Eric, the product buyer for our components division, loves racing cyclocross. In fact, he plans his whole cycling year around the few short months of the cyclocross season. And since North Carolina is a hotbed of sorts for ‘cross on the East Coast, there’s rarely a weekend when he’s not donning the kit of our Garneau Custom team and pushing himself to the limit for an hour on the pavement, grass, sand, mud or whatever else the course has in store.
Eric’s definitely a guy who knows his cyclocross, so we asked him to give us his top 5 component picks for ‘cross season, and why he picked them. Will your next ‘cross race still be one of the most painful hours you’ve ever spent on a bike if you get this gear? Of course! This is cyclocross after all – but you might as well look for every advantage you can get.
1. DV3k Tubular Wheelset – This wheelset is lightweight (sub 1400 grams), plus it has an advanced carbon layup, 46-mm rim depth to slice through the mud, and the smooth ride of a tubular (although you can also get the wheeelset in a clincher version).
2. Avid Shorty Ultimate Cantilever Brakes – They don’t call these brakes “ultimate” for nothing; they can be adjusted to have a wide or narrow stance, have ample mud clearance, and just plain look good (plus it doesn’t hurt that the world champ races with them on his bike).
4. Challenge Grifo Tubular Cyclocross Tire – Cross racers are serious about their tires, from the tread patterns to the tire pressure to the history of the manufacturer. The Grifo is still made by hand, with a versatile tread design and the supple performance that only a high-end tubular can deliver (but a clincher version is also available).
5. Shimano CX70 Crankset – Part of Shimano‘s first foray into the world of purpose-built cyclocross components, this crankset excels with a 46/36T gearing combination mated to Shimano‘s reliable and efficient 2-piece design with smooth-shifting Hyperdrive chainrings.