At Sea Otter last week, Raleigh showed off their new line of 2016 cyclocross bikes. Comparing their history of continual design improvements to that of the evolution of the beer coozie, Raleigh’s new mud loving machines drop some weight while upping the component specs for the Pros and Cat 3 racers alike.
The top of the line RXC Pro ($5250) weighs in at just under 19 pounds and features a Direct Connect Carbon frame and Raleigh Custom Carbon Monocoque fork with thru axles front and rear. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 11 speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes will keep you running smoothly through the course, while the American Classic Hurricane disc wheels with Clement PDX tires provide great traction under all conditions.
Raleigh introduced thru axles on all of their high-end bikes last year, but you will notice for 2016, the thru axle now appears on all their aluminum bikes as well. Why is this a big deal? The thru axle provides a stiffer feel, more rigidity, and ultimately gives you more control of your bike at lower PSI.
One of the coolest new additions to the 2016 lineup is the RXS with its no mess/no fuss singlespeed belt drive and TRP Hylex hydraulic disc brakes. With thru axle front and rear and tubeless ready Impulse wheels, this $1550 aluminum bike makes a pretty great deal for the beginner CX racer or even for your daily commute.
For their first women’s specific cyclocross bike (pictured top), Raleigh enlisted the help of Caroline Mani, pro rider for the Raleigh-Clement team. The new RXW Elite ($2750) features a Direct Connect Carbon frame with a women-specific geometry and a SRAM Force/Rival 22 11 speed drivetrain. No hydraulic brakes on this one as Mani wanted the lighter cantilever brakes to help the bike come in at around 18 pounds.
I briefly caught a glimpse of Raleigh’s new gravel grinder still in prototype phase. With fender mounts front and rear and a third bottle cage mount on the underside of the down tube, the bike looks ready to compete in the Grinduro or conquer 300 miles of gravel in the Trans Iowa race.