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    2024 Specialized Crux review

    Tom Owen
    Tom Owen
    Jun 4, 2024 8 min
    2024 Specialized Crux review

    The Specialized Crux is one heck of an impressive machine, no matter which way you slice it. It has versatility by the bucketload, so much so that the bike is often referred to as a “quiver killer”, meaning a bike that can do anything and eliminates the need to own multiple bikes for different situations. Could this be the end of every cyclist’s favourite formula, N+1?

    If you were to hone in on its core competencies, you would say it is a very fast gravel bike. Or a road bike that can handle tricky off-road surfaces with aplomb. Many Specialized Crux owners use it as a road bike and a gravel bike, simply by switching out the tires.  

    In their review of the top-tier Specialized Crux Pro, Cycling Weekly described the bike as “light, responsive and versatile”, while also praising its agility on climbs.

    Exploring the Specialized Crux family

    For 2024 the Crux is offered in three full-build packages, plus you can also pick up a super-high end S-Works frameset-only option if you want to build up the machine of your dreams with hand selected componentry. 

    Here is what you get in each spec.

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    Specialized Crux Comp review

    While this may be the ‘entry’ model to the Crux family, the Comp is far, far from being a basic bike. The spec features the impressively fluent shifting of a Shimano GRX 12-speed groupset, plus robust DT G540 Disc wheels. It comes stocked with 38mm Pathfinder Pro tubeless-ready tires. The 2023 component build spec was offered with SRAM Rival 1 groupset instead of the Shimano GRX. 

    Specialized Crux review
    See Specialized Crux Comp for sale on buycycle

    Specialized Crux Expert review

    Taking a step up the ladder, the Specialized Crux Expert packs an incredible amount of performance into its mid-tier package. The big change vs the Comp is the jump up to electronic shifting, and on the Elite you get SRAM Rival eTap AXS shifting – allowing you to switch gears with crisp, effortless precision. The wheelset also gets an upgrade on the Crux Expert, with Specialized’s in-house brand Roval’s Terra C Disc. It is worth noting that there is no 2024 Crux Expert, but there are a lot of 2023 models around which you can pick up for a great deal on Buycycle.

    Specialized Crux review
    See Specialized Crux Expert for sale on buycycle

    Specialized Crux Pro review

    The top tier (at least as far as complete builds go) Specialized Crux Pro sees SRAM Force 1 eTap AXS hydraulic disc groupset combined with light-but-tough Roval Terra CL Disc wheels, and tubeless-ready 38mm Pathfinder Pro tires. 

    Specialized Crux review
    See Specialized Crux Pro for sale on buycycle

    S-Works Crux frameset

    You may be switching components off a gravel bike you already own, or simply investing in your all-time dream off-road machine. If either of these sounds like you, then it might be worth considering the frameset-only S-Works version of the Crux. Unlike the other models, it is made with Specialized’s 12r carbon fiber – making it a full 100g lighter than the other bikes’ frames. The total weight is 725g, around the weight of one full large water bottle. The incredible lightness of the frame is what prompted Specialized to declare the Crux the lightest gravel bike in the world. 

    What makes the Specialized Crux a great bike? The positives…

    Specialized Crux review
    There is no denying the Crux is a well-engineered machine!

    Like we said, there is no denying the Crux is a well-engineered machine. Here are just a few reasons to love it. 

    Lightweight

    Just as Big S says, the Crux is one impressively light gravel bike. The frame weighs 825g on the Pro, Expert and Comp models, and 100g less again on the S-Works Frameset. That is hard – if not impossible – to beat in the world of gravel cycling. Actually, there are a lot of road bikes out there with heavier frames than the Crux!

    Racing chops

    This is a gravel bike built for racing… and it shows. The frame geometry is aggressive and punchy, the shapes of the tubes are streamlined, the stiffness of the carbon fiber frame allows you to explode up the inclines with venom. You will love blasting along the fire roads and gravel tracks in the saddle of this machine, and if you have any competitive ambitions to enter major races like the UCI Gravel World Series then the Crux will serve you very well indeed.

