Bike Check: Maghalie Rochette's "Alter Ego" S-Works CruX
Rochette's first custom-painted bike helps her flip the switch when it's time to race 'cross
Maghalie Rochette has won a lot of things, including 3 Elite Canadian National Championships and 2 Pan-American Championships. She has had some cool custom kits to honor those achievements, but one thing has been missing.
“I've never had a custom-painted bike before, so that was really cool. It's the first one,” she said.
That changed this year with Rochette’s S-Works CruX. The release of the new CruX last month drew attention because Specialized billed it as a gravel bike, putting it in lockstep with the gravelization of the bike industry. Despite its gravel billing, Rochette has been doing quite well this season racing cyclocross on the platform.
Unlike Lucinda Brand’s Trek Boone, which featured a number of structural changes with the new model, the changes in the new CruX are largely with the geometry—longer wheel base, more bottom bracket drop, longer reach—so for Rochette’s profile, we’ll start with the custom paint scheme because it’s pretty cool.
The theme of Rochette’s bike is “Alter Ego.” Rochette explained the thinking behind the concept.
“In real life I like to make friends and be nice, but on the race course that doesn't work,” she said. “You have to be more aggressive and at least take your space. When I get on the start line, it's the alter ego. It's not nice Maghalie, it's race Maghalie.”
The CX Fever logo on the top tube highlights the Alter Ego concept. The right side of the logo is more “Evil CX Fever” than the left.
The entire concept came together thanks to Specialized designer Elena Aker. “We chatted for like 30 minutes and she figured me out. All I said is I want something colorful and punchy because that's cyclocross to me. Then she came back with this.”
Looking at the bike, one might assume Rochette is a big fan of purple. However, that’s not really the case.
“I never liked purple. If you asked me what color I don't like, the answer would be purple,” Rochette said. “But then when Elena came up with this, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, that looks so cool.' I really love it. Maybe my opinion on purple will change.”
Another key part of the alter ego design is the song lyrics inside the fork and rear triangle. Rochette is a huge music fan, and it plays an important role for her on race day and everyday life. “Sometimes it's to chill before the race. Other times it's to start dreaming. I get that going in the car, and then I start dreaming about goals and what I want to do. It gets me in a really good mood,” she explained.
Inside the front fork are lyrics from the Lil’ Wayne and Eminem song Drop the World. “That's the last song I listen to before getting on the start line. The quote is, 'Confidence is the stain they can't wipe off.' That's a good mood to get on the start line with.”
The lyrics on the rear triangle are from the Taylor Swift song Marjorie from her recent folk album Evermore. '“'Never be too kind you forget to be clever, never be too clever you forget to be kind.' And then the other side is, 'Never be be too polite you forget your power.' I think those are nice lyrics to live by, but they also fit the Alter Ego concept.”
Since the Bulletin is decidedly pro-TSwift, I tried to nail down Rochette’s favorite song by the artist, but she was a bit evasive. “It changes,” she said. “I love them all, but I listen to Taylor Swift for many different purposes.”
Taking a quick tour of bike’s frame, Specialized started by making the bike lighter. The previous CruX cyclocross bike used the company’s Fact 11r carbon, but the CruX upgrades to Fact 12r, which is ported over from the ultra-light Aethos road bike.
We weighed Rochette’s bike, and it checked in at a svelte 16 pounds, 5 ounces.
For the geometry, the wheelbase of a 52cm bike increases from 100.7cm to 101.4cm. The new CruX interestingly has a lower stack than its predecessor (54.7cm versus 55.4cm), but the reach increases by 0.7 cm. Additionally, the head tube angle is only a smidge slacker at 71.25 degrees versus 71.5 on the previous iteration.
Finally, the bottom bracket drop is a bit lower at 74mm versus 71mm before.
We are not yet in the bike-reviewing business, so we cannot really comment on how the new gravelized CruX rides for cyclocross. I am a big proponent of bikes being multi-purpose, and I hope the industry leaves space for those of us who want a fun cyclocross bike that can also be used for gravel and even road riding. From the sound of it, Specialized may have achieved that with the new CruX.
To that end, the CruX has so much tire clearance. The company claims room for tires up to 700c x 47mm and 650b x 2.1”. Needless to say, that means plenty of room for shedding mud on the ‘cross course.
For a drivetrain, Rochette is running the same 12-speed SRAM Red eTap AXS we have seen on other bikes.
The day before World Cup Waterloo, Rochette has a 38t X-Sync 12-speed chain ring mounted to a Quarq power-enabled crankset with 170mm crank arms.
She also went with a K-Edge chain keeper to keep things in line.
Not surprisingly, Rochette’s wheels were from Specialized house brand Roval. She ran super-deep CLX 50 Rapide carbon tubulars.
Rochette’s tires also come from Specialized. During course inspection at Waterloo, she had Tracer mixed treads mounted.
One final interesting component of Rochette’s build is the Xpedo CXR SPD-compatible pedals. The orange color conveniently fits with the gold accents and orange logos on the bike.
And now that we think about it, so does the purple Lizard Skins bar tape and orange K-Edge computer mount. If purple and orange are your colors, this is definitely the bike for you to gawk at.
For more on Rochette’s Alter Ego CruX, check out the specs below.
Frame: S-Works CruX, Fact 12r carbon, 12mm thru-axle, flat-mount disc
Fork: S-Works CruX, Fact 12r carbon
Shift/Brake Levers: SRAM Red eTap AXS Shift-Brake Levers
Brake Calipers: SRAM Red eTap AXS HRD, flat mount
Brake Rotors: SRAM Centerline, 140mm
Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB
Crankset: SRAM Red AXS DUB Power Meter, 170mm crank arms, Quarq power meter
Chain Ring: SRAM X-Sync 12-speed, 38t
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Red eTap AXS
Cassette: SRAM Force, 10-33t, 12-speed
Wheels: Roval CLX 50 Rapide carbon tubulars
Tires: Specialized Tracer tubulars, 700c x 33mm
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL-80
Stem: Zipp Service Course, alloy
Seatpost: Roval, carbon
Saddle: Specialized Mimic
Pedals: Xpedo CXR, SPD-compatible
More Info: specialized.com