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Specialized Crux Alloy is Back, Now With D’Aluisio Smartweld

Specialized Crux DSW comp full bike header
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The alloy version of the Specialized Crux is back, and it’s lighter than ever! The all-new Specialized Crux DSW mimics its carbon brethren and weighs only 1399 grams for a frameset. However, this Crux isn’t the same World Champion Bunny Hopper cyclocross steed that Zdeněk Štybar raced. It’s a gravel bike, and it’s the “lightest alloy gravel bike ever made.” 

(Photo/Specialized)

Specialized Crux DSW 

If you’re new or returning to the Specialized Crux, the latest iteration pivoted towards the gravel side of life, moving away from the cyclocross race machine of the past. The new Crux is still a cyclocross-able machine, but the geometry and slopping toptube say ‘gravel’. The newest Crux version was also deemed the lightest gravel bike ever, and now its alloy counterpart shares the crown. 

Specialized Crux DSW comp headtube

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

D’Aluisio Smartweld Construction 

How did it get so light? The design team at Specialized uses the same D’Aluisio Smartweld (DSW) you’ll find on the Allez sprint. It’s an engineering process that uses hydroforming to match tube-to-tube joints for better, stronger welds. This type of construction produces a lighter frame, and it is claimed to be twice as durable as a traditional alloy frame. 

Specialized Crux DSW frame pieces
(Photo/Specialized)

Connecting the Pieces 

The DSW frames are assembled using a single-piece downtube and bottom bracket, identical to the construction of the Allez Sprint. This one-piece downtube and bottom bracket help stiffen the bike and pedaling response.

Specialized Crux DSW frame pieces
(Photo/Specialized)

The seat tube and chainstays are then mated to the hydroformed one-piece downtube and bottom bracket using the Specialized D’Aluisio Smartweld welding process.

Specialized Crux DSW frame pieces rear
(Photo/Specialized)

Specialized says the D’Aluisio smart weld process is refined, eliminating the need to overbuild tubes and welds. The yield is a 1399g alloy frame alone, but it also brings better ride quality and responsiveness. 

Specialized Crux DSW frame set full
(Photo/Specialized)

Frame Details

The Crux DSW keeps its weight down with help from a full carbon Fact12r Crux fork, like the carbon Crux versions. It has a threaded bottom bracket and upgrades to a SRAM UDH rear derailleur hanger (unlike the current carbon Crux).

Specialized Crux DSW frameset
(Photo/Specialized)

The frame boasts mechanical and electronic shifting compatibility, with zero headtube routing.

Specialized Crux DSW seatstay
(Photo/Specialized)

The tube shapes are slightly round for seat stays, and the top tube is slightly triangular. This might scare away some soft-shouldered cyclocrossers, but don’t fear; the tube tappers are flat near the seat tube junction.

Specialized Crux DSW comp down tube

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Specialized claims a complete Crux DSW tips the scales at 20lbs (9.37g) in a 56cm in the lightest colorway, and we found that to be 100% true on our scales.  

Specialized Crux DSW comp experience
(Photo/Specialized)

What type of riding is it for? 

The Crux DSW has the exact geometry and tire clearance as its carbon counterpart—that’s up to 47mm on 700c wheels and up to 2.1″ on a 650b wheel. It’s basically the carbon Crux, only aluminum. It’s safe to say the new Crux DSW is a gravel bike that can take a beating.

Specialized Crux DSW comp front derailleur

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The jury is out on how stiff and compliant that ride will be. Judging from my time on the Crux in both cyclocross and gravel, my hopes are high.

Specialized Crux DSW comp front wheel
(Photo/Specialized)

Ride Tuned For On and Off-Road 

Alloy gets a bad rap for being harsh off-road. But anyone who rides a well-crafted alloy frame will tell you thats not 100% true. It’s all about tube shapes and geometry.

Specialized Crux DSW comp bars

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

For the Crux D’Aluisio Smartweld, the slightly longer reach delivers better weight distribution, and the full carbon fork eats up trail chatter, same a mix of round tubes.

Specialized Crux DSW comp fork

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Like the carbon model, it should offer a stable ride with an “in the middle for gravel and cyclocross” 72mm of bottom-bracket drop.

