Specialized has unveiled a bike that it is calling the 'lightest gravel bike in the world'.
More specifically, it has launched the new Crux - the former pure cyclo-cross bike - as a dual-purpose machine that blurs the line between 'cross and gravel. The top-tier S-Works model is said to weigh just 7.25kg.
However, more than just weight loss and a re-categorisation of the already-gravel-capable cyclo-cross bike, the brand has totally reworked the frame, adjusted its geometry, added in tyre clearance for 47mm rubber and added a few extra gravel-friendly features to open up the Crux to a newfound audience.
Specialized says that, for the new Crux, it has taken the technology developed during the creation of the Aethos, which sees reimagined tube proportions and shapes to reduce the quantity of carbon fibre needed, and applied it to the Crux in a move that Specialized's Road and Gravel Product Manager, Stewart Thompson, claims will "change gravel riding forever."
The technology in question was pioneered by Denk Engineering, a team of carbon bike designers led by Peter Denk, who has previously designed bikes for Cannondale and Scott, but has been exclusively contracted by Specialized since 2014.
"How we taper the top tube, how we taper the down tube, the curvature of how we run into the head tube and the bottom bracket is extremely important," Denk explains. "If we follow those shapes, we get rid of all stiffness layers. Just with this shape, we can save 150 grams of composite weight."
The result, in this case, is a 56cm S-Works frame (Fact 12R) that weighs just 725g and a standard frame (Fact 10R) of 825g. Both are lighter than the outgoing Crux, which weighs 950 grams.
Specialized chose to adapt the bike away from the 'pure cyclo-cross' focus that accompanied the outgoing Crux - which claimed a spot on our list of the best cyclo-cross bikes - in response to the ever-growing interest in gravel riding.
To this end, Specialized has lengthened the bike's wheelbase and increased the bike's reach - which it has then offset with shorter stems. It has also increased the bottom bracket drop (resulting in a lower bottom bracket, and as such, a lower centre of gravity), and dropped the stack slightly on all but the largest size. It has also widened the Crux's tyre clearance to 700c x 47mm (650b x 2.1in) to match the brand's existing Diverge.
The move will clearly open the bike up to a wider audience and, alongside the Diverge, officially grow Specialized's gravel range to two models.
To top it off, there is also a smattering of added-value features for gravel riders. The most obvious of which is the third bottle cage mount on the underside of the down tube, and a more subtle addition is the ability to accept an internally wired dropper post.
The Crux will be available in four builds: S-Works, Expert, Pro and Comp, as well as a standalone S-Works (Fact 12R) Frameset, and a Fact 10R frameset, although the 10R frame won't be sold in the UK.
All four complete bikes will be specced with SRAM groupsets, with the S-Works, Expert and Pro being given eTap AXS XPLR groupsets in the Red, Force and Rival models respectively. The Comp will get a mechanical 1x11 Rival groupset.
Specialized S-Works Crux
- Price: £10,750 / $12,000 / €12,200 / AU$18,000
- Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS XPLR
- Wheelset: Roval Terra CLX
Specialized Crux Pro
- Price: £7,000 / $8,000 / €8,000 / AU$12,000
- Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR
- Wheelset: Roval Terra CLX
Specialized Crux Expert
- Price: £5,500 / $6,000 / €6,000 / AU$9,000
- Groupset: SRAM Rival eTap AXS XPLR
- Wheelset: Roval Terra C
Specialized Crux Comp
- Price: £4,000 / $4,200 / €4,000 / AU$6,300
- Groupset: SRAM Rival Mechanical 1x11
- Wheelset: DT Swiss G540 Disc
Specialized S-Works Fact 12R Crux Frameset
- Price: £4,000 / $5,000 / €4,500 / AU$7,500
Specialized Crux Fact 10R Frameset
- Price: £N/A / $3,200 / €3,000 / AU$4,700
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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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