Skip to main content

Jonathan Page's Planet Bike Blue Norcross

Image 1 of 31

The underside of the top tube is slightly flattened for easier shouldering.

The underside of the top tube is slightly flattened for easier shouldering.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 31

Edge Composites' carbon bar features a versatile semi-anatomic bend.

Edge Composites' carbon bar features a versatile semi-anatomic bend.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 3 of 31

The unused bottle mounts are plugged with flat head screws that normally fill in the toe stud holes of Page's Specialized shoes.

The unused bottle mounts are plugged with flat head screws that normally fill in the toe stud holes of Page's Specialized shoes.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 4 of 31

The stoutly reinforced bottom bracket area connects to wishbone-style chain stays.

The stoutly reinforced bottom bracket area connects to wishbone-style chain stays.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 31

Page uses TRP's popular - and featherlight - EuroX Magnesium wide-profile cantilevers with carbon-specific pads.

Page uses TRP's popular - and featherlight - EuroX Magnesium wide-profile cantilevers with carbon-specific pads.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 31

Page runs the straddle carrier rather high up front.

Page runs the straddle carrier rather high up front.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 31

Shimano's latest Dura-Ace revision includes an extra-wide ratio 11-27T cassette as seen here.

Shimano's latest Dura-Ace revision includes an extra-wide ratio 11-27T cassette as seen here.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 31

Chain stays closely follow the sides of the wheel for extra ankle clearance.

Chain stays closely follow the sides of the wheel for extra ankle clearance.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 31

Page runs an ultralight cockpit setup from Edge Composites.

Page runs an ultralight cockpit setup from Edge Composites.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 10 of 31

A Dura-Ace 7800-generation 48T outer ring is affixed to the 7900 crankset.

A Dura-Ace 7800-generation 48T outer ring is affixed to the 7900 crankset.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 11 of 31

Page says his new Blue Norcross is like a "night and day" difference in terms of stiffness relative to its CXC predecessor.

Page says his new Blue Norcross is like a "night and day" difference in terms of stiffness relative to its CXC predecessor.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 12 of 31

The tapered carbon fork features an enormous crown and stout blades for chatter-free braking.

The tapered carbon fork features an enormous crown and stout blades for chatter-free braking.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 13 of 31

Lawyer tabs' on the fork are filed off for faster wheel changes.

Lawyer tabs' on the fork are filed off for faster wheel changes.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 14 of 31

Page bypasses the stock noodle on the steerer-mounted housing stop for a smoother cable path and uses just one set screw to lock in the centering adjustment.

Page bypasses the stock noodle on the steerer-mounted housing stop for a smoother cable path and uses just one set screw to lock in the centering adjustment.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 15 of 31

A new Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 clamp-on front derailleur moves the chain from ring to ring.

A new Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 clamp-on front derailleur moves the chain from ring to ring.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 16 of 31

Page's Edge Composites wheels are built around DT Swiss 240s hubs.

Page's Edge Composites wheels are built around DT Swiss 240s hubs.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 17 of 31

American 'cross racer Jonathan Page spends most of his time competing in Europe aboard a new Blue Norcross designed specifically around his needs.

American 'cross racer Jonathan Page spends most of his time competing in Europe aboard a new Blue Norcross designed specifically around his needs.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 18 of 31

Page's rolled tubulars earlier this year were actually on borrowed wheels - he says he's much more careful when gluing tires himself.

Page's rolled tubulars earlier this year were actually on borrowed wheels - he says he's much more careful when gluing tires himself.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 19 of 31

The Norcross features a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end for extra steering precision and to help combat brake chatter.

The Norcross features a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end for extra steering precision and to help combat brake chatter.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 20 of 31

Page is using Shimano's latest Dura-Ace 7900 mechanical group.

Page is using Shimano's latest Dura-Ace 7900 mechanical group.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 21 of 31

Page favors Shimano XTR pedals for their bombproof durability.

Page favors Shimano XTR pedals for their bombproof durability.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 22 of 31

The rear brake adjuster is borrowed from an old Shimano derailleur.

The rear brake adjuster is borrowed from an old Shimano derailleur.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 23 of 31

The rear derailleur is attaches to a replaceable hanger and carbon dropouts.

The rear derailleur is attaches to a replaceable hanger and carbon dropouts.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 24 of 31

Edge Composites supplies Page with an extra-strong version of its 25mm-deep carbon tubular rims.

Edge Composites supplies Page with an extra-strong version of its 25mm-deep carbon tubular rims.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 25 of 31

Top tube cable routing reduces mud build-up on the down tube.

