Dec 29, 2014 – Cyclocross fever runs deep at Raleigh HQ in the Pacific Northwest. Its passion for the dirty discipline wasn’t dreamed up in a meeting with the marketing department, Raleigh was way ahead of the curve on that one, racing for the love of the sport not market share. Staying ahead of the curve as the sport grows is a different issue, but Raleigh seems to have solved that with the new RXC Pro.

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What on its surface looks like a small tweak to last season’s RXC is actually a drop-out-to-drop-out redesign and it’s those drop outs that are the most obvious change. The quick releases are gone in favor of through-axles to take the already stiff and stable platform to the next level. The other obvious change is the fork. Raleigh has decided to replace the ENVE fork with a new fork of its own. While we are sorry to see the ENVE fork go, we have to admit we might just be label whores there. The new fork, through-axle and all, doesn’t give up much to the ENVE.

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Raleigh’s other changes aren’t as obvious, but yield big benefits. The rear of the bike has been redesigned for compliance. The seat stays, top tube and entire seat cluster have been invested with more vertical flex and the seat post diameter has been reduced to 27.2. The bottom bracket has been dropped significantly as well, giving the RXC a lower center of gravity and easier remount. On the bike the result is an incredibly planted feeling in almost any conditions. The bike’s lower center of gravity sits into corners letting you push the pace with total confidence. The stiffness, right at the axles, allows you to dissect technical sections like a slalom skier setting your edges. The new compliance is less about comfort and more about keeping as much rubber as possible in contact with the ground at all times and it works.

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The 10speed Ultegra Di2 build has also been updated with 11speed Ultegra Di2, which has allowed Raleigh to spec Shimano R785 hydraulic brakes, another effective update. FSA provides the cockpit with its alloy SLK line, Prologo handles seating with the Nago Evo and proving the guys at Raleigh know how to spec a cross bike, American Classic Hurricane wheels roll on the Clement Crusade PDX tires. The Raleigh RXC Pro Disc may be the best cross bike we have ever had the privilege to get dirty.

Price: $5000 Weight: 18.4 w/o pedals or cages More: raleighusa.com