First look: 2018 Specialized CruX Elite X1

The CruX gets an overhaul that's all about speed

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not know Specialized is clearly on a tear in 2018. With a new Tarmac and Epic highlighting their need for speed, it was time for the CruX to see an overhaul as well. The new versions of all these bikes take aim at one philosophy: simplicity. Don’t be underwhelmed, Specialized went for a year of light and fast, and the Crux falls in line.


2018 Specialized CruX Elite X1 specifications

  • Frame: FACT 11r carbon (flatmount; 12×142)
  • Fork: S-Works FACT 11r carbon (flatmount; 12×100)
  • Drivetrain: Sram Rival 1
  • Bottom bracket: BB30 (OSBB)
  • Wheels: Roval SLX24 Disc
  • Tires: Specialized Terra Pro TLR 33mm
  • Seat: Specialized Phenom Comp 143
  • Size options: 46, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61
  • Weight (size 56): 17.97 lbs / 8.15 kg

The previous generation CruX was no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. But when it came time for a new bike, Specialized went for a full overhaul.

Gone are the bulbous and curvy tube shapes, downtube hand grab thingy, inverted water bottle bosses, and a lot of industrial design. In exchange, a good bit of weight savings and stiffness.

142×12 rear end with thin stays top and bottom make for a very clean aesthetic
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media

The CruX maintains its geometry and sizing, almost 1-to-1. But what’s left is a bike that’s less about features, and more about speed. Hot, nasty speed.

The complete package?

From afar, the CruX looks almost identical to a previous generation Tarmac (SL5, if you will). It’s got the beefy OSBB bottom bracket shell, an integrated seatpost cradle, and relatively paired down seat and chainstays. If you like the Tarmac, we’re guessing the new CruX is your flavor of dirty.

Specialized is one of the few brands dedicated to out-of-the-box comfort

The fork has good clearance for Terra Pro 33mm tires to get super muddy, and the same goes for the rear. And if you’re a mixed terrain rider, yes, it will hold 40mm tires.

Roval SLX24 wheels and Specialized Terra Pro tubeless tires are set with 100mm front and 142mm rear spacing, and 12mm thru axles throughout. And of course the new bike is flatmount front and rear.

Specialized’s new cable management ports allow for a lot of variation for rider preferences
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media

Specialized leverages its new cable management system on the new CruX, which means riders can pretty much set up their bike however they want without being left with unfilled holes. Nobody likes unfilled holes. It also went to an internally routed front brake hose which keeps the front super clean.

While some companies spec cockpit components knowing riders will rip them off immediately, Specialized is one of the few brands dedicated to out-of-the-box comfort. The short and shallow handlebar and tacky, gel-backed wrap create a comfortable front end, while a Phenom 143 seat promotes good sit-bone contact in the rear.

Specialized has a commitment to contact points – the short and shallow bar with comfy wrap is a big deal straight out of the box
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media

2018 Specialized CruX Elite X1 pricing and availability

The 2018 Specialized CruX Elite 1X, and other CX models, are currently available from Specialized retailers worldwide.


USA: $3,200 – UK: £3,000 – AUS: AU$4,200.

Up to 40mm tire clearance, which is sufficient for a muddy 33mm tire – after all, it’s a CX race bike
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media