Specialized put the Crux on a diet by slimming the list of point-and-look features to just two: light and fast. While that doesn’t make for a long-winded pitch on the sales floor, a few pedals strokes are more telling than any in-store conversation.
The Crux is the epitome of acceleration and high-performance ‘cross racing. Front to back it’s hard to find fault with the newest version of Specialized’s “Tarmac for the dirt”.
While a few of the bikes on test proved more compliant, the Crux is the best balance of comfort, power transfer, and keeping the wheels in contact with the ground. And after having ridden all of the bikes through a first round, the feedback the Crux permits increases knowledge of the course through subsequent laps, and this is a good thing.
By no means is the Crux an uncomfortable bike, but if comfort is your top priority in a ‘cross rig there are a few others waiting for you. However, all of them come at the expense of the Crux’s unmatched acceleration, so you’ll have to pick your poison.
The Crux came close to a perfect 5/5 but I believe there’s an opportunity for performance gains with a geo tweak. While the Crux falls in line with the current standards, increasing front-center has proven a brilliant maneuver for technical sections and confident descending, as is the case with every modern XC hardtail.
Whether or not this suggestion suits your needs today is arguable, but it’s without a doubt that CX courses will follow the path of XC courses the past decade — enhancing spectator enjoyment through ever-increasing technical challenges.
Finally, while I’m not much of a fan of the “how much does it weigh” conversation, I’ll have to admit that I was taken back to my 19-year-old days in the shop, constantly lifting the lean machine with my arm scale. The Crux was the lightest bike on test, despite several other bikes with lighter component spec (think Force 1).
Overall, the Crux’s balance of power transfer, CX-course compliance, stable geometry and remarkably low weight label it a clear winner this CX season.