Bottom bracket height on CX bikes

I’ve been looking at a CX bike for my partner and my one criticism of my CX bike is the high bottom bracket. My understanding is the high BB is a bit of a relic of the days of clips and strap pedals. My Cinelli BB drop is 58mm, which is ‘traditional’ I think, and to be honest I find the handling suffers a bit, as well as making the bike feel a bit tall. But maybe that’s just the way it is?

I notice different brands have different approaches to their BB drop:
Specialized Crux seems to be 71mm which is fairly low
Ridley on the otherhand is traditional at 61mm

The other thing is the frame is going to be small which of course will change things a bit.


you think too much :stuck_out_tongue:

There was a discussion about this amongst the custom builders and I think that 70mm drop was the number that most people were using


Is it going to be used for cross? Maybe a traditional road frame would be more apt.

Not for cross races, but trail riding, light MTB stuff as well as sealed roads. CX after all is the be-all bike isn’t it…

The cannondale CADDX’s have a 67mm BB drop.

Which is lower then their CAAD road counterpart in the smaller size but the same in the larger size.

I have also read that CX bikes are now using a lower BB drop for the reasons already discussed - better handling and no toe cages.

Why don’t you look at something like the Rawland rSogn, it has a BB drop of 65mm, or the good ol’ Surly Cross-Check (66mm drop)? these would no doubt better for singletrack as they are not really ‘cyclocross’ bikes, they are more all rounders which fit wider (45mm) tyres.

Another consideration if you do plan to ride singletrack - like singletrack yeah? - you really should be looking for a disc-compatible frame. I would DEFINITELY be looking for one with discs for that purpose - if you don’t believe me you should ask Snail how cantis go on the trails in Yarra Bend…

I am seriously considering building up a Traitor Ruben frameset - a disc-specific steel ‘CX’ bike (67mm BB drop) - which I plan to ride for bikepacking, gravel rides and towing a kiddie trailer. The only downside I can see for your purpose is that it has a max tyre clearances of 35c

By the sounds of things you need to be looking at a Cotic X, 55mm BB drop, discs or cantis, fits 42c tyres, chromo frame + carbon fork. Looks damn good to me. I’d be all over it if it had rack mounts.

FYI, the Rawland rSogn can fit 58mm tires which is one of the reasons I bought one and relegated my Crosscheck to be my CX “race” bike. They’re actually very different beasts.

I’m going to throw another suggestion up… 29er MTB for a do it all bike? Especially if you will be looking at some singletrack. At the end of the day, yes you can ride CX on single track, but if your girl is learning to ride on dirt then I would be giving her something that would be more MTB rather than road I guess.

Something like:

On-One Inbred 29er Swap-Out XT Pro £999.00

Ergh, 29ers. Better than a cross bike though, and one with gears is fine for the road, people do it all the time.
Also, high bottom bracket makes for a tall frame, which makes Dylan happy.

Cell Bikes do a 29’er.
2012 CELL X-29er Mountain Bike

Be warned a cheap MTB is a money pit…

Sounds like you’re after a Monster-cross. You should definitely speak to Angry and Tom. .

EDIT: If you want a higher BB you can get a 26er Hardtail frame and run a 29er front fork and wheel - 69er hur hur hur.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if a CX frame has a decent BB drop (ie 70mm or so) this is more like a road bike, and therefore basically a touring frame geometry??

Only if the ST/HT are slacker, stourer tubing and it has mucho brazeons and possibly an extended HT.

A touring frame is probably ideal though, able to take knobbies for light trails, stable geometry, mounts for guards etc for commuting…

Not sure of the bb drop but the voodoo wazoo frame will take both canti’s and discs and is a nice bike sorry if this is off the topic

H - in one thread you are hating on CXs and in another you want to expand the fleet?

me confuzzed!

the BB drop argument is one that is as contentious as it is firey! higher BBs have their advantages for certain courses, lower for others.

As mentioned above higher BBs were originally for clips’n’straps and more jungle-cross courses. Times and frame geos have changed much since then and now there are builders/brands that sit on either side of the spectrum.

a lot of the newer/higher end CX bikes have much more aggressive geos so are closer to road (and sometimes crit geo). my kona is more aggressive than my roadie.

i’d consider a 29er… if she is learning (and spending a lot more time on dirt) she will benefit from a lot of the inherent MTB design features, but if you are buying another Cx to complain about its inadequacies then go for it.

check out the ridleys for a lower BB (IIRC) - they can be had for cheeeeep if you look carefully.

i’m staying out of the disc vs canti debate.

I honestly don’t notice the difference between my bikes. And if i do, i don’t care.

And they’re amphibious!

Pretty sure it’s the other way around.