raleigh08_airlitex_hi

Raleigh dropped us a note to tell us all about its new AIRLite high-end race bike range. It turned out that they're all road bikes (although they do look pretty good, as such things go) and therefore not really our bag. But as is so often the way, in amongst the details there was a bike that caught our eye.

This is the new Raleigh AIRLite X cyclocross bike. Regular BM readers will know that we're big fans of 'cross bikes - they score highly on making overly-familiar or slightly dull trails much more interesting, and they can't be beaten for mixed road/off-road rides of the type that many people inevitably find themselves doing. Plus, of course, you can always actually race them if you feel like you need to try and launch your own lungs into low earth orbit.

Some 'crossers are built to do double-duty as winter-friendly road bikes or stout commuters, with full rack and mudguard eyes. The Raleigh offering lacks those, although you get a single set of bottle bosses (one more than a "pure" CX race bike is likely to offer...). The frame is double-butted aluminium and you get a carbon fibre fork. Whirly bits are from Shimano's Tiagra group, with Tektro cantilevers doing the stopping.

The best bit, though, is the price - at £649.99 it's very competitively priced. You'll need to be fairly close to the tall bit of the bell-shaped height curve, though - the AIRLite X is only available in 54, 56 and 58cm.