**Disclaimer: I am sponsored by the companies I mention in the article. However, I believe 100% in everything I stated in here. No company asked me to write this article or say something in particular about their products. I partner with these companies because I truly like their products.
There are a lot of “bike check” articles out there, and to be honest, I hardly ever read them. That being said, I don’t really know what you are supposed to write in your bike check article, so I’ll just create my own.
I think my bike is pretty cool, and I often get questions on the set up of the bike, so I figured I would introduce the bike to all of you!
Model: Specialized Crux Expert. This is the same carbon frame as the S-Works model, except it comes built differently. I ride size 49cm.
Front/Rear 12mm Thru Axle (100mm wide in front, 142mm rear)
Made with the “Rider-First Engineering” which means the lay-up and the tube shapes of each size frame are refined accros the size range to accommodate to the requirements of different height/weight of the cyclist.
Wheels: I switch between Roval CLX32 and CLX50 tubular wheels
Weight: 16.2 lbs (fully built, pedals included)
Tires: Challenge Tubulars Team Edition. The treads I use the most are Chicane, Baby Limus, and Limus. Sometimes I use the Grifo, and I’ve heard the sandy Koksjide World Cup will demand the help of the Dune…
Derailleur: SRAM Force 1 medium cage
Shift Levers: SRAM Force 1, hydraulic disc
Brakes: SRAM Force 1, flat mount-disc
Cassette: SRAM PG1170, 11-32T
Crankset: Quarq D-Zero Carbon power meter
Chainrings: 38T, 40T and sometimes 42T
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL-70, Aluminum, 42cm (250g)
Stem: Zipp Service Course SL, 90mm
Seatpost: Zipp SL Speed (20mm setback)
Saddle: S-Works Power 143mm (159g)
Computer mount: K-Edge Garmin Race mount (32g)
A few of my favorite things…
It is light: Every time I come to lift the bike over the barriers, or put it on my shoulder for a running section, I’m surprised at how easy it is to lift it. Sometimes I even catch myself thinking: “What a pleasant surprise!” And I promise this is not because my arms suddenly got so much stronger… I have 2 nicknames when doing strength training: “Noodle arms” or “The microbe”.
The big hoods: I have fairly small hands. When I switched to SRAM this year, I was afraid my hands would be too small for the hoods, because they were much bigger than what I was used to ride. But guess what?! I absolutely LOVE them. I feel like the bigs hoods gives me so much control when riding in the trails or in technical sections, because I feel I have a super solid grip on the bike.
That one extra cog: I run the 1x drive train with a 11-32T cassette. I used to run a 11-30T cassette. But the 32T actually makes hills that much easier to get over. Who doesn’t like an easier hill?!
The Wheels: Seriously, the first few times I rode those I felt like I constantly had tailwind. Wether it is because they are stiff and responsive, or light, or the bearings are great, or all of those reasons, I don’t know! But who doesn’t like a good tailwind?!
Little story: At one race, I smashed my wheel really, really hard on a curb. After the race, we realized I had banged it so hard that the carbon rim cracked a little bit. The wonderful thing is that the wheel stayed straight as an arrow and never weakened, which allowed me to finish the race without even realizing something had happened to the wheel, and therefore, take the win. That day, I realized I can really have confidence in my wheels, which is such a great feeling! I broke wheels before, and trust me, I realized it ;)
Tires: They are supple and very resistant. Challenge Tires also makes many tread options, which makes it easy to find the perfect tread for every condition. Also, I still haven’t flatted all season, even if I tend to hit the rim pretty hard at times…(fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx myself!)
Little story: That day when I broke my wheel in the race, my tire did not lose one single psi…if that is not “tough” I don’t know what it is! It sure gives me confidence that if I push my limits in races, the tires will have my back.
Power Meter: I like to train with power. And although I know that having the best power doesn’t mean you will win races, and that going harder doesn’t always mean faster, I still think a power meter is a great tool to measure progress in a very accurate and honest way. This year, I chose to put the Quarq D-Zero power meter (by SRAM) even on my race bikes, because it doesn’t even add weight to the bike (579g vs 679g for the SRAM Force 1 crank) and I can collect the data.
Something cool: You can change the chain ring without un-calibrating the power meter.
Something cooler: However, if you really want to make sure it is properly calibrate, you only have to back-pedal 5 times to re-calibrate it. That feature just added a week to my life with all the time saved by this calibration system!
Specialized is big with the details. They pay attention to every small details, which add up to make a difference when the bike is completed. Everything they make has been developed by highly skilled engineers with feedback from riders and that gives me a lot of confidence and trust in the products. But they go one step further, adding cool details hidden here and there. I’ve heard that in the design world, those are called “easter eggs”. I love easter eggs…
Another detail I like is the little “lock pin” on the SRAM derailleur. I sometimes struggle putting the rear wheel back on, but this locks the derailleur in place, out of the way, and takes off the tension on the chain, making the job way easier!
What the mechanic likes
How the bike feels when riding is one thing. But how easy it is to work on is another thing. Here are some of David’s favorite things about the bike.
The standards: The bike has all the industry standard specifications. 12mm axles, regular 27.2mm seatpost, BB30 bottom bracket. This makes it very easy to work on and makes the integration with Sram Force 1 perfect. It’s also a good thing if you travel a lot and might need to find replacement part at the very last moment.
The cables: The internal cable routing is very, very well done. Cables and housing slide in and out of the frame very easily without having to guide them with all sorts of magical tricks. They also come in and out of the frame at perfect spots, so no tight curves or weird cable loops!
Tires and Wheels: The Challenge tubular / Roval wheel combo is amazing. The wheels turn forever, they stay straight even after the strongest of hit. The tubulars are very flexible, the wheels a little wider then other industry leading brand it makes it VERY easy to mount tubulars on without making a mess. Even setting the tubular straight is an easier job on these wheels. With the Team Edition tubular, you don’t even have to seal the sidewalls!
Clincher wheels: The clincher wheels we use for training (C38 Disc) will mount most tires tubeless without the need of a compressor, which is a big plus for me.
Zipp Components: The Zipp components are light, stiff & have some very clear position guidelines. It’s much easier to setup the three bikes exactly the same when the components have lines/degrees/position markers on them.
The paint: Last but not least, even if the colour of the bike is bright and light, the paint is strong and cleans very easily. Even after a whole lot of muddy races, the bikes still look new!