SPECIALIZED Carbon Crux Pro
Review: SPECIALIZED Carbon Crux ProBy Scott Mares | Published Apr 16, 2011
Right Out of the Box
We went to the door and got the bike from the UPS guy and brought it into the house and started to unpack the bike. We were very impressed with the look of the frame. The shape of the tubes along with a combination of paint and clear coat was a very nice package to behold. We caught ourselves going back and staring at the finish of the frame.
Ease of Assembly
the bike went together really easily. it came about 90% assembled. No hassles. just had to put the bars/stem, post, wheels and hook the brakes up and we were good to go.Bling Factor
The frame was most of the bling factor. The lines of the frame all flow together nicely. Head set spacers were carbon and the brakes matched the paint job. So over all there was some bling going on. carbon frame, fork, post, spacer. Matching stem and bars with cool TRP Euro X brakes to finish it off.
Road Test Ride
This bike didn't climb as we thought it might. After taking a closer look at the bike it became apparent that this bike falls into the category good for all day in the saddle. the carbon is very comfy and the wheel base is slightly longer than a full blown euro cross bike. Plus, as the bike is equipped it could lose a pound or two. does this mean that the bike cant climb? Not at all. This cross bike does not have that upper snappy rear end that you would expect from a bike that was a pure climber. Remember its the motor that makes it go. If I was to put a climbing style on this bike I would say its best suited for the steady methodical tempo climber vs. the accelerate sit down and accelerate again style of climbing.
The Carbon Crux Pro is stable and predictable when it comes to corning on the roads. Really not a lot of threat of over steering here on this bike. Why? Well that slightly longer wheel base means that this bike is very stable to turn. Some riders will go from riding their road bikes to this and feel the difference in that a little more input is required to take the hard line.Handling
With all of the things that we are mentioning here in this section is very related. So the review of the handling is going to sound a lot like what we just said in the cornering section. So this bike is very stable and not twitchy at all. As a matter of fact I would almost say the bike has a casual attitude when it comes to how it handles.
If Willy Wonka made bicycles this is one would have come out of the same room as the all day gobsuckers. This bike is very comfortable to ride on the road. The carbon does an excellent job of eating up the road mile after mile. Now its not just the frame that does the job here. Its actually a combination of a few things. Its the carbon frame, the carbon seat post with elastomers, the fork with its elastomers dampeners and finally the shock elastomers in the seat stays. All of this plus a little longer wheel base working together is what gives it that all day feel feel.
Dirt Test Ride
The Specialized Carbon Crux Pro does not climb like other bikes in its price point. The longer wheel base and slacker angels means that the bike does not accelerate as quickly as others but the longer wheel base means that it gives you better traction going up hill. The longer wheel base also gives you more stability as well.Cornering & Handling
Like I said earlier that this bike has a "casual attitude" in the way it handles. Now this is not necessary a bad thing. In cyclocross you are turning yourself inside out and when you do that you lose some hand eye coordination and you can over compensate. the slacker angels on this bike makes it a little easier to keep in on the trail. You don't want to go shooting off into a tree or into the snow fence at a race now. So this bike does not have razor like cornering. It takes a little more effort to go around tight or sharp corners.Ride Feel
Now the over all ride feel was really nice. I'm getting ling in the tooth as we all are. So I was pretty happy with the ride feel that the Carbon Crux Pro gave. It must be all of the items that I listed earlier that takes the edge off the rough stuff and smooth it over so I can focus on putting the power down and getting to the line ASAP. You will definitely feel not as beat up as you would from other bikes that's for sure.
Trainer Test Ride
Race Test Ride
We got to race this bike in more than a few races in the Cross Crusade here in Portland. In the dry, the mud and the rain we put this bike through the ringer. The Specialized Carbon Crux Pro was great right up until my saddle moved. Then it was frustration... Lets talk about the seat post for a min. We love that its a 1 bolt design. This makes adjustments really easy. However, our clamp did move on us several times and we finally had to clamp down on this way more than what we felt comfortable doing. But we got it to stay. Our conversation with Specialized about this didn't reveal anything and Specialized told us that they have not had any reports on this happening.
