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Ridden & Reviewed: A Preview Ride on the 2013 Specialized Crosstrail

June 13, 2012

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 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.

Manipulated tube shapes and internal cable routing on the 2013 Crosstrail.

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.

2 x 10: a sleeker, lighter, better shifting drivetrain.

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.

Racks, fenders, and wide tires all work on the 2013 Crosstrail.

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.

The 2013 Crosstrail was equally at home on the streets.

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!

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76 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2012 12:32 am

    Does the 2013 have a lockout on the fork?

    • June 14, 2012 12:36 pm

      Yes.

    • djcurtin permalink
      June 14, 2012 12:48 pm

      Yes, the model we rode had a fork with a lockout. Thank you for reading!

  2. June 15, 2012 3:15 pm

    I’m so happy to read this. I live in the RTP area in North Carolina & was looking at the Specialized Ariel & the Trek Neko. It turns out that a Crosstrail was the best fit for me! I ordered the 2013 yesterday & it should be here early July. Thanks again for posting this review!

    • djcurtin permalink
      June 15, 2012 5:11 pm

      Alerie: Thank you for reading and enjoy your new bike! Cheers!

  3. Tony permalink
    June 22, 2012 3:59 am

    I am ordering this bike and it should be here in a week or so. But I was wondering if it were possible to place road/tour tires on this bicycle. A lot of ppl would say that this would be redundant but it’s my style and I’m hoping that it has the capability to work out. If I am able would you guys know what price range I’m looking at? Great review by the way!

    • djcurtin permalink
      June 25, 2012 8:06 pm

      Tony, thanks for reading! Yes, a road or touring tire, with a smoother tread, should work just fine on the Crosstrail. You might not be able to get quite as narrow as a traditional road tire (23 mm), but you can likely get close. When the bike comes in talk with the sales staff and see what your options are if you’re looking for something that rolls a bit faster. I’m partial to Continentals on my city bike, around $40 a tire as memory serves, but there are many, many options! Cheers!

  4. Doug Gordon permalink
    June 29, 2012 6:20 pm

    2×10 is certainly a departure from the conventional. What is the total range of gearing?

    • djcurtin permalink
      June 29, 2012 7:11 pm

      Thanks for reading, Doug. True, a double (or standard) crankset is not the historical norm for a bike of this type, but with the increased capabilities of modern drivetrains to maintain viable chainlines in a wider range of gears, and the proliferation of wider cassette ranges and chainring sizes, it’s easier to get better shifting with a standard double. For the Crosstrails we’ve seen thus far, (the Comp and Pro models) which are 2×10, they will be 48/32 up front, 11/36 out back.

  5. Doug Gordon permalink
    June 30, 2012 3:28 pm

    In 2012, the top model available in the U.S. was apparently the Sport Disc although the Canadians carried the full line (Comp, Pro, etc.). So will U.S. dealers have the full lineup of 2013 models? One reason why I was leaning toward a Trek DS was because they seemed a bit higher-end than the Crosstrails offered this year.

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 1, 2012 4:14 pm

      Doug, while a dealer in the states may not carry the full line of any particular model, they should be able to get any model offered in the US (i.e., those on Specialized’s website). Not sure yet which models we’ll have in stock, but rest assured that if there’s a model we’re not stocking that is offered and available, we can get it! Thanks for reading!

  6. JTarala permalink
    July 4, 2012 4:28 pm

    Any idea how other models in the Crosstrail line up are equipped? I’m primarily interested in the Sport Disc and the model above and below it. Any idea when the 2013′s will show up on their website?

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 5, 2012 5:15 am

      Not sure of specific equipment on each of the models, but we suspect that the new ones will be on the website in the next 3-6 weeks and will have all the specs listed–best guess as of right now. Thanks so much for reading, JTarala!

  7. Mat permalink
    July 6, 2012 11:33 am

    Great review. I notice the frame design does look different to 2012 models. Do you know what size frame the crosstrail comp disc in the
    Picture is? Also what colors will the pro disc model be offered in?

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 6, 2012 1:05 pm

      Thank you for reading, Mat! The bike pictured in the article is a size medium. Not sure all the color combinations for the various Crosstrail models yet, but hope to have details on the full 2013 lie-up in the coming weeks. Have a great day!

      • Mario permalink
        August 9, 2012 2:56 am

        Thanks for the article… I just ordered my white (looked more bada$s for some reason) disc, guy in the shop gave two options; white with red lettering and charcoal with black lettering, can’t wait to pick it up this weekend.

