Tony Cruz has been around bikes for his whole life. His dad was a road racer who exposed him to the sport as a tyke. Cruz excelled as a junior and went on to ride the sport's hardest classics and Tours of Italy and Spain. The Californian hopes to take his wealth of experience and build a line of bikes under the name Cruz Racing.
The new company was born out of the fiasco that was Rock Racing. Cruz was supposed to ride for the team in 2010 but the programme imploded, leaving the athletes on the roster with no support.
Part of the idea behind Rock Racing was to produce bikes that would bear the high-end denim brand's name, and these were introduced at Interbike last year. These machines were shelved along with the team, and this left a bike design engineer, Shane Fedon – formerly of Advanced Sports, parent company to Fuji and Kestrel – without a job too.
Cruz says he and Fedon hit it off when with Rock Racing and when things went belly up they put two and two together. “We took my name and his [design] groundwork to put something together,” said Cruz. “From the beginning I just wanted to get out on it and ride it.”
Cruz with his new bike
When asked what sets the new Cruz Racing bikes apart, Cruz said: “For me it’s the ride. I’ve never had a carbon bike ride like this.” Cruz's favourite bikes have been custom steel rigs, and he reckons his carbon bikes mimic that ride.
According to Cruz, Fedon spent much time studying the frequency and amplitude of vibration within bicycle frames by riding strain gauge equipped test mules. Adjustments were then made to the bikes'' carbon layup to best deal with the identified vibration. Part of the damping mechanism is an internal skeleton found within the frame’s front triangle.
The frames also feature a full complement of up-to-date features including a tapered head tube and fork steerer, and a BB30 bottom bracket shell. “They’re torsionally compliant,” said Cruz, describing the feel.
The massive bottom bracket junction houses a BB30 bottom bracket
While Fedon designs the bikes, they're manufactured by respected Asian manufacturers Martec and meet all CEN test standards for safety. For 2011, Cruz Racing bicycles will be sold dealer-direct in a limited run of 500 carbon frames and 1,000 alloy models. Both share the same geometry and full-carbon SL fork.
The carbon frames, all named Arenberg, are differentiated by material. The top Arenberg CSL and second-tier CL will be offered with Shimano Dura-Ace groupsets, while the Arenberg Comp is offered with Ultegra; the bikes are priced at US$8,500, $5,600 and $3,500 respectively.
Cruz will also offer a 7005 alloy urban fixie in 2011 called the Street Machine – a frameset will cost $850 – as well as a range of carbon wheels called Phoenix. The hoops will be offered in 38mm, 50mm and a 60mm/80mm front and rear combo called the 806, which happens to be Cruz’s preferred configuration. Only clincher models will be available, both packaged with the bikes and separately.