While Cody Kaiser was hopping the barriers and trying to hold off eventual women's winner Katerina Nash teammate Maghalie Rochette in the 2017 Sea Otter Classic cyclocross race, his second race of the day, casual spectators might have thought he was riding a black version of his Specialized 2017 CruX. However, the bike used to catch some air and kick up some sand was actually a quietly-unveiled all-new, redesigned 2018 S-Works CruX cyclocross frame.
After hearing rumors of changes coming to the 2018 frames, we got to see the new frame up-close and in person at the 2017 Sea Otter Classic. The bike looks subtly different from the previous incarnation, but if there’s a theme to the changes, it’s a move towards a minimalist, race-oriented design. Mounts, clamps, bridges and we're guessing, some unwanted grams found on the previous iteration, are all gone.
Much of the differences reflect the changes made between the new and old Tarmac road bike. The geometry apparently receives a slight tweak becoming longer and lower. The seat collar has been removed and is now integrated into the base of the top tube, as the company did with the Tarmac.
The seatstay bridge is also gone, the fork appears to be more sculpted by the crown, and the chainstays look slimmer, perhaps in attempt to add more vertical compliance and shed weight. Even the two left-side cable/hose ports have been simplified to one.
The whole bike has a sleeker and more streamlined look with front and rear thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes up front and out back, of course.
One of the biggest surprises is that the frame lacks a front derailleur mount, suggesting that this bike will most likely be 1X exclusive or require a clamp-on front derailleur. Also gone is the third bottle mount under the down tube.
The new CruX looks decidedly like a cyclocross-race-oriented bike, revealing a similar approach that Cannondale took with its redesigned race-oriented SuperX we tested, although it’s entirely possible frame didn’t get such features simply because it could be a pre-production unit.
While some wondered if the new CruX would receive the Future Shock seen on the Roubaix, it seems like Specialized did not follow Trek's direction in adding front suspension to its cyclocross bike, as seen with the Isospeed Front on Katie Compton's Boone. We're guessing the company may reserve the front micro-suspension setup for the Diverge.
Gone of course is the infamous proprietary SCS (Short Chainstay System) seen on production bikes two seasons ago that required proprietary wheels and kept its sponsored pros on the previous season’s bikes.
Kaiser, who raced the pro men’s cyclocross race after competing in the grueling Pro XC mountain bike race an hour before, told Cyclocross Magazine that the bike handled “drastically different” than the previous generation. He revealed that the bike handled more sharply in the numerous turns on the revised, flat-out ’cross course.
Kaiser said that the weight savings was one of the biggest changes he noticed when first getting on the bike. With his Zipp 303 tubulars, he said the bike was much lighter than his Tarmac road bike. Such gram savings might mean Kaiser can perform his famous no-pedal stair hopping at Valmont at an even faster clip.
Other than the new frame, Kaiser’s build remains the same as his set up from the previous cyclocross season. He is running a full SRAM Force CX1 with a single 40 tooth chainring, which he said left him slightly undergeared on the new course. No word yet on availability for the new bike, but it wouldn't be a stretch to guess that they'll arrive prior to this cyclocross season. Stay tuned. We're of course anxious to try one.
See the full photo gallery of Kaiser's 2018 Specialized S-Works CruX cyclocross bike below the specs.
See our ever-growing stream of new cyclocross and gravel-oriented bikes, wheels, tires, components and cycling gear news from 2017 Sea Otter here.
Cody Kaiser’s 2018 Specialized S-Works CruX Cyclocross Bike Specs:
Frame: 2018 S-Works CruX Size 56cm
Fork: S-Works, internally routed, flat mount
Wheels: Zipp 303 Tubular, through axle
Tires: Specialized Tracer Tubular 700x33
Shifters: SRAM Force CX1
Rear derailleur: SRAM Force CX1
Front derailleur: N/A
Chain guide: N/A
Crankset: SRAM Force CX1 172.5mm
Chainrings: SRAM Force Narrow-Wide 40T
Cassette: SRAM Force PG1170 11-32
Saddle: S-works Power Saddle
Seatpost: Zipp Service Course SL 20mm offset
Handlebar: Specialized Alloy
Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy 11
Stem: Zipp Service Course SL
Brakes: SRAM Force Hydraulic Disc, flat mount