Specialized launches Crux DSW – ‘the lightest alloy gravel bike ever made’

Tech from the the S-Works Crux – the world's lightest carbon gravel bike – is trickled down into a new alloy version that uses Specialized's patented D'Aluisio Smartwelds

Specialized has launched a DSW (D’Aluisio Smartweld) aluminium version of the Crux gravel bike which it is claiming is the lightest alloy gravel bike ever made. If you’re experiencing mild déja-vu, that’s because when the US brand launched the carbon S-Works Crux in 2021, it said that with its frame weight of 725g, that was the world’s lightest gravel bike, period.

Specialized said it had applied learnings from developing the Aethos road frame to the carbon S-Works Crux. Now, for the Crux DSW, it says it took everything it learned from the carbon Crux and used d’Aluisio Smartweld technology to create “the most capable, nimble, balanced, and responsive alloy gravel bike ever made for fast, fun, high-performance riding … some may call it a carbon copy – we call it the Crux DSW.”

Specialized Crux DSW front end action shot

The claimed frame weight for the Crux DSW is 1,399g and Specialized says fully built with the SRAM Apex XPLR mechanical groupset – the only one it's offered with – it weighs 9.37kg in a size 56. Carbon copy might sound gimmicky, but the alloy Crux DSW has the same tyre clearance as the carbon Crux – 47mm and up to 2.1” on a 650b wheel – and the same race-oriented geometry with a long reach, low stack and 72mm BB drop.

The patented D’Aluisio Smartweld process has been applied to many alloy Specialized bikes in the past. Most famously, Peter Sagan rode an Allez Sprint in the Tour Down Under in 2019, which kicked off with a town-centre criterium around Adelaide. Although it was of course a publicity stunt, he placed second and proved that the aluminium bike was good enough for a top pro at the height of his powers.

Specialized Crux DSW frame showing DSW tubes

According to Specialized, D’Aluisio Smartweld – or DSW – is “an engineering process that uses hydroforming to precisely match tube-to-tube joints for better, stronger welds and, ultimately, a lighter frame that can be twice as durable as a traditional alloy frame. Smartweld helps us create a unique single-piece down tube and bottom bracket for the Crux DSW, shaving weight and amplifying responsiveness. Seat tube and chainstays are then mated to the hydroformed one-piece down tube and bottom bracket using our Smartweld welding process.”

Specialized says tubes are designed to intersect exactly without any – framebuilders look away now – “old-fashