2023 Specialized Crux Expert Review
- Price: $6200
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: Pathfinder Pro 2B 700×38
- Gear: 1×12 Electronic
What we like about it: It features generous tire clearance and a high-performance gravel geometry, which can better assist riders.
What we don’t like about it: The high price may not meet the needs of some riders.
The outstanding geometry design of the 2023 Specialized Crux Expert makes it more than just a gravel bike; after swapping out the wheels, it can also function as a road bike. That’s what drew me to it. As soon as I got my hands on the Specialized Crux Expert, I dove into testing it. I was eagerly anticipating its performance.
In the following sections, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the 2023 Specialized Crux Expert. Additionally, in the latter part of this article, we’ll compare it to several other top bike models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, stay tuned.
To thoroughly test the 2023 Specialized Crux Expert, I booked a flight, reserved a hotel on IHG, and traveled to Flims LAAX.
In Flims LAAX, I chose the Never End Trail route. This 4.0-mile trail was mostly downhill with a 3,339-foot elevation drop. The path was narrow and covered in gravel, making it unsuitable for regular bikes. The descents were continuous and steep, and the road was quite rough, posing a significant challenge to my ride.
Starting from the trailhead, this bike showcased exceptional capabilities, and the SRAM Rival 1 rear derailleur played a crucial role during uphill sections. I could adjust to the smallest gear ratio on steep climbs, maximizing my power with minimal effort and better distributing my energy. The precision and smoothness of the SRAM Rival 1 rear derailleur allowed me to maintain a comfortable pedaling cadence while steadily ascending.
During descents, I could unleash my speed without worry. The SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes were incredibly reliable and powerful, enabling me to slow down and control my speed on the rugged downhill sections. I could zoom down the descents with confidence, knowing that the SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes would ensure my safety.
When it came to cornering, the agility of the Specialized Crux Expert provided immense enjoyment. The curvature of the Specialized Adventure Gear handlebar allowed me to maneuver the bike with precision, adjusting my direction accurately. I had the freedom to choose the optimal racing line, savoring the thrill and excitement of each turn.
Is That All?
The Specialized Crux Expert comes equipped with a user-friendly Body Geometry Power Sport saddle design that allows me to ride in great comfort. Its softness and support alleviate the pressure on my body during long rides, allowing me to focus on the joy and adventure of cycling.
Additionally, the Pathfinder Pro 2BR tires perform exceptionally well, providing me with a sense of speed, strong traction, and reliable braking capabilities. They also feature durable casings to improve their lifespan. What’s more, I can swap out its wheels for road bike wheels. Yes, this bike can also be ridden on the road, and the Specialized Crux Expert can excel in a variety of settings.
The 2023 Specialized Crux Expert is an exceptional gravel bike. It features an impressive Crux FACT 10r Carbon frame and FACT 12R Carbon fork, offering excellent responsiveness. It is equipped with an SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS rear derailleur, providing smooth shifting, a wide gear range, and excellent performance.
The Specialized Crux Expert provides pedals and includes the Body Geometry Power Expert saddle. It is ergonomically designed for rider comfort. Additionally, it features SRAM Rival eTAP AXS hydraulic disc brakes, ensuring outstanding braking performance for rider safety.
After numerous tests, our understanding of this bike has deepened. It’s an outstanding gravel bike.
However, many riders have specific performance or component preferences, so we’ve explored other similar bikes.
2023 Specialized S-Works Crux
Both bikes share the same geometry but differ in their frames and components. The Specialized S-Works Crux boasts the superior S-Works Crux FACT 12r Carbon frame and S-Works FACT Carbon fork. On the other hand, the Specialized Crux Expert features the Crux FACT 10r Carbon frame and FACT 12R Carbon fork, which are still excellent but may not offer the same level of responsiveness.
Additionally, the Specialized S-Works Crux comes with the SRAM Red XPLR eTap AXS rear derailleur, while the Specialized Crux Expert features the SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS. The SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS is an excellent entry-level electronic road bike kit, whereas the SRAM Red XPLR eTap AXS rear derailleur is better suited for experienced riders.
So, if you’re a beginner, I would recommend the Specialized Crux Expert. If you desire a higher-quality frame and components, the Specialized S-Works Crux would be your top choice.
What do we like about it?
- It boasts larger tire clearance and high-performance gravel geometry, which better assists riders.
- The SRAM Rival eTap AXS hydraulic disc brake kit performs exceptionally well, enhancing the rider’s experience.
- The 700x38mm Pathfinder Pro tires can handle extremely challenging terrain.
- Impressive uphill performance.
What don’t we like about it?
- The high price may not meet the needs of some riders.
- Is this bike suitable for beginners?
It is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.
- Can this bike be used as a road bike?
It can be used as a road bike by fitting it with appropriate road tires.
- What is the weight limit for this bike?
The weight limit is 275 lbs.
- How do I choose the right size?
