by Neil Schirmer
Jack Spranger’s win in the Junior Men 15-16 championship race at Nationals this year was a local’s win, through and through.
Residing in Sammamish, Washington just 60 miles away from the Nationals venue at Steilacoom Park, Spranger actually raced the venue as part of his local racing schedule for years, and as he shared in a post-race interview, the cheers and energy from his family and friends outside the tape provided extra motivation, especially in the final laps.
While this may have been Spranger’s first National Championship, like many promising Junior racers, he’s no stranger to the podium, even in open races against older and more experienced competition as proven by his strong results in the Elite Men’s fields in his local MFG Cyclocross races this season.
The "local" theme of his win even extends to Sprager’s Championship-winning bike from Sage Titanium Bicycles based in nearby Beaverton, Oregon.
As David Rosen, the owner and designer at Sage emphasized when describing the philosophy behind the design of the bike, “The Sage PDXCX is designed specifically for cyclocross racing. You don’t ride cyclocross, you race cyclocross!"
We took a closer look at Spranger's titanium bike after his win.
Jack Spranger's Sage Titanium PDXCX
Although Spranger is new to national recognition, we have gotten familiar with Sage Titanium in recent years. We reviewed the PDXCX cyclocross bike Spranger rode and also looked at the Barlow gravel bike.
Rosen's ethos of designing a bike for racing cyclocross extends to several features on the bike. It has a patented Cable Clip System that is an interchangeable cable mount system bolted to the frame to cleanly run one, two or zero control lines on the top tube. The brake hose runs on mounts welded near the shift control lines.
The frame features a durable naked titanium finish that lends itself to easy repair of scratches and scuffs in ways that painted carbon simply does not.
In addition to being a purpose-built racing machine, the PDXCX stubbornly resists many current design trends. In the current sea of carbon offerings where manufacturers are commonly marketing the same framesets for both cyclocross and gravel, the PDXCX stands out with the aforementioned top-tube cable routing options (with a reverse pulley for front shifting), an IS mount on the frame and a more traditional higher bottom bracket that prioritizes clearance.
Spranger's Sage PDXCX bike is almost entirely stock, with the Venn Rev 35 carbon tubular wheels and the eponymous Donnelly PDX tubular tires standing out as the lone exceptions.
The PDXCX comes with a carbon Enve CX fork that is post mount disc. The titanium frame features an IS mount, which requires an adapter to fit the Shimano post mount disc brakes.
Outside of the wheels, a Shimano Ultegra mechanical 11-speed 2x drivetrain anchors the stock Sage build, with the Ultegra RD-RX800-GS moving the chain in the back, and the Ultegra FD-R8000 handling shifting duties between the 46 and 36 tooth chain rings up front.
With the mechanical derailleurs, Spranger ran Ultegra R8020 dual-control levers to control shifting and braking.
Alloy 3T products adorn the front end with an Apto Team Stealth stem and Superergo Pro 40cm handlebars. The other contact points include the popular Shimano SPD PD-M9100 pedals, and the Sage Beccus saddle atop an Enve carbon seatpost to help keep weight down.
Next year, Spranger graduates to the Junior 17-18 UCI category, where he will get the chance to continue his development as a young cyclocross racer to watch.
For a closer look at Spranger's PDXCX, see the photo gallery and specs below.