Gravel Gear

‘The world’s lightest gravel bike:’ Specialized redefines its Crux platform

The new gravel bike is also, wait for it, a cyclocross bike.

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The new Specialized Crux could be described a few ways: An Aethos with 47mm tire clearance. An ultralight gravel bike. And, notably, a cyclocross bike.

On the heels of its ultralight, 585g Aethos road frame, Specialized today announced the new 725g Specialized S-Works Crux, a frame that builds up into a sub-16-pound gravel bike. There are also Pro, Expert, and Comp models available built with an 825g frame, with prices ranging from $3,200 for a frameset up to $12,000 for the complete S-Works bike.

This Crux Pro, and the Crux Expert and Crux Comp are built on a 825g frame.

Specialized is keeping the Diverge gravel bike, with its integrated storage, mounts aplenty, and FutureShock front suspension. The new Crux, by contrast, is the ultra-minimalist take on gravel with just the standard two bottle-mounts on the main frame (and one under the down tube), round tubes, and no suspension beyond the Pathfinder Pro tires and a bit of flex in the Roval Terra seatpost.

Also read: Big-ride review: Specialized S-Works Crux gravel bike

Gravel or cyclocross or both?

Interestingly, when gravel bikes first made a push into the broader cycling consciousness, a common question was, ‘well, isn’t this just a cyclocross bike?’ And the answer by those making gravel bikes was, ‘no, this is completely different.’ And, for sure, gravel bikes typically have lower bottom brackets, slacker front ends, more tire clearance, more mounts, and, increasingly, storage options of some sort.

The Crux has 47mm tire clearance. The bikes come with 38mm Pathfinder Pros.

The Crux was long Specialized’s cyclocross platform — and it still is. This new bike has geometry that sits between aggressive gravel and traditional cyclocross, but with gravel-tire clearance.

Whereas the Diverge hunkers down with 85mm of bottom bracket drop, and the outgoing Crux stood taller at 69mm, this new Crux has a 72mm drop.

The top tube is a bit longer, per the current progressive geo trend. So a 56cm frame, for example, has a 56.8mm effective top tube. The head tube angle is 72 degrees on a 56cm frame.

With a trail figure of 64mm in a 56cm, its handling is definitely on the quicker end.

So why the merge of two styles? Trek and Cannondale also recently launched new gravel bikes. Cannondale has positioned its SuperSix EVO SE similarly to the Crux — a gravel and a cyclocross bike. Trek rolled out a fleet of new decidedly gravel Checkpoint models — and then one single new Boone ’cross model. In all cases, it’s economics: gravel is booming while ’cross is not.

The Roval Terra carbon bars feature a flattened top, a mild flare, and a very shallow drop.

Specialized Crux models and prices

There are four complete bikes, all of which come with 38mm Pathfinder Pro tubeless tires. The 12r S-Works frameset is $5,000 and the 10r Carbon frameset is $3,200.

S-Works Crux $12,000

The S-Works comes with a Quarq power meter on the Red XPLR group.

Built with the 725g frame and a 400g fork, the S-Works Crux weighs a claimed 7.25kg/15.98lb. It uses Roval Terra CLX 1296g wheels, Roval 200g bars, and a 136g Roval Alpinist carbon seatpost. SRAM provides the Red XLPR eTap AXS group, complete with a Quarq power meter. Gearing is a 40t ring and a 10-44 12-speed cassette.

Crux Pro $8,000

No fork mounts here, on this 400g fork.

Built with an 825g frame and the same 400g fork as the S-Works, the Pro bike has Force XPLR eTap AXS with 40/10-44 gearing, Roval Terra CL wheels, and Roval Terra bars and seatpost.

Crux Expert $6,000

Built with an 825g frame and the same 400g fork as the S-Works, the Crux bike has Rival XPLR eTap AXS with 40/10-44 gearing, Roval Terra C wheels, and Roval Terra seatpost, and Specialized Adventure Gear bars.

Crux Comp $4,200

Built with an 825g frame and the same 400g fork as the S-Works, the Crux bike has SRAM Rival 1 40/11-42 11-speed gearing, DT Swiss G540 Disc wheels, and Roval Terra seatpost, and Specialized Adventure Gear bars.