The CruX of Cyclocross
Engineered for the precise and efficient performance needed to win races, the Specialized CruX has experienced a revamp for 2018, slimming down the list of components to focus on two key factors: weight and speed. An agile and easy-to-shoulder machine, the CruX is as fun to ride in a World Cup as it is in the local woods.
An Expert Racer
The 2018 CruX Expert X1 has ‘ultimate cyclocross bike’ written all over it, drawing on the same World Championship-winning geometry and carbon lay-up as the S-Works CruX model. At a fraction of the price of its S-Works cousin, the Expert X1 boasts similar, characteristically nimble handling, punchy acceleration and sublime responsiveness – every watt and movement of the rider translated into top-end speed.
Described by BikeRumor as “a purebred race machine”, the CruX Expert X1 is adorned with a long list of race-ready components including a one-by drivetrain setup, hydraulic disc brakes and front and rear thru-axles, all perfectly complementing the aggressive racing cyclocross is known for. The FACT 11r carbon fibre frame has also seen a few changes to the 2017 model, Rider-First Engineered technology – shared by Specialized’s Tarmac model – keeps the frame stiff and compliant while also shaving 400g from the previous frameset.
Cyclocross races are won and lost in the corners and over the barriers. The Expert X1 takes this into account with its re-designed top tube, a more ergonomic style than the previous frameset ensures easy shouldering over the larger obstacles. Cyclocross racers will also have to deal with the inevitable slips and tumbles over muddy surfaces, and the CruX Expert X1 tackles this by lowering the bottom bracket and sharpening the front end, increasing stability and allowing the rider to nail every corner regardless of the state of the terrain beneath the tyres.
The no-nonsense approach
Earning a glowing review from BikeRadar, the new CruX Elite X1 has been described as “the epitome of cross racing”, its “amazing acceleration and brilliant handling” no doubt helping in this department. The Elite forgoes some of the top-end components of the S-Works and Expert models, adopting a no-nonsense approach for 2018.
Boasting similar Rider-First Engineered technology and carbon layup to the other models, the Elite makes no compromise on stiffness and compliance on its mission to become a more affordable, but no less thrilling, cyclocross bike.
Straight from the box, the CruX Elite X1 is ready to race: a SRAM Rival 1 hydraulic disc groupset, lightweight Roval SLX 24 clincher disc wheels and 2Bliss Ready cyclocross tyres yearning to jump onto the muddy tracks from the off.
Adopting a similar no-nonsense approach, but at an even more affordable price point, is the CruX E5, Specialized’s entry-level cyclocross bike for 2018. Built from E5 Premium Aluminium and complete with a FACT carbon fork, the E5 is a durable machine ready to deal with the inevitable rough and tumble of cyclocross. Shimano Tiagra shifters, a Praxis crankset and hassle-free Tektro mechanical disc brakes aren’t the most glamorous of components but they sure do pack a punch when racing, cyclocross all about the strongest rider, not necessarily the most high-tech of kit.
Look out for the CruX across the approaching cyclocross season. Under the three-time world champion, Zdenek Stybar, the dirt-munching Specialized machine is a big hitter in the pro ranks. For a dive into more, adventure-ready and off-road inclined bikes, head over and peruse the Diverge and Sequoia models, two bikes ready to rip up the dirt tracks.
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