by Greg Evans
In the last event on the final day of championship racing in Asheville, North Carolina, Jeremy Powers successfully defended his Elite Men's Cyclocross National Champion title aboard his Focus Mares CX.
Powers has been dominating on the Mares CX for two seasons, and winning Nationals on it since 2012. At this level, as a repeat National Champion you don't leave things to chance, and the attention to detail can be obsessive because often little details matter. That includes not letting any journalist or photographer run off with your bike to photograph it in the setting sun as you do a live web interview moments after the race. So we got a close-up look at the winning rig feet away from where Powers gave his post-race commentary. Not much has changed since Powers' winning bike from Austin, but our goal of showcasing all the 2016 Nationals-winning bikes had us chasing the winner and grabbing these snapshots and details.
Powers has shifted from cantilever brakes to discs over time (but still often races cantis), and has moved from Dugast to FMB tires, SRAM Red shifters and derailleurs to Force 1, and two chainrings to one, but this year's winning bike sees little change from last year. The carbon frame runs thru axles on both the front and rear of the bike, utilizing Focus’ own R.A.T. (Rapid Axle Technology) system. And the bike is equipped with SRAM hydraulic disc brakes, allowing the bike to have superior mud clearance by the rim over its canti-brake competitors.
Seeing as SRAM sponsors the National Champion, the majority of the build came from the American component company. The drivetrain consists of a SRAM Force 1 rear derailleur, SRAM Red crankset and a 44t X-sync ring. The shifters are SRAM Force 1 as well, with hydraulic lines running to Force calipers on the front and rear. The calipers bite down on a set of SRAM Centerline rotors.
The cockpit features components from Zipp—owned by parent company SRAM. The aluminum bar and stem are both Service Course SL, while the seatpost is SL Speed carbon. The remainder of the cockpit features some non-SRAM components like the fi’zi:k bar tape and Aliante VS saddle.
Many riders struggled with mud build-up in their cleats and pedals, making the common clip-in a more difficult task. Powers struggled with this as well, although he was usually able to recover quickly thanks to his Crankbrothers pedals. Some would argue the Candy pedals offer easier engagement over other popular pedal systems when conditions get muddy. They worked well enough to keep him from pitting on the way to his win.
With the slick conditions of race day, stability on the course was a critical component to a successful run. Powers found that stability in a set of handmade FMB Pro Super SSC tubular tires. The tires are glued to a set of Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular wheels.
The bike had some unique graphics, including a “J-Pow” graphic on the top tube and sponsor logos scattered across the frame. Powers also included a bit of personal flair in the form of a cartoon-stylized “J-Pow” top cap as well as his chosen Pro CX number, 29.
See the full photo gallery below the specs. Think you need such an expensive, lightweight machine to win a National Championship? Marshall Gordon proved otherwise. See our growing list of 2016 Cyclocross Nationals-winning bikes here.
Jeremy Powers’ Elite Men Title-Defending Focus Mares CX Spec Highlights:
Frame: Focus Mares CC P2T 10 carbon disc
Fork: Focus CX P2T 10 carbon disc, through-axle
Shifter/Brake Levers: SRAM Force 1 hydraulic
Brake Calipers: SRAM Force 1 hydraulic
Rotors: SRAM Centerline
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Force 1
Front Derailleur: N/A
Crankset: SRAM Red
Chainring: SRAM X-sync 44t
Pedals: Crankbrothers Candy 11
Stem: Zipp Service Course SL
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL
Bar Tape: fi’zi:k
Seatpost: Zipp SL Speed (0)
Saddle: fi’zi:k Aliante VS
Wheels: Zipp 303 Firecrest disc-brake tubular
Hubs: Zipp 77/177D hubset
Tires: 33c FMB Pro Super SSC tubular
More info: focus-bikes.com