SPE­CIAL­IZED CRUX ELITE X1

£3000 › In the pink?

Cycling Plus - - FIRST RIDE -

Thanks to the fi­nan­cial mar­kets and some wel­come im­prove­ments, the 2018 CruX Elite X1 costs £700 more than last year’s. The frame has up­graded to Spe­cial­ized’s FACT 11r car­bon, weigh­ing a claimed 900g in 56cm, over 400g lighter than be­fore, and the S-Works FACT 11r car­bon fork is new too.

Re­designed for flat-mount disc cal­lipers, the frame­set has been stream­lined with neat uni­ver­sal ca­ble rout­ing ports. The down-tube is slim­mer and vaguely tri­an­gu­lar to re­duce mud build up. The third bot­tle cage mount and the front mech mount have gone too, as­sert­ing the CruX’s sta­tus as a ’cross racer.

SRAM’s Ri­val 1x driv­e­train takes care of go and slow, and the only other change from 2017 sees Ro­val SLX24s re­place DT Swiss R470s. They’re 23mm wide ex­ter­nally and 28mm tall, mak­ing the 33mm tyres a use­ful 35mm, with rea­son­able ro­tat­ing mass, 12mm thru-axles and a will­ing na­ture. In­ner tubes are fit­ted, but the tubeless-ready rims and tyres prom­ise a per­for­mance hike.

Huge clear­ance at the fork and bridge­less seat­stays is backed by 8mm chain­stay clear­ance on each side of a 33mm tyre, and no ob­struc­tions be­hind the press-fit BB30 bot­tom bracket. Dy­nam­i­cally the Elite X1 is a net im­prove­ment, with a ro­bust front end that re­sists the tor­sion of sprint­ing out of cor­ners or late brak­ing in to hair­pins su­perbly well. No mat­ter how tech­ni­cal the ter­rain we pointed it at, re­flex flicks over roots and hard down­hill cor­ners were con­fi­dently dis­missed, and line choice is a les­son in nim­ble pre­ci­sion.

The 40t ring and 11-32 cas­sette man­age 25 per cent loose climbs and short, sharp wood­land banks equally well, with­out feel­ing gappy at high road speeds, and the brakes are more than able. Gen­er­ous main tri­an­gle space and the flat top-tube help shouldering, and the Phe­nom Comp sad­dle plus additional seat­post de­flec­tion make seated rid­ing more com­fort­able and ef­fi­cient.

A bit too grippy for dry con­di­tions, the Terra Pro tyres could nev­er­the­less get you through a sea­son, as their widely-spaced chunky tread blocks are great in mud.

With a rid­ing po­si­tion and per­for­mance to suit the most ag­gres­sive rac­ers, the CruX Elite X1’s frame­set is built to fly. Those with podium am­bi­tions will want faster wheels, but as an out of the box, com­pletely sorted pack­age, there’s lots to rec­om­mend this bike, es­pe­cially if you em­brace the pink!

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