by Jamie Mack
Being focused on mountain biking, Adam Craig is perhaps not as well known in the ’cross universe as he should be, but after winning the inaugural US Singlespeed National Championship in Bend (his second National Championship after winning a U23 title), Oregon, today, that’s likely to change. While the tweets are flying about the choice of uniform that Craig deemed suitable for the race, there should also be some interest in what’s now an historic bike. The Giant carbon ’cross bike that Craig was perched on has transcended its simple appearance by becoming the first single gear cyclocross bike to carry its rider to a Stars and Stripes jersey in the singlespeed category.
The frame looks remarkably like the prototype that CXM snapped pictures of in Las Vegas last year and is a contrast to the graphic-plastered and multi-colored frames that have become popular.
The components of the bike that Craig rode to victory in Bend are the antithesis of what he’ll likely be riding on Sunday. The electronic Di2 derailleurs and shifters are missing, replaced by a mix of tried and true components including Dura Ace cranks equipped with a 42-tooth chainring and a 16-tooth rear cog. The gearing was likely the tallest in use during the singlespeed race in Bend. Craig chose the gear partially because it was the “magic” gear (when used in combination with a half-link) that allowed him to avoid using a tensioner.
Craig is still riding the downhiller’s stem seen on his prototype bike at CrossVegas, but it’s been given a bit of ’cross style with the front brake cable now run down through the stem.TRP EuroX carbon brakes and inline levers keep things under control with the help of Swisstop yellow brake pads. Craig rolled to the championship on Dura Ace Wheels wrapped in Michelin Mud2-treaded tubulars, although not the deep-section rims seen on his geared setup. Craig’s mechanic said he was running about 32 psi, 6 more psi than normal.
The bike on the whole keeps the subtle, retro style of singlespeed that makes it so appealing to riders across the country. But most will likely argue that the key to Craig’s success in the race was not the bike, but the skater helmet and the cut-off jean shorts, six inches short of the cyclist tan lines we are all so proud of.