    Huge tire clearance

    The Crux boasts clearance to run 47mm tires, putting it well up there in terms of capability. Actually, it even compares well to the Specialized Diverge, the brand’s dedicated off-road adventure machine. 

    Versatility

    The fact you can ride this bike on both road and gravel without ever feeling like you are losing out is perhaps the Crux’s single greatest selling point. If you are short on space at home, or simply want to streamline your life a little bit, the Crux really is a bike to rule them all.

    Negatives of the Specialized Crux – things to consider before you buy

    Specialized Crux review
    The Crux falls more into the speed category than the adventure, which does have a couple of tiny drawbacks.

    While the Specialized Crux is a fantastic machine for riding fast over off-road terrain, it does lack some features that other options in the wider gravel category can boast. The sub-categories within gravel are slowly becoming more distinct and defined, with a split between fast gravel or gravel racing, and more adventurous (but slower) gravel riding. The Crux falls more into the speed category than the adventure, which does have a couple of tiny drawbacks.

    Twitchy handling

    The Crux’s speed focused fork is narrow and the handling can sometimes feel a little too twitchy to cope well with more technical terrain. No-one is saying you should be able to ride a gravel bike down a challenging MTB trail, but there are gravel bikes on the market that feel more confident than the Crux when taking on twisty trails and chunky tree roots. Some reviewers also felt that the narrowness of the fork allowed it to transmit more of the trail chatter through the bars and into the rider’s arms and shoulders, making for an uncomfortable ride over longer distances or on more techy terrain. 

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    Mounting points

    The Crux does not boast any mounting points on the fork or frame (beyond the ones you would expect for a pair of water bottles inside the main triangle of the frame). More expedition-focused rigs will often have mounting points on the fork blades, beneath the down tube, and sometimes on the rear seat stays – giving adventurous cyclists plenty of configuration options for affixing bags, panniers, and extra water capacity to their machine. If you see yourself riding off the grid and far away from regular resupply, the Crux may just lack the chops for you. 

    Component specs

    Some reviewers have noted that the standard componentry you get on the current crop of Crux models leave a little to be desired in terms of value for money. Nothing on the Specialized Crux 2024 models is actively bad quality, but some brands do offer a similar spec sheet for a lower price. You are probably paying a little bit more for the Specialized logo (and the accompanying mega marketing budget) than you would from other bike makers.

    Handle with care

    While we have not seen any confirmed news of the Crux being more likely to experience catastrophic frame failure than any other popular bike, many Crux riders do comment on how it feels slightly fragile. This could simply be a symptom of the bike’s incredible low weight, but if you like your off-road bike to feel bombproof, there might be better options to give you that all-conquering peace of mind. 

    What about older models of the Specialized Crux?

    As a secondhand bike marketplace, we offer past model years of the Specialized Crux (as well as plenty of 2024 ones) which means you can get a great deal on that awesome Crux performance. 

    You also ought to know that the Crux name only came to be used to describe a gravel bike towards the end of 2021, when Specialized re-designed the model to shift away from pure cyclocross racing. Many of the features that make a good cyclocross bike overlap with those of a great gravel bike, but it is worth keeping in mind that Crux bikes from model year 2021 and earlier will ride differently.

    In 2021, Bike Radar broke down the key differences between the old cyclocross-only Crux and the new do-it-all gravel Crux: “Specialized has lengthened the bike's wheelbase and increased the bike's reach - which it has then offset with shorter stems. It has also increased the bottom bracket drop (resulting in a lower bottom bracket, and as such, a lower centre of gravity), and dropped the stack slightly on all but the largest size.

    The frame of the pre-redesign crux was also a bit heavier, something to bear in mind if you do a lot of off-road climbing. 

    So now you know everything there is to know about this impressive feat of bike engineering, courtesy of our Specialized Crux gravel bike review. All that stands between you and gravel euphoria is to start shopping our range of secondhand gravel bikes and grab yourself a deal… happy trails!

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