Tested: Trek Crockett 5 Disc

About The Bike

The bike on test was a Trek Crockett 5 Disc, which sits in the middle of Trek’s cyclocross range. Above it sits the recently released Boone, which is now the weapon of choice for Sven Nys and Katie Compton. On the other end of the range is the commuter oriented Crossrip. The capabilities of the Crockett range are clearly illustrated by the fact Katie Compton has ridden the bike to World Cup victories and World Championship podiums.

The Crockett is manufactured from aluminium and finished with a catching pearlescent white paint job. Considering the bike on test is part has been part of Trek’s demo range and ridden daily for the past few months, I was impressed by how well the finish has held up.

The front end of the bike features a tapered head tube which is now standard on most ‘cross bikes. The fork has a larger than normal rake, however the rake is offset with rear racing dropouts. The aim is to manage the ride quality, much like old school steel forks. The disc brakes bosses are direct mount with the use of cylindrical spacers which is a really nice and simple finishing touch.

The frame has a massive elliptical downtube that is open at the bottom bracket. This design simplifies the the internal routing of the front derailleur cable. The rear brake has the ability to be run internally or externally, the later option would simplify the set up hydraulic systems. The bottom bracket shell supports an internal BB86.5 bottom bracket. The chain stays have been directly butted to the BB shell, so the frame lacks any shelf to gather mud. The rear derailleur cable is also internally routed through the top tube for a nice clean finish. The rear brake calliper is mounted internally, which improves heel clearance and mud guard mounting.

The last feature of the frame that deserves a mention is the simple integration of mud guard mounts. The threaded bosses when matched with the eyelet allow quick and easy mudguard installation. In my books this is a simple additional that massively improves the bikes versatility. I am impressed that this feature also make it’s way to the Boone.

The groupset on the bike is Shimano 105 with FSA Energy cranks which is standard at the $2000 price point. The brakes are Avid BB5s with 160mm rotors front and back. Bontrager supply a tubeless ready centerlock wheelset, and tyres. The bike has been finished with Bontrager components, a catching blue anodised seat clamp and headset spacers along with an integrated chain catcher.

Riding the Bike
Before taking the bike out for its madmen voyage I decided to test how “tubeless ready” the rims were. With my benchmark tubeless ready Kenda Slant 6s, a very tight fit was achieved and the tyres were inflated first time with a track pump. After the “overnight at 60psi” test failed, closer inspection revealed that the joint in the rim was leaking air. This was simply resolved by making sure the joint was the lowest point next time the tyre was inflated. I was happy with the system and tested in the field.  No issues were experienced at all with the setup

Unfortunately my first ride on the Crockett was frustrating, lots of little things annoyed me. The front brake rubbed when ever I got out of the saddle, the cables got in the way of my hands and rubbed my knees. On top of this I was suffering out the back of the group all day long. I was disappointed as on paper the bike was awesome but I wasn’t blown away riding it. My main issue was that bike lacked the snappy acceleration you expect on a ‘cross bike. I felt my heavier everyday ride, jumped out of the corners quicker. By the end of the ride my shoulders definitely didn’t agree to 44cm bars after 15years of 42s.

Once I had recover from my suffering, I closely examined the bike. The following changes were made.
1. The cable were fixed with electrical tape. (In the bikes defence, it is a demo bike that needs to suit all sizes and shapes. As I had the stem slammed there was excess cable that could easily be shortened).
2. Swapped out the wheels with my Stan IronCross wheelset, this dropped 800g of the bike.
3. Adjusted the front brake and crossed my fingers. (As I have a love hat relationship with the Avid BB brakes.)

My next outing on the Crockett was a 30min hit out on a combination of both Capital Cross courses. It didn’t take long for the bike to make sense to me, and live up to my earlier expectations.

The race wheels single handily transformed the bike. It had the snappy acceleration that you expect from a ‘cross bike. It felt like the power you laid down, you got back in forwards and sometimes sideways motion. I found myself riding in a punching fashion, I was rapidly burning my box of matches and having fun in the process.

