Testing... Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2014 Hybrid Bike | Product Review | Rutland Cycling

Words by Aaron Scott

on 09/09/2013 06:57:00

2014 is so last year darling. Check out the 2015 model here!

 

This competent hybrid from Specialized is one of Rutland Cycling's best-selling bikes, and for very good reason. While many riders focus their riding on either road or trail, committing themselves to a specific tool for the job, there are just as many cyclists who want a single bike that'll do everything they ask of it. The Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc is the perfect example of a do-it-all cycle, offering quality mechanical components, front suspension, multi-terrain tyres and a commanding riding position, opening a world of woodland trails, dirt tracks, cross-city commuting and back lane blasts. That's a lot of riding for the price.

Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2014

RIDING IMPRESSIONS

All in all, the Crosstrail range are brilliantly considered bikes, aimed at the massive market of cyclists who simply like to ride as often as possible and not be limited by a certain type of riding. Our test bike felt like a faithful friend as we threw it from busy town centre streets, down nadgery little alleys, out onto trails and woodland paths and back again. And again and again. The confidence with which you can transition from road to trail is inspiring, with the bike never noticeably slowing down from one surface to another, and being able to lock out the forks once back on the tarmac is invaluable for maintaining that speed and not losing power through the fork's action.

There is no doubt this bike is capable off-road, and the ace brake set and 60mm of travel in those forks makes the Crosstrail an absolute hoot to throw around. But in the town on the road, it'll behave and sit you up in a vantage point of visibility and in the most comfortable manner so you can focus on the traffic around you. If you just needed a bike to go somewhere, this would be it.

FRAME AND FORKS

The Specialized A1 Premium aluminium frame is elegantly formed, with its chunky head tube tapering down to the seat tube, and its lithe seat stays and quality forged drop outs. Yet despite its simplicity and subtleness in design, the frame is as tough as old boots in order to take pot-holes, kerbs and juddery trails in its stride, yet be light enough to make off-piste shortcuts not just a possibility, but an essential pleasure.

And when the Crosstrail has dealt with the commute, the trail, the woods, the lanes...luggage rack braze-ons on the seat stays and (beautifully forged) dropouts mean loading up for a bit of cycle touring is on the cards too.

Up front sits a pair of SR Suntour NEXi Coil forks, offering 60mm of travel to soak the bumps, but also featuring a mechanical lockout atop the right fork, which will stiffen up the travel once you're off the trail and back on the tarmac, giving much more direct and positive drive for proper road work.

Buy the Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2014 >

KIT

The Shimano Acera drivetrain boasts a reliable and precise 9-speed rear derailleur with a triple chainset on the front, offering a fantastic spread of 27 gears, perfectly designed to give you quick acceleration in town, effective climbing ability and a leggy top speed. What's more, the chainset features a guard so you can even commute in your suit without getting tangled in the chain!

Specialized's familiar Body Geometry finishing kit includes an all-day comfy Targa Sport saddle and special grips designed to take the pressure off your palms and keep you riding all day long.

But the most impressive feature on the Sport Disc version is, unsurprisingly, the disc brakes. Offering super progressive feel, the Tektro Draco dual piston calipers bite 160mm steel rotors for immense stopping power. The rotors' wavy design clears mud easily, ensuring the filthiest of trails aren't out of bounds, while Tektro's Draco hydraulic levers can be operated with one finger and deliver precise control when you're on the loose stuff or riding through wet, wintery streets.

Perhaps the unsung heroes of the Crosstrail's do-it-all credentials are the brilliant 38c Trigger Sport tyres, which provide much lower rolling resistance than a standard off-road tyre, giving you road bike-like momentum, but yet still offering surprising grip when you make the transition to unsurfaced tracks and trails.

THE RIDER

The Crosstrail range suits so many different types of riders, which is why it is so successful, both for Specialized and for Rutland Cycling. It's a bike that will do whatever you ask of it with minimal fuss. If carbon race bikes and fully-suspended MTBs are highly strung and ultra focused, the Crosstrail is unassuming, pragmatic, reliable and belies its inherent fun factor. It's the perfect bike for the non-competitive cyclist, but also a brilliant second bike, trainer, wet-weather hack, tourer and all-round Jack-of-all-trades.

BOTTOM LINE

The Crosstrail Sport Disc takes the concept of multi-purpose machine and refines it with exceptional stopping power, confidence inspiring geometry and a subtly stylish design that says 'keep your Lycra, I just want to ride'.

Buy the Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2014 >>

CROSSTRAIL SPORT DISC - FRAME GEOMETRY

2014-specialized-crosstrail-sport-disc-geometry

CROSSTRAIL SPORT DISC - FULL SPECIFICATION

  • Frame - Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium, w/ mudguard/rack braze-ons, forged dropouts, kickstand mount
  • Fork - SR Suntour NEXi Coil, aluminium lower, custom integrated fork crown, mechanical lockout, 60mm travel
  • Headset - 1-1/8? FSA Ahead, semi-integrated, 8mm cone spacer
  • Stem - Alloy, 4-bolt, 10-degree rise, 25.4mm clamp
  • Handlebars - Specialized riser bar, alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 25mm rise, 25.4mm
  • Grips - Specialized Body Geometry XCT, dual compound, lock-on
  • Brakes - Tektro Draco, hydraulic disc, dual piston, 160mm rotor
  • Front Mech - Shimano Acera
  • Rear Mech - Shimano Acera, 9-speed
  • Shifters - Shimano SL-M390, Rapidfire
  • Cassette - Shimano, 9-speed, 11-32
  • Chain - KMC X9
  • Crankset - SR Suntour XCR, 9-speed, square spindle, w/ chainguard 48/36/26
  • Bottom Bracket - Cartridge bearings, square spindle, capless bolts
  • Pedals - Composite plastic body, loose ball, w/ reflectors
  • Rims - Alloy double-wall, 32h
  • Front Hub - Disc, double-sealed, dual-lock nuts w/ 19mm contact side, steel axle w/ Semi RLCA steel QR
  • Rear Hub - Disc, double-sealed, loose ball, dual-lock nuts w/ 19mm contact side, QR
  • Tyres - Specialized Trigger Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, 700x38c
  • Saddle - Body Geometry Targa Sport, steel rails, 155mm
  • Seatpost - Alloy, 2-bolt, 12.5mm offset, 27.2mm
  • Seat Collar - Alloy, 31.8mm

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