SPECIALIZED CRUX EXPERT £4000
> Lightweight cyclo-cross bike whose ride matches its looks
Specialized’s CruX Expert sits second in line within the four-bike 2019 CruX hierarchy, but costs exactly half as much as the rangetopping S-Works model, and £1200 more than the Elite.
The CruX Expert shares the same FACT 11r carbon frame and S-Works FACT 11r carbon fork as the other two carbon models. Specialized claims a 56cm frame weighs around 900g, which is over 400g less than the old CruX and light for a ’cross bike. It has a purposeful build, fitted with SRAM Force 1 and a Praxis Zayante carbon crankset, and that looks even better value when you see the wheelset. Roval’s C 38 wheels have DT Swiss 350 hubs and 38mm tall, wide carbon tubeless rims. They’re light, stiff and give superb sidewall support to wide tyres at low pressures.
Supplied with Specialized’s Tracer Pro tubeless tyres and inner tubes, the bike’s overall weight of 7.72kg is impressive, and converting the wheels for tubeless running is simple. Tyres seat quickly and reliably – with the necessary valve and sealant, you’re done. The Tracer Pro has angled, slim lightning bolt-like tread blocks that roll fast and grip well on dry ground and perform better than expected when damp. But for more security in autumnal conditions, you’ll want to switch them.
The Praxis external bottombracket cups effectively widen the BB30 shell and provide great solidity for the carbon crank’s 30mm axle, combining with the frame’s stiffness to maximise power delivery. If you have the reactions and the power, the CruX translates them in to startling getaways and, traction-permitting, peerless corner exits.
The geometry and 1026mm wheelbase strikes the perfect balance between stability and agility, allowing fine direction control and off-camber balance through minor weight shifts, with a forgiving nature that looks after you when surprises happen.
The Phenom Expert saddle is comfortable, while lopping 20mm from the seat-tube means it finishes flush with the top tube, allowing the S-Works 27.2mm carbon seatpost to flex more, providing further comfort. The alloy handlebar is an ideal shape, whether riding on the hoods or drops, and the fit for a 178cm rider is great.
Tyre clearance at both ends is generous with no unwanted bridges to collect mud. They even take 40mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tubeless gravel tyres for racing. And you’ll want to race and show off this frame as it’s a gorgeous-looking beast.