Make no mistake: this is a cross race bike. There are lower-specced options available on this frame; and an Ultegra version with disc brakes is also available. It’s a fairly large outlay for a bike you may only use during the short cross season. Though the crisp changes of the Ultegra pay dividends in the sharp turns and sudden ascents of a cross course, it’s expensive kit to replace. Then again, if cyclo-cross is your thing, the BH RX Team Ultegra won’t leave you wanting.
Options to change gears and brakes
The BH RX Team Ultegra is the all-out racer of the three bikes on test, a full-on full-carbon machine built for speed on mud, gravel and tarmac, and weighing just 7.6kg.
We’ve had a couple of BH road bikes on test at CA, and we’ve been impressed by their build quality and in particular their component specification. The RX Team doesn’t disappoint in this respect. It comes with Shimano Ultegra shifters, cassette, chain and rear and front (cross-specific) derailleurs. The Rotor 3DF crankset has cross-specific 46/36 chainrings, and it has surprisingly good wheels for an off-the-shelf bike — Mavic Ksyrium Equipe shod with Michelin’s excellent Mud 2 clinchers.
The saddle is a Prologo Kappa, while some of the other finishing kit is a little more ordinary: FSA alloy bars, stem and seatpost. The brakes, however, are a cut above — TRP Alu cantilevers. BH put a lot of technology and thought into producing their carbon frames, using different grades of carbon and forming the frame under pressure in order to vary the strength and thickness across the structure. In this way, the frame is kept light while ensuring strength and rigidity where it’s most needed.
The RX Team has a classy, contemporary frame. BH has kept the bottom bracket high, resisting all-out road-style geometry. The oversized tubes have internal cable routing, which can accommodate mechanical and electronic shifting systems. This may be fiddly to maintain and replace but, for the most part, it is ideal for cyclo-cross, leaving none of the metal cable exposed to the mud.
The wider BB386 bottom bracket shell gives extra power-transfer and allows the chainstays to be set wider for extra clearance for wider tyres, coping with mud build-up. The cross-specific fork also has plentiful clearance, useful for allowing cantilever brakes to release enough for quick wheel changes. It has fixings for disc brakes and removable cantilever fittings.
When we tested the BH G6 carbon road bike in the summer, we were impressed by its acceleration and sharp handling. The RX Team also excels in these respects while being solid and well behaved on both mud and tarmac. The frame is undeniably stiff, but its design — in particular, the way the seatstays wishbone into a single entity at the junction with the seat tube — maintains control, keeping the power channelled into the ground. Such was the quality of the RX’s ride that cornering and in particular climbing felt more like riding a road bike — on the road!
I would have preferred a more angled stem so that I had the option of a flatter position on the 74-degree head tube. While the TRP calipers are mechanically excellent and don’t flex, the pads never really bedded into a perfect relationship with the Mavic rims. These are, I admit, very small, easily fixed gripes. I loved riding this bike on cross courses.
It’s a nice bike on the road too. The lack of rack and mudguard fittings means the RX lacks the versatility of the other bikes; it can’t really be called a winter trainer but it’s a quick, light, sharp-handling bike, ideal for riding on our ever-deteriorating roads.
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