Update: See Sven Nys’ new Trek Boone Cyclocross Bike for 2014.
After the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY, we took a close look at Sven Nys’ World Championship-winning Colnago Cross Prestige cyclocross bike. Seven months later, after Nys’ win at Cross Vegas 2013, we grabbed some exclusive private time with the World Champ’s updated, rainbow stripe-decorated Colnago Cross Prestige bike to see what he used to win the drag race on the thick carpet of the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex, and see what’s changed in terms of his equipment since winning the rainbow jersey in February in Louisville.
We noticed a handful of updates to Sven Nys’ bike for the 2013/2014 cyclocross season, but to the naked eye, they’re pretty subtle besides the World Champion-themed paint job. The biggest change is Nys’ switch to Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 11-speed. Nys’ told Cyclocross Magazine at Cross Vegas [See our 10 questions with Sven Nys] that he was already appreciating both the extra gear for fast starts (he adds an 11t cog to his typical 10-speed 12-25 cassette from last season), and really loves the ability to hold down the shift button to execute multiple shifts (Ultegra 6770 Di2 can be reprogrammed to do this, but Nys’ old Dura-Ace 7970 cannot).
The biggest question, still largely unanswered, is whether the tighter spacing of 11-speeds will cause more problems in the mud. We asked Nys about this and he seemed unconcerned, but he also has a well-trained pit crew and multiple bikes on demand during muddy races. Our own limited testing in summertime San Francisco mud has not revealed additional problems yet, but we’re waiting until sloppy season really starts to come to a verdict.
not all European pros have gone Nys’ route, as the Sunweb / Napoleon games team told Cyclocross Magazine they will remain with 7970 Di2 10-speed components this season due to concerns about the mud clearance on the 11-speed cassettes. It might be easy to assume Nys and other pros ride what they’re told to ride, but many times they’re given a choice (this is also evident with pedals and brakes).
One subtle change we did catch was that Nys was no longer riding the discontinued and coveted Shimano XTR M970 SPD pedals that so many pros still use due to their reduced shoe/pedal mud contamination issues compared to the M980 pedal. Instead, we saw a Shimano “prototype” pedal that had the lower profile of the M980 pedal but with some rough cutaways in the pedal body for gram savings and mud clearance.
Nys’ pedal almost looks like the child of an M980 and M970 pedal. Upon close inspection, it appears to be a heavily-modified version of the M980 pedal, with the last few mm of the outboard body ground away, and some significant relief of material around the axle as well as around the pedal body where the axle enters. The large flat spots of the XTRA M980 pedals, the very areas that Shimano credited to a four-fold increase in surface area over the M970 pedal, have been largely whittled away. There’s now clearly less shoe-pedal contact area, which should make for fewer problems in the mud when things get sloppy.
This could be a preview of a revision on the XTR SPD pedal, as Shimano has alluded to us they are working on a redesign after complaints of mud problems with certain shoes, or it could mean that Nys simply ran out of M970 inventory and was forced to modify what he had available.
Nys also changed up his saddle this season, a surprising move given how many professional cyclists have famously used ten-year-old saddles on modern bikes because they get so attached to what is comfortable and works for them. He traded in his Selle Italia SLR Team saddle for a Prologo XZero II TS Saddle with solid titanium rails—no carbon here in case the World Champ himself botches a remount. His cockpit has remained the same, however, with PRO Vibe UD carbon seatpost and handlebar and an alloy PRO PLT stem.
Nys remains on Shimano’s carbon C35 tubular wheels and the relatively affordable Shimano CX70 cantilever brake, the same components he used at the 2013 Worlds. However, he opted for white 33mm Dugast Typhoon tubulars to win Cross Vegas, even though many of his competitors raced file treads (including second place Jeremy Powers). Perhaps the added traction and cornering grip was an advantage, or perhaps when you’re the World Champ, tires do not make the race.
World Champion Sven Nys’ 2013 Cross Vegas-Winning Colnago Cross Prestige Cyclocross Bike Specs:
Frame: Colnago Cross Prestige, cantilever model
Fork: Colnago Cross Prestige
Handlebars: PRO Vibe, UD Carbon
Stem: PRO PLT alloy
Brakes: Shimano CX70 cantilever brakes
Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace C35 35mm carbon tubular wheelset, 1339g
Tires: Dugast Typhoon 33mm tubulars, white
Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2 STI Levers
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed, 46/38t
Cassette: Shimano 10-speed, 11-25t,
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed
Pedals: Shimano XTR SPD prototype pedals
Seatpost: PRO Vibe UD carbon
Saddle: Prologo XZero II TS Saddle with Solid Titanium Rails