Archive for September, 2010

2011 Specialized Crux Expert Carbon

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 by bencycles

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So this is what a race bike feels like. Damn. I thought my old bike was just how cross bikes were supposed to handle. This thing is night and day from my old bike. It feels like a race bike, like a crit bike, I love it. I didn’t even know what I was missing.

I Just grabbed a size 61 Specialized Crux Carbon Expert from the gents at B&L Bikes. It came stock with the new Sram Apex group but Gordon swapped the 1-year-old parts off my now 4-year-old Aluminum frame so at this point the Crux is running a mostly SRAM Red drivetrain save for the Dura Ace crank and Apex frnt der.

Then I pimped it out with some sweet Silk carbon tubulars and a gold chain. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I put all the Apex parts on my old frame to use as my commuter/training/spare bike. I’m pretty curious to see how the new Apex group works compared to the high-end Red group.

The new Crux frame is supposedly modeled after the geometry of the Specialized Tarmac frame, which is what I used for all my riding when I was in Europe for 6 months last year and I loved it. So to feel that same snappy handling in a cross bike feels right at home.

Built up as shown above, my 61 cm bike weighs 17.8 lbs, which I’m pretty happy with. If you really want to go light and you have a little extra coin, get the S-Works module. I’ve seen a medium sized 2011 module built up to 15.5 lbs without using any stupid light parts.

I don’t know if I’m gonna be faster, but I sure am gonna look better on the start line. All this red/black/white coordination is so matchy matchy.

Red hubs are sure to please.
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Replaceable dropout is a pretty normal sight these days.
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Down tube cable routing for the front and rear shifting is simple and direct. If you’re looking for internal routing, the alloy frames might be the way to go. Especially if you get the pink one.

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A ton of tire clearance in both the front and back, not that we really need it for our dry SoCal Courses. But you never know, maybe this will be the year we get muddy courses. One can always dream.
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DPP_0040Also in the photo above is a view of the single bottle cage mount on the down tube. I’m fine with just a single cage, but if I do run just one, it’s usually on the seat tube.

Pretty good clearance between the crank and chainstay, too.
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I really like having a brake hanger on the fork. On my old bike I had a lot of trouble with brake shudder when I tried running the brake line from the headset area. The fork mounted hanger solved my problem. I get no fork shudder whatsoever. The front end feels really stable on the Crux.
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A threaded BB shell works out well for me since I’m still running a Dura Ace crank. Of course, you could go with the S-Works frame module that comes with the Specialized BB30 crank. That’s what I run on my MTB and really like it for the light weight and stiffness.
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The top tube is nicely shaped. Besides being comfy on the shoulder, it also makes it easier to manhandle the bike while running barriers.
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Zerts: Do they work? I have no idea, but the bike rides pretty nice.
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Specialized stem with adjustable angle.
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The biggest difference between this bike and my old bike is the handling. The Crux steers much quicker than my old bike and it’s great in tight turns. I felt like I had to push the old bike through turns where this thing just flicks through them. The stiff carbon frame has a snappy feel I really like.

I haven’t raced it yet, but I was excited to get this thing out for the first time last weekend and initiate it properly by going up the Nate Harrison dirt road to the top of Palomar. Plus it was probably good training for me to go out and get my ass handed to me by BP and Scott. Now I’m ready to suffer properly next weekend at the season opener of the SoCal Prestige Series.

California State Championships/Specialized Invitational Finals

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2010 by bencycles

That’s a great way to finish a season! 3rd place at state champs. My kid sure is eyeballing that top spot, though…

The race was on the Bonelli Park pro course and we did 5 laps of the roughly 4.2 mile course. Other than the terrible heat, the hardest part was keeping track of what lap I was on. Well, no, not really. Actually the hardest part was finishing that last lap, it was so f%$&ing hot out there, I really suffered. Thank God the brain forgets misery quickly.

Gordon at B&L Bikes worked some voodoo magic on my bike,  and with the help of a couple parts which I’d put in the category of stupid-light (I’m talking to you, alloy rotors), we managed to get my XL 29er to a svelte 20.07lbs. Sweet! The thing felt fast!

Sprout gave me her very first water hand-up during the race, too! I’m not sure which one of us was more excited. Her for feeding me or me for finding another willing pawn… I actually had to stop during the last lap of the race so she could take aim and throw water on me “to cool me down”.

Well, that’s it, mtb XC season is done for 2010. What a hell of a year. Now it’s time for cross.

Cross is Coming Again!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2010 by bencycles

Cross season is coming. Every winter it just seems to come back. I like cyclocross. I like animation. hmmm…?
So I made this movie:

I’ve always liked claymation and stop motion animation and while driving home from Breck Epic, I had the idea to make this movie. You think about a lot of weird stuff when your driving alone for 19 straight hours on nothing but bad coffee and Wendy’s. The movie’s a little rough, but cut me some slack, it was my first attempt and I did most of it late at night while the Sprout slept. I hope you like it.

Some Recent Numbers I’ve Enjoyed, in Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2010 by bencycles

11th hour:

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Day 1:

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Day 6:

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year 90:

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hour 12 in the car:

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24 tasty beverages:

And at last, the 2 of us eating bean burritos on the beach again: