As part of our off-season coverage, Cyclocross Magazine is looking back at the rides some of the top pros were using last season. This is a chance to look back and see what the best of the best were using, and see if any of those parts or technology have trickled down into your budget yet. And while the pro’s may be moving to different rides for the upcoming season, the parts that made it through last season would make proven additions to anyone’s ride.
by Jamie Mack
Any list of the top American ’cross racers would quickly include Jonathan Page. Page consistently rides with the best in the world throughout Europe and still holds the honor of the highest placing by an American at the elite World Championships. The last couple of seasons have seen some ups and downs for the Europe-based American rider, but legions of supporters are always behind the popular racer, pulling for him. The popularity of Page with supporters, both in Europe and the US, is based not only on results but on the approachable, down to earth persona that he’s well-known for.
Page’s Planet Bike Blue Norcross, like the rider himself, is a familiar sight at the top of podiums. The all-carbon frame is based on Page’s time on the previous Blue model the CXc, as Page provided significant input into the design of the Norcross. The frame features elegant tube shapes that increase stiffness in stressed areas while decreasing weight when compared to the CXc. The head tube features a tapered design, going from 1 1/8″ at the top to a wider 1 1/2″ base to provide increased stiffness to improve steering and handling in rough terrain. The top tube features a flattened shape that increases lateral stiffness and provides a more comfortable shouldering point. The twin seatstays, joined only by the brake bridge, provide a wide platform of stability when Page applies the power. The frame is complemented by an all-carbon fork that helps keep things stable. One interesting aspect of the frame is the rear cable hanger, which accepts a Shimano derailleur adjustment barrel to allow for minor cable adjustments.
Page uses the proven Dura Ace 7900 mechanical group to keep things rolling. The group is a time-tested and proven contender, although perhaps not as fashionable as newer groups on the market. From the shifters to the cassette, the entire Dura Ace group is present. This being ‘cross, obviously the brake choice was non-standard to Dura Ace as were the pedals. Page uses XTR clipless pedals to keep a firm attachment to this machine. For the rare occasion that Page needs to slow down, TRP’s top-of-the-line EuroX Magnesiums equipped with carbon-specific pads.
Edge Composites provides the cockpit and wheels for Page. Page runs an all-carbon cockpit, an interesting choice for a crash prone sport such as ‘cross. The debate over carbon components, particularly handlebars and stems, is a hotly contested question. But there is no doubt that carbon is gaining more and more acceptance and it’s use throughout many pro bikes is a testament to the confidence the community has in the material.
Page was running the 38mm deep carbon rims from Edge Composites wrapped in Challenge Grifos, when Cyclocross Magazine was able to steal a few minutes with the bike. The tires are a popular choice, providing excellent traction in a range of conditions. The wheels are driven by an 11-27 tooth Dura Ace cassette and Dura Ace chain.
Reports are that Page will again be aboard a Blue for the upcoming season. Early indications are that the frame will be lighter still, but it will be interesting to see what other changes are in store.
Frame: Blue Norcross
Fork: Blue Carbon
Stem: Edge Composites
Handlebars: Edge Composites
Front brake: Euro-X Magnesium
Rear brake: Euro-X Magnesium
Shift/Brake levers: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Cassette: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Crankset: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura Ace 7900
Pedals: Shimano XTR
Wheelset: Edge Composites 38
Front tire: Challenge Grifo
Rear tire: Challenge Grifo