Last year, we heard from early customers that Specialized had some something a little different with their Crux cyclocross bikes. The 2016 model year bikes were the first to get thru axles, but they used the SCS “Short Chainstay System to help maintain proper chainline while keeping the chainstay appropriately short for a race bike and cramming disc brakes all into a road-standard 130mm axle space. You can see how they did it here and dive into why with our exclusive interview with their brand manager here. The short of it this: They wanted to keep things narrow and short, so they created an open standard and invited anyone else to use it, too. It was an experiment, but it didn’t gain traction, so this year they’ve reworked the molds to give all of the carbon Crux bikes a now-standard 142mm thru axle…
Up top is the S-Works CruX, which continues with the Fact 11-R carbon frame using a 1-3/8″ lower bearing tapered headtube and their OSBB bottom bracket shell. Other than updated spec, the only real change beyond colors is the increase in rear axle spacing. Specialized’s Sean Estes says the decision was made to to maximize “compatibility with aftermarket wheels and to allow racers access to neutral support wheels. 135 SCS provides a better chainline and slightly better performance in that respect but it also means riders had to use our wheels. Our goal is to support riders as best we can by providing the absolute highest performance bikes and equipment, but we also need to be cognizant of all the variables and in this case we felt access to neutral support wheels and industry standard compatibility edged out the incremental performance benefits of SCS ands 135.”
From a manufacturing perspective, only the dropouts had to change, so no new molds were required and the rest of the frame remains mostly the same. This is also how the 2015 bike switched from QR to TA for 2016, so the only other new feature you’ll find on the bike is a third water bottle bolt on the downtube, plus a third complete water bottle bolt set under the downtube. This combo lets you go gravel adventuring with extra water, or just add the MTB XC Kit SWAT box to conveniently carry your tools, tube and bits without weighing down a jersey pocket.
Spec highlights for the $7,500 S-Works CruX include Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical derailleurs paired with RS685 hydraulic shifter levers and brakes, Praxis chainrings on Specialized carbon cranks, CeramicSpeed BB bearings, a CG-R carbon seatpost and Specialized alloy bar, stem and carbon CLX 32 tubeless ready disc brake wheels. Those wheels are brand new and have a gaping 21mm internal width and come in at just 1,340g for the pair and will feature heavily on Specialized’s 2017 road lineup (read into that what you will). They have interchangeable endcaps, so you could run them as QR or Thru Axle, and they’ll be available aftermarket also.
All of the bikes in the 2017 CruX lineup are disc brake only, no more cantis, and most all of them come with 1x drivetrains, the highest and lowest levels being the exceptions.
Next down the line is the CruX Expert X1, which has the same frame shape but uses Fact 10-R carbon and a SRAM Force 1 group with DT Swiss alloy wheels to get the price down to $3,900.
The Elite X1 line uses the same Fact 10-R carbon frame and comes in two color options. It knocks another grand off the price ($2,900) by using SRAM Rival 1 and a standard 27.2 alloy seatpost.
The CruX Pro frameset includes an Enduro bottom bracket, CG-R micro-suspension seatpost and thru axles for $2,500.
Two alloy models will also be offered and carry over exactly the same save for spec and colors, so they’re still 135mm QR disc brake in the rear. The fork is carbon, same as it was, too, with QR dropouts. Above is the CruX Sport E5, with an E5 alloy hydroformed tubeset built with a Praxis 2x crankset, Shimano 105 derailleurs and cassette and RS505 hydraulic shifters and brakes. Retail is $2,000.
The standard CruX E5 also uses double chainrings, but drops down to a Shimano Tiagra 2×10 group with Praxis Alba 2D crankset. They gave this one all-purpose Tracer tires and Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes. Both alloy bikes get FACT carbon forks, though. Retail is $1,400.