It's Nats week and to help celebrate the biggest week in U.S. cyclocross, we are profiling the bikes of the two defending Elite National Champions. First up is three-time defending Men's Champ Stephen Hyde. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 15 years, you know whose bike we will be featuring on Tuesday.
When Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) takes the start line in Lakewood on Sunday, he will do so aboard the third iteration of his National Champion's Cannondale SuperX.
This season, Hyde faces a tough challenge in earning his fourth champ's bike with teammate Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) and Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) blazing up the national scene, and other young riders such as the Donnelly / Aevolo crew of Gage Hecht and Lance Haidet riding strong as well.
After each of his three national championships, Hyde has embraced the opportunity to work with Cannondale to customize his bikes to celebrate his accomplishments. The first iteration, earned after he left folks hanging in suspense at the end of the race at the 2017 Hartford Nationals, featured one red, white and blue colorway with some stars incorporated into the design.
After title number two in Reno, Hyde went all-in on his National Champ's bike, opting for three different colorways with graphics special to him. Those included a record player to celebrate his greatest hits, a Raccoon to honor his tenacity and a chain ring logo that paid homage to his BMX days.
After outdueling White in the mud at Louisville Nationals last December, Hyde opted to go back to one design for his 2019 Cannondale SuperX. The bike is still very much red, white and blue, and it features some of the graphics that made debuts last season.
We took a closer look at Hyde's bike for this pre-Nationals bike profile.
Stephen Hyde's 2019 Cannondale SuperX
At this point, both cyclocross and gravel-fan readers of Cyclocross Magazine likely need no introduction to the Cannondale SuperX. With its healthy tire clearance and Out Front geometry as well as ’cross-course nimbleness, it has proven a popular choice for both disciplines.
Earlier this season, we profiled Curtis White's SuperX after he picked up a smashing win on Day 2 of the Rochester Cyclocross weekend, and we also profiled Lauren De Crescenzo's bike from the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race this summer.
The SuperX moved to its current design for the 2017 model year, and the new model represents the fourth generation of the company’s workhorse bike. The Out Front geometry gives the bike a slacker front and increased fork rake compared to the typical cyclocross bike. Cannondale achieved more tire clearance in the rear with its Asymmetric Integration that moves the drivetrain outward.
If we are being honest, champion's bikes are interesting in large part because of their colorways. There's no time like a national championship for bike painters and graphic designers to go wild.
Whereas last year's bike featured darker, matte hues of red and blue, Hyde's 2019 bike is painted to stand out. The down tube and fork are blue, with stars adorning the fork. Much of the rest of the bike is primarily red, with white streaks interspersed throughout.
Two of last year's graphics make repeat performances. The record player is at the top of the down tube, this time noting Hyde's three national championships.
The feisty raccoon waving the American flag is on the back of the seat tube above the bottom bracket.
Hyde's "Hyde" logo also returns on the top of the top tube.
The Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team has long-standing relationships with many of its sponsors such as Zipp and SRAM, so the team's setups tend to be consistent from year-to-year.
The biggest change for Hyde and the team this year was a switch to the electronic SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset. Hyde had long run the mechanical Force 1 gruppo, but this year, he went electric.
In the front, he ran a 1x setup with a SRAM Red 1 AXS power meter crankset and 42t X-Sync 2 chain ring.
In the back, he went with the Red eTap AXS rear derailleur and a 10-33t Force cassette for improved mud clearance.
The derailleur and the Red eTap AXS HRD disc calipers paired with the Red eTap AXS HRD shift-brake levers up front.
As in past years, Hyde rolled on Zipp 303 Firecrest tubulars this season. Vittoria returned as the team tire sponsor for a second year, and when we saw Hyde's bike, he had Terreno Dry tubulars mounted.
Zipp also chipped in with Hyde's cockpit. He ran a Service Course SL-80 alloy handlebar held by a Service Course SL stem. He spec'd those with a Tange Seiki Terious headset.
In the back, a zero-setback Service Course SL seatpost held Hyde's Fabric Scoop saddle. The newish Shimano XTR M9100 pedals rounded out Hyde's contact points.
Hyde's Cannondale SuperX returns to action this Sunday in Washington at the biggest U.S. race of the season. There, Hyde looks to make it four-straight national championships and perhaps more importantly, earn the right to design a new national champ's SuperX for the 2020/21 season.
For a closer look at Hyde's SuperX, see the photo gallery and specs below.