The size chart is below:
These sizes are just a general guide, and the best way to find your size is to try it out for yourself.
|5’1″ – 5’5″||49cm|
|5’3″ – 5’7″||52cm|
|5’5″ – 5’9″||54cm|
|5’7″ – 6’0″||56cm|
|5’10” – 6’2″||58cm|
|6’0″ – 6’4″||61cm|
|Frame||Crux FACT 10r Carbon, Rider First Engineered™, Threaded BB, 12x142mm thru-axle, flat-mount discBB Standard: BSA, 68mm, ThreadedColors: Gloss Carbon / Tarmac Black; Satin Harvest Gold Metallic / Oak Green|
|Fork||FACT 12R Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle, flat-mount disc|
|Bottom Bracket||SRAM DUB BSA|
|Stem||Specialized Pro SL, alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise|
|Handlebar||Specialized Adventure Gear, 118.9mm drop x 70mm reach x 12º flare|
|Saddle||Body Geometry Power Expert, titanium rails|
|Seatpost||Roval Terra Carbon Seat Post, 20mm Offset|
|Pedals||PEDAL, TEST RIDE PEDALS PROVIDED BY SPECIALIZED|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS|
|Crank||SRAM Rival 1x, 40T|
|Shifters||SRAM Rival eTAP AXS|
|Cassette||SRAM XPLR, XG-1251, 12-speed, 10-44t|
|Chain||SRAM Rival 12-speed|
|Brakes||SRAM Rival eTAP AXS, hydraulic disc|
|Rims||Front: Roval Terra C, 25mm inner width carbon rim, 32mm depth, NEW DT 370 hub, 24h, DT Swiss Comp Race spokes, Rear: Roval Terra C, 25mm inner width carbon rim Rear: Roval Terra C, 25mm inner width carbon rim, 32mm depth, NEW DT 370 hub, 24h, DT Swiss Comp Race spokes|
|Tires||Front: Pathfinder Pro 2BR, Tan Sidewall, 700×38, Rear: Pathfinder Pro 2BR, Tan Sidewall, 700×38|
|Bikes||Click view||Brakes||Drivetrain||Fork Material||Groupset|
|2023 Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1||Click View||SRAM Rival eTap AXS hydraulic disc||2×12Electronic||Carbon||SRAM Rival eTap|
|2023 Cervelo Aspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1||Click View||SRAM Rival hydraulic disc||1×12Electronic||Carbon||SRAM Rival XPLR eTap, Rival eTap|
|2023 Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE||Click View||hydraulic disc||2×12Electronic||Carbon||SRAM Force eTap|
|2023 Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range||Click View||SRAM Force e-Tap AXS 2-piston hydraulic disc||1×12Electronic||Carbon||SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, Force eTap|
2023 Specialized Crux Expert vs. 2023 Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1
The Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1 comes with wider 40c tires, which are slightly wider than the 38c tires equipped on the Specialized Crux Expert, allowing it to handle a wider range of road surfaces. Additionally, the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1 has a 45c tire clearance, allowing you to fit even wider tires, making it suitable for riding on loose sand or snow.
Furthermore, the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1 features a 2×12 electronic drivetrain, while the Specialized Crux Expert is equipped with a 1×12 electronic drivetrain. The dual front derailleur design effectively prevents chain drops. So, if you prefer wider tires, I would recommend the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 1. If you prefer a single front derailleur design, the Specialized Crux Expert would be your better choice.
2023 Specialized Crux Expert vs. 2023 Cervelo Aspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1
The Cervelo Aspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1 has a top tube length of 575mm, while the Specialized Crux Expert has a top tube length of 568mm. A longer top tube length allows riders to stretch out more and can make the ride more comfortable.
Additionally, the Cervelo Aspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1 has a 58.6mm trail, whereas the Specialized Crux Expert has a 64mm trail. It’s important to note that a 64mm trail provides higher speed stability and a tendency for self-correcting steering, responding better to rider-initiated changes in direction by shifting their weight. On the other hand, a 58.6mm trail offers quicker and more agile handling but is less stable and can lead to drifting.
In summary, if you prefer agile handling, the Cervelo Aspero Rival XPLR eTap AXS 1 would suit you well. If you want a stable ride, the Specialized Crux Expert is an excellent choice.
2023 Specialized Crux Expert vs. 2023 Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE
The Specialized Crux Expert comes with carbon wheels, while the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE uses aluminum wheels. Carbon wheels are lighter in weight, but they can be more susceptible to breaking when subjected to impacts from the side. Additionally, the Specialized Crux Expert is equipped with a 1×12 electronic drivetrain, while the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE features a 2×12 electronic drivetrain. The 1× drivetrain configuration helps prevent chain drops.
Furthermore, the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE has a 40c tire clearance, allowing you to fit wider tires. Compared to the 38c tires equipped on the Specialized Crux Expert, 40c tires can handle a wider range of road surfaces. Additionally, the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE can reach speeds of 37mph, whereas the Specialized Crux Expert has a top speed of only 35mph.
So, if you’re looking for faster riding speeds, the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE can meet your needs effectively. If you prefer carbon wheels, I would recommend purchasing the Factor LS SRAM Force eTap AXS WIDE.
2023 Specialized Crux Expert vs. 2023 Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range
The Specialized Crux Expert has a stack/reach ratio of 1.46, while the Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range has a stack/reach ratio of 1.53. A larger stack/reach ratio provides better reach and allows riders to ride more comfortably.
Furthermore, the Specialized Crux Expert can reach speeds of 35mph, whereas the Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range can only reach 33mph. Additionally, the Specialized Crux Expert has a 64mm trail, while the Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range has a 66mm trail. A 66mm trail offers more stability in bike handling, while a 64mm trail provides more agile steering.
In summary, if you want a more comfortable ride, I would recommend the Pivot Vault Team Force/X01 Wide Range. If you prefer more agile handling, the Specialized Crux Expert would be your best choice.
Above is our review of the 2023 Specialized Crux Expert. This is an outstanding gravel bike that offers a comfortable riding experience. Taking all factors into account, we’ve awarded it a high score of 4.8. If you’re looking for more bicycle information, feel free to explore our other reviews.
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