      • djcurtin permalink
        August 9, 2012 3:54 am

        Thank you for reading, Mario! Enjoy our new bike!

  8. July 6, 2012 3:05 pm

    Looking into the 2013 Crosstrail Disc. Rides nice. What’s the difference btw Disc and Comp Disc? Lockout fork? Are all other specs the same?
    Thanks!

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 6, 2012 7:06 pm

      OL: Don’t have all the specs on the 2013 models yet. Should have them in hand in a few weeks and we’re hoping that the new models will be on the Specialized website around the same time. Thanks a bunch for reading!

  9. Curound permalink
    July 13, 2012 10:39 am

    So glad to have found this review. I would have bought the 2012 model (which would still be a fine bike) but now that I read your great review I will wait for the 2013 model. Cheers to you djcurtin.

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 13, 2012 12:21 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to check out my follow-up post on the new Crosstrail line-up, which includes all of the model details! http://wp.me/pu7ps-Tt

  10. Ray permalink
    July 17, 2012 11:25 am

    Just checking the 2013 line up it doesn’t look like there is muck change with the 2012 Sports Disc and the 2013.
    Thanks for the write-up
    R

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 17, 2012 3:42 pm

      Ray: Thank you for reading! The Sport Disc didn’t see too many changes, you’re right. The big one for that model is the fork. Looks like it’s been changed to make the bike a bit more efficient with slightly less travel and less weight. Have a good one!

      • Ray permalink
        July 17, 2012 4:12 pm

        Hi djcurtin
        Thanks for getting back to me, I have the 2012 Sports Disc, and really like it, a friend likes it also, but was waiting for the 2013 to come out. He might as well wait and see if he can get a discounted 2012 model then.
        Ray

      • djcurtin permalink
        July 17, 2012 4:47 pm

        Great idea to look for deals when new models start coming out! Tell your friend happy shopping!

  11. Paul Duff permalink
    July 20, 2012 5:03 pm

    Any ideas when the 2013 model will be released in the UK?

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 20, 2012 6:54 pm

      Sorry, Paul. Don’t know a specific release date, but it can’t be too far away we imagine. thank you for reading!

  12. August 1, 2012 11:28 am

    The 2013 Crosstrail is now available in Germany, so UK should follow soon.

    I decided to buy a Crosstrail Sport Disc two months ago. My dealer convinced me to wait for the 2013 models and now – today – I received the call that my new 2013 Crosstrail Strort Disc is waiting for me in the shop.

    Just to confirm my decision I found this great documentation – thanks for that.

    • djcurtin permalink
      August 1, 2012 12:23 pm

      Thanks for reading, Markus, and enjoy your new bike!

      • Lucky permalink
        August 6, 2012 10:14 pm

        dj, Thanks for all your information on the new 2013 line. Do you know when the bikes will be available in Canada?

      • djcurtin permalink
        August 7, 2012 4:25 am

        Unfortunately we don’t know a specific date for Canada. 2013 bikes are starting to become available to dealers here in the states. You might check with your nearest Specialized dealer to see when they’ll start getting 2013 models in. You can find your closest dealer at specialized.com. Thank you for reading!

  13. Newbie2012 permalink
    August 19, 2012 6:26 am

    Im totally new to Cycling. I decided on the Crosstrail Sport Disk. I will mainly use it on roads with the fork locked out but like the idea that I can do some light trails with this bike. The 2013 color choices were a bit disappointing to me and I really like the 2012 Blue and Black version. I called a ton of stores and luckily found one. I’m going to pick it up Monday.
    From what I can see the only thing I am giving up by getting 2012 over a 2013 is internally routed cables? Is that correct?

    • djcurtin permalink
      August 19, 2012 10:22 pm

      Thank you for reading. The 2013 not only gas internal cable routing, but also a lighter frame thanks to use of a different aluminum alloy, as well as a 2×10 drivetrain, which should work better and eliminate the duplication often seen on triples. The 2013 model is a good step forward for this model. Enjoy your bike!

      • Newbie2012 permalink
        August 19, 2012 10:28 pm

        Thanks, I did some more research today and came to the conclusion that the 2013 models have significant differences from the 2012′s. I ended up ordering a 2013 Crosstrail Elite Disk. A little more money but it should be a great bike.

      • djcurtin permalink
        August 19, 2012 10:34 pm

        Enjoy your new bike!

