The Specialized Crux Elite Carbon 2015 is made for racing

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Pros:

  • Agile and responsive handling
  • Stiff frame
  • Reasonably priced build makes it a competitive choice

Cons:

  • Below par wheel spec

Product:

Specialized Crux Elite Carbon 2015

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2,000.00

Make no mistake, this frame is designed and built with racing in mind.
The frame geometry — short along the top tube — ensures agile handling and responsive feedback through the front end. Cyclocross bikes can make excellent all-rounders, and this is true of the Crux, to a certain extent. With slick rubber fitted, it easily handles road rides, but unlike other bikes, there are no mudguard eyelets or pannier rack mounts.

The Specialized Crux Elite Carbon 2015 is made for racing, and didn’t disappoint
was built for racing, and that’s where it performs best. The ‘FACT’ carbon frame is a one-piece design that, according to Specialized, optimises weight and stiffness. And the frame is certainly stiff. Riding other bikes with only 25psi in the tyres, it can be hard to feel frame-stiffness, but on the Crux you certainly can. It’s not a harsh ride, though, which shows the frame’s aptitude for all-terrain use.

Disc brakes are becoming more common on cross bikes. These TRP HY/RD calipers are cable-operated but with a hydraulic chamber built into the caliper for the final action of moving the pads. The benefits: hydraulic efficiency and modulation, but with the ease of maintenance associated with cable-operation. In practice, the modulation was a tad better than the ubiquitous Avid BB7 brakes supplied on most disc brake road bikes, but not by a huge margin. They weren’t particularly intuitive to adjust pre-race, either; doing so first required a quick internet search to find a ‘how to’ guide.

Specialized Crum Elite Carbon 2015 cyclocross bike in action

Specialized Crux Elite Carbon 2015 cyclocross bike in action

Upgrade opportunity

The biggest benefit of the brakes is that they are compatible with all cable-actuated levers of any brand, meaning they’re ripe for post-purchase upgrade. That said, it’s a shame Specialized didn’t supply Shimano’s own hydraulic braking system to complete the complement of Shimano 105 components — and the performance of which is certainly a big step above the TRP here.

Axis 2.0 wheels are supplied with this model and the Sport E5. They are fairly non-descript, but offered a stolid ride during testing. The overall sprightliness of the ride was greatly improved once we fitted a set of Stan’s NoTubes Iron Cross wheels, thanks mostly to the 300g weight saving.

Wheel spec choices aside, there isn’t much to criticise on the Crux. Hardcore cross racers might prefer to buy an S-Works frameset direct from the USA (for $3,500) and build it to their preferred specification. A frameset-only version is available in the UK for £1,500, but this set-up, with Shimano 105 groupset and own-brand finishing kit, will please most riders and is much more cost-efficient than a self-build.

Available from: www.specialized.com 

Verdict

The Specialized Crux Elite Carbon 2015 is made for racing and it doesn't disappoint. The stiff frame give agile and responsive handling, and the price tag makes it a good choice

Details

Frame :FACT 10r carbon
Fork :FACT carbon
Size range :46, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Weight :9.0kg / 19.8lb
Groupset :Shimano 105
Brakes :TRP HY/RD
Gear ratios :46/36, 11-28t
Wheels :Giant IOU 333
Tyres :Specialized Tracer sport
Bars :Specialized Comp shallow
Stem :Specialized Comp
Seatpost :Specialized Sport
Saddle :Body Geometry Phenom Comp
Distributor :Specialized.com