The handling was a standout of the bike. The bike changed direction with ease, even through the nastiest switchback combinations. The steering was very precise, which can be attributed to the massive head tube. Time and time again it would go exactly where I pointed it. The most fun was had railing the fast off camber corners. The predictable agility of the bike was a standout and is not something I have found in all the bikes I have ridden over the years.

As we all know, ‘cyclcross isn’t all about riding the bike, sometimes you have to run. The elliptical shape of the downtube could have been implemented to aid in lifting the bike and/or improved mud clearing abilities as a mate suggested. The flatted top tube gave good purchase for quick dismounts.

The Verdict
The the bike does a great job of hitting the sub $2000 price point (RRP $1999). The frame is exceptionally presented and the components specced do the job well. Little things like the mud guard eyelets set it apart from the masses. In terms of handling, the geometry is refined for the demands of ‘cross. With light wheels on, I had a blast racing round the park. All and all the package has great potential.

Now to address my criticism of the wheel set. In order to hit the price point some compromises must be made, the wheelset is how it is done with the Crockett. This is no different to the CAADX that Greg and Claire ride, or the Crux we reviewed(which is up in the next price bracket), all of which have been exclusively raced with light wheels.  If you race the bike regularly getting a set of race wheels will be your first upgrade if you don’t have some already. Presenting the bike with nice wheels would put it in a whole new price bracket. The conclusion I have drawn is the factory wheels are great for commuting and every day riding, and it is no different to any of its peers.  From a usability perspective the success I had run the wheelset tubeless was an added benefit.

In terms of fit, the bike was a little big for me. I sit between a 56 and 58. After reviewing the Crockett, I would select a 56, not the 58 on test. The measurement from the saddle to tops of the bike fitted, but the reach on the 44cc bars was the problem in my case. For most people over 180cm 44cc bars makes sense, much like putting short cranks on small bikes. It was confirmed that the 56 bike comes with my preferred 42cc bars.

In summary the Trek Crockett is a well presented bike with attention to detail that helps differentiate the bike from others in the price bracket.  If you are after a bike to ride to work all winter and race when ever you can, the Crockett is well worth considering.

______________________

Word and Photos – Paul Aubrey

Disclaimer: Trek provided this bike for review.  Trek do no advertise on this site or sponsor any events we are associated with.

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Brew Cup – Ranking 16th June 2014

Here is the first edition of the Brew Cup, our foray into developing a National ranking that spans more than the national series.  The following C2 events were used to determine the ranking.

  • Capital Cross Round 3 (ACT)
  • Dirty Deed Prologue (VIC)
  • Dirty Deeds Round 1(VIC)
  • Manly Warringah Cycling Club Subaru Active CX Round 1 (NSW)
  • Manly Warringah Cycling Club Subaru Active CX CX Round 2 (NSW)
  • Newcastle CX Round 2 (NSW)
  • Nundah CX (QLD)
  • Crossfire Cup Round 1 (SA)
  • Crossfire Cup Round 2 (SA)
  • Superwestige Round 1 (WA)

We hope this gives you an idea of riders to watch out over the the first weekend of racing in the National Series.  Saturday will see riders back at Cranwell Park, the venue that hosted the National Championship.  The love it or hate it course, will be a great chance to see our National Champions display their jerseys in an ever growing field.  There is no doubt that the team from Dirty Deeds will put on a great course at Darebin Parklands.  If the turn out from last years race is anything to go by, it is a day not to be missed.

Elite Female

As of Saturday afternoon 14th June, the Number 1 ranked rider, Oenone Wood, was a confirmed non-starter for the first leg of the national round.  Making the trip to Melbourne for the mother of 3 kids under 5 is a big call.  Watch out ladies when the racing comes to Sydney though!

In equal second we see Jenny MacPherson who has dominated the Crossfire Cup, taking victories in both rounds.  Proving that Mums make good ‘cross riders, Canberra’s Claire Aubrey has ridden strong in both Canberra and Sydney, recently taking a victory over Wood in Sydney.

