The Handsling CXD will make its debut at the notorious/iconic Three Peaks Cyclocross this September. Steep carrying climbs, rocky descents, fast rolling road sections and long grinding on-bike ascents make unusual demands on ‘cross bike set up.
My ‘Peaks-optimised’ bike features top-mounted chicken levers for better control and weight distribution on the steep descents, a 1x drivetrain for weight loss and simplicity, a near 1:1 gearing set up with 44×42 as the lowest gear and fat, bombproof 34mm tubs for puncture resistance and comfort. A little more info for the rubber fanatics, they are old, discontinued and now rare as rocking horse doo-doo, Tufo T34s. Generally regarded as the best tubular for Peaks use, they have rubberised side walls which cope with the rocky battering that would finish normal tubs off.
The carbon rims are an option at the moment – they can be a handful in high winds on the summits and are obviously not as robust as alloy rims with tubeless (my alternative option). However, the (lack of) weight and speed on the road sections can arguably be balanced against taking a little more caution on the main rocky descent off Whernside (2nd Peak). The cassette is a SunRace 10 speed 11-42 – much lighter than mainstream options and covers all gear requirements from the fast road downhills to the grind up the lane to Penyghent toward the end.
The CXD frame, whilst optimised for traditional 1 hour lap racing, is also well suited to the Peaks, being very light, stiff but surprisingly comfortable off-road. Weight is… no idea, but it feels quite a bit lighter than any other Peaks set up I’ve had – useful when up to 2 hours of a 4 hour race are spent carrying and climbing with the bike.
Training and preparation continues over the next 6 weeks and I’ll report back on how I, and the CXD get on.
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