Ben Berden is one of the more colourful racers in the North American cyclocross scene. The 2013/2014 ‘cross season is the Belgian’s third full season of racing in the States. Like the man, Berden’s race bike is one of a kind.
Berden rides a stock 55cm Raleigh RXC Pro framset. This is Raleigh’s flagship cyclocross bike, and it remains largely unchanged from last season. The RXC Pro bucks the low and slack trend, sticking to more traditional cyclocross geometry with a 72-degree head tube and bottom bracket with only 55mm of drop.
The rxc pro bucks the low and slack trend, sticking to more traditional cyclocross geometry with a 72-degree head tube and a bottom bracket with only 55mm of drop (for a 55cm frame): the rxc pro bucks the low and slack trend, sticking to more traditional cyclocross geometry with a 72-degree head tube and a bottom bracket with only 55mm of drop (for a 55cm frame)Josh Patterson/Future Publishing
Cutting edge technology and traditional geometry on Raleigh’s RXC PRO
Cranked up to 11
Ben Berden may ride an off-the-shelf framset, but his components are far from stock. Berden has long been a fan of single-chainring drivetrains for cyclocross. Last season the Belgian ran a 1×10 Shimano Ultegra Di2 setup. This season Berden adds one more cog to his drivetrain by upgrading to 6800 series Ultegra. He still favors electronic shifting—both the right and left STI levers are programmed to operate the rear derailleur.
Both of berden’s ultegra di2 shifters are programmed to opperate the rear derailleur: both of berden’s ultegra di2 shifters are programmed to opperate the rear derailleurJosh Patterson/Future Publishing
Right and left: both shifters are programmed to operate Berden’s one and only rear derailleur
Berden runs a single 42T FSA chainring with a K-Edge braze-on mounted Chain Keeper paired with K-Edge Cross Ring Guard for chain retention. At the rear he runs an 11-28T Dura-Ace CS-9000 cassette.
Raleigh-Clement team mechanic James Sullivan notes that the team has also been experimenting with Wolf Tooth Components’ stepped chainrings. Much like the dedicated 1x chainrings offered by SRAM and RaceFace, the alternating width of the teeth aids chain retention.
Last season Berden ran TRP’s Parabox cable-hydraulic hybrid braking system, which uses a pair of master cylinders that mount to the bike’s steerer tube much like a spacer. TRP has developed a lighter system (that does not interfere with stack height) in the new HY/RD. TRP’s latest cable-hydraulic hybrid braking system moves the master cylinder to the braking calliper itself.
The trp hy/rd brake system combines the master cyclinder with the brake caliper in one tidy unit: the trp hy/rd brake system combines the master cyclinder with the brake caliper in one tidy unitJosh Patterson/Future Publishing
TRP’s HY/RD cable-hydraulic hybrid brake combines the master cylinder and calliper into one tidy unit
Other significant changes to Berden’s setup include swapping Dura-Ace cranks for FSA SL-K crankarms and the addition of a stock Vision Metron 40 Disc tubular wheelset in place of the custom wheelset (24-hole White Industries hubs laced to FSA SL-K carbon rims) he ran last season.
Berden has also traded his Fi’zi:k Tundra for a Pro Prologo Zero—still with a rather nose-up position. “He doesn’t run his saddle quite as nose-up as last season,” mused Sullivan.
Complete bike specification
Frame: Raleigh RXC Pro, 55cm
Fork: ENVE CX Disc, 1.125in to 1.5in tapered steerer
Headset: FSA Ceramic Integrated
Stem: FSA SL-K 110mm, -6 degrees
Handlebar: FSA SL-K Compact 44cm
Tape/grips: Prologo Onetouch
Front brake caliper: TRP HY/RD w/160mm TRP rotor
Rear brake caliper: TRP HY/RD w/160mm TRP rotor
Shift/brake levers: Shimano Ultegra Di2 ST-6870
Front derailleur: K-Edge braze-on mounted Chain Keeper paired with K-Edge Cross Ring Guard