Specialized TriCross Comp tested
Specialized TriCross Comp £1,199.99
After agonies of indecision over which type of ‘cross bike to buy, I finally passed the ‘folding’ across the counter of my local cycling emporium and took possession of a 2008 model Specialized Tri Cross Comp. In my initial list of contenders I’d eliminated this manufacturer simply because, when handling one that was being used by a fellow competitor at a local race, it felt as though it weighed the proverbial ton. I assume that this particular bike was perhaps a different model or that for 2008 the choice of materials and components used had resulted in a serious weight loss. Either way, once I hefted the ’08 bike my fate was sealed.
Perhaps the most significant attribute that Specialized bikes have for my personal physique and thus my choice of weapon is their frame geometry. If you are tall, long limbed or both then the extra top tube length that is built into these frames eliminates the need for long handlebar stems or rearward saddle positions. Again, if you are like me and need a larger frame, the sloping top tube combined with the hugely oversized down tube create an extremely rigid structure that is aesthetically pleasing yet does not compromise the bike’s carry capability the way a compact design might otherwise do.
The frame is a combination of aluminium alloy and carbon with patented Zertz inserts located in the seat stays. These are also engineered into the oversize carbon fork and into the seat post. The entire structure is a riot of different size tubes flattened and splayed, curved and angular, which took a while to appreciate. If all this design was intended to enhance the bike’s performance, then in my opinion it is a huge success. The confidence that it inspired on my first ride found me charging across terrain in the same manner as if I had been aboard my hardtail mountain bike. Even now, three quarters of the way through the ‘cross season, it still willing me to push to the limit of my ability and beyond. The only limiting factor is my technique, but if that improves I might get quite good aboard this bike!
I do have reservations about the array of bottle cage bosses, the addition of mudguard eyes and the cable routing, but as these do not detract from the overall quality they are easy to live with. Unfortunately, the provision for mudguards at the chain stay bridge does cause mud build up.
The selection and level of equipment was obviously predetermined. The Shimano levers and gears have been faultless but the chain ring sizes 48/34 will need to be changed; my old legs cannot cope with the 48! The Avid Shorty brakes are adequate, but again they will either be replaced or the cables altered. The Roval wheels lasted one race before going out of true and will become training wheels for next season. Finally the cassette makes a horrible sound if you apply pressure at the wrong moment - usually as I’m warming up. Overall, the decision to buy a complete ready made bike was the right one for me but more importantly the actual make of bike was spot on. The Tricross’s looks may not be to everyone’s taste and compromising the design to cater for the all-rounder market is a shame but it’s a very good cross bike that makes me look like a half decent cyclocross rider.