This article originally published on BikeRadar
Reigning US cyclo-cross champion Jeremy Powers has been on a tear this season, winning US event CrossVegas, racking up numerous USGP (US Gran Prix of Cyclocross) wins and finishing seventh at the first stop on this season’s UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Tábor, Czech Republic. That's the best World Cup finish for an American men's elite cyclo-cross racer to date.
Powers is one of a growing number of elite riders making the switch to disc brakes this season. The 29-year-old, from Niantic, Connecticut, first raced his prototype Focus Mares Disc at the USGP in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he won in both the Saturday and Sunday races.
The bike’s geometry is identical to that of its cantilever counterpart. Focus breaks from the cookie-cutter geometry of many other ’cross bikes with a slack 70-degree head tube angle, a low bottom bracket with 70mm of drop, and short, 425mm chainstays. You can read more about Jeremy Powers’ cantilever-equipped race bike here.
Component spec is identical between the disc and cantilever bikes, save for the brakes and wheels. Avid’s recently released BB7 Road SL brakes replace Avid’s extremely capable – by cantilever standards – Shorty Ultimate brakes.
Powers’ wheels are a mash-up of top-shelf Easton road and mountain parts. The rims are custom 38mm-deep, 24-hole EA90 tubular rims laced to the M1 disc hubs found on the company’s EC90 XC wheelset.
As for tires, Powers alternates between various Dugast treads, depending on conditions. When we caught up with Powers in Fort Collins his wheels were clad in Typhoon rubber for the relatively dry, hardpacked course.
Race mechanic Thomas Hopper noted that Powers generally runs 26psi at the front and 27psi on the rear for dry conditions, and drops the pressure ever so slightly to 25.5psi on the front and 26psi at the rear for wet races.
While the carbon frameset and wheels are certainly lightweight and lust worthy, the cockpit is a no-frills combination of EA70 handlebar and seatpost with EA90 stem. “We spend a lot of time traveling across the United States and Europe,” said Hopper. “The reliability and durability of aluminum components is very important.”
No word yet on pricing or availability of the production version of the carbon Mares Disc.
The latest iteration of SRAM Red is more cyclo-cross friendly