By Paul Norman
Planet X has been selling its XLS carbon cyclocross bike for a few years now and it’s recently been joined by an alloy machine with carbon bladed forks.
The alloy frame comes with standard quick release wheels and Planet X says it has excellent clearance and a confident, nimble ride with a slack head tube angle and longer wheelbase offset by quite short chainstays. For all-round use and commuting duties, it also comes with mudguard mounts.
Rear derailleur and brake cable routing follow the classic cyclocross route, externally with a fully enclosed run across the top of the top tube to keep them clear of muddy courses and out of the way when shouldering the bike over obstacles.
The XLA is available in two builds. Coming in at £799.99, the Tiagra build has a 50/34 compact chainset coupled to a 10-speed 11-32 cassette, providing plenty of range.
Brakes are Avid BB7 mechanical discs and there are Gipiemme Roccia Equipe wheels shod with 34mm Hutchinson Black Mamba tyres. Planet X specs a Prologo Kappa 3 saddle.
Watch: Guide to cyclocross bikes
Pay an extra £100 and the £899.99 SRAM Apex 1 build comes with hydralic disc brakes and SRAM’s single ring groupset. This gives you a 42 tooth chainset coupled to an 11-speed 11-42 cassette for huge range without the mud clogging potential of a front derailleur.
Planet X now has quite a range of cyclocross bikes on offer. Alongside the XLA, it still sells its carbon XLS machine in a range of builds including a build-it-yourself complete kit. There’s also the titanium Typhoon with Force or Ultegra or as a frameset, the titanium Pickenflick and the Viner Super Prestige, both with SRAM 1 or 2 ring groupsets.
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