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Pro bike: Todd Wells' Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon

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Todd Wells (Specialized) made the switch to a carbon fiber frame this season.

Todd Wells (Specialized) made the switch to a carbon fiber frame this season.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes are used front and rear. Todd Wells (Specialized) has experimented with disc brakes in the past but he says he's waiting for hydraulic systems to be developed.

Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes are used front and rear. Todd Wells (Specialized) has experimented with disc brakes in the past but he says he's waiting for hydraulic systems to be developed.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Clearance through the carbon fiber fork is impressively generous.

Clearance through the carbon fiber fork is impressively generous.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Standard road pad holders are used instead of the standard Avid Shorty Ultimate ones in order to clear the wide-profile Zipp 303 rims.

Standard road pad holders are used instead of the standard Avid Shorty Ultimate ones in order to clear the wide-profile Zipp 303 rims.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The signature of Todd Wells' (Specialized) mechanic, Joe Devera.

The signature of Todd Wells' (Specialized) mechanic, Joe Devera.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' (Specialized) Zipp hubs feature adjustable bearing preload.

Todd Wells' (Specialized) Zipp hubs feature adjustable bearing preload.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) uses a Specialized Phenom saddle (143mm width) and a carbon fiber seatpost.

Todd Wells (Specialized) uses a Specialized Phenom saddle (143mm width) and a carbon fiber seatpost.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Specialized FACT carbon fiber crankarm is fitted with SRAM 46/39T chainrings.

The Specialized FACT carbon fiber crankarm is fitted with SRAM 46/39T chainrings.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) puts the power down though a set of Shimano XTR pedals.

Todd Wells (Specialized) puts the power down though a set of Shimano XTR pedals.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' (Specialized) bike is fitted with a previous-generation SRAM Red front derailleur and a steel cage instead of the stock titanium one.

Todd Wells' (Specialized) bike is fitted with a previous-generation SRAM Red front derailleur and a steel cage instead of the stock titanium one.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The SRAM Red rear derailleur moves the PC-1091 chain across a PG-1071 cassette.

The SRAM Red rear derailleur moves the PC-1091 chain across a PG-1071 cassette.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) has his choice of three different Specialized 'cross tubulars, all glued to Zipp 303 carbon fiber tubular rims.

Todd Wells (Specialized) has his choice of three different Specialized 'cross tubulars, all glued to Zipp 303 carbon fiber tubular rims.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized Phenom saddle sports carbon fiber rails.

Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized Phenom saddle sports carbon fiber rails.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Stout carbon fiber fork legs, a tapered steerer, and a crown-mounted housing stop all work together to combat brake shudder.

Stout carbon fiber fork legs, a tapered steerer, and a crown-mounted housing stop all work together to combat brake shudder.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Textured Specialized handlebar tape offers a little more grip when things get wet and muddy.

Textured Specialized handlebar tape offers a little more grip when things get wet and muddy.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A Specialized S-Works classic-bend carbon fiber handlebar is clamped in a forged aluminum stem.

A Specialized S-Works classic-bend carbon fiber handlebar is clamped in a forged aluminum stem.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Unlike Specialized's previous carbon fiber CruX (which was just a rebadged TriCross), the current CruX Carbon has proper cyclo-cross race geometry.

Unlike Specialized's previous carbon fiber CruX (which was just a rebadged TriCross), the current CruX Carbon has proper cyclo-cross race geometry.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Internal routing helps keep the lines clean on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon.

Internal routing helps keep the lines clean on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The bottom of the down tube features a slight indentation that's designed to provide a firm grip.

The bottom of the down tube features a slight indentation that's designed to provide a firm grip.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The curved top tube is very flattened on the underside to ease the pain of shouldering.

The curved top tube is very flattened on the underside to ease the pain of shouldering.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized skips over fancy seat stay shaping in favor of a more straightforward setup.

Specialized skips over fancy seat stay shaping in favor of a more straightforward setup.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tire clearance is generous through the seat stays.

Tire clearance is generous through the seat stays.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon frame includes ports for electronic drivetrains.

Todd Wells' Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon frame includes ports for electronic drivetrains.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rear Zipp hub is secured in between carbon fiber dropouts.

The rear Zipp hub is secured in between carbon fiber dropouts.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The seat tube starts out round up top but ends up rectangular down below.

The seat tube starts out round up top but ends up rectangular down below.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tapered head tube sports the same hourglass profile as Specialized's Tarmac road range.

The tapered head tube sports the same hourglass profile as Specialized's Tarmac road range.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) uses a classic-bend handlebar on his CruX Carbon cyclo-cross bike.

Todd Wells (Specialized) uses a classic-bend handlebar on his CruX Carbon cyclo-cross bike.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon is fitted with a SRAM Red group.

Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon is fitted with a SRAM Red group.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized team mechanic Joe Devera's nickname is 'Spider Monkey'. As far as we're aware, he doesn't have a prehensile tail.

