Specialized has released details of its 2017 Crux cyclocross range on its website, and the big news is a switch to standard 142x12mm thru-axle, price drops and an expanded carbon range. The entire range is disc-only as well, there is no provision for cantilever rim brakes in this range.
One of the key decisions when the Crux first went to thru-axles was the company’s decision to use a 135x12mm setup, instead of the more now common 142x12mm currently being widely adopted on disc-equipped bikes. The first number refers to the width of the rear axle, and with disc brakes, it needs to be wider.
Specialized went with 135mm with its SCS (Short Chain Stay) and shifted the cassette inboard by 2.5mm, in order to be able to keep the chainstays short and retain the standard Q-factor of the cranks, and maintain the optimum chainline.
While it worked and delivered on its promise, it did provide wheel compatibility issues, you were pretty much stuck with Specialized wheels, though a few wheel companies did offer compatible wheels, including British firm Hope Technology.
SCS was put forth an open standard and the company clearly thought it was the ideal solution to dealing with the chainline in accommodating the disc brakes, but a lot has happened with standards and disc brake bikes in the last couple of years, and most companies are backing 142. So this year, reluctantly perhaps, Specialized has also got behind 142 and update the carbon Crux models.
Specialized has apparently been able to make this change by simply modifying the dropouts, with no changes to the actual design of the carbon frame. Hopefully, this means these new dropouts will be retrofittable to 2016 Crux bikes for any owners wanting to upgrade their wheels. We’ll confirm this with Specialized as soon as we can.
Other than that, the prices have been dropped and there’s a slightly revised range. Last year the Elite X1, which we reviewed, was the only carbon Crux available in the UK. For the 2017 range there is now the Crux Expert X1 priced at £2,900, and packing a SRAM Force 1x11 groupset with a single ring and hydraulic disc brakes.
The Elite X1 was £2,500 when we tested it, but it’s not £2,300, despite coming with the same SRAM Rival 1 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes. The bold blue and yellow paint job has been replaced by a red, black and monster green finish.
If a SRAM groupset isn’t for you, you can always buy the Crux Pro Disc Frameset for £1,600 and build up your own bike using any parts you want to. IT comes with a Specialized CG-R carbon 27.2mm seatpost.
So while it’s good news for the carbon Crux models, the aluminium Crux E5 frames don’t make the leap to thru-axles, sticking with regular quick releases at both ends (even though the Specialized blurb does say 142mm thru-axles, the photos clearly show quick releases).
The Crux Sport E5 costs £1,600 with an E5 Premium Aluminum frame with a full carbon fibre fork, and a groupset comprising Shimano 105 mechs, Praxis Alba 2D chainset, and Shimano RS505 hydraulic levers with BR-785 calipers.
Propping up the range is this £1,100 Crux E5 with a Shimano Tiagra groupset and Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes all bolted to the same E5 Premium Aluminum with internal cable routing.
More at www.specialized.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.