Cyclocross bike size

Looking to upgrade my current cross bike - it’s about 10 years old and would be great to have things like disc brakes and carbon over aluminum for some better comfort. Size-wise I am in between 54 and 56 (am 5’10" or so 155 lb). Currently I am on more of a 54 which feels very responsive, but I do get some toe rub on my front wheel which has caused some issues in races. I’ve had 56 before, and it just felt a little big (in particular with stand-over height), but didn’t have my foot hitting my front wheel (that a recall, it was > 10 years ago) when doing up-hill hard turns. According to the sizing of the bike I am looking at, the “suggested” size is 56, but just barely.

Is there any cyclocross wisdom that says it’s better to be on a smaller or larger frame for racing? I am thinking of getting the smaller size but maybe using 170 cranks to minimize toe rub so I get to keep a more agile feel overall but minimize the toe rub that is getting increasingly annoying. Any thoughts?


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I’d go for the smaller frame for a shorter wheelbase and better cornering. But check the geometry first.

Toe overlap on a cross bike sounds a bit weird, but might also have to do with the head angle and “front centre” length. See if you can compare that to your current bike.

Dunno about shorter cranks, I like having more torque, but seems very individual.

Most CX bikes have gotten longer front ends over the last 10 years…that alone may eliminate your toe overlap issue.

If you can find the Stack & Reach numbers for your current bike, I would compare them against some of the newer bikes and see how they have changed.

I am assuming based on your post that this would eb for actual CX riding / racing and not gravel?

While I don’t have a cross bike, my road bike is 10 years old and geometry has change a lot in the last decade. It’s almost not even fair to compare today’s geometry to those from that long ago. My 2010 “56” measures closer to a 58 or 59 in today’s standards.

The website below is very useful for comparing geometries of multiple bikes, but definitely do a test ride.

As someone who’s been a bit down the sizing/bike-fit rabbit hole lately, I must say I keep coming back to Dave Moulton’s now quite old advice: if your limbs are broadly proportionate in length to your height, go with 2/3 of your inseam, and see if the manufacturer’s height/size recommendations align with that. If it does, that’s your frame size. If it doesn’t, it’s trickier, especially if you have long legs and a short body, but remember it’s generally easier to make a bike fit bigger than it is smaller.

For CX, though, I’d be inclined to size up to minimise toe overlap and for easier shouldering.

Hadn’t heard of the 2/3rd rule, but I come out at a solid 55 :slight_smile: LOL.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I checked out some of the geometry and yes - the current head tube angles are more slack, fork rake higher, and wheelbase a little bit longer than what I have now.

So - I have some test riding to do, it looks like!

As followup - I ended up getting the slightly smaller size. Talked to the frame designer who said that the cross bikes these days are a longer wheelbase in general and a little more “gravelly” then they used to be. Went with that (a size MD) and true to his word, it’s a little bit longer and no issues with toe rub and overall good feel.

Not really planning on gravel rides, but got the XPLR rear derailleur - so I upgraded from an aluminum frame, cantilever brakes, and 2x (12-28 - never adjusted the B-screw to work with my 12-33 cassette) drive train to a carbon disc brake AXS 12 speed 1x with 40t front and 10-44 in back. Might be able to ride up some of the hills in cross this year :slight_smile: Should be fun!

Thanks all for the replies.