Specialized Crux DSW Review: The Ultimate Lightweight Aluminum Gravel Bike

Specialized Crux DSW Review: The Ultimate Lightweight Aluminum Gravel Bike Jun, 12 2024

Introduction to the Specialized Crux DSW

The Specialized Crux DSW is making waves in the cycling community for its outstanding build quality and performance. Advertised as the lightest aluminum gravel bike frame ever made, this marvel from Specialized is both an engineering feat and a practical choice for cyclists who value versatility and top-notch performance. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at what makes the Crux DSW a standout option for gravel, cyclocross, and road riding.

A Deep Dive into the Frame

The frame of the Specialized Crux DSW is where this bike truly shines. Weighing in at just 1,399 grams for a 56 cm frame, it’s a remarkable achievement in the realm of aluminum bikes. This featherweight frame doesn’t just save weight; it improves ride quality, making climbs feel less laborious and the overall ride more responsive. The premium alloy construction ensures that you’re not sacrificing durability for weight. It's a frame that promises longevity while maintaining a high standard of performance.

Geometry and Tire Clearance

What sets the Crux DSW apart is its geometry and tire clearance. This bike has taken inspiration from its big brother, the Crux gravel and cyclocross bike, by adopting the same geometry. The bike is designed with a more aggressive stance compared to traditional gravel bikes, featuring a lower bottom bracket drop, which is typical of cyclocross bikes. This design choice results in improved handling and stability on rough terrains.

The Crux DSW boasts impressive tire clearances, accommodating up to 700c x 47 mm or 650b x 53 mm tires. This flexibility allows riders to choose tire sizes based on their riding conditions, whether it’s gravel paths, cyclocross courses, or paved roads. The broader tire options also contribute to a smoother ride and better grip on varied surfaces.

Performance Components and Pricing

Performance Components and Pricing

Equipped with a SRAM Apex XPLR groupset and Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires, the Crux DSW is built for performance. The SRAM Apex XPLR groupset offers reliable shifting and a range of gears suitable for any terrain. Meanwhile, the Pathfinder Pro tires provide a perfect balance between speed and grip, enhancing the bike’s versatility.

Available in both frameset and complete bike options, the Crux DSW caters to different budgets and preferences. The frameset is priced at $1,700/£1,500/€1,650/$2,500 AUD, and the complete bike comes in at $2,600/£2,300/€2700/$4,000 AUD. These pricing points make it a competitive option against other premium aluminum gravel bikes and even entry-level carbon fiber bikes.

Comparative Analysis: Standing Against Rivals

When comparing the Specialized Crux DSW to other aluminum gravel bikes on the market, it’s clear that it holds its own against the likes of the Canyon Grail AL, Cannondale Topstone, and Giant Revolt. The Crux DSW stands out with its lighter frame and superior ride quality, positioning itself as a premium option in the aluminum category. While competitors offer great features, the Crux DSW’s combination of weight, geometry, and tire clearance gives it an edge.

Even when considering entry-level carbon gravel bikes, which are often priced similarly, the Crux DSW remains appealing. Riders who might be drawn to carbon for its light weight and performance can find comparable benefits in the Crux DSW without paying the carbon premium. It’s a testament to the quality and engineering that Specialized has poured into this bike.

Ride Quality and Handling

Ride Quality and Handling

The ride quality of the Crux DSW is exceptional. Its handling is precise and responsive, thanks to the aggressive geometry and suitable tire clearances. Whether you’re tackling gravel paths, cyclocross courses, or city streets, the Crux DSW remains composed and comfortable. The inclusion of a SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH) adds another layer of convenience and reliability, making maintenance and repairs straightforward.

This bike isn’t just about performance; it’s about the experience of riding. Every detail, from the frame design to the component choices, contributes to a ride that feels natural and enjoyable. The Specialized Crux DSW makes you want to ride longer and explore further.

Conclusion: A Versatile and High-Quality Choice

In conclusion, the Specialized Crux DSW is more than just an aluminum gravel bike; it’s a statement of what’s possible in bike engineering and design. With its lightweight frame, versatile geometry, and premium components, it offers a ride quality that rivals much more expensive bikes. For riders seeking a high-quality, versatile bike without the steep price tag of carbon fiber, the Crux DSW is an outstanding choice. Whether you’re into gravel riding, cyclocross, or road biking, this bike promises to deliver an exceptional experience.