There are many nuances to a cyclocross bike that can make a huge impact on how you ride. Just like training though, it always comes down to what works best for you individually. Lessons that can only be learned through trial and error over the course of multiple seasons, equipment changes, and experiences. My last two Romax builds were prime examples of how something seemingly subtle can completely alter the feel of a bike.
After spending a few seasons learning everything I could about cross on my Ti Romax it was a difficult decision to put it up for sale. It represented my first chance to build something from the ground up and with each passing season it was slowly upgraded into a bike I was really proud of. The final iteration had everything I could have wanted, but the arrival of my SSCXWCVIC Edition Romax changed everything.
Two bikes that shared the same geometry, yet one seemed to just float beneath me and lean through corners unlike anything I'd ridden in the past. After painstakingly crunching the numbers (literally just had to load two web pages) and consulting with MEAT it was decided that the only difference was the rake of the fork, which lengthened the wheelbase of the aluminum framed single speed I had started to fall for. After three podiums in its first four appearances I knew this was a set-up that could work for me.
Choosing a drivetrain was the easy part of this build. Hydraulic discs were necessary after finally experiencing them last fall, and even with Di2 receiving stellar reviews I knew I wanted to stick with mechanical shifting for the long adventure rides after the CX race season. Cable pull Ultegra was something I felt comfortable working on and the thought of a battery dying while out on the backroads for longer than expected had me a little apprehensive.
With Easton releasing their EC90SL crankset just in time for cross season they already had my attention, and their depth in the accessory game made it seem only natural to kit the remainder of the build in a similar fashion. The technology and simplicity of running a 1x drivetrain had already proven itself to me over the last two race seasons, but this crank had taken it one step further with the direct mount chainring leaving nowhere for mud or sand to build up. My only past chain drop was due to mud accumulating from the chainring teeth all the way down to the bolts where it finally had something to press against before forcing the chain free.
Continuing with the carbon theme both the bars and seatpost are also from the Easton EC family. Having less weight near the top of the bike really gave it that sure footed feeling and offers a little extra confidence when throwing the bike into a technical line. If it wasn't for my 4'11" equivalent legs and my 6'2" equivalent torso then I would have opted for the matching carbon stem but unfortunately I require a -17degree to make any bike fit me properly.
The final result is a bike that handles like a roller coaster, and goes like a Lambo. Diving into corners faster than ever and even when I'm sliding around the feel and control is still predictable. It will take some time to familiarize myself with gears again but flying along wide open gravel roads in the 40x11 is a sensation that couldn't have come soon enough. Welcome to the family, Skeletor.
- Frame: Brodie Aluminum Romax
- Fork: TRP Carbon Thru Axle Disc
- Hoops: Easton EA90SL
- Hubs: Easton M1
- Tires: 700x33 Specialized Terra (Tubeless Ready)
- Crank: 170mm Easton EC90SL
- Chainring: 40t Easton EC90SL Direct Mount N/W
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-HG901-11 w/ quicklink
- Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra RD-6800
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-28t RD-6800
- Pedals: Shimano XT
- Levers: Shimano Ultegra RS685 Hydraulic Dual-Control
- Calipers: Shimano Ultegra BR-RS785 Hydraulic
- Rotors: Shimano 160mm Deore XT
- Post: Easton EC90 300/27.2 SP ZERO
- Saddle: Fizik Antares
- Bar: Easton EC90 SLX 42cm
- Stem: Easton EA70 90mm / -17d