PRESENTING THE TOM BOONEN COLLECTION
Our coverage of Specialized's Global Press Launch continues from Snowbird, Utah! In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of our coverage HERE
. Tom Boonen has had quite the successful season, winning three major Classics on three different Specialized bikes: Gent-Wevelgem (Venge), Tour of Flanders (Tarmac) and Paris-Roubaix (Roubaix). To commemorate the season, Specialized has unveiled the Tom Boonen Limited Edition collection, which the includes the above Prevail helmet and Chicane saddle. Both are decked out in custom paint schemes complete with a Lion of Flanders popping the winner's champagne bottle, Boonen's name and a set of World Championship rainbow stripes.
On most any given day, Boonen's bike of choice is the Venge. So his Limited Edition collection also includes a custom Venge frameset, and only 200 will be released. The custom paint job includes more rainbow stripes, Boonen's signature on the non-driveside bottom bracket area and Belgian flag colors.
The most impressive feature on the Boonen Venge is the S-Works decal on the downtube. A Specialized artist compiled a list of all of Tornado Tom's wins throughout his career, then integrated that list into the S-Works graphic.
THE CRUX CYCLOCROSS RACE BIKE, NOW IN CARBON
Specialized's all-new carbon fiber Crux cyclocross race bike was one of the event's big reveals. Specialized has had considerable success with its Crux in recent years, and the company's engineers have been tinkering with a carbon fiber version for some time. This particular model will be a dedicated race bike, according to one of Specialized's ambassadors. And just who might that have been?
The man, the myth, the legend: Ned Overend! When asked by Specialized engineers what he wanted in a cyclocross racer, Overend said, "I want a Tarmac for the dirt!" Both former World Champion, Zdenek Stybar, and multi-time US National Champion, Todd Wells, allegedly said the same thing. The highest-end S-Works carbon fiber frame that Overend is holding above weighs in at a claimed 990 grams. If you're a fan of Ned Overend, be sure to pick up the September 2012 issue of Road Bike Action, which has a sweet feature on the wily race veteran, complete with some of the secrets to Ned's longtime success racing bikes.
FIRST RIDE IMPRESSIONS: SPECIALIZED CRUX EXPERT CARBON DISC
Among the several carbon Crux builds on offer for 2013, one of the most anticipated is the Expert-level, disc brake version. The Crux will be available in two different carbon frame options, as well as an alloy version. All three with have options for either traditional cantilever or disc brakes.
The Crux's headtube features an hourglass-shaped design, similar to the new Roubaix endurance road bike. It's a tapered design that includes a 1 1/8-inch to 1 3/8-inch headset. Internal cable routing is also on tap.
A beefy carbon fork gives the Crux plenty of stiffness up front for great handling. Avid BB7 mechanical calipers provide the stopping power, but Specialized says that they're working on a future Crux that should come with hydraulic disc brakes.
The left fork blade was given extra attention during the design process. Specialized engineers gave the structure a bit more strength in order to combat the extra forces caused by the disc brakes.
Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes can also be found on the rear of the bike, while internal cable routing continues. Like the fork blade, the left seat stay was strengthened to deal with increased braking forces. The 2013 Crux also features shorter chainstays compared to the 2012 version, which are intended to improve handling.
The full build specifications on the Crux Expert Carbon Disc bike are still being finalized, but sources say that Specialized's Phenom saddle, orginally designed for mountain bike racing, should come standard.
What's better than jumping on a new cyclocross bike for the first time? Riding with multi-time National Champion, Todd Wells. Wells hosted a makeshift cyclocross race clinic for several attendees, giving them advice on 'cross handling, approaching barriers and various race tactics. Wells rode the new Crux Pro Carbon, which comes with cantilever brakes, but said that he's excited about the applications of disc brakes in cyclocross racing, particularly in wet conditions.
Check back soon for more coverage from Specialized's
Global Press Launch!