Specialized Crux DSW comp full side

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Specialized Crux DSW Models 

The Specialized Crux DSW is available in a complete or frame-only model. The frames arrive in super cool, playful colors like the alloy Crux of the past. The complete bike offers a competitively built gravel machine that is a solid option when pitted against the Crux carbon. 

Specialized Crux DSW comp crankset

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The Crux DSW Comp arrives with an SRAM 12-speed Apex setup, an 11-44T cassette, and a 40T front chain ring. As built, the bike weighs 20 lbs, but most is in the wheels, seatpost, and alloy bars. The saddle is a base-level Specialized Power and a great do-it-all saddle.

Specialized Crux DSW comp 3 bottles

(Photo/Jordan Villella)

Overall, the spec is solid. The wheels, though slightly heavy for racing, are an excellent spec for gravel and exploration on the bike.

Specialized Crux DSW comp full bike
(Photo/Jordan Villella)

The rims are 25mm internal and, paired with the Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires, offer an excellent footprint for traction and speed. 

Specialized Crux DSW Specs 

  • Frame: Specialized E5 Premium Aluminum Disc frame D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology, hydroformed aluminum tubing, tapered head tube, threaded BB
  • Fork: FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle, flat-mount disc
  • Handlebars: Specialized Adventure Gear, 118.9mm drop x 70mm reach x 12º flare
  • Stem: Specialized, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 7-degree rise
  • Front brake: SRAM APEX, Hydraulic Disc
  • Rear brake: SRAM APEX, Hydraulic Disc
  • Shift lever: SRAM APEX, 12sp
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM APEX XPLR, Mechanical
  • Cassette: SRAM PG 1231, XPLR, 11-44
  • Crankset: SRAM APEX XPLR, 40t
  • Chainring: 40t
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB BSA 68 Wide
  • Chain: SRAM APEX 12S
  • Wheels: DT G540, Centerlock Disc, Tubeless Ready, 25mm internal width
  • Tires: Pathfinder Pro 2BR, 700×38
  • Saddle: Body Geometry Power Sport, steel rails
  • Seatpost: Alloy, 2-bolt Clamp, 12mm offset, 27.2mm, anti-corrosion hardware
  • Total Weight: 9.37kg (20 lb, 10.5 oz) Size: 56cm
Specialized Crux DSW comp BB

Specialized Crux DSW Pricing 

  • Crux DSW Comp: $2,600, €2,700, £2,300, AUD 4,000
  • DSW Frame: $1,700,  €1,650, £1,500, AUD 2,500

Availability

The new Specialized Crux DSW is shipping now to retailers and customers.

Look For a Review

We just received our review ride for the Specialized Crux DSW. Look for a review as we put it through the remainder of gravel season and into cyclocross. 

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7 Comments
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Balderdash
Balderdash
19 hours ago

The Trek Crockett is lighter… Forgive me for comparing a “cyclocross” frame to a “gravel” frame.

jonathan
jonathan
16 hours ago
Reply to  Balderdash

claimed on the Crux is 1399, Trek claims 1402. Not lighter, but bang on close! Crux has 10mm more stated tire clearance as well. I’d gladly own and ride either, but the Specialized has a lot less loud branding.

Balderdash
Balderdash
15 hours ago
Reply to  jonathan

I’m seeing 1325 for a 56 Crockett frame. Either way the additional tire clearance would push me towards the Crux if I had to buy one today.

Ingram
Ingram
10 hours ago
Reply to  Balderdash

Why would you care about some trivial weight difference of a CX or gravel bike?

Balderdash
Balderdash
2 hours ago
Reply to  Ingram

They claim the new Crux is the lightest alloy gravel bike… I’m not sure that’s true. In practice, of course nobody cares about a small weight difference between 1,300+ gram frames.

Ingram
Ingram
10 hours ago

A very sensible and practical design which I like, but the frame price is not appealing. I’d rather buy a custom Ti frame from China for that price.

Greg
Greg
23 minutes ago

I’m so glad they skipped the DSW head tube. Nobody wants custom proprietary bearings.

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