My Crusher Bike

Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 in Bike, Races | 4 Comments

It’s a question I’ve been asking for weeks: which bike for the Crusher in Tushars?

I’ve flipped and flopped on the queston like a politician.

The final choice? My mountain bike*. Slightly modified of course.

I came home from my course recon trip with wide-eyes and tired legs. If I was going to ride my cyclocross bike in this event, I’d need to make some drastic changes. As I looked into those changes, I started to hedge on my ‘cross conviction. Maybe a mountain bike was the better choice? After some conversations with several people about tire width and pressure, gear ratios, and a host of other technical details that I had previously only paid nominal attention to, I decided that I’d try to create a bike that offered the best of both worlds: stiff climbing, low gearing, wider tires, and powerful brakes. The shortest path to that was this:

crusher in the tushars


Sort of. It’s much more mountain than cross. But the rigid fork and narrow(ish) tires mean efficient climbing. The disc brakes and flat bar mean confident descending. I’m pleased. It’s probable that you’ve come up with something entirely different. Or would have, if you were racing (registration closes Thursday at 11:59PM. Get in while you still can!). In the end, I went with the set-up that I’m most confident and comfortable on. Despite a lot of miles on the ‘cross bike, I was never really able to come up with a build that worked as well for me as what I have now. I have no doubt that there will be several misfit bikes on the start line. Cross. Mountain. MTCX. CXMT. Coming up with the “ideal” bike for the Crusher has been really fun. But “ideal” for me, isn’t necessarily ideal for you. Nevertheless, the entire process has been refreshingly unique.

And now? Well… now we race.

*One of the great things about being plugged into a thriving mountain bike culture is that at any given time there are several people with race-ready bikes collecting dust in the garage. I was able to find a replacement for my river bike very quickly, and at a great price.

The Crusher build:

Frame: Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon.
Fork: Bontrager Carbon Switchblade.
Wheels: DT Swiss R1.1 rims laced to DT240 hubs.**
Crank: 44/23/22.
Cassette: 12-26.
Tires: Bontrager XR1 Team Issue 1.9’s.
Brakes: Avid Elixir Disc.

**I’ve had these wheels for a long time. This race seemed the perfect time to dust them off and bring them out of retirement.

crusher in the tushar

crusher in the tushar

I’ve also added on more thing to the bike—a talisman that I hope will bestow upon me the super-human strength I’ll need to crush the Crusher.

crusher in the tushar


Exit Question: What’s your Crusher set-up look like?


  1. eric
    July 13, 2011

    so far my crusher bike is looking a lot like my mtb. my indecision and procrastination have left me with a not fully rigid front fork and extremly worn mtn kings in a 2.2 on the front and a 2.4 on the back.

    i may be the little orphan annie of the race.

  2. Jason
    July 13, 2011

    Bring 1 more spare tube than you think with those Xr1 tires, while they are super fast and grippy, they tear as easy as wet toilet paper. Great tires but if any semblance of something sharp… I like to run them often as they are light and fast but always have to ride light on the bike with them

  3. Dave
    July 13, 2011

    My Crusher bike decision was easy. Either my MTB or SS CX. Coming from Georgia (low altitude, no ability to recce the roads) and not willing to suffer the SS, I went with the conservative choice, MTB. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of bikes show up. I’m running drop bars, Magura HS-66’s, bar ends, 48-36-24 up front, 13-14-15-18-21-24-28 in the back, 2.1 Kenda SB8’s, and a 15 year old Marzocchi fork; and I bet I’ll see something even more bizarre on Sat…

  4. Kyle
    July 13, 2011

    Ditto on Jason – although I’d bring two extra tubes and a couple tire boots too. Hopefully someone does a photo essay of the bikes being raced.

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