Specialized CruX E5 Sport review

The name is a playful abbreviation of the sport, but the E5 is serious about performance

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,700.00 RRP | AUD $2,500.00 | USD $2,200.00

Our review

The E5 Sport promises years of solid off-road performance
Buy if, You want a decent first ’cross bike that you can upgrade in the future
Pros: Carbon fork, drivetrain spec, handling
Cons: The wheelset isn’t very lively
Skip to view product specifications

The Specialized CruX model range has been slimmed down for 2019, with a single E5 aluminium bike, and three FACT 11r carbon-framed options that reach S-Works level.

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The CruX has an aluminium frame and sports a full carbon fork, and a front mech hanger, but there are no concessions to mudguards or racks. This CruX is aimed at cyclocross riding, whether that’s for fun, or to race, and I like its undiluted character.

Equipped with SRAM’s practical Apex 1x levers, mech and brake calipers, Specialized adds its favoured Praxis Alba crankset, with a 40-tooth Praxis Wave Technology chainring, TRP disc rotors and a SunRace cassette. Everything else is Specialized’s own, with an alloy bar, stem, seatpost and Axis Sport Disc wheelset plus Tracer Sport tyres.

The Phenom Comp saddle is a tried and trusted shape, with good support and comfort, thanks to dense padding and a central channel with cutout.

TRP rotors took time to bed in, and suffered with rubbing
TRP rotors took time to bed in, and suffered with rubbing
David Caudery/Immediate Media

My 56cm example weighs 9.66kg, so not light, but to be expected for the cost. It has a core that’s worthy of updates, with some nice touches such as the internally routed cable and hose, which enter and exit through protected ports.

With a 72-degree head angle, and 73.25-degree seat angle, the E5 Sport has a great blend of weight distribution and front-end stability for off-road riding. With around 35psi in the tyres, the rear end of the CruX can feel quite choppy over uneven hardpacked dirt or bumpy dry grassland.

The fork does a better job of absorbing vibrations and shocks, maintaining your chosen line, whatever the terrain, but the aluminium seatpost and frame don’t take the sting out of the hardest hits.

72-degree head angle and front end stability are great for off-road riding
72-degree head angle and front end stability are great for off-road riding
David Caudery/Immediate Media

Quick-release wheels on a CX bike feel semi-nostalgic, so few and far between are they now, but the performance of the Axis Sport Disc wheelset is less memorable. The pinned aluminium rims are asymmetric, 26mm wide externally, 24mm tall and open the 33mm Tracer Sport tyres to 35mm. Acceleration out of slow corners and up gradients takes more effort than average, but they can be hustled along at a good speed, if you put the work in.

With their shallow, lightning bolt-like tread blocks and slightly taller shoulder knobs, the Tracers favour dry and soft conditions, as they lack the grip to deal well with wet terrain. On dirt, grass, gravel and tarmac, their low profile, low drag tread handles quickly and securely, with progressive grip in fast corners.

The CruX E5 Sport has fine cyclocross manners, but is a little short of speed
The CruX E5 Sport has fine cyclocross manners, but is a little short of speed
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The drivetrain is faultless, with perfect chain retention from the Praxis ring and confident shifts from the SunRace cassette. The 40×32 lowest gear is fine for average terrain, but sharper climbs might see you wishing for a 36 sprocket, due to the wheelset’s rotational weight.

Hydraulic discs are a boon at this price, but the TRP rotors took a while to bed in, and suffered from rubbing.

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Clearance at the chainstays is adequate, and there’s a bridge behind the bottom bracket shell to complicate matters. The curved, flattened top-tube keeps shouldering as comfortable as a near-10kg bike can be, and the E5 Sport’s ’cross pedigree is always apparent, with a confident, highly capable ride.

Product Specifications

Product

Name CruX E5 Sport
Brand Specialized

Available Sizes 46cm 49cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 61cm
Rear Wheel Weight 2330
Wheelbase (cm) 103.5
Top Tube (cm) 55.5
Standover Height (cm) 82.5
Seat Tube (cm) 50.5
Chainstays (cm) 43
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28
Wheelset Axis Sport Disc QR
Weight (kg) 9.66
Trail 5.7
Stem Specialized 3D-forged alloy
Shifters SRAM Apex 1
Seatpost Specialized alloy
Seat Angle 73.25
Saddle Body Geometry Phenom Comp
Rear Tyre Specialized Tracer Sport 33mm
Bottom Bracket Praxis M30
Rear Derailleur SRAM Apex 1
Headset Type Integrated
Head Angle 72
Handlebar Specialized Shallow Drop 6061 alloy
Front Wheel Weight 1760
Front Tyre Specialized Tracer Sport 33mm
Front Derailleur SRAM Apex 1
Frame Material Specialized E5 Premium aluminium
Fork Offset 5
Fork Specialized FACT carbon
Cranks Praxis Alba M30, 40 Praxis Wave Tech ring
Chain KMC X11
Cassette SunRace CSRS3 11-32
Brakes SRAM Apex 1 hydraulic disc, TRP 160mm rotors
Frame size tested 56cm