Nats - Jenny MacJenny MacPherson – Took victory in the Vets race at the national championships in 2013

In third place we see the first Victorian, Amity McSwan. Amity took out the Dirty Deeds Prologue and finished strongly in the first round.  One thing is for sure, there is a great depth of field in the Victorian CX scene, that will be show cased on the weekend.

World Championships representatives Lisa Jacobs and Mel Anset, both side lower in the ranks by virtue of only attending 1 race where they placed second and third respectively. On that occasion it was April McDonough who took a stellar victory.  April is a rider to look out for.

Name Points Rank
Oenone Wood (NSW)
26
1
Jenny MacPherson (SA)
20
2=
Claire Aubrey (ACT)
20
2=
Amity McSwan (VIC)
12
3
Kate Swain (WA)
10
4=
Sarah Homes (SA)
10
4=
April McDonough (VIC)
10
4=
Anna Beck (QLD)
10
4=
Phillipa Birch
7
5
Lizanne Wilmot
6
6=
Terri Rhodes
6
6=
Lisa Jacobs
6
6=
Em Parkes
6
6=
Connie Silvestri 
6
6=
Debra Denis
5
7
Tessa Fabry
4
8=
Sharon Heap
4
8=
Melissa Anset
4
8=
Genevieve McKew
4
8=
Helen Blackwell
4
8=
Carla Franson
4
8=
Annabel Cox
4
8=
Ella Brogan
2
9=
Christine Carter
2
9=
Gemma Kernich
1
10=
Diane Nelson
1
10=
Lucy Barker
1
10=

Elite Male

Having dominated racing in NSW recently, it is no surprise to see Garry Millburn at the top of the rankings.  Garry has taken victories in Sydney twice and Newcastle.  Over the last 2 weekends, he has been pushed all the way my Newcastle’s Chris Atiken.  Only time will tell to see how Millburn’s form translates on the national stage.

Much like MacPherson, Adelaide’s Chris Jongewaard has dominated the quality field in the first 2 rounds of the Crossfire Cup.  Hopefully Jongewaard will make the trip over to Melbourne and challenge Millburn and the ever strong Victorian contingent.

In equal third with have Paul Redenbach (Vic) who has performed consistently in the first 2 rounds of the Dirty Deeds series, he took advantage of  Adrian Jackson’s crash to take a recent victory.  As mentioned earlier, Chris Aitken has been keeping Garry Millburn honest in both Sydney and his home town Newcastle while Sydney’s Scott Wines has been posting consistent top 5 results which see him near the top of the ladder.  Last but not least we have Shaun Lewis who we can count on the animate racing when we head to Melbourne this weekend.

Of special interest is the performance of Mark Chadwick who has placed fourth behind both Millburn and Jongewaard.  This along is strong confirmation of the depth of fields that are developing in the Australian CX scene.

CX rd 3 29 March 032Garry Millburn – Getting ready for Koksijde? Photo: Hardy Lohse

Name Points Rank
Garry Millburn (NSW)
30
1*
Chris Jongewaard (SA)
20
2
Paul Redenbach (Vic)
12
3=
Scott Wines (NSW)
12
3=
Chris Aitken (NSW)
12
3=
Shaun Lewis (SA)
12
3=
Paul Van Der Ploeg (Vic)
10
4=
Jason Chalker (ACT)
10
4=
Robbie McEwen (Qld)
10
4=
Craig Cooke (WA)
10
4=
Alan Iacone (Vic)
8
5
Liam Jefferies
6
6=
Adrian Jackson
6
6=
Mark Chadwick
6
6=
Andy Blair 
6
6=
Lawson Hartshorn
6
6=
Peter Hatton
6
6=
Tom Chapman
5
7=
Jade Lean
5
7=
Tom Patton
4
8=
Karl Wilson
4
8=
Sid Taberlay
4
8=
James Kennedy
4
8=
Nick Both
3
9
Lewis Rattray
2
10=
Ben Henderson 
2
10=
Jason Smith
2
10=
Simon Dec
2
10=
John Groves
1
11=
Nick Morgan
1
11=
Aaron Dickford
1
11=
Michael Potter
1
11=
Danny Hennessy 
1
11=
Justin Claridge
1
11=
Tom Clifton
1
11=

* For all riders, the best 3 Cat 2 results are counted.  Garry Millburn was the only rider to have been allocated points from 4 events.

