Summer is almost here and, whether or not there’s organized racing happening right away, summer means speed. If you want to go fast, there’s nothing more fun than a light weight cross country race bike.
Float up hills, fly back down and sprint for the finish line. The five 2021 cross country race bikes below are fast, responsive and – compared to XC bikes of years past – impressively capable machines.
Whether you dream of chasing Mathieu van der Poel in a Short Track race, cheering Catharine Pendrel in the XCO, or settling in for a marathon, each of these bikes will take you there – and in a hurry.
Five top 2021 cross country race bikes
Trek Supercaliber 9.8 XT – $8,350
Trek pulled no punches with its flagship cross country race bike. The IsoStrut rear shock is integrated into the frame to deliver 60-mm of efficient rear wheel travel. The Supercaliber aims for hardtail feel on the pedals, full suspension speed on the descents. For the 9.8 build, Trek adds a Fox Performance 32 Step Cast for (100 mm), Bontrager Kovee Pro carbon fibre wheels and full Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes.
Norco Revolver FS 2 120 – $5,700
Norco knows race bikes see more miles on trail than on courses. The Revolver FS 2 is fast on race day, fun on every other day. With 120-mm of front and rear wheel travel, the Revolver FS is ideal for marathons, more technical racing and just having fun with a super light trail bike. A RockShox SID Select RL and SIDLux Select+ shock both have 120-mm travel, while SRAM NX Eagle wide-range drivetrain and G2 brakes control solid Stan’s Arch wheels. Full Review.
Canyon Exceed CFR LTD – $8,800
Canyon designed the Exceed line with the fastest World Cup courses in mind. The CFR LTD takes the Exceed to the next level. An ultralight, super stiff frame is dressed in a full kit of pro-level parts. SRAM XX1 AXS wireless shifting and Level Ultimate brakes meet RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork (100 mm) and Reynolds Blacklabel XC carbon fibre wheels. Tying all of this together is Canyon’s own CP08 bar-stem combo and a DT Swiss D232 One upside dropper seat post. Race day ready for maximum speed on on the quickest courses. Full Review.
RELATED: Six top trail bikes for 2021
Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 1 – $6,400
Liv brings the experience of its World Cup racers and global athlete ambassadors to bear on the Pique. At 100-mm front and rear, and now rolling on 29″ wheels, the Pique is a cross country race bike that will be comfortable wherever you ride. A Fox Float 32 Performance Elite and Float DPS Performance Elite suspension, both with remote lock-out, and keeps the Pique steady while a full complement of Shimano XT brakes and drivetrain handle controls. Giant XCR-1 carbon fibre wheels are race ready. The Pique comes in four sizes, from XS to Large. Full review.
Specialized Epic Expert- $8,200
Specialized has been involved in racing cross country since the dawn of mountain biking. The 2021 Epic continues that legacy. Offering 100-mm of travel, controlled by Specialized’s BRAIN suspension from RockShox, keeps the Epic as efficient as possible on the flats and climbs and as fast as you can go on the descents. Roval Control Carbon fibre wheels roll fast, driven by a mix of SRAM Xo1 and GX Eagle components and Level TL brakes. With tanwall tires and shimmering graphics, the Epic looks as fast as it feels, too.