Specialized CruX Expert X1 review

The CruX Expert X1 is towards the top end of Specialized's cyclocross bike line-up. We've put it through its paces.

Specialized CruX Expert X1
Specialized CruX Expert X1
(Image credit: daniel gould)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Wel speced carbon crosser with SRAM's popular single ring groupset. The Crux handles well and gives good power transfer, but the SRAM Force mechanicals make it a pricy package

For
  • +

    Well-balanced handling

  • +

    Modern cyclocross spec

  • +

    Single ring groupset has excellent chain retention

Against
  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Limited options to extend the gear range

Frame

Specialized builds its CruX carbon frameset from the same FACT 10r carbon fibre as its mid-range road bikes. Although its range-topping S-Works CruX uses lighter FACT 11r carbon, Spesh says that the increased frame weight from the FACT 10r carbon is minimal.

CruX frame uses thru-axles front and rear

CruX frame uses thru-axles front and rear
(Image credit: daniel gould)

The frame has the front and rear thru-axles which are now usually found on disc braked bikes, along with a BB30 bottom bracket. Internal cable routing is standard in modern cross bikes and the CruX has this too.

Specification

SRAM’s single ring drivetrains have gained a big following off road for their simpler mechanicals, wide range and good chain retention.

specialized-crux-cx-bike-2016-7

Force 1 is SRAM's top spec single ring groupset
(Image credit: daniel gould)

The CruX comes speced with a SRAM Force groupset with a 40 tooth chainset and 11-32 cassette. Although this does not give the range of the two ring competition, it’s enough for most cyclocross courses. With its mid-cage rear mech, you can only go up to 11-36 though.

DT Swiss wheels come with tubeless ready tyres

DT Swiss wheels come with tubeless ready Specialized tyres
(Image credit: daniel gould)

The bike has DT Swiss R470 tubeless ready wheels, with Specialized’s Terra Pro tubeless-ready 33mm tyres. Spesh adds its CG-R carbon seatpost, which has a series of bends to add flex below the Phenom Expert saddle.

Ride

With a frame based on the Tarmac, it’s no surprise that the Crux is an excellent ride. Power transfer and stiffness at both front and rear is great, and the Crux works well for really intense efforts to haul yourself up short, steep banks. However if you don’t make it up, then the flattened top tube and low weight make it easy to shoulder too.

Watch: Cycling Weekly's guide to cyclocross bikes

Handling is also really well balanced. If you are looking to ride bridlepaths or even to put slicks on and take to the road, the Crux is stable, while it remains agile enough to tackle technical sections of single track in a race scenario.

Value

CG-R carbon seatpost has bump-absorbing kinks

CG-R carbon seatpost has bump-absorbing kinks
(Image credit: daniel gould)

You’re paying quite a bit for the SRAM Force 1 mechanicals on the CruX Expert. Drop down to SRAM’s next level down Rival 1 single ring groupset and a non-wavy alloy seatpost and the CruX Elite X1 comes in at £2300.