Specialized team mechanic Joe Devera's nickname is 'Spider Monkey'. As far as we're aware, he doesn't have a prehensile tail.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

After two seasons on an aluminum Specialized CruX, three-time US national cyclo-cross champion Todd Wells has made the move to an all-new carbon fiber chassis for the 2012-2013 season. While his new ride is lighter than last year's bike, Wells says it's the added stiffness he notices most.

"I feel like the carbon in the rear makes the bike accelerate better," he told BikeRadar. "It's stiffer so I feel like when I stand up coming out of corners it has a bit more snap. With the aluminum bike, the geometry became more racy with shorter stays so it also felt faster than the original carbon cyclo-cross bike [the Specialized S-Works Tricross] and now that they have the CruX in the carbon version with the aluminum geometry from the previous years that we've developed, that's the biggest difference for me."

Not surprisingly, moving from aluminum to carbon fiber has also lopped off a significant amount of weight, especially given Wells' larger 58cm frame size. In combination with the latest SRAM Red parts, Wells' new bike is a whopping 610g (1.34lb) lighter than the one he used last year. Total weight as pictured is an impressive 7.29kg (16.07lb).

Many would expect the carbon fiber to offer a more forgiving ride, too, but Wells says he hasn't noticed much of a difference in ride quality on bumpy courses. Mud clearance, however, is exceptional all around with nearly a finger's worth of space around the wide-set fork crown, seat stays, and chain stays.

The build kit on Wells' bike is notably straightforward with no exotic components or hidden go-fast goodies we could find. Included in the list are SRAM's latest Red levers and rear derailleur, a previous generation SRAM Red front derailleur with a steel cage, a SRAM PG-1071 cassette and PC-1091 chain, a Specialized FACT carbon crankset with SRAM 46/39T chainrings, Shimano XTR pedals, and Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon wheels wrapped with Specialized tubular tires.

Specialized also provided the finishing kit, including a Phenom Pro saddle with carbon rails, a two-bolt carbon fiber seatpost, a forged aluminum stem, a classic-bend carbon handlebar, and grippy S-Wrap Roubaix tape.

Wells was still to make a final decision on tread and pressure but for the muddy Colorado Cross Classic at the Boulder Reservoir, he ran Specialized's most aggressive Terra pattern with 30psi out back and 25psi out front.

At least for now, Wells is continuing to stick with Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, retrofitted with lower-profile road cartridge pad holders to accommodate the Zipp 303 Firecrest's wider rims and Zipp Tangente Platinum Pro carbon-specific pads. According to Wells, though, that's mostly a pragmatic decision based on current availability of compatible hardware.

"I ran some disc brakes last year and just starting out this year, I was waiting for the hydraulic discs to come out before I switched over," he said. "I think once they get the disc brakes completely figured out and they're light and they work as well as the mountain bike brakes, then I think everyone will run discs."

BikeRadar also broke some unfortunate news to Wells: his preferred Gore Ride-On Professional System cables are soon to be no more. "It's almost like worrying about the shifting is gone with those Gore cables, and not just for cyclo-cross, but for some of these mountain bike stage races," he said. "You can run those cables for so long and they work so well."

Wells finished sixth at Sunday's Boulder Cup and was set to depart shortly after for La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica.

Plenty of clearance at the front end

Complete bike specifications

Frame : Specialized S-Works CruX Carbon, 58cm
Fork : Specialized S-Works CruX
Headset : Cane Creek integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 3/8" tapered
Stem : Specialized Pro-Set, 120mm x -8°
Handlebars : Specialized S-Works SL Classic Carbon, 44cm (c-c)
Tape/grips : Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix
Front brake : Avid Shorty Ultimate w/ Zipp Tangente Platinum Pro pads
Rear brake : Avid Shorty Ultimate w/ Zipp Tangente Platinum Pro pads
Brake levers : SRAM Red 2012 DoubleTap
Front derailleur : SRAM Red w/ steel cage
Rear derailleur : SRAM Red 2012
Shift levers : SRAM Red 2012 DoubleTap
Cassette : SRAM PG-1071, 11-26T
Chain : SRAM PC-1091
Crankset : Specialized S-Works Carbon w/ SRAM 46/39T chainrings
Bottom bracket : Specialized OS Integrated
Pedals : Shimano XTR PD-M980
Wheelset : Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular
Front tire : Specialized Terra tubular, 33mm
Rear tire : Specialized Terra tubular, 33mm
Saddle : Specialized Phenom Pro, 143mm
Seat post : Specialized S-Works SL Carbon 2-Bolt
Bottle cages : Specialized Rib Cage
Computer : n/a
Other accessories : Gore Ride-On Professional System derailleur cables and housing

Critical measurements

Rider's height : 1.88m (6' 2")
Rider's weight : 79.3kg (175lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t) : 788mm
Saddle setback : 112mm
Seat tube length, c-t : 565mm
Seat tube length, c-c : 520mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem) : 601mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical) : 79mm
Head tube length : 170mm
Top tube length : 570mm
Total bicycle weight : 7.29kg (16.07lb) with bottle cage