Pro bike: Jeremy Powers' Focus Mares CX Disc

Style and substance from one of America's top CX racers

Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) was an early convert to disc brakes in cyclocross, having made the switch full-time last year. He's now moved from his old cable actuated Avid BB7 Road SL calipers to SRAM's new full-hydraulic Red 22 HRD setup and with a full season of disc under his belt, he and his mechanic continue to figure out ways to extract the most out of the technology.

Disc brakes can offer some advantages over rim brakes, particularly when using carbon rims or when conditions get sloppy. Accelerated pad wear in extremely wet and muddy conditions proved to be an issue last year for some racers, but Powers' mechanic, Tom Hopper, said that SRAM has made some improvements in that area.

"[SRAM has] improved the durability of the organic pads this year, but they're still not quite as harsh feeling as the metallic ones."

Hopper said Powers also prefers to run different rotors depending on the conditions. He uses the current Avid HS1 option in the dry but the older G2 rotors when it's wet. Naturally, those rotors are matched to the corresponding wheels and tires for a particular set of conditions, too, making for easy all-in-one swaps on race day.

"We found that [the G2 rotors] perform better in the mud, so those are the rotors we're running with the [Dugast] Rhinos," said Hopper. "With the Typhoons, we're going with the slightly lighter HS1. I think it's just the surface area of the rotor contacting the pad. Jeremy just likes the feel he gets from the brake."

Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) was already on disc brakes last year but is now on SRAM's Red 22 HRD

Either way, team wheel sponsor Easton doesn't actually offer a disc-compatible carbon tubular, so Powers' wheels are custom made using deep-section EC90 Aero rims paired with six-bolt M1 hubs borrowed from the company's mountain bike line. Hopper said new wheels built with Easton's recently announced wide-format carbon rims should be replacing these within a few weeks. Though Powers isn't likely to enjoy any of that new model's claimed aero gains, we expect the wider tire bed to provide better casing support at low pressures, which could boost cornering performance.

Aside from the specially etched headset top caps ('J-Pow!'), the custom gold-and-black crankbrothers Candy 4ti pedals, and the special team paint job, Hopper said the rest of Powers' rig is standard-issue, off-the-shelf gear. The carbon Focus Mares CX Disc frame is unchanged from what Powers rode last year and features the same new-school, low-and-slack geometry as before – impressive, given the fact that the canti-equipped Mares CX frame on which it's based is actually several years old.

Jeremy Powers gets custom etched headset top caps. J-Pow!

Components have been upgraded from last year to SRAM's latest Red 22 HRD group, but a few CX-specific tweaks have been carried over. Derailleur cables and housing are fully sealed setups from Gore Ride-On despite the fact that the company discontinued its aftermarket availability last year. As with most 'crossers, Powers has also passed on the standard Red cassette in favor of the more conventional PG-1170 model, which is heavier but less likely to clog with debris.

Interestingly, Powers has switched from his usual 46/39T chainrings to slightly smaller 46/36T ones, and he's also moved his saddle several millimeters farther forward than before. Whereas last year's bikes used all-alloy cockpits, he's now integrated more carbon fiber with an Easton EC90 SLX3 handlebar and EC90 Zero seatpost – perhaps in a bid to shave a few extra grams.

Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) is using a carbon fiber bar mated to a forged aluminum stem

Fi'zi:k finishes off the build with its grippy bar tape and a cushy Aliante VS k:ium saddle.

Total weight as pictured is 7.81kg (17.22lb) – about 460g heavier than last year's bike.

Most people wouldn't think of putting these colors together, but somehow it works

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Focus Mares CX Disc, 54cm
  • Fork: Focus Mares Cyclocross Carbon Disc
  • Headset: Cane Creek integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered
  • Stem: Easton EA90, 110mm x -10°
  • Handlebar: Easton EC90 SLX3, 44cm (c-c)
  • Tape: fi'zi:k bar:tape
  • Front brake: SRAM Red 22 HRD, 160mm rotor
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red 22 HRD, 140mm rotor
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red 22 Hydro Shifter
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red 22
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 22
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red 22 Hydro Shifter
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-26T
  • Chain: SRAM Red 22
  • Crankset: SRAM Red 22 BB30, 172.5mm, 46/36T
  • Bottom bracket: Truvativ BB30
  • Pedals: crankbrothers candy 4ti
  • Rims: Easton EC90 Aero tubular, 24h
  • Front hub: Easton M1, 24h
  • Rear hub: Easton M1, 24h
  • Spokes: Sapim straight-pull butted
  • Front tire: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm, 28psi
  • Rear tire: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm, 28.5psi
  • Saddle: fi'zi:k Aliante VS k:ium
  • Seatpost: Easton EC90 Zero

Critical measurements

  • Rider's height: 1.8m (5ft 11in)
  • Rider's weight: 68kg (150lb)
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 737mm
  • Saddle setback: 40mm
  • Seat tube length (c-t): 540mm
  • Seat tube length (c-c): 500mm
  • Tip of saddle to center of bar: 511mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop: 83mm
  • Head tube length: 115mm
  • Top tube length (effective): 540mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.81kg (17.22lb)

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