Top tube cable routing reduces mud build-up on the down tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 26 of 31

Seat stays stay split all the way up to the seat tube.

Seat stays stay split all the way up to the seat tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 27 of 31

Page's PRO Griffon saddle is set way back on the rails.

Page's PRO Griffon saddle is set way back on the rails.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 28 of 31

Wheels are built with Sapim CX-Ray stainless steel spokes.

Wheels are built with Sapim CX-Ray stainless steel spokes.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 29 of 31

Edge Composites' carbon fiber stem reportedly weighs just 120g.

Edge Composites' carbon fiber stem reportedly weighs just 120g.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 30 of 31

The grippy bar tape is finished off with Edge Composites' own bullet-shaped caps.

The grippy bar tape is finished off with Edge Composites' own bullet-shaped caps.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 31 of 31

Page prefers the aggressive 3mm-tall knobs on the Dugast Rhino tires for muddy conditions.

Page prefers the aggressive 3mm-tall knobs on the Dugast Rhino tires for muddy conditions.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) has only just completed his first full calendar year under new bike sponsor Blue Competition Cycles but the short relationship has already begun to bear fruit in the form of an all-new full-carbon chassis designed around the American 'cross racer's specific needs and wants.

Unlike the CXc model that Page started out on last December, which used carbon tubes bonded into aluminum lugs, his new Norcross is a full-carbon chassis built with tube-to-tube construction. Of course, this makes the new model lighter – estimated frame weight is just 1,150g or so – but Page puts even more emphasis on the more aggressive tube shaping, saying the new bike is like a "night and day" difference in terms of pedaling and handling responsiveness.

As compared to that CXc, the Norcross features larger diameter main tubes, far taller and stouter chain stays, and a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end with a correspondingly oversized all-carbon fork that Page says runs chatter-free even under hard braking. The previous wishbone-style seat stays give way to full-length twin stays, too, and the top tube is also wider and flatter than before for improved torsional rigidity and shouldering comfort.

Blue also incorporated Page's feedback into the new Norcross geometry. According to Page, "just the basic angle of the [CXc] was too far forward." As a result, the head tube was lengthened to better position his center of gravity and lend the new machine more balanced handling, while the front end continues to use his preferred quick-handling characteristics.

Page’s machines are identical to consumer versions in tube shapes, fiber lay-ups and materials but for one key difference: custom geometry afforded by the flexible tube-to-tube construction allows for a slightly shorter top tube than Blue’s standard medium size.

"He really liked the geometry of the MD size but wanted a shorter top tube of 53cm effective," said Blue product development manager Chris Pic. "So we named the frame size MDSTT (MD short top tube)."

The build kit is expectedly high-end and results in an impressive 7.22kg (15.92lb) total weight. Drivetrain and transmission components come courtesy of Shimano's new Dura-Ace 7900 group (but with a more 'cross-appropriate 48T ring from the older 7800 group), braking power is provided by ultralight TRP EuroX Magnesium wide-profile brakes, tires are from renowned maker Dugast, and pedals are Shimano's bombproof XTR model.

Utah-based Edge Composites infuses Page's build kit with even more carbon fiber, including the feathery seatpost with its clever one-bolt head, stout stem, and semi-anatomic bar with flattened tops and rounded ends. Bucking the trend of deep-section rims, Edge also supplied Page with special extra-strong versions of its shallow 25mm carbon tubulars just days before he took the start line at the recent US national championships in Bend, Oregon.

"I'd ridden the same type of wheel, the 25, but this is a stronger lay-up than their original," said Page. "I don’t particularly like deep-dish wheels; I can feel the ground better with a shallower rim. I can understand [using them] in snow or sand but for all the other ones it doesn't really matter. Of course, I think they're stiff, too, but if they're too stiff then you have other issues. You have to get your tire pressures exactly, exactly right."

 

Speaking of tires, avid 'cross readers will recall Page suffering a spat of rolled tires earlier this season but he said those were unfortunately the result of borrowed wheels since he didn't have his full complement of wheels with him at that time. He added that he wouldn't be making that mistake again, though, and he's far more meticulous about gluing his own tires.

Even so, he says he still prefers leaving mechanical work to someone else. The realities of his relatively small-scale European operation often dictate otherwise, though, but at least he's at ease with the potential consequences.

"I try not to [do my own work]!" he said. "Frankie, my mechanic and friend in Belgium, does the work at the races and if I have a bad race where I flat a couple of times maybe he'll be able to take care of a few things but I tend to end up doing a lot of things during the week on my bicycles which isn't bad. If I screw up, at least I know it's just me and no one else."

Complete bike specifications: