Ridden & Reviewed: A Preview Ride on the 2013 Specialized Crosstrail
It’s not everyday that you get to see the launch of a new bike. Typically new bikes are announced in glossy webpage spreads with lots of technical specifications or “spy shots” of new bikes adorn those same websites with best guesses as to what the alleged new bike means for rider experience.
So Monday when our Specialized Rep rolled into the shop on a bike nobody thought too much about it, until we looked closer. Enter the 2013 Specialized Crosstrail.
The big change here is a move to Specialized’s M4 frame material. A proprietary aluminum blend, M4 allows fully butted and swaged tubes throughout the bike. This means improved ride quality. Shaped tubes allow for the dissipation of ride forces and rider input to keep a bike feeling as smooth as possible while maintaining efficiency where it’s needed. It also makes for a sleek appearance that makes the Crosstrail look more modern.
There are also some nice features that lends to the bikes versatility and ridabilty. I was happy to see a 2 x 10 drivetrain. Triple cranksets have always struck me as troublesome in terms of shifting performance. Moreover, the triple set up also means overlap and repeat for certain gear ratios. 2 x 10 setups offer cleaner shifting and gearing that’s more straightforward and linear and makes much more sense on a bike built for an equal mix of fun, transportation, and fitness.
That fancy frame is adorned with no shortage of rack and fender mounts. Built for the rider that wants a get around bike capable of both carrying the groceries and hitting some trials, there is also plenty of tire clearance for larger, wider tires. The frame also features internal cable routing, something that not only lends to the improved appearance, but also helps keep cables away from contaminating road grime and trail dirt and mud.
The model we saw was the Comp Disc model. A SRAM X7 drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic brakes both performed well on our short test ride around Lady Bird Lake. In a nod to the fact that some hybrids can often feel sluggish, all models of the 2013 Crosstrail are at least 2 pounds lighter giving the bike a snappy, fun feel when zipping along. The Specialized Trigger tires are great—I run them on my cyclocross bike. They, along with the bike’s mountain bike inspired geometry give stable ride perfect for cruising around and looking at the scenery.
Initial impressions of the 2013 Crosstrail are very positive. Everyone that took it for a ride noted that it was fun to ride. And that’s probably the point. Whether fun means a local trail, a spin around town, a workout ride at the Veloway, or a commute to work or school, the bike is go anywhere, curb hopping, carry your stuff fun. Stop in and check out the new Specialized Crosstrail, hitting the shop floor soon!