Pro bike: Australian Nick Both’s Focus Mares CX 1.0

First Australian Cyclocross team head to World Championships

The National team participating in the 2014 Cyclocross World Championships at Hoogerheide, Netherlands signals a change of tide for Australia’s booming cyclocross scene.


Nick Both, Australia’s sole elite men representative will be joined by 2013 National Champion Lisa Jacobs and Melissa Anset in elite women’s; Alexander Meyland and Tom Chapman in the U23 men’s; and Nicholas Smith in the U19 men’s. The team is unproven outside of the fresh domestic scene, however the athletes have proven strong in other cycling disciplines.

For 2014, Both joined the Australian Focus Bikes Cyclocross team and with this comes a new bike just in time for the World Championships. Although the local team isn’t aligned with the Jeremy Powers’ American-based Rapha-Focus team, they do use the team bike due to the proven build.

Nick Both is a well-known name in Australia’s mountain bike scene, with consistent cross country and marathon results spanning over the past decade. Recently, like many other local mountain bikers, Both moved his attention to the growing sport of cyclocross.

Standing at a height of 182cm/5’11”, Both rides Focus’ largest frame size. In order to get his ideal handlebar setup and counter the short 140mm headtube, Both has flipped his stem into a rather un-stylish upright position, even with this he still has a 110mm saddle to bar drop.

It’s a mostly stock build with a few key modifications in custom wheels and a change of brakes.

As an accomplished wheel builder and employee with the local HED distributor, it’s not surprising that we found Both on a custom set of HED wheels that could be an indicator of things to come from the brand. The wheels make use of HED’s wide tubular Stinger 3 rims laced to HED’s aluminium Novembre centerlock hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes. In order to provide the support for the disc brakes, the wheels use rear 24H rims both front and back.

Glued onto these custom wheels are Schwalbe Rocket Ron 33mm tubulars, Both picked these as a strong all-round conditions rubber which should be decent on grass, mud or dirt – he’s just hoping there’s no ice.

Both isn’t a SRAM sponsored rider and due to SRAM’s recent brake issues has made a last-minute switch to TRP HY/RD brakes with SRAM Red 22 mechanical shifters.

In order to keep the bike as maintenance-free as possible during his month long trip, all cables have been replaced with full-length housing and zip-ties are used to secure the mod in place. It adds a little weight, but something Both feels will reduce issues in severe weather.

Pedal choice is another interesting choice, one that we’ve seen a bit of lately. Both chooses to use Shimano’s older M970 design, claiming they offer greater reliability, these beat-up pedals are a prized possession for him.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Focus Mares CX Carbon Disc, 58cm (XL)
  • Fork: Focus Mares Cyclocross Carbon Disc
  • Headset: Cane Creek integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered
  • Stem: Easton EA90, 120mm x +10°
  • Handlebar: Easton EA70 , 42cm (c-c)
  • Tape: fi’zi:k bar:tape
  • Front brake: TRP HY/RD, Shimkano RT98 Ice-Tech 160mm rotor
  • Rear brake: TRP HY/RD, Shimkano RT98 Ice-Tech 160mm rotor
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red 22 mechanical Shifter
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red 22
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 22
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red 22 mechanical Shifter
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-28T
  • Chain: SRAM PC1170
  • Crankset: SRAM Carbon 22 BB30, 175mm, 46/36T
  • Bottom bracket: Truvativ BB30
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR M970
  • Rims: HED Stinger 3 24H front & rear
  • Front hub: HED Novembre Centerlock 24H
  • Rear hub: HED Novembre Centerlock 24H
  • Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray Silver
  • Front tire: Schwalbe Rocket Ron, 33mm
  • Rear tire: Schwalbe Rocket Ron, 33mm
  • Saddle: fi’zi:k Arione k:ium
  • Seatpost: Easton EA70 Setback 27.2mm
  • Extras: Full length brake and gear housing

Critical measurements

  • Rider’s height: 1.83m (6ft)
  • Rider’s weight: 74kg (162.8lb)
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 815mm
  • Saddle setback: 100mm
  • Seat tube length (c-t): 580mm
  • Seat tube length (c-c): 535mm
  • Tip of saddle to center of bar: 590mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop: 110mm
  • Head tube length: 140mm
  • Top tube length (effective): 571mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 8.17kg (17.97lb)

For more on cyclocross gear – see it here.