Ben Sumner's Specialized CruX cyclocross bike. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Ben Sumner’s Specialized CruX cyclocross bike. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

As photos and interviews roll in from the World Cup weekend of Milton Keynes, our contributor, Andy Ward spotted a unique Specialized CruX cyclocross bike ridden by rising U23 British star, Ben Sumner.

Sumner is relatively new not only to cyclocross, but cycling as a whole. Even as a focused runner instead of cyclocross racer, he made a splash in Great Britain last year, taking the overall National Trophy Series, and following it up with a bronze medal at the British Championships. This year he represented his country in the Men’s Elite Race in Milton Keynes. We will take a look at the bike he raced in the event.

Ben Sumner's Specialized CruX cyclocross bike. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Sumner is one of the few Europeans who opts to race in Europe with disc brakes. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Back in July, we took a First Look at Reynolds’ Assault Disc and reviewed the wheelset in the upcoming Issue 27. This is a marked change for Sumner, as last year he rode to the trophy championship with a cantilever frame, using Reynolds’ RZR deep-dish carbon wheels. When we caught up with the Reynolds design and product launch staff at Interbike 2014, they told us that the possibilities that came with using discs were equivalent to starting with a clean slate, especially as a brake track is no longer needed to be figured into the equation.

While the overall direction of cyclocross has been moving in the direction of disc brakes, with a few companies such as Giant and Cannondale no longer offering cantilever models in their lineups, the starting grids of many European races are still cantilever heavy. Even Jeremy Powers switches over to cantilevers when he competes overseas. This makes Sumner one of the less common European pros to make the switch.

Certainly a pro setup: a Dura-Ace crankset mated with Shimano’s cyclocross Ultegra chainrings. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Certainly a pro setup: a Dura-Ace crankset mated with Shimano’s cyclocross Ultegra chainrings. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

With the reliability of Shimano Ultegra Di2 and increasing popularity of the CX1 system that incorporates SRAM Force components, 2014 has not been the year for spotting top-tier drivetrains on pro bikes, so Sumner certainly bucks the trends (as does Helen Wyman, who uses SRAM Red on her setup).

We couldn’t help but notice that Sumner’s bike included a DA 9000 crank, but was installed with with Ultegra cyclocross chainrings. The Dura-Ace specific plastic fairings makes the setup look incredibly smooth (and the reader should note that the Ultegra fairings that come with cyclocross rings don’t mate with DA crank’s spider). Sumner’s mechanic should get big props for the pro look. Still, Sven Nys’ custom 48/39 Hollowglide rings that we spotted at CLIF Bar CrossVegas might take the cake for a pro setup.

Sumner uses the R785 Shifters, compatible with his front Di2 Dura-Ace derailleur. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Sumner uses the R785 Shifters, compatible with his front Di2 Dura-Ace derailleur. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

He paired his derailleurs with hydraulic R785 levers, which weigh in at a claimed 739g for the levers and brake calipers. While most cyclocross setups involve a 160mm rotor in the front, with a 140mm rotor in the back, it looks as if Sumner is doubling up on the 140mm sizing.

As for the tire choice, the Reynolds’ Assault Disc wheels are equipped with Challenge Limus Team Edition tubulars: a great choice considering how muddy the off-cambers became in Milton Keynes over the weekend.

Although the mud and washing has taken its toll on the sidewall label, these are indeed team edition Challenge Limus Tires. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Although the mud and washing has taken its toll on the sidewall label, these are indeed team edition Challenge Limus Tires. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

When we reviewed the Specialized Crux Pro Race Disc (which came equipped with SRAM Red), we were impressed by nearly all of the design except for the seatpost, which we considered one of the worst we have tested for cyclocross. Time and time again, we have argued against the one bolt clamp system for a sport that involves remounting. Even the most graceful remounts can still send the saddle skyward, as we’ve experienced and seen with others, but we’re guessing Sumner is both lighter and more graceful than the average rider.

Another interesting choice is Sumner’s use of the m980 pedals. Many riders, including Sunday’s podium finisher Jonathan Page, use more affordable models such as the M540 due to the increased mud-clearance. Other riders, such as Marianne Vos, use heavily modified XTR pedals on their bike setup.

Sumner uses unmodified XTR pedals, which are not known for their mud clearing ability. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Sumner uses unmodified XTR pedals, which are not known for their mud clearing ability. © Andy Ward / Cyclocross Magazine

Want one for yourself? The S-Works CruX Di2, with Roval Control SL CX SCS wheels, will set you back $9,500. The CruX Pro Race UDi2 with Ultegra Di2 sits at $7,300.

Ben Sumner’s Specialized CruX Pro Race Disc Specs:

Frame: Specialized CruX Pro Race Disc

Stem: S-Works SL, alloy, 4-bolt

Handlebars: Specialized Comp

Front brake: Shimano R785 Hydraulic Disc Brake

Rear brake: Shimano R785 Hydraulic Disc Brake

Brake levers: Shimano R785 Di2 hydraulic disc

Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070

Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070

Cassette:  Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28

Chain:  Shimano Dura-Ace, 11spd

Crankset: Dura-Ace 9000 cranks w/ 46/36 Ultegra Chainrings

Pedals: Shimano XTR M980

Wheels: Reynolds Assault SLG Disc, Carbon Tubulars

Tires: Challenge Limus Team Edition

Saddle: Body Geometry Toupé Expert Gel

More Info: specialized.com

Ben Sumner’s Specialized CruX Pro Race Disc Slideshow:

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