My time aboard the 2013 Specialized Crux Elite came to an end this past Fall when I sold it in order to buy a road bike. While I certainly enjoyed the heck out of that bike, it had begun to be relegated to almost nothing but pavement and therefore it was time for a change.
Being the only cyclocross bike I have ever owned, I don’t really have much to compare it with. However, I did find it to be a blast and a good bike for whenever I wanted to venture off smooth pavement and into the woods or on really bad paved surfaces. I put around 1200 total miles on the bike, riding everything from a road century to singletrack trails to a road duathlon. If I was able to have a third bike in addition to my mountain bike and road bike, a cyclocross bike would likely be it. However, I would do a couple of things differently.
First off, I would go ahead and opt for disc brakes. The disc brake technology was just starting to take off when I bought this bike in early 2013 and after spending so much time on rim brakes I can say without a doubt I would go for discs next time. The stock Tektra cantilever brakes that came with the Crux were crap and had basically no stopping power once the pads starting to get a little worn. I swapped those out for some FSA SL-K brakes that were better, but still not ideal, even with the upgraded pads that I put on. After having enough of those, I ended up buying some TRP EuroX brakes but never installed them before my bike sold. I would have liked to see how the TRP brakes fared, but I’m not convinced it would have been enough for me to want to forego disc brakes again.
The other thing I would do differently is to buy a carbon frame. Specialized makes some of the most comfortable aluminum frames I have ever ridden, but on some of the gravel roads I was riding it would have been nice to be on carbon. And then once I started using it more and more for road riding, carbon definitely would have helped out. But purchasing a carbon version of the bike, not on clearance like the one I bought, would have set me back probably at least another $500 to $700 and that wasn’t really an option when I made the purchase.
So I have since replaced the Crux with a Scott CR1 road bike, which I will eventually get around to reviewing on here. But even though I wasn’t a fan of the brakes and would have preferred a carbon frame, I still am a big fan of my old Crux. I never actually used it for cyclocross racing like I had intended when buying (thanks to a separated shoulder during cx season) but I did get some valuable use and plenty of fun from the Crux.