Another thing that we had to do with this bike was take a piece of duct tape and cover the underside of the saddle. What? Why would you do that? Well the Carbon Crux Pro comes with a Specialized saddle. And don't get me wrong its a nice saddle. But it has a slit down the center of it. Yeah, So? Well at the Hillsboro race there was plenty of mud and a even more abundance of water. We fond that while our tires were shedding mud and water it was also being shot up to us through that slit in the saddle. This may sound like fun to some people but I opted to cover the hole with some duct tape and sure enough that cured it.
Other than these two annoying things the bike was allot of fun to ride and race.
Great Finish on the paint job
Great training wheels
Smooth handling Solid feel, sweet shifting nice feel on the bar and stem.
Stable and very comfortable to race on.
We Didn't Like
The seat post was the bain of our existence on this bike. One more than one occasion we had to stop and get an allen wrench out and re level the saddle and tighten it down. After a few times we believe that we have it tightened down so it wont slip. The amount of force that we had to put on the seat post clamp to get it so the saddle would not pitch was excessive. We may have a oops because we did call specialized and asked them if they were having any problems with this and they said no and I was the only one. Translation I need to go on a diet.
Not very aggressive geometry and that lead to the bike not being as responsive as we would have liked.
A little heavy for the price. For $3,100.00 We feel like you should get a pretty light bike for that chunk of change.
So here is out thoughts on upgrades. If you buy this bike your probably already have a set of light racing wheels for cyclocross. So the Wheels that come with it are going to be training wheels. And I believe that is exactly what I would do. The Wheels are not heavy at 1,625g but they are not supper light either. So I would say that they would be a back up wheel set or a fast training wheel.
Next on our list is cranks. Now this is nothing wrong with the crank that is on this bike. It works fine. But the bike is a little heavy for the price tag for my liking. So upgrading the crank and BB I believe would be an area to look at. With that being said it just depends on how much you want to spend. I would go with a SRAM Force crank set in this instance because its lighter than SRAM Red coming in at 677g vs 709 for the Rival crank. Then I would get a light BB to complement the crank. This will further widen the gram gap between the two cranks while increasing the performance of the bike. This could be a weight savings of 50g or more.
After that the only other thing I would look at changing out on this bike would be the seat post. But that is more of a personal thing. I personally would change it out because of my personal experience with breaking carbon seat posts and my post kept slipping the nose of the saddle up. Getting back to breaking seat post. One thing I did noticed was how much the Specialized seat post flexed while racing. Now this did act like a suspension but I am not use to a seat post that gives quite as much as this one.
The Final Say
The Specialized Carbon Crux Pro offers a great stable ride. You will find that you don't feel uncomfortable going over rough terrain or even descending steep or choppy descents. The trade off is that the bike is not that zippy in how it handles. Look at the geometry will review why the bike rides the way it does. All you have to do is compare the chain stays with the geometry of other cyclocross race bikes to see.
One of the comments that we hear a lot about this bike is that its heavy. Well yes and no. Its heavy for the price tag that it carries. But, you get a really nice set of training wheels with it. Now I said nice training wheel didn't I? We actually love these wheels because not only are they tough and rugged but they are also aero and not that heavy. So If you can afford this bike you probably have a nice set of race wheels to put on it to make it lighter.
So we have been pondering this bike. And we kept asking our self the same question. Why did Specialized make this bike they way that they did? Well every bike company is a business and they make bikes for a certain segment. Why make a $3,100 cyclocross bike with less than racing geometry? Well the answer is in the inserts. This bike was made for the aging master rider. It all adds up. Most of all of the features are there to comfort the rider. The carbon frame, the Zyd inserts in the seat stays and seat post and on the fork.
Bottom line the experienced hard core racers will be a little disappointed with the performance of the Specialized Carbon Crux Pro. But the ageing master racer that wants more comfort and less experienced bike handlers will love the ride.
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