Trek's range of cyclocross bikes will consist of three distinct platforms for 2014 – the all-new aluminum Crockett, with a lower bottom bracket and disc options ideally suited for North American-style courses; the carryover carbon Cronus, with more traditional Euro-style geometry; and the do-it-all CrossRip.
The new aluminum Crockett is essentially the production version of the custom bike Trek produced for dominating US cyclocross racer Katie Compton last season. Trek will offer the Crockett in five models for this season - three with cantilever brakes and two with discs - plus frameset-only options for DIYers.
Pricing is very reasonable across the board, with the most expensive Crockett 7 Disc model fetching a relatively modest US$2,630/£2,000. Privateers looking to build a pair of identical rigs on the cheap will be especially happy with the frameset, which will cost just US$880 (there doesn't seem to be a UK option) including a carbon fork, headset, and even a Bontrager Race X Lite stem.
Compared to Trek's more traditional Cronus, the Crockett has notably new-school geometry. Head tube angles are slightly slacker on smaller sizes but steeper on larger ones, seat tube angles are a bit steeper, the chain stays have shortened by 5mm, and there's more bottom bracket drop. For any given size, the Crockett also has a longer reach and more standover clearance.
Trek will offer the Crockett as a frameset, too
Overall, we expect the bike to be better suited to aggressive and skilled handlers – like Compton, coincidentally. "I've always been a rider who likes a steep seat angle so I can get over the pedals and feel powerful," she told BikeRadar.
"I also want a bike that is predictable in and out of turns and handles quickly but also rides in a straight line through sand and mud, since I experience so much of that in Europe," she added. "I also like a bike that's stable through turns and corners so it can carve singletrack and exit the turn where you expect and want it to. Having a bike I feel powerful on and one that handles perfectly makes me a happy bike rider."
Compton says the Crockett's new geometry is also particularly well suited to shorter riders, who often have to deal with the frustrations of toe overlap out on course: "I know toe overlap is a big complaint for many women who ride small frames, and I'm happy to say that's no longer an issue with this bike," she said. "I ride a size 52 and have big feet with long cranks and still don't experience toe overlap in turns, which is a bonus when trying to ride through tight corners quickly."
Trek's S3 chain keeper will be incorporated into every new Crockett frame
Other features include the integrated and adjustable S3 chain keeper used on Trek's Madone and Domane road bikes, flexible internal routing (with the option of running full housing to guard against mud and water), and IsoSpeed forks, which use slightly more dramatically curved blades and backswept dropouts to lend a comfier ride while maintaining standard front-end geometry.
Naturally, there's a tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in head tube, while dual bottle mounts and hidden fender mounts will add some versatility.
Claimed weights are impressive for the all-alloy frame, too. According to Trek road bike brand manager Michael Mayer, a 56cm Crockett frame weighs less than 1,250g. The matching all-carbon cantilever fork adds 395g with an uncut, 300mm-long steerer tube while the disc version will tack on another 100g with its additional caliper mounts and sturdier alloy steerer.
Trek Cronus carries on
Aggressive new geometry notwithstanding, Trek still appears to be taking a somewhat tentative approach to the disc brake-equipped cyclocross bike movement. The top option in the Crockett line sticks with an aluminum frame, a SRAM Rival transmission, and mid-range FSA cranks. For now, at least, racers looking for something more high-end will be limited to the carryover carbon fiber Cronus collection.
The US$3,880 (UK pricing TBA) flagship Cronus CX Ultimate comes with a SRAM Force 22 transmission (but a SRAM S952 carbon crankset), Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, and Bontrager Race Lite tubeless-ready wheels.
The flagship Trek Cronus CX Ultimate
The US$2,940 Cronus CX Pro, on the other hand, will use the same 500 Series OCLV carbon frame but with a more budget-friendly Shimano 105 2x10 transmission, FSA Energy cranks, and Bontrager Race Tubeless Ready wheels.
Mayer hints that this will probably be the last season for the Cronus as it stands currently, though, with the Crockett's geometry and disc options likely moving upstream for 2015.