer your question(s), I have done some 4+ hour rides on my Crockett and been super comfortable. In fact I will often choose it over my road bike for long stuff because it is more comfortable and the wider tires make Texas back roads way more fun.

I can’t find confirmation, but I have heard the Crux can take pretty wide tires (up to 40s?) which would sway me to it. The Crockett can take 38s which have been perfect for the stuff we race here in Central Texas. So it is worth checking on tire clearance options if you want to do any hardcore gravel. I know quite a few folks who race gravel on a Crux. Some CX bikes are limited on tire size. The Trek Boone can only take 35s on the back, for example.

I would also check on Chainring compatibility / max sizes, and/or if you can put a double on in future. I use 1x for gravel but did have a race recently where we had a tailwind and I got dropped because I spun out of gears. Majority of the time 1x is perfect though.

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Completely agree with tire clearance, tires make a huge difference

My crux fits 38mm gravel kings (measure 41mm) in the rear, and much bigger at the front. Currently running 42mm Resolutes on the front