Disc or Cantilever? Take your pick.
As the debate continues over disc verses cantilever brakes on cyclocross bikes, a new bike by BH, with some clever design ideas, has left the options open. While delivering a top notch, ready to race CX bike, the Spanish bike builders have left the choice of stoppers up to you. The 2013 RX Team is a carbon monocoque frame with some unique features that allow the bike to be built with either cantilever or disc brakes.
BH bikes have been around for more than a hundred years. They began building their bikes out of the Basque region of Spain, winning the first ever Vuelta a Espana in 1935, and going on to win six more since then. So BH is no stranger to high-end race bikes that are built with rider performance as a top priority. BH also prides itself in putting a lot of time and energy into developing and testing new technology, and the new RX Team has certainly capitalized on some of this innovation.
With the CX disc brake being a fairly new option on the market, many riders may not be willing to cash in all their chips on a disc bike, while some may be waiting for further development and availability of hydraulic systems. Chris Cocalis, President of BH Bikes USA had this to say about the current situation. “I certainly think disc brakes are the future in this sport. From a request standpoint, we had high level cross racers asking about it, but they were still pretty adamant that a pro level race bike should be cantilever only because of weight and complexity, but the tide is changing on this. The competitive racers who have tried the disk brake bikes will not go back and everyone is realizing that both the braking power, and additional mud clearance cannot be ignored.”
With more major manufacturers getting behind the push for hydraulic disc brakes, Cocalis says the RX Team was first and foremost designed to be a disc brake bike, but they also wanted it to be convertible to a cantilever set up. BH has creatively solved this issue by incorporating an aluminum dual insert system which allows the rear hub spacing to be convertible between the 135mm MTB standard spacing, and the 130mm spacing used for cantilever brakes. While this may not be rocket science, it is certainly a creative innovation to a new issue in the CX world.
Beyond the issue of disc or cantilever, the RX Team is a solid all around bike ready to take on the course under any conditions. We were able to get out on the RX Team a handful of times including some hard riding at a local series race held at the always sandy Boulder Reservoir, and a Wednesday Worlds session that involved lots of deep grass and some rough field riding. The frame is incredibly stiff and light, yet gives a supple ride through rougher terrain like braking bumps, frozen ruts and rugged field riding. With a 1.5 inch tapered steerer and oversized crown, the bike goes where you tell it, whether jamming it into a corner at the last second, or arcing through a flowy turn in the grass; driving the bike is not a struggle. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to ride the RX Team in any serious mud. To bad for us, as the clearance afforded by the disc brake set up, and the general lack of mud entrapping appendages would surely make for a joyous ride in the sloppy conditions.
The RX Team is also equipped with internal cable routing that converts easily for electronic or mechanical shifting. This makes portaging the bike a super clean and easy affair with no cables in the way when picking the bike up or throwing it on the shoulder for a long run up. Throw in a press fit BB386EVO bottom bracket, a choice between Shimano Ultegra and Sram Rival Gruppos, tubeless ready Stans Alpha CX or Mavic Aksium wheels, and the RX Team is a very capable race bike that gives the rider a couple of big options that other CX bikes don’t.