Jeremy Powers has been riding the Focus Mares CX platform for seven years. With Powers winning U.S. Nationals four times during that period, we have profiled his bike enough to see him migrate from cantis to discs and from a double crank to a 1x system, and with his current SRAM eTap-equipped bike, back to a double.
At the Pan American Championships in Louisville, Aspire Racing debuted a new yellow frame that is available to consumers in a SRAM Force 1 build. We took some time to get an updated look at the four-time national champion’s bike during the two days of racing that weekend.
Powers rides a 54cm Focus Mares CX frame, which is the German brand’s dedicated cyclocross platform. In 2015, the frame was redesigned with Powers’ input and has since been updated to current standards with flat mount disc brakes and 12mm thru axles. "The geometry is everything a cyclocross bike should be," Powers told Cyclocross Magazine, It has a high bottom bracket, stable front end and it's super reliable." He continued, "In general, I’ve been so fortunate to race on such great equipment and it’s never held me back, and as a rider, that’s all you can ask for."
Focus continues to use the R.A.T. axle system, which utilizes a unique half-turn locking mechanism to secure the thru-axles, rather than a threaded system, drastically reducing the time required to install and remove wheels. "The R.A.T. thru-axles are game changers, and in my opinion, the best thru-axle system on the market," Powers said. The frame is PF30 native and includes a substantial chain guard which bolts to the frame behind the crankset, providing more than adequate protection against dropped chains.
Powers has been one of the few SRAM-sponsored riders testing Red eTap hydraulic disc (HRD) groupsets — another is Wout van Aert, who is running the groupset on his Felt FRDx — and runs a complete 2x eTap group, with a BB30 SRAM Red crankset in 172.5mm and 46/36 X-GlideR chainrings in 110 BCD. He rides with an 11-28t PG-1170 SRAM cassette and a Red 22 chain.
Powers has used SRAM CX1 in the past but has been a part of the development of SRAM eTap for the last few years, making him one of a select few cyclocross pros to use the system. "I've had zero issues with eTap and find it very easy to use," said Powers. "I've been using it as a test pilot for SRAM before it was raced and the system is really well thought out; hydraulic braking, wireless electronic shifting, precise and simple to use. It's truly a dream to ride it and there have been no negatives moving from CX1 to eTap for me."
Using eTap means a return to a 2x drivetrain for Powers, since the system requires a front derailleur to pair properly. "I enjoy both systems. Since I've used each for quite a long time, I can say each has their strong points." He told us. "With a double chainring, I get a [wide range of] gear ratios that can sometimes help me in unique situations."
Powers’ bike was equipped with a Quarq DZero power meter in Louisville. While he said power data from races is not often useful, Powers chose a power meter equipped bike for Louisville. "I was using my power meter for two reasons," he told us. "First, to get a lay of the land for next year’s Nationals and having a good understanding of the demands it could present, and second, I wanted to see how I was doing overall in my fitness as that race was a focus for me this season."
Braking on the eTap HRD system uses SRAM’s Hydro HC hydraulic caliper units to clamp onto SRAM centerline rotors in 140mm. Interestingly, Aspire Racing is still using six-bolt rotors, even though a Centerlock version of both the Centerline rotor and Zipp’s hub exists.
Unsurprisingly for a SRAM-sponsored rider, Powers’ bike is equipped with Zipp 303 Firecrest disc brake wheels. For the tacky mud climbs at Joe Creason Park, he selected 700x33c FMB Slalom intermediate tread tubulars with the green all-weather rubber compound.
Powers’ cockpit is provided by Zipp, with a Service Course SL handlebars and stem. Zipp also provides headset spacers. His head unit mount is supplied by technology sponsor Wahoo. A custom J-Pow! headset cap adds a pro touch and leaves little doubt who owns the bike.
See the slideshow below for more details about Powers' 2017 Focus Mares.
Jeremy Powers' eTap-Equipped Focus Mares Specifications
Frame: Focus Mares CX, PF30, flat mount disc, 12 x 142mm R.A.T. thru-axle, carbon
Fork: Focus Mares CX, flat mount disc, 12mmx100mm R.A.T. thru-axle, carbon
Shifter: SRAM Red eTap HRD hydraulic disc wireless shifters
Brake Caliper: SRAM HydroHC hydraulic disc caliper
Rotors: SRAM Centerline 6-bolt rotors, 140mm
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Red eTap, short cage
Front Derailleur: SRAM Red eTap
Crankset: SRAM Red BB30, Quarq DZero spider-based power meter
Chainrings: SRAM X-GlideR 46/36 chainrings, 110 BCD
Cassette: SRAM Force PG-1170, 11-28
Chain: SRAM Red PG-1190
Stem: Zipp Service Course SL
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL
Seatpost: Zipp Service Course SL, Beyond Black
Saddle: Fizik Aliante VS, carbon rail
Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy 11
Wheels: Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular, 6-bolt
Tires: FMB Slalom, 700x33c, all-weather compound