Pedigree and innovation.
The latest version of the RXC Complete Cyclocross Bike really needs no introduction. The previous model became a staple at start lines because it combined the pedigree of one of 'cross' most storied brands with the early adapter innovation of twin thru-axles. Now, a host of upgrades further cements the CXR's status, including shorter chainstays, flat-mount disc brake mounts, and a threaded bottom bracket. The addition of a threaded bottom bracket deserves special callout for the added precision and reduced creaking, popping, and wear. This added durability—along with the future-proof flat-mount brakes—highlights the RXC's intended use: cyclocross racing for years to come.
The RXC has more aggressive stack but a slightly longer wheelbase than the RX 2.0, dimensions that recommend it both for the tight quarters and frantic accelerations of 'cross and the abuse of the new breed of gravel races. The riders on Raleigh Clement take this recommendation to heart, relying on the RXC frameset throughout the year for all manner of mixed-terrain events. Despite those slight alterations in geometry, the RXC and RX 2.0 remain fairly similar in profile. The real difference is in materials, with the former's full carbon fiber construction. You know the benefits of carbon (stiffer, lighter, more aesthetically pleasing joints), so we'll jump straight to Raleigh's approach to the material.
Raleigh eschews monocoque builds in favor of Direct Connect, which involves first making the carbon tubes and then building the frame in a jig. In addition to satisfying our retro fetish (Who doesn't love seeing frames in jigs?), this process allows Raleigh to create a precisely targeted lay-up schedule that layers the right types of carbon in the right places. Rather than juggling the joints and overlap of different materials, Direct Connect lets the engineers focus on the frame's different areas separately. These tubes are joined with a high-modulus overwrap that secures the tubes and creates those clean lines.
The frame is built-up with SRAM's Force 1 drivetrain and hydraulic brakes. The lack of a front derailleur means one less opportunity for mud or mechanicals to interrupt a race, and the combination of a 42t chainring and a 32t bailout cog help ensure you're geared for punchy walls and gradually ascending fire roads alike. The spec sheet's biggest highlight may be the American Classic Hurricane wheels, though. They're not the lightest hoops, but they're a great racing width and they're virtually guaranteed against any 'cross or gravel abuse you can throw at them. Given the pro-tier status of the frameset, we wouldn't blame you for adding a carbon race wheelset; however, the Hurricanes won't let you down if you opt for alloy over carbon.
- Raleigh's top-tier cyclocross and gravel race bike
- Geometry proven by the Raleigh Clement team
- Direct Connect carbon allows a precisely targeted lay-up
- SRAM one-by drivetrain for race-ready simplicity
- American Classic wheels are equal to all manner of abuse
- Few names have been shaping the 'cross landscape for as long as Raleigh
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