Last weekend saw the first American UCI cyclocross of the season with Ellison Park. Before we head to 2015 Interbike for all of the latest cyclocross tech being prepared to be unveiled, we wanted to offer some of the latest in 2016 cyclocross models that we got to see in the wild.
On Saturday and Sunday, New England rider Erin Faccone (Averica) took to the hills of Rochester, New York on her brand new carbon Specialized Crux with thru axles.
We have featured Specialized quite a bit, especially after our winning bike profiles of 2015 Cyclocross Nationals in Austin, where Specialized sent more riders to the top step of the podium than any other brand. So what makes this bike special? Its wheels, which are not Roval.
If you have not heard by now, Specialized created a new thru axle system on their 2016 cyclocross bikes. According to Specialized, the intention was to perfect issues with chainline and eliminate concerns with custom Q-factor cranks by combining mountain bike hub widths that retain a 130mm road cassette spacing (essentially the cassette body has been moved 2.5mm closer to the center of the wheel compared to a standard 135mm mountain bike hub). The company’s scs rear derailleur hangers position the rear derailleur to maintain a road chainline, but the drawback is that the whole system previously only worked with Roval hubs, which are owned by Specialized.
New hangers are available to accommodate traditional wheels, but as we found with our latest test model, switching between the two is not the easiest process in the world, and Specialized doesn’t recommend this process due to chainline tolerances.
Teams like Cal Giant have simplified things and have stuck with using quick release frames for the current season, but there are a few more dedicated, if not stubborn, souls who are opting to find a solution that doesn’t rely on Roval wheels.
Jerry Chabot, CEO of ENGVT and NEXT Wheels, went to work almost immediately for a solution. Before the first race of the year, he had a wheelset ready and waiting for Erin Faccone with enough time to spare for tubular gluing. For pictures of the manufactured end caps, machined cassette and the rest of Faccone’s bike, use the slider below.