by Jamie Mack
While we all wait patiently for the beginning of the 2010 season, bicycle manufacturers are already hard at work focused on ‘cross. Kona has already revealed the all-carbon Major Jake and now photos of the 2011 Specialized line are already beginning to leak out. One faithful reader has secured photo evidence of the upcoming ride and the discussion is already flowing on the cowbell forums.
The official word on the revamped ‘cross line, including the specs, geometry and availability, have not yet been released. But the photos do reveal some interesting features not found in the current TriCross line. One example of a frame that we at Cyclocross Magazine have seen photos of does feature internal cable routing through the front triangle but, interestingly, the expanse of cable from the bottom bracket to the rear derailleur is left open to the elements. This aspect of the design seems odd on a ‘cross bike as this is an area prone to being clogged with mud, creating a potential for stuck cables. However we’ve also seen photos of a bike with externally routed cables. The difference could be related to the different price points or frame materials that may be available.
Sources have provided Cyclocross Magazine with indications that the Crux will be available in two frame materials and multiple component configurations. The base frame will likely be an alloy unit while upper end models, including the expected top-of-the-line S-Works, will most likely be carbon offerings. Prices have not been confirmed, though framesets may be offered at a price point under $1000, with fully decked out rides surpassing $3,000.
Upon visual inspection, missing on photos of some models that Cyclocross Magazine has seen are the Zertz vibration-damping inserts present on many of Specialized’s road offerings. Initially it seems counterintuitive to remove vibration damping from a bike destined to be bounced around, but the low-level vibrations that the inserts are meant to reduce are barely noticeable on the ‘cross course. As with the improved cable routing, however, this may also be a feature reserved for higher level models.
The components that can be identified look to be solid choices from known manufacturers. The crank is an FSA model, while the shifters and other components are harder to identify from the spy photos Cyclocross Magazine has acquired. Rumors are that the new SRAM Apex group will make for an interesting component choice on one lower-end model, with its long-cage derailleur a departure from the road units that most ‘cross bikes typically use. The use of the long-cage unit would allow for greater flexibility in chain ring and cassette choice.
There is still a lot of speculation surrounding the Crux, as we glean as much information as possible from the few photos that have been found so far. Stay with Cyclocross Magazine for more info on the 2011 line from Specialized and other manufacturers as the season approaches. And stay updated on all the latest rumors on the cowbell forums.