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Pro bike: Jeremy Powers' Focus Mares CX

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Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) has a fleet of red-white-and-blue Focus Mares CX carbon 'cross racers to celebrate his status as the current US national champion

Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) has a fleet of red-white-and-blue Focus Mares CX carbon 'cross racers to celebrate his status as the current US national champion
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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While nearly all SRAM-sponsored racers using the new Force CX1 group are on the matching crank, but Jeremy Powers uses the lighter Red 22 BB30 model to give him some necessary heel clearance

While nearly all SRAM-sponsored racers using the new Force CX1 group are on the matching crank, but Jeremy Powers uses the lighter Red 22 BB30 model to give him some necessary heel clearance
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The new Focus Mares CX has moulded-in threads for a chainguide

The new Focus Mares CX has moulded-in threads for a chainguide
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The SRAM Force CX1 rear derailleur might look a bit chunky to some - that's likely a consequence of it essentially being a resized version of SRAM's XX1 mountain bike rear derailleur

The SRAM Force CX1 rear derailleur might look a bit chunky to some - that's likely a consequence of it essentially being a resized version of SRAM's XX1 mountain bike rear derailleur
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The SRAM 11-32T cassette provides a reasonable amount of total range for 'cross racing when paired with a single chainring

The SRAM 11-32T cassette provides a reasonable amount of total range for 'cross racing when paired with a single chainring
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Zipp's prototype thru-axle hubs feature 24 straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes front and rear

Zipp's prototype thru-axle hubs feature 24 straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes front and rear
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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A fi'zi:k Aliante VS saddle with carbon rails and a carbon shell is secured to a Zipp SLSpeed seatpost

A fi'zi:k Aliante VS saddle with carbon rails and a carbon shell is secured to a Zipp SLSpeed seatpost
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Focus has sized the Mares CX for 160mm rotors front and rear

Focus has sized the Mares CX for 160mm rotors front and rear
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The SRAM Red 22 crankset is purpose-built for BB/PF30 bottom brackets and provides much more heel clearance than the Force CX1 model, which has a longer spindle to work with BB386EVO shells

The SRAM Red 22 crankset is purpose-built for BB/PF30 bottom brackets and provides much more heel clearance than the Force CX1 model, which has a longer spindle to work with BB386EVO shells
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Pro mechanics take pride in their work too. Jeremy Powers' bike is tuned by former Garmin road mechanic Tom Hopper

Pro mechanics take pride in their work too. Jeremy Powers' bike is tuned by former Garmin road mechanic Tom Hopper
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The squared-off head tube surrounds a 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered steerer

The squared-off head tube surrounds a 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered steerer
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Focus didn't just include thru-axles on its new Mares CX; it developed its own skewer, which requires just a flip of the lever and a single quarter-turn for installation or removal

Focus didn't just include thru-axles on its new Mares CX; it developed its own skewer, which requires just a flip of the lever and a single quarter-turn for installation or removal
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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FMB's Super Mud tyre tread has fast become a favourite for racers who have tried it

FMB's Super Mud tyre tread has fast become a favourite for racers who have tried it
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The pink FMB sidewalls may look like they are just for show but it's actually a latex coating that not only reinforces the casing from abrasion and water but also allows for lower air pressures

The pink FMB sidewalls may look like they are just for show but it's actually a latex coating that not only reinforces the casing from abrasion and water but also allows for lower air pressures
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is one of the most successful American cyclocross racers ever - and he's more fired up than ever to battle on European soil

Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is one of the most successful American cyclocross racers ever - and he's more fired up than ever to battle on European soil
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Not many racers have personal logos as recognisable as this one

Not many racers have personal logos as recognisable as this one
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Jeremy Powers is using ex-American presidents to mark race wins this year

Jeremy Powers is using ex-American presidents to mark race wins this year
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Even the finishing tape gets into the patriotic theme. Note the tiny bit of silver paint used to mark the bar position in the stem

Even the finishing tape gets into the patriotic theme. Note the tiny bit of silver paint used to mark the bar position in the stem
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Focus is ahead of the curve in terms of cyclocross frame design with the new Mares CX featuring not only disc brakes but thru-axles with slick quick-release skewers

Focus is ahead of the curve in terms of cyclocross frame design with the new Mares CX featuring not only disc brakes but thru-axles with slick quick-release skewers
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The meaty carbon fibre dropouts use a tubular construction all the way from the chain stays through to the seat stays

