Specialized Crux Elite review

Poised carbon 'cross machine

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,000.00 RRP | AUD $2,999.00 | USD $2,800.00

Our review

A fine handling frame and decent build make the Crux Elite a bike with great 'cross potential
Skip to view product specifications

Specialized’s range of Crux cyclocross bikes has been tremendously successful since its launch, and for 2015 has expanded to offer four alloy and seven carbon models. The two S-Works models have their own carbon frame layup, but the other five all share the same FACT 10r carbon frame, and each model only differs in build specification.

Advertisement

The Crux Elite is the least expensive of the carbon options, but packs a lot in for the price, with a disc-specific race proven frame that doesn’t cut any performance corners. Specialized’s swoopy top and head tubes blend in to a chunky down tube, beefy chainstays and slimseat stays. It’s a well-trodden path, but rear tyre clearance has been increased with lengthened wheelbase and flared stays, and the fork’s wide stance gives mud nowhere to hide.

Component spec is a well thought out mixture of Shimano 105 shifters, deraileurs and cassette, with a Praxis Works Turn Zayate chainset, and TRP HY/RD disc calipers and rotors. Praxis Works has become known for high quality, hardwearing chain rings, and the new Zayate crank continues in the same vein, looking great and performing perfectly.

Shimano’s 105 components are reliably efficient and never missed a beat in our company, with ideal gear ratios for testing off road excursions. Meanwhile the cable operated HY/RD hydraulic calipers, although bulky and heavy, are a cut above fully mechanical systems, as the TRPs operate both pads evenly, for more progressive, powerful braking and less chance of rotor rub.

The Crux Elite is surefooted and comfortable on the trails, though its rolling stock lacks a little race pace
The crux elite is surefooted and comfortable on the trails, though lacks a little race pace … shift+r improves the quality of this image. shift+a improves the quality of all images on this page.:
Robert Smith

The Crux Elite is surefooted and comfortable on the trails, though its rolling stock lacks a little race pace

Hitting the trails hard, the Crux impresses with surprising comfort, soaking up stutter bumps and broken surfaces, while remaining perfectly poised for direction changes. Slow speed turns after heavy braking don’t upset its balance, and drive out of corners is only tempered by the comparatively average wheelset. With an asymmetric rear rim, Specialized’s own hoops are efficient performers, but along with the Tracer Sport rubber they’re shod with, lack the raw speed racers crave. The Tracer’s tread pattern consists of six parallel lines of offset small blocks, which roll fast on tarmac and hardpack, but are soon overwhelmed when the going gets too soft.

Advertisement

Specialized’s own brand finishing kit is tidy, and the Phenom Comp saddle is particularly good, with plenty of supportive comfort, and a shape that allows easy movement when the terrain demands it. The Crux has the heart of a racer, and would make a fantastic asset to any rider keen to swap tarmac for dirt. It’s pleasantly rapid in this spec, but has excellent upgrade potential, with performance only limited by budget and ambition.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Crux Elite (15)
Brand Specialized

Brakes TRP HY/RD hydraulic callipers, TRP disc rotors, 160mm front and 140mm rear
Saddle Specialized Phenom Comp
Weight (lb) 20.17
Year 2015
Wheelset Specialized A-Sym Axis 2.0
Weight (kg) 9.15
Stem Specialized Comp alloy
Shifters Shimano 105 11 speed
Seatpost Specialized Sport 27.2mm alloy
Rear Tyre Specialized Tracer Sport 33mm
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28t
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Handlebar Specialized Comp alloy
Front Tyre Specialized Tracer Sport 33mm
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Material FACT 10r Carbon
Fork FACT Carbon
Cranks Praxis Works Turn Zayante crank with 46/36 chain rings
Frame size tested 54cm