Specialized CruX Expert review$4,700.00

Lightweight cyclocross bike whose ride matches its looks

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Specialized’s CruX Expert sits second in line within the four-bike 2019 CruX hierarchy, and costs almost half as much as the range-topping S-Works model.

The CruX Expert shares the same FACT 11r carbon frame and S-Works FACT 11r carbon fork as the other two carbon models. Specialized claims a 56cm frame weighs around 900g, which is over 400g less than the old CruX and light for a ’cross bike.

It has a purposeful build, fitted with SRAM Force 1 and a Praxis Zayante carbon crankset, and that looks even better value when you see the wheelset. Roval’s C 38 wheels have DT Swiss 350 hubs and 38mm tall, wide carbon tubeless rims. They’re light, stiff and give superb sidewall support to wide tyres at low pressures.

Praxis’ Zayante crankset is an impressive addition at this price point
Praxis’ Zayante crankset is an impressive addition at this price point

Supplied with Specialized’s Tracer Pro tubeless tyres and inner tubes, the bike’s overall weight of 7.72kg is impressive, and converting the wheels for tubeless running is simple.

Tyres seat quickly and reliably — with the necessary valve and sealant, you’re done. The Tracer Pro has angled, slim lightning bolt-like tread blocks that roll fast and grip well on dry ground and perform better than expected when damp. But for more security in autumnal conditions, you’ll want to switch them.

The Praxis external bottom-bracket cups effectively widen the BB30 shell and provide great solidity for the carbon crank’s 30mm axle, combining with the frame’s stiffness to maximise power delivery. If you have the reactions and the power, the CruX translates them in to startling getaways and, traction-permitting, peerless corner exits.

SRAM’s Force 1 takes care of stopping duties, ably and consistently
SRAM’s Force 1 takes care of stopping duties, ably and consistently

The geometry and 1,026mm wheelbase strikes the perfect balance between stability and agility, allowing fine direction control and off-camber balance through minor weight shifts, with a forgiving nature that looks after you when surprises happen.

The Phenom Expert saddle is comfortable, while lopping 20mm from the seat tube means it finishes flush with the top tube, allowing the S-Works 27.2mm carbon seatpost to flex more, providing further comfort. The alloy handlebar is an ideal shape, whether riding on the hoods or drops, and the fit for a 178cm rider is great.

Tyre clearance at both ends is generous with no unwanted bridges to collect mud. They even take 40mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tubeless gravel tyres for racing. And you’ll want to race and show off this frame because it’s a gorgeous-looking beast.

Specialized CruX Expert specification

  • Sizes: 46cm, 49, 52, 54, 56*, 58, 61 (*Tested)
  • Weight: 7.72kg (56cm)
  • Frame: FACT 11r carbon
  • Fork: S-Works FACT 11r carbon
  • Shifters: SRAM Force 1
  • Rear mech: SRAM Force 1
  • Cassette: 11-32 cassette
  • Crank: Praxis Zayante Carbon M30
  • Chainrings: Praxis Wave Tech 40t
  • Bottom bracket: Praxis M30
  • Brakes: SRAM Force hydraulic disc, 160mm/140mm rotors
  • Wheels: Roval C 38 Disc
  • Tyres: Tracer Pro 33mm
  • Bar: Specialized Expert Shallow Drop alloy
  • Stem: Specialized Pro SL alloy
  • Seatpost: S-Works FACT carbon
  • Saddle: Body Geometry Phenom Expert

Specialized CruX Expert geometry

  • Crank length: 17.25cm
  • Stem length: 10cm
  • Seatpost length: 35cm
  • Handlebar width: 42cm
  • Reach: 38.8cm
  • Top tube length: 56.3cm
  • Stack: 58.2cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,026mm
  • Chainstay: 42.5cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 6.9cm
  • Bottom bracket height: 28.35cm
  • Seat tube angle: 73.24 degrees
  • Head tube angle: 72 degrees
  • Seat tube: 55cm
  • Head tube: 15.5cm
  • Standover: 82.45cm
  • Fork rake/offset: 5cm
  • Trail: 6.2cm
Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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