The meaty carbon fibre dropouts use a tubular construction all the way from the chain stays through to the seat stays
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Even the Crankbrothers Candy 3 pedals are custom coloured

Even the Crankbrothers Candy 3 pedals are custom coloured
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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White handlebar tape may not be everyone's first choice, but the slick surface makes for easier cleaning

White handlebar tape may not be everyone's first choice, but the slick surface makes for easier cleaning
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is using SRAM's new Force CX1 group

Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is using SRAM's new Force CX1 group
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The all-Zipp cockpit includes an aluminium Service Course SL stem and carbon fibre SL bar

The all-Zipp cockpit includes an aluminium Service Course SL stem and carbon fibre SL bar
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is using prototype Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc wheels built around thru-axle hubs. Neither the team nor SRAM would comment but the appearance looks very production-like

Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is using prototype Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc wheels built around thru-axle hubs. Neither the team nor SRAM would comment but the appearance looks very production-like
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) has three different ex-US president stickers to mark race wins (all printed by Victory Circle Graphix): George Washington for UCI C2 races, Abraham Lincoln for UCI C1 events, and Ulysses S Grant for UCI World Cups

Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) has three different ex-US president stickers to mark race wins (all printed by Victory Circle Graphix): George Washington for UCI C2 races, Abraham Lincoln for UCI C1 events, and Ulysses S Grant for UCI World Cups
(Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

After a dominant victory at the US national championships last January, Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) now gets to the enjoy the spoils of that win by flying the red, white, and blue all season.

'J-Pow' is off to a strong start, too, with a third place finish at CrossVegas and two more wins just days later in Boulder, Colorado.

Powers' new Focus Mares CX certainly isn't subtle about its patriotic motif with the stars and stripes adorning nearly every corner of the frame and fork: around the head tube, at the bottom of the fork blades, and back by the rear dropouts, plus red, white and blue accents on the down tube, seat tube and seat stays. There's even matching tape finishing the bar wrap and marking the saddle height.

The stars-and-stripes motif is used throughout the bike

Component sponsors have gotten into the game as well with a red-and-white fi'zi:k Aliante VS saddle and custom-configured red-and-blue Crankbrothers Candy 11 pedals. In fact, the only departures from the theme are the bright pink sidewalls on the FMB Super Mud tubular tyres.

As if that weren't enough, Powers and mechanic Tom Hopper have adopted a novel way to record race wins this year, too. Bikes used to notch UCI C2 victories get a little visage of former US president George Washington on the seat tube, while UCI C1 wins get an Honest Abe sticker instead. UCI World Cups earn a portrait of Ulysses S Grant.

Perhaps as a sign of how he is feeling this season, Powers had sponsor Victory Circle Graphix print up quite a few of each.

We expect to see a lot more of these stickers applied to Powers' bikes as the season progresses

Powers may have been looking to the past when it comes to notching his victories, but his bike is undoubtedly looking ahead. Focus's latest Mares CX has adopted a more engineering-centric approach to its design this year. Nominally round tube profiles and higher grade carbon fibre boosts pedaling efficiency while the slimmed-down seat stays and fork blades supposedly lend themselves to a smoother ride than its predecessor.

Notably, the 1.4kg chassis is said to be nearly 400g (0.88lb) lighter than last year's model.

Focus says the new frame's more efficient design has yielded roughly 300g in weight savings compared to the previous edition

In addition to the stiffness, weight and ride quality gains, Focus has also unabashedly baked some thoroughly modern features into the bike's design. Disc brakes are included front and rear, the PF30 bottom bracket shell incorporates ISCG05 tabs for an optional chainguide, and both wheels are secured with thru-axles.

Focus has even headed off complaints about slow wheel changes with its clever Rapid Axle Technology (RAT) dropout design, which requires just a flick of the lever and a quarter-turn to remove each skewer, making it nearly as a fast as a traditional quick-release but with the inherent stiffness and rotor alignment advantages that a thru-axle provides.

Special dropouts make the Focus RAT thru-axle system anything but slow to operate

Componentry is on the cutting edge of technology, too, including SRAM's new Force CX1 1x11 cyclocross drivetrain and matching hydraulic disc brakes – but with narrower (and substantially lighter) Red 22 cranks to provide more clearance for Powers' big feet. SRAM has provided the national champion with prototype Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc carbon tubular wheels as well, complete with oversized thru-axle hubs that neither the company nor anyone on the team were willing to talk about.

11 gears, no waiting