This article originally published on BikeRadar
Ben Berden is one of the more colourful racers in the North American cyclo-cross scene. The 2013/2014 'cross season is the Belgian’s third full season of racing in the States. Like the man, Berden’s race bike is one of a kind.
Berden rides a stock 55cm Raleigh RXC Pro frameset. This is Raleigh’s flagship cyclo-cross bike, and it remains largely unchanged from last season. The RXC Pro bucks the low and slack trend, sticking to more traditional cyclo-cross geometry with a 72-degree head tube and bottom bracket with only 55mm of drop.
Cranked up to 11
Ben Berden may ride an off-the-shelf frameset, but his components are far from stock. Berden has long been a fan of single-chainring drivetrains for cyclo-cross. Last season the Belgian ran a 1x10 Shimano Ultegra Di2 setup. This season Berden adds one more cog to his drivetrain by upgrading to 6800 series Ultegra. He still favors electronic shifting—both the right and left STI levers are programmed to operate the rear derailleur.
Berden runs a single 42T FSA chainring with a K-Edge braze-on mounted Chain Keeper paired with K-Edge Cross Ring Guard for chain retention. At the rear he runs an 11-28T Dura-Ace CS-9000 cassette.
Raleigh-Clement team mechanic James Sullivan notes that the team has also been experimenting with Wolf Tooth Components’ stepped chainrings. Much like the dedicated 1x chainrings offered by SRAM and RaceFace, the alternating width of the teeth aids chain retention.
Last season Berden ran TRP’s Parabox cable-hydraulic hybrid braking system, which uses a pair of master cylinders that mount to the bike’s steerer tube much like a spacer. TRP has developed a lighter system (that does not interfere with stack height) in the new HY/RD. TRP’s latest cable-hydraulic hybrid braking system moves the master cylinder to the braking caliper itself.
Other significant changes to Berden’s setup include switching to FSA SL-K crankarms from Dura-Ace and the addition of a stock Vision Metron 40 Disc tubular wheelset in place of the custom wheelset (24-hole White Industries hubs laced to FSA SL-K carbon rims) he ran last season.
Berden has also traded his Fi’zi:k Tundra for a Pro Prologo Zero—still with a rather nose-up position. “He doesn’t run his saddle quite as nose-up as last season,” mused Sullivan.
The Vision Metron 40 Disc wheels replace the custom wheelset Berden ran last season