Skip to main content

Pro bike: Rebecca Rusch’s Specialized S-Works Crux

Image 1 of 20

Rusch clinched the women's victory for a second time, finishing the 203-mile gravel road race in 12 hours and 51 minutes

Rusch clinched the women's victory for a second time, finishing the 203-mile gravel road race in 12 hours and 51 minutes (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 2 of 20

This was Rusch's second year racing the Dirty Kanza 200; her weapon of choice was a Specialized S-Works CruX with big tires

This was Rusch's second year racing the Dirty Kanza 200; her weapon of choice was a Specialized S-Works CruX with big tires (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 3 of 20

No Red 22 hydros here, just tried and true Avid BB7 SL mechanical disc brakes

No Red 22 hydros here, just tried and true Avid BB7 SL mechanical disc brakes (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 4 of 20

A small saddle bag just large enough for a couple of tubes and a multi-tool

A small saddle bag just large enough for a couple of tubes and a multi-tool (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 5 of 20

Rusch's tires were marked 'prototype.' According to Rusch, they have an additional layer of flat protection

Rusch's tires were marked 'prototype.' According to Rusch, they have an additional layer of flat protection (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 6 of 20

The 700x38mm Trigger tires have a round profile and fast-rolling tread perfect for ticking off miles of gravel roads

The 700x38mm Trigger tires have a round profile and fast-rolling tread perfect for ticking off miles of gravel roads (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 7 of 20

Plenty of clearance in the fork

Plenty of clearance in the fork (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 8 of 20

The chainstays have decent mud clearance with 38mm-wide tires installed

The chainstays have decent mud clearance with 38mm-wide tires installed (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 9 of 20

Specialized's Roval Rapide CLX 40 Disc is designed as an all-around aero wheelset

Specialized's Roval Rapide CLX 40 Disc is designed as an all-around aero wheelset (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 10 of 20

Comfort is the name of a game for 200 miles of gravel; Rusch runs her handlebar level with her saddle

Comfort is the name of a game for 200 miles of gravel; Rusch runs her handlebar level with her saddle (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 11 of 20

Many riders use a 'Bento box,' a small feed bag mounted to the handlebar or top tube

Many riders use a 'Bento box,' a small feed bag mounted to the handlebar or top tube (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 12 of 20

Rusch runs Crankbrothers' lightweight Eggbeater 11 pedals

Rusch runs Crankbrothers' lightweight Eggbeater 11 pedals (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 13 of 20

Mechanics at Sunflower Outdoor & Bike, in Lawrence, Kansas, created a "finger couch" to support her injured index finger

Mechanics at Sunflower Outdoor & Bike, in Lawrence, Kansas, created a "finger couch" to support her injured index finger (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 14 of 20

Rusch broke her finger while setting a new women's record on the 142-mile Kokopelli trail a month before the DK200

Rusch broke her finger while setting a new women's record on the 142-mile Kokopelli trail a month before the DK200 (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 15 of 20

Rusch was running a Garmin Edge 810

Rusch was running a Garmin Edge 810 (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 16 of 20

Her bike was equipped with SRAM Red 22

Her bike was equipped with SRAM Red 22 (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 17 of 20

Inline barrel adjusters allow her to make minor adjustments on the bike

Inline barrel adjusters allow her to make minor adjustments on the bike (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 18 of 20

Rusch choose to run a 50/34t chainring combo

Rusch choose to run a 50/34t chainring combo (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 19 of 20

The derailleur line is routed through the drive-side chainstay

The derailleur line is routed through the drive-side chainstay (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)
Image 20 of 20

The S-Works CruX uses Specialized's premium carbon

The S-Works CruX uses Specialized's premium carbon (Image credit: Josh Patterson/Future Publishing)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

Gravel racing is a burgeoning discipline in the US, and events such as the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-mile road race through the Flint Hills of Kansas, are starting to draw big crowds and big names. Endurance racer Rebecca Rusch tried her hand last year, finishing third overall and setting a new women’s record in the process. She returned this year to defend her women's title. Her weapon of choice was a Specialized S-Works CruX Disc with a few touches to make it more suited to the rigors of gravel road racing.

Tire choice is key to surviving this event. The gravel in this region of the state is notorious for the razor sharp flint that can shred lightweight tires. Rusch ran a pair of prototype 700x38 Specialized Trigger tires — just enough volume to take the edge of the rough gravel roads. According the Rusch, her tires have an additional layer of protection to guard against punctures.

Her CruX was kitted out with SRAM’s new 11-speed Red 22 group. A 50/34t compact crankset paired with an 11-28t cassette provided enough gearing to power up the many climbs and endure the gusty headwinds. While Red 22 is available with a hydraulic disc option, Rusch opted to run the mechanical version with Avid BB7 SL disc brakes.

Many DK200 racers double-wrap their handlebars or add a layer of gel padding underneath the bar tape to reduce hand fatigue and numbness. Rusch suffered a broken finger while setting a new Kokopelli trail record five weeks earlier. The four-time Leadville Trail 100 winner was worried how her injured index finger would hold up. “The mechanics at Sunflower created a ‘finger couch’ so I could rest my broken finger,” Rusch said.

The injured digit didn’t appear to hold her back. Rusch clinched the women's victory for a second time, finishing the 203-mile race in 12 hours and 51 minutes.

Rusch broke her finger while setting a new women's record on the 142-mile Kokopelli trail a month before the DK200

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Specialized S-Works Crux, 52cm
Fork: Specialized FACT Disc carbon, tapered 1.125-1.375in
Stem: Truvativ Stylo, 100mm
Handlebars: Specialized S-Works Carbon Compact, 40cm
Front brake: Avid BB7 SL w/160mm rotor
Rear brake: Avid BB7 SL w/160mm rotor
Shift/Brake levers: SRAM RED 22 DoubleTap
Front derailleur: SRAM RED 22
Rear derailleur: SRAM RED 22
Cassette: SRAM X-Glide 1190, 11-28t
Chain: SRAM RED 22
Crankset: SRAM RED 50/34t, w/Quarq power meter
Bottom bracket: SRAM PressFit BB30
Pedals: CrankBrothers Eggbeater 11
Wheelset: Roval Rapide CLX 40 Disc
Front tire: Specialized Trigger, 700x38mm
Rear tire: Specialized Trigger, 700x38mm
Saddle: Specialized Oura Pro
Seatpost: Specialized S-Works SL Carbon, 25mm setback
Bottle cages: Specialized Rib Cage Carbon
Computer: Garmin Edge 810 w/Garmin out front mount
Other accessories: Specialized Airtool Carbon frame pump, Specialized Vital Pack and Mini Wedgie frame and saddle bag

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.7m (5ft 7in)
Rider's weight: 61.2kg (135lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 714mm
Saddle setback: 36mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 510mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 470mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 510mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 0 (level)
Head tube length: 125mm
Top tube length: 537mm