Bicycle manufacturers have started releasing details of next year's models, and with the cyclo-cross season starting next month (yup!), here’s a little look at some of the new 'cross bikes coming soon from Felt and Specialized.
While full details are a little hazy on all of these bikes at the moment - most won’t be properly unveiled until Eurobike later this month - it is abundantly clear that disc brakes are starting to dominate. The World Cup racers might not be racing discs, but that’s not preventing the brands from offering lots more disc-equipped 'cross bikes.
Felt adds more disc options
Felt are adding more disc-equipped models for 2015. Look lower down the range and the entry-level aluminium framed models switch from cantilevers to disc brakes.
The F65X (£1,099) gets a brand new aluminium frame for 2015. It incorporates modern details like a BB386 bottom bracket, which allows them to oversize the down tube much more.
The frame uses fully internal cable routing so there's less potential for mud and dirt to contaminate the cables, which should keep braking and shifting smoother for longer when bashing around a muddy field in a typical 'cross race.
Felt’s most affordable disc-equipped cyclo-cross bike is the F85X (£949). It pairs the same aluminium frame with BB386 bottom bracket as the F65X with Tektro Mira disc brakes and a Shimano Tiagra groupset. A Felt CxR3 Disc wheelset is tubeless-ready and comes fitted with Vittoria Cross XL Pro tyres.
Recognising that not everyone wanting to buy a disc cyclo-cross bike actually wants to race, the frame gets mudguard and rack mounts so you can use if for daily commuting or setting up as a winter training bike, with some big slick tyres.
The frame uses fully internal cable routing so there's less potential for mud and dirt to contaminate the cables, which should keep braking and shifting smoother for longer when bashing around a muddy field in a typical 'cross race. Ensuring it’s capable of much more than just cyclo-cross racing, the frame gets mudguard and rack mounts so you could easily convert it into a winter commuter or training bike if you fit some slick tyres.
The frame also gets a tapered head tube, and a carbon fibre fork slots into the headset.
Meanwhile, the carbon F5X (£1,799) looks to offer better value for money, with a Shimano 105 groupset and TRP Hy/Rd hydraulic disc brakes instead of the SRAM Rival/Apex and mechanical Avid BB5 disc brakes of last year.
Unlike some of Felt’s top 'cross bikes, this one uses a fork with a regular quick release axle, not a bolt-thru assembly. The F5X rolls on Felt’s own tubeless-ready wheel with 24/28 spoke drillings and a Felt CXR handlebar, stem and seatpost. The saddle is a Prologo Nago Evo.
There are other changes at the top of the carbon 'cross bike range, but we won’t get a good look at those until Eurobike at the end of the month.
Specialized also adds more discs to Crux line
The popular Crux from Specialized appears to be fully dominated by disc models - at least that’s the indication from the early release bikes they’ve revealed. As before, you can choose between carbon and aluminium.
This is the Crux Elite (£2,000) and features a frame and fork designed specifically for disc brakes. They’ve paired a Shimano 105 groupset with TRP’s Hy/Rd disc brakes on AXIS 2.0 Disc wheels. The frame will take large tyres and fitted are Specialized’s own Tracer Sport, a 33mm all-round tyre that should work reasonably well in the dirt as it does on the harder stuff.
Based on the regular Crux carbon frame, the Crux Elite Carbon Evo (£2,000) has been modified to be less of a 'cross racer and more suited to gravel riding. The main change seems to be in the tyres, with the conventional knobbly 'cross tyres being replaced by Specialized’s Trigger Pro, a more all-round tyre suitable for a variety of terrain, including the road. And in 38mm width, it’s wider too.
Otherwise the Evo appears to use the same geometry with a Shimano 105 groupset and TRP Hy/Rd hydraulic disc brakes.
An appealing model is the Crux E5 (£1,200) which updates the aluminium frame with post mount disc tabs and a disc-specific carbon fork. All cables are internally routed, the head tube is tapered, and it’s fitted with TRP mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano Sora/FSA Gossamer BB30 groupset. Tyres are Specialized Tracer Sport in 33mm width.
Specialized will offer the Crux Pro Carbon Disc frameset and Crux E5 Disc frameset for £1,500 and £750 respectively. And rejoice if you’re not a fan of grey and black bikes, both are painted in lairy colours.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.