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Brew Cup – How Points are Awarded

Below is how points will be allocated for the Brew Cup.

Cat 2 Race -Top 5: 10,6,4,2,1
National Series -Top 10: 30,20,15,12,10,8,6,4,2,1
National Champs -Top 10: 40,30,20,15,10,8,6,4,2,1

We will announce the races that will count towards the Cat 2 races early next week.

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Introducing the Brew Cup

In the week prior the the first national series race, BrewCX will be proudly publishing the first Brew Cup ranking.  We having taken our inspiration from Who’s # 1, and will provide Australian cyclocross fans our take on the top male and females cyclocross races. We have the fun task of pulling together 6 months worth of results from across the nation, to present our objective view of the quickest racers in the land.  Stay tuned for some fun.

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Hardy Lohse Capital Cross Round 3 Images

After having such a great time at Round 2 of Capital Cross, Hardy Lohse made his way out to Capital Cross Round 3 to capture the action.  Here is a gallery of his work.  Thanks Hardy.

If you are in Canberra be sure to to swing past the National Portrait Gallery to check out some of this work that is current being exhibited as part of the 2014 National Portrait Prize.

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CAADX – Long term review

Image

Cannondale produce, in my mind, the finest mass produced aluminium frames in the world., plenty Plenty of friends of mine have raved about the ride quality of their CAAD road frames over the years. On top of this former pro Tim Bennett was really impressed with the handling of his SuperX carbon CX bike. Combine the geometry of the SuperX and the ride quality of a CAAD frame and you have an impressive package, the CAADX.

This, combined with a very attractive deal on a bike on the shop floor, all combined to convince me to part with the sheckles and bring home the 2013 CAADX Disc to be my race bike for 2013 and beyond. The CAADX is also the weapon of choice for BrewCX rider Claire Aubrey. Claire’s perspective on this bike has also been considered as part of this review.

Choosing an aluminium bike for racing has its advantages, the anodised finish withstands abuse in the mud and at the pressure washer, and I am less nervous about rough treatment from the baggage handlers. So much so, that I just travel with a canvas bike bag, saving weight in the process and making airport transfers easier.

Typically for a modern cross bike, it has ample tyre and mud clearance.

Through the winter of 2013, I put miles on the clock, using the handy integrated rack mounts to run fenders, a useful feature if you’re trying to have the ‘do it all’ bike. Disc brakes are fantastic when a car pulls out on you in the wet. It was nice to be able to train on my race bike as well, mimicking the position on the commute and getting me comfortable with the bike.

Claire says: “I love the fact that I can race my CAADX on the weekend and commute again on Monday. Full length mud guards and panniers make commuting all year possible.”

The bike fits me well, with minimal changes required to make it suitable. The Cannondale has a reasonably long headtube and a tall headset cover, so I didn’t need to run too many spacers to suit my inflexible body. Different covers are required if you like it slammed, a la Mr Sagan. Handling is responsive, but doesn’t sacrifice stability. The lower bottom bracket compared to traditional designs like Ridley’s makes the CAADX feel better in the corners and as a commuter, while sacrificing some clearance to jumping obstacles.

