I've always admired the cyclocross bike in both discipline and design. I picked up the Specialized Crux Elite Evo, which is aimed at the gravel grind racer. It's the same cross-loving Crux platform with different parts. It's my go to bike these days.
The sport of cyclocross has quickly trended in recent years, probably due to its quirkiness and accessibility from a spectator perspective, but there's a do-it-all spirit of cross bikes that I resisted for years for fear of being labeled 'hip'. I get it now. I have one now, and if I were to have just one ride it would definitely be a hardtail, but the cyclocross bike comes in at a very close second. But I live an (n)+1 lifestyle where (n) equals the number of bikes one currently owns, and you can always have one more.
Adventure And Then Some
Don't be fooled by its appearances, this bike is way more capable than you can handle. It has to be ridden with respect, otherwise you'll be thrown off like a first time bull rider. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way, sending my ass to the ER with stitches to my face and a concussion on my very first ride. I was off the bike for two solid weeks, but once I was able to turn the pedals over I was back on my cross bike, ready to conquer my demons.
Adventuring has been more defined in recent years with specific adventuring gear, including a new sub-genre of bikes designed specifically for the long haul over varying terrain. I chose the Specialized Crux because there's a part of me that'll never let go of racing, even if I don't plan on doing a single cross event. What drew me to the Crux was its flat out capability and rawness. The geometry is aggressive. It has a stout front end, and it has disc brakes. It's just fun to ride.
It's just fun to ride.
So far I've been able to break my usual riding habit of either going for a long road ride or driving out somewhere to go mountain biking. With the cross bike I've been dreaming up new routes, linking road to dirt without having to drive somewhere. I often don't plan my route, saving the adventure of seeing how and if it connects road, dirt and back in one piece.
I'm humbled by the cross bike. I respect it. It's given me a new set of challenges and has taken my interest in cycling to another level. It's not enough to convert me completely over to cross, but I can see why it's so popular. There's a fun loving nature about the bike and culture that's hard to resist.
The Crux Elite Evo packs a lot of capability in this affordable package. It serves me in so many useful ways; as an adventure gravel grinder, cyclocross race bike, rainy day commuter, and mild cross-country trail bike.