For Sunday's Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas, there's no doubting the entry list was a star-studded one, and while Canyon-SRAM's Tiffany Cromwell and her Formula-One-racing-driver partner, Valteri Bottas, would have undoubtedly turned heads, it was Belgium's Remco Evenepoel, fresh from a season on the road, that would create the largest buzz among fans, racing alongside his Italian teammate Mattia Cattaneo.
Such is his prodigious talent that despite taking part in his first-ever gravel race, Evenepoel would still undoubtedly be the standout favourite to win. However, the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider chose not to ride the full 178-kilometre (111-mile) 'Waffle' route, instead opting for the 124-kilometre (77-mile) 'Wafer' course.
He did so aboard the newest bike in his sponsor Specialized’s range, the S-Works Crux. With a 56cm frame weighing in at just 725g (Evenepoel's 54cm frame will undoubtedly come in a little lighter), the S-Works Crux is an out-and-out gravel racer. In its top-spec retail build, which comes with SRAM's Red eTap AXS groupset, the bike tips the scales at just 7.25kg.
The Crux name has long been Specialized’s pure cyclo-cross model, but with the latest iteration unveiled at the beginning of October, Specialized adapted it toward the evergrowing crowd of people tackling the other form of off-road drop-bar racing.
Evenepoel's bike is complete with an 11-speed Shimano GRX Di2 groupset, which he's set up with a single 42T chainring up-front along with an 11-40T Deore XT cassette at the back. Pedalling comes via a Shimano GRX chainset, on which Evenepoel has opted for 172.5mm cranks, and he's using Shimano's lightweight XTR mountain bike pedals.
The bike is fitted with Roval's Terra CLX gravel wheels, which have been wrapped in Specialized's own Pathfinder Pro tyres. The Crux, which is usually stocked with 38c tyres, can accept rubber as wide as 47c, but Evenepoel has stuck in the middle ground with 42c front and rear.
At the front, the stock Roval cockpit has been replaced with components from Shimano's subsidiary - and sponsor to Deceuninck-QuickStep - PRO, with its Vibe SL (superlight) handlebar, which has been wrapped in Supacaz bar tape, and also home to a K-Edge out-front mount for his Wahoo Elemnt Roam computer. This is all connected to the bike via a 110mm PRO Vibe stem.
At the back, Specialized provides the saddle with its 3D-printed S-Works Power Mirror saddle, which sits atop the Roval Alpinist seatpost. Completing the build are Tacx Deva bottle cages, as well as Tacx bottles printed with branding to advertise Maes Pilsner, the alcohol-free beer that also sponsors the Deceuninck-QuickStep team.
Unfortunately, we don't have an exact weight of the Belgian's bike, however, given its modified-from-factory spec as well as the addition of pedals and bottle cages, we predict the Belgian's bike comes in around 7.5kg mark. An impressively low number given the terrain it's built to handle.
|Frame||Specialized S-Works Crux|
|Groupset||Shimano GRX Di2|
|Wheelset||Roval Terra CLX|
|Handlebars||Pro Vibe SL|
|Pedals||Shimano M9100 XTR|
|Saddle||S-Works Power with Mirror|
|Tyres||Specialized Pathfinder Pro 42c|
|Computer||Wahoo Elemnt Roam|
|Bottle Cages||Tacx Deva|
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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