While my 57cm frame is perfect for 182cm me, there are no sacrifices for riders on the other end of the height spectrum. Claire says: “It’s great to have a bike on the small end of the spectrum that you don’t need to worry about toe overlap on. I also like the oval top tube also makes life easier when carrying the bike. In terms of handling I appreciate the ability to chop and change direction quickly. The bike goes where you want it too, and has no issues “committing to the rut””

There are however, some minor drawbacks. Out of the box this bike is heavy. Mine weighed in at 10.0kgs, with a multitude of components to blame. While this bike is ostensibly Ultegra equipped, the FSA BB30 crankset is not to the standard of the rest of the components, and suffers from the BB30 creak associated with all press fit bearings. The factory spec brakes were both heavy and difficult to set up. But the stand out disappointment were the factory supplied Cannondale CX2.0 wheels. While sturdy, they are too heavy for a bike intended to be raced in the stop start environment of cyclocross, but are suitable for training and commuting. They are the obvious cost saving measure to enable the high end groupset.

The fork is a straight 1 1/8th steerer, and feels like it could use some additional stiffness both laterally and londitudinally to cope with the increased braking forces under heavy braking in grippy surfaces. I never noticed this racing on the dirt, but it is obvious under heavy braking on the bitumen.

However, the basic package is a good place to start. With many sub 6.8kg road bikes using the CAAD10 on which this bike is based, there is no fat in the frame, and the nimble and predictable handling gives plenty of promise. An Ultegra groupset is all that is required in cross, and having a spare set of wheels to train on is useful..

Claire says: “Unfortunately my 105 CAADX was stolen. Since upgrading to the Ultegra version I have been really impressed with the increase in shifting performance. Even after multiple mechanics the 105 always needed tweaking. The Ultegra groupset consistently shifts nicely day in, day out”

With the impressive base package in mind, I made a plan to turn my bike into an out and out racer.

  • Replace wheels with carbon tubular race wheels (made easier by having disc brakes, so no need to be concerned about losing braking performance). With the performance benefits that tubulars bring this is an upgrade worth taking. Your wheels can be transferred from bike to bike.

  • Replace tyres with BrewCX favourites Clement MXP

  • Replace Saddle with Fizik Antares Cannondale team edition

  • Replace brakes with TRP’s dual piston Spyre

Claire says: “I have always raced my CAADX with light race wheels on. Throwing on the tubs for the national championships weekend was amazing. They really transformed how the bike accelerated. I now have my own set of Stan’s Ironcross wheels that Paul built for me. These too make a big difference, especially on the sharp climbs like at Sydney Park for the Rapha SuperCross.”

I also managed to pick up some second hand SRAM Force cranks to complete the build, dropping it down to a very respectable 8.6kg. This has transformed the CAADX from a capable bike to a cross racing beast, quick to accelerate, confidence inspiring braking and handling, and levels of comfort that are unexpected in an aluminium bike.

I have loved racing this bike, it’s been comfortable and also fast. Easy to travel with and a good commuter when it had to be. It also looks great and turns heads, with the black anodised finish and the lime green highlights matching the Fizik saddle and bar tape.

There are examples of this bike for sale on bike exchange for around $2000. That is a fantastic deal, and if you’re in the market for a great ‘do it all’ machine or an ultimate race bike, you’d struggle to find a better place to start. I love taking a bike and putting my stamp on it, and for the money, the CAADX let me do exactly that in a way I cannot imagine being able to do on many other bikes with the same capabilities. For example, I am not concerned about the heavy wheels as I am happy swap out the wheels on race day. I second set of wheels is great for training.

Pros

– Cheap, at around $2000 for the 2013 Ultegra version or the 2014 105 version.

– Great Handling geometry. Comfortable, but fast

– Looks great

– Great base to build exactly the bike you want.

Cons

– Heavy, especially the wheels.

– Fork needs more stiffening for disc brake power.

– Factory fit disc brakes are below quality expected on this level of bike.

Overall 8/10

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Capital Cross Images -Round 2

For Round 2, I convinced my mate Hardy Lohse to come along to checkout the CX races. As a graduate of ANU School of Art I was interested to see what he would come up with when he said he would bring his camera.  The atmosphere got a little distracting and Hardy was “to busy cheering” and drinking beer.  Be sure to check some more of his work here.

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