Archive for specialized crux

final review – Specialized Crux Elite

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 27, 2015 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

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.

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latest rides

Posted in ride reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

Things have been pretty boring in terms of riding lately, as I don’t have a ton of pictures or data to share.  I guess that’s what happens when most of my riding is done pre-dawn in the dark and cold of a typical weekday morning.  I was able to get out for a decent/fun pavement ride last Saturday morning on my mountain bike…..nothing like passing a few roadies on a mtb while climbing and descending Hwy 25.

Most of my riding has been done on my still-fresh-feeling Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er….this has been just an absolute awesome bike.  Aside from the fun factor of being able to take it on a few trail sections during some of my pre-dawn rides, I’ve also been riding it thanks to its stability and its ability to quickly hop off the road if I sense a car or truck is coming up on me too closely and might not see my taillight in time.  Plus, with a hardtail 29er I don’t feel like I am losing too much speed on the pavement as compared to my Specialized Crux cyclocross bike.

I’ve also picked up running again, with my first run since Thanksgiving taking place just a few weeks ago.  And prior to Thanksgiving, I could count on one hand how many times I had run since the previous Spring.

A few random, yet typical, recent photos are below, along with some random Strava links.  More photos can be seen on my instagram page.

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strava link

strava link

strava link

strava link

 

 

Specialized Crux – mid term review

Posted in gear review with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

Back in late April and early May I was in the middle of some bike swapping.  I sold both my Vassago Bandersnatch 29er singlespeed and my Specialized Tarmac road bike, and replaced them with a Specialized CruX Elite cyclocross bike.  Having never actually pedaled a CX bike until I bought it, I didn’t know exactly what to expect but was definitely intrigued by the idea of having a bike that could be taken on road rides, light trail rides, and everything in between.  I still have my 29er Stumpjumper, so it’s not like this is my only bike; but it certainly fits the bill for a do-it-all crusher.

Having already put almost 900 miles on the bike, I guess it’s too late for me to do a typical “initial thoughts” review….frankly I’ve just been too busy riding it to sit down to write much.  But after taking it on a 100-mile road ride (with slick tires), trails at Oak Mtn State Park, and plenty of gravel and dirt roads, I’ve got some fairly good ideas of what this bike is capable of and where it has strengths and weaknesses.

Frame: the bike has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork.  The frame is nicely painted/finished, and comes with nice touches such as internal cable routing to keep things clean when the elements get dirty.  It’s probably not quite as snappy as my carbon-framed Tarmac was, but I have been remarkably surprised by how good the ride quality is with this frame – not something that is easy to find with aluminum.  I should also note that I had Bike Link fit this bike to me when I purchased it, so having the correct setup undoubtedly has made a big difference compared to my previous road bikes where I just adjusted the seatposts myself and called it quits with regards to proper fitting.

Wheels: the stock DT Swiss “Axis 2.0” wheels are not exactly the most lightweight wheels, but have definitely held up well to everything I’ve thrown at them.  And for a sub-$2000 bike you aren’t going to find a lot of lightweight options anyway.  If I wanted to shed some bike poundage in the future, a new set of wheels could do the trick.  But by comparison, I bought a set of Fulcrum 7 road wheels and a 105 cassette (the CruX came with a Tiagra cassette) to use for extended periods of pavement riding and found that the wheel/cassette combination of the Fulcrums was basically the exact same weight as the DT Swiss wheelset with Tiagra cassette.  That tells me two things: that maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about the DT’s, and that Fulcrum 7s are not as light as I had hoped for…..should have spent a little more money and bought Fulcrum 5s or even Fulcrum 3s.

Braking: the brakes really about the only thing I can really complain about on this bike.  It came with Tektro CR-720 cantilever brakes.  As expected, the canti brakes aren’t as powerful as the road caliper brakes were on my Tarmac, but caliper brakes don’t offer the mud clearance needed on a CX bike.  If I were to upgrade, I would seriously look at some TRP mini v-brakes or some Avid Shorty Ultimate canti brakes.  Actually, it’s not a matter of “if” i were to upgrade, it’s “when” I upgrade.

Cockpit: first off, it came with my all-time favorite saddle, the Specialized “Phenom”.  This is the third bike I have had with this saddle and I really do favor it over all other saddles I have tried.  I really wanted to like the Fizik “Arione” saddle on two different occasions, but just couldn’t get comfy.  Both times sent me selling them on ebay only to pick up a “Phenom”.  The handlebars, stem, and seatpost are nothing special, but suit me just fine as is.  I guess I could always upgrade to a carbon seatpost for a little more comfort, but this is a CX bike and comfort gets trumped by durability.

Cornering: with the knobby Specialized “Tracer” tires, cornering is stable as could be.  Even when running road slicks, cornering is not an issue as the bike feels very stable on a lean.

Descending: some of my fastest Strava descents have been while on this bike.  If I had better brakes then I would be going even faster.  So, needless to say it descends like a champ.

Ascending: OK, so I am probably giving up a good three pounds to my old Tarmac with its carbon frame.  But really it’s not that bad of a hill climber, particularly when I have my road wheelset on.  The CruX came outfitted with 12-28 rear cassette, though for some reason I was thinking it had a 12-25.  So when I bought the cassette for my road wheels I bought an 11-28, thinking I was gaining a smaller gear.  Needless to say, I didn’t pick up any low-gearing advantage and next time I might consider an 11-32 cassette if I felt like I would be doing a lot of extending climbing.  That being said, some of my fastest climbing times have been on this bike (i.e. not my Tarmac) with the stock gearing so I guess that’s worth something.

Sprinting: frankly, it accelerates on a bad-ass level.  Some of this likely has to do with it being a really good geometrical fit to my body and some of it is the stiff frame and admirable FSA crankset.

Overall: so overall I’ve been very happy with this bike.  I should probably make a disclaimer that I am generally happy with all of my bike purchases until I find that next one that I like even more.  But this bike has a “fun factor” that exceeded my expectations.  I have yet to actually use the bike for its intended use, which is cyclocross racing.  But hopefully my Fall schedule will clear enough on a few weekends for me to get out and try my hand at a Bamacross race or two.  Even if not, this is going to be a great bike to use for some cooler weather training as I try to maintain my girly figure until the Spring race season picks up.

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set up for road riding

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Fulcrum 7 road wheels with Hutchinson tires

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set up in stock cyclocross wheels and tires

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this has definitely seen its share of mud and grass

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tapered headset and wide Tektro canti brakes

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the cassette somehow stays fairly clean

excessively fast tire wear  on rear tire - no doubt from all of my pavement riding

excessively fast tire wear on rear tire – no doubt from all of my pavement riding

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taking a break while exploring double oak mountain