  14. greg permalink
    August 22, 2012 6:15 pm

    Due Sept 1st. Lighter frame than 2012. internal cable is noticable difference from 2012 model.
    Ordered mine from Shorter Rochford in Uk and pick up day is Sept 3rd.

    • djcurtin permalink
      August 22, 2012 6:35 pm

      Enjoy your new bike, Greg!

  15. Steven L Takacs permalink
    August 30, 2012 4:46 pm

    Very useful and informative…Pick mine up 3rd September, it’s UK release date.

    • djcurtin permalink
      September 3, 2012 12:07 pm

      Thank you! And enjoy your new bike!

  16. Andrea permalink
    August 30, 2012 8:24 pm

    I have just embarked on my employers cycle to work scheme and have ordered the 2013 Crosstrail and found this review very helpful. I am 36 and about to get back into cycling as I have not had a bike since my younger years….
    Could you suggest a website to help me with some off road, but not too strenuous routes in the Manchester area??

  17. August 30, 2012 10:50 pm

    I decided on a 2013 Crosstrail Elite Disk.
    It arrived last week and I have been riding it a lot. I’m puzzled by something though…. My frame doesn’t look like the Crosstrails on the Specialized website.
    Specifically, the angle of the top tube at the rear to the tube that goes towards the Cassette looks much shallower than in the pictures on the website. They almost don’t have difference in them and just about follow the same line.
    Does this make sense? Are there different versions? This almost makes me think it’s a woman version but I have never seen a Crosstrail advertised as men’s or women’s.

    Any insight??

    • September 1, 2012 8:20 am

      Hi Newbie2012 – the UK website has just been updated with the 2013 bikes and colour schemes http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/bikes/multi-use/crosstrail – compare yours against the site – the Crosstrail Elite looks black with light blue highlights.
      Womens version is the Ariel http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/bikes/multi-use/ariel which is light grey/pink and steeper cross bar angle.
      Where did you get yours from? what size? how are you finding it? i’m looking to get one asap.
      ps. Old styles and colour schemes can be seen on the Evans Cycles site.

    • djcurtin permalink
      September 3, 2012 12:11 pm

      Hmmm. The only two things we can think of are that your 2013 looked different than what was on the website because the comparison was made prior to the 2013 bikes being listed on the site (it was just this week as memory serves) or the bike pictured is a different size than yours.

  18. September 4, 2012 6:12 pm

    Has any one in the UK taken delivery of a Comp Disc version yet?

  19. Name Required permalink
    September 5, 2012 8:32 pm

    Everything in the article above is right on. This is the first bike I’ve purchased in about 15 years, and I think I did good. I just got it a couple of days ago and love it. Performance is great and it looks really nice (black/blue trim). It’s a sweet lookin’ piece of technology. Very sexy.

    I commute to work and school with it, and try my best to spend as much time on trials, greenbelts, back roads, alleys and over curbs on the way as I can, because it so much fun on this bike. It lets me incorporate recreational riding into my commute whenever I want to.

    It’s fast, tough, easy to ride, very responsive and easy to control in tight spots. The lockout is very convenient for changing terrain, which I do often. The brakes are awesome, which is good for me. Shifting is very smooth and quick, with lots of gears. The grips are comfortable, and everything is out of the way but easy to get to… It’s a freakin’ awesome bike. No buyers remorse here, although it is a pricey investment. Considerably more than I had intended to spend when I went shopping.

    The only thing I may change any time soon are the tires, but probably not until I damage these and not because they are bad tires. They’re nice tires and great for packed surfaces, sidewalks and roads. but it looks like I’ll be getting some for the trail sooner than I thought. These get bogged down in gravel beds and crushed stone pretty easily, unless you’re have some good speed, the right gear, and know it’s coming. Not a big deal, tough. I’m supposed to be going to work, anyway.

    • djcurtin permalink
      September 6, 2012 4:47 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! Glad you liked the review and are enjoying your new bike!

  20. RichardH permalink
    October 5, 2012 11:33 am

    Based on the review and comments here, I’ve booked a test ride on this bike for next weekend. Previously ridden racers (rubbish for winter) and double suspension cheapo MTB’s (hard work and shoddy mechanics). Fingers X’d this will live up to expectations.

    • RichardH permalink
      October 13, 2012 9:20 pm

      Unsurprisingly bought it immediately. Long time since I’ve ridden a machine that oozes such quality – immediately felt at home on it.

      • djcurtin permalink
        October 22, 2012 10:12 pm

        Excellent!

