Today, Specialized officially unveiled what Cyclocross Magazine readers saw a few months ago: the new, redesigned 2018 CruX cyclocross bike. In April, we took a look at Cody Kaiser's new ride from the 2017 Sea Otter Classic cyclocross race without official comment or info from Specialized, and now we're taking another look at that exact bike with more official details to see what we got right and wrong.
Specialized's Put the 2018 CruX on a Race-Day Diet
In April, we wrote:
"After hearing rumors of changes coming to the 2018 frames, we got to see the new frame up-close and in person at the 2017 Sea Otter Classic. The bike looks subtly different from the previous incarnation, but if there’s a theme to the changes, it’s a move towards a minimalist, race-oriented design. Mounts, clamps, bridges and we're guessing, some unwanted grams found on the previous iteration, are all gone."
That all turns out to be true, especially the race-oriented design after the emergence of the Diverge gravel platform. As for unwanted grams, Specialized claims that the new CruX is up to 300 grams lighter than the previous version, with frame weights dipping as light as 930g, putting it into contention with the Scott Addict CX and Felt F1X as one of the lightest production cyclocross frames available.
We also had observed:
"Much of the differences reflect the changes made between the new and old Tarmac road bike. The geometry apparently receives a slight tweak becoming longer and lower. The seat collar has been removed and is now integrated into the base of the top tube, as the company did with the Tarmac."
This observation is mostly true. On larger sizes, the reach increases by nearly 1cm, while smaller frames retain a similar reach. The internal seat clamp exposes 20mm more in seat post, allowing for additional flex and rider comfort. Zertz are long gone in the CruX bikes.
We also observed a few frame details:
"The seatstay bridge is also gone, the fork appears to be more sculpted by the crown, and the chainstays look slimmer, perhaps in attempt to add more vertical compliance and shed weight. Even the two left-side cable/hose ports have been simplified to one."
The ports have indeed been consolidated, with different caps to accommodate various drivetrian configurations. The slimmer, more vertically compliant chainstay comment has not been confirmed—only our test rides will validate the ride quality—but the tire clearance up front and out back is generous. The company says there's 6mm of clearance around a 33mm tire. That's good news for mudders and cyclocrossers still hoping to use the CruX as a gravel or monster ’cross bike and enjoy the benefits of a 40mm tire.
In April, we also noted:
"One of the biggest surprises is that the frame lacks a front derailleur mount, suggesting that this bike will most likely be 1X exclusive or require a clamp-on front derailleur. Also gone is the third bottle mount under the down tube."
This has been confirmed, as the frame and builds are largely 1X drivetrain oriented, but the new round seat tube will accommodate clamp-on front derailleurs.
We certainly weren't making any revelations when we stated:
"The whole bike has a sleeker and more streamlined look with front and rear thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes up front and out back, of course. Gone of course is the infamous proprietary SCS (Short Chainstay System) seen on production bikes two seasons ago that required proprietary wheels and kept its sponsored pros on the previous season’s bikes."
But that's all indeed true, as SCS was already sunset prior to the 2017 bikes. For 2018, 12mm thru axles front and rear will aim to keep everything stiff and tracking straight, and flat mount disc brakes follow recent trends.
With such weight savings, the CruX is sure to remain a heavyweight on the cyclocross circuit. Stay tuned for more details on the full CruX line.
Future Shock Emerges on the Diverge
In April we stated:
"While some wondered if the new CruX would receive the Future Shock seen on the Roubaix, it seems like Specialized did not follow Trek's direction in adding front suspension to its cyclocross bike, as seen with the Isospeed Front on Katie Compton's Boone. We're guessing the company may reserve the front micro-suspension setup for the Diverge."
This has also been confirmed, as the new Diverge inherits the Roubaix's Future Shock, but gains double the travel and a more progressive spring.
Tire clearance has been improved, with 42mm tire clearance on the carbon model (38mm on alloy), to accommodate the current crop of gravel tires.
Specialized has also put the Diverge on an optional, high-end diet with a S-Works frame that will also be sub 900 grams.
Wondering what that black box is in the above photo? No, it's not a battery for an e-bike version of the Diverge, but a tool kit to keep you prepared for the road less traveled.
2018 CruX First Race Impressions
While we have not yet raced the 2018 CruX, Cody Kaiser did back in April, and there's nothing in the official launch to debunk his personal ride impressions.
After his race, he told Cyclocross Magazine that the bike handled “drastically different” than the previous generation, and revealed that the bike handled "more sharply" in the numerous turns on the revised, flat-out ’cross course.
As we reported in April, Kaiser also said that the weight savings was one of the biggest changes he noticed when first getting on the bike. With his Zipp 303 tubulars, he said the bike was much lighter than his Tarmac road bike. Such gram savings might mean Kaiser can perform his famous no-pedal stair hopping at Valmont at an even faster clip.
See the full photo gallery of the new 2018 Specialized S-Works CruX cyclocross bike as ridden by Kaiser below, and stay tuned for a review. Retail pricing is not yet available for the 2018 models.