For my first three seasons doing cross, I rode what I considered to be the most proper cross setup: steel frame; canti brakes; regulation-width tubulars on alloy rims; an A bike and a matching B bike. Yes, I was that guy in the 4/5 field. I even had a steel fork made for my steel bike – and then I had the whole thing custom-painted. It was elegant (and still is).
I was wrong.
All this new technology is good, and I am stoked as can be on this bike.
I managed to find a fit that closely tracks my road fit, with a bit more stack and a bit less seat height. We’re still fiddling with the stack and the hood position, but I’m loving the higher, more-horizontal top tube – having more room in the front triangle is great, and I’m finding much more hand/arm support during fast dismounts.
On the road, I’ve been using a Pro Stealth saddle, notable for its width, large center cutout, and cropped nose. The Ergon SR that I’m trying out (sourced from ACME) is technically a Women’s saddle, but it’s working great for cross. The flattish profile front-rear allows for lots of adjustment, as does the increased length. And the cover has just the right amount of grip – not enough to cause sticky remounts, but enough to hold different positions when needed.
I’m normally a “run everything internal” guy for Di2 builds, but the external junction box is more convenient for cross; the K-Edge mount really cleans up the front end and will save the finish of the stem on wet, dirty, or sandy days.
This is my first year on 2x Di2 for cross, but after one race weekend, I’m loving it. No dropped chains to report, but there’s definitely been a learning curve moving from 1x to 2x. And it should make it easy for the Steeple to become a winter training bike. Did I mention it has fender mounts, and fits 42s? Well…
Speaking of that, I’ve fitted the bike with 38c Dugast tubulars, which I glued up using Vittoria Mastik One and CX Tape. They are as advertised very supple and exceptionally grippy. As a bigger guy, the extra volume is nice, but I’m undecided whether they provide a performance benefit or not. I ran 24-25psi this weekend and I can’t tell if that’s not enough or too much.
This is without a doubt the most fun bike I’ve ever owned. I love my A1, of course, but cross bikes are different. And this one is special.
Big thanks to Matt for the photos.
To Be Determined x Garneau Steeple (Pink)
- Garneau Dream Factory Steeple size Large, custom painted TBD colorway
- Shimano Ultegra Di2 complete groupset, 160/160 XT rotors, 46/36 chainrings with 11-28 cassette, Shimano M540 pedals
- Full Zipp Service Course cockpit: SL80 handlebars; 110mm stem; 0° setback post
- Ergon SR Pro Women saddle
- K-Edge Di2 Junction Box mount
- Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular wheelset
- Dugast Little Bird tubulars, 38c with Flying Doctor casing