    • djcurtin permalink
      October 22, 2012 10:11 pm

      Hope you enjoy the bike!

  21. Joe permalink
    November 11, 2012 11:41 am

    Thanks for the writeup ! Going to go check one out this week. Best guess on a frame size for someone @ 5′ 10″ with normal proportion arm/torso/leg length ?
    Joe

    • djcurtin permalink
      November 13, 2012 3:02 am

      Tough to say for sure, but either a 17 or 19 (medium or large) would likely work. With bikes being as adjustable as they are, a good salesperson is going to help you get the right size and make all the necessary adjustments to “dial in” the fit and feel of the bikes contact points. Good luck and happy bike shopping!

  22. Tim Underwood permalink
    November 13, 2012 10:46 am

    Just how much of a “go anywhere” bike is the Crosstrail? I’m a road cyclist looking at buying a MTB for winter riding, tracks/trails and occasional off road (but not events). I’ve been looking at 29ers (Specialized Carve) but feel the Crosstrail is more suited as long as it can handle the odd bit of rough stuff.

    • RichardH permalink
      November 13, 2012 12:50 pm

      Can certainly handle canal paths, gravel trails and moderate off roading. Wouldn’t suggest attempting crag hopping! I bought it for the sole purpose of commuting on the road in winter with some of my journey being offroad. More than happy with the bike so far.

    • djcurtin permalink
      November 13, 2012 1:40 pm

      “Odd bit of rough stuff” is probably a good description of its capabilities off road. It’s certainly not a mountain bike, but is a bit more capable than, say, a cyclocross bike. Loose, bumpy terrain is perfect, but it’s a little over its head on larger rocks or roots. Crushed granite bike paths and the like are no issue, but true MTB trails aside from beginner level ones are perhaps a bit too much. Of course, much of this depends on the capabilities and skill of the rider at issue too. Hope this helps, and happy bike hunting!

  23. November 18, 2012 9:18 pm

    Hi Djcurtin

    I desperately need your opinion, I am new to cycling and this is the first time to buy a proper bicycle. I ordered a Specialized Crosstrail Ltd 2012 model for a cut price of 16% less and in the end I have saved some 30% of initial asking price due to price matching, however the warehouse or store had an error on their stock and have supplied me with a Large size bike instead of Extra Large (mislabled with Extra Large paperwork).

    I am 6ft 2 tall (1,85m) and feel that an Extra Large Bike would be better for me in the long run. I intend to use my bike for some bit of commuting and recreational cycling. The dilemma is that their stock has run out and can’t exchange for bigger XL size of the same model. There is still a very slim chance that I might still get an XL size of this model, as the last bike was ordered online yesterday (will know by tomorrow 19/11/12).
    Meanwhile I have returned the bike to the shop whilst I decide on what to do. I have tested the bike and its great. Should I keep this bike? or should I go for a 2013 model, maybe Specialized Crosstrail Expert XL 2013 and pay the £160 difference? this will bring me back to my 16% saving instead of 30% discount. The 2013 Pro model is priced at £1500, too dear.

    Confused….! Crosstrail Ltd 2012 (Large size) vs Crosstrail Elite 2013(Extra Large Size)
    What do you make of these two models compared pound for pound, e.g Shimano 2012 model vs Sram 2013? the differences in drive-trains & cranksets? Still confused????????????

    • djcurtin permalink
      December 4, 2012 7:54 pm

      Sorry for the delayed response! The most important thing about any new bike is the fit–and that it fit properly. It’s quite likely you’ve heard that expression before. And it’s said often because it’s true. A great bike with all the bells and whistles isn’t great if you’re not comfortable and efficient on it. It’s nearly impossible to advise you of proper size and fit without seeing you in person. The best bet is to head to your local bike shop and speak with a knowledgeable salesperson who can help you determine the right size bike as well as the correct adjustments to make it make it fit like a glove! Good luck!

  24. Jay permalink
    December 5, 2012 7:08 pm

    It’s been 5 months since you reviewed this bicycle, and I was wondering if you have had any more seat time on one? Is there anything you would upgrade from the 2013 Comp Disc right out of the box? I have just ordered an Ariel Comp Disc for my girlfriend and a Crosstrail Comp Disc for myself. My LBS has not had the 2013 ‘Comp’ level of these bikes before, and much is already upgraded from standard, sport and elite bikes of the same name. That being said, my LBS asked if there was anything I was interested in swapping out from the initial sale…which he would only charge me a differential from the original part. Since neither he nor I have seen one in person, I’m not sure.

    I’m glad that it is coming with tires you already consider to be real good and use yourself on your cyclocross…

    Anything you think would definitely have to be upgraded first? Saddle, pedals, etc?

    • djcurtin permalink
      December 12, 2012 2:41 am

      Hello, Jay! Haven’t spent any quality time on the Crosstrail unfortunately, but plenty of customers have and they report loving the bike. Perfect run about bike for two as well as something that let’s them take local bike trails that aren’t too technical. No upgrades jump out, but add ons such as lights are quite popular. Thanks for reading!

  25. shamrocktrim@aol.com permalink
    December 25, 2012 2:54 am

    I just took delivery of the 2013 comp disk crosstrail. I would agree that it is a great all around bike. I have a Cervelo s2 for the road but wanted a bike that I could use when I ride with my wife’s slower group or a quick ride after work. It works out great.
    The only negative I would say would be the overall finish on the bike’s paint and parts are not up to the standards that I expected from Specialized. The bike had a big scratch on the down tube and the bike shop told me not to worry because I would get them when I rode on the trails. They gave me two free water cages and a sticker to cover the scratch. The crank looks like it was sprayed with a shaker can.
    I am not trying to bad mouth Specialized but I guess I expected a higher standard from them. Thanks for your review.

    • djcurtin permalink
      January 3, 2013 4:02 am

      Sorry for the delayed response and thank you for reading! It’s great the bike suits your intended riding purpose so well, but unfortunate that the initial quality didn’t meet your expectations. That’s not something we’re used to with Specialized. Hopefully your shop was able to work with them and you to get it sorted out. Again, thanks for reading, and glad you enjoyed the review!

  26. Emanuel permalink
    January 7, 2013 10:10 pm

    Does anyone know how heavy it is?

    • djcurtin permalink
      January 21, 2013 8:00 pm

      Emanuel Sorry we don’t have a weight for you. Things like accessories and bike size can alter a bike’s weight. What we can tell you is that the bike feels light in terms of it’s handling. Thanks for reading!

  27. neilos permalink
    April 4, 2013 1:09 pm

    What is the right size for the for a man 183cm and insight leg 79cm?

    • djcurtin permalink
      April 4, 2013 6:33 pm

      Those are right about the same measurements as me! I would ride a large and generally run my saddle at about 77 cm measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle. However, your limiters (if any) such as flexibility and core strength, coupled with your choice in saddle, pedal, and shoe can easily alter saddle height. You should check with your local dealer to verify sizing and determine correct saddle height. Thanks for reading!

  28. John permalink
    May 16, 2013 3:07 am

    Brought mine home yesterday as a move back into riding and I love it. Fun to ride is the perfect review.

    • djcurtin permalink
      May 20, 2013 5:42 am

      Thanks for reading, John! And happy riding!

  29. Robert permalink
    July 10, 2013 1:23 pm

    Happy to find and read this review. It helps my reduce my decision to 2 choices: Crosstrail comp disc and KTM Life Action: (http://www.ktm-bikes.at/trekking/offroad/hardtail-alu/life-action.php?lang=DE).
    What would you recommend?

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 12, 2013 3:20 am

      Robert: Thank you for reading! Can’t really give a fair comparison since I’ve never seen or ridden the KTM. What I can tell you is that I think the Crosstrail is a great bike for the money. And that whatever bike gets ridden is the best bike! Happy riding!

  30. WillyBoyCerrer permalink
    July 13, 2013 5:21 pm

    im 170cm tall,,with 73cm leg ,,looking forward Crosstrail for a change after joining a groupof road hugger..what size can you recomend..thanks..

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 23, 2013 10:16 pm

      More likely than not the medium size, but be sure to check with your local shop for sizing as well as fitting adjustments. Thanks for reading.

  31. Robert permalink
    July 26, 2013 12:24 pm

    How do you assess Trigger Shifter SRAM SL-500? I’m wondering if a change into SRAM X9 Trigger would give much better pleasure with riding.

    • djcurtin permalink
      August 4, 2013 6:04 pm

      Thank you for reading our blog, Robert. Generally speaking, an upgrade in a component such as a shifter or a derailleur means an upgrade in performance–faster, smoother shifts and better “feel” under riding conditions. More experienced riders generally sense these differences more acutely than new riders, but we can all benefit from components that also stay adjusted, or tuned, longer and have better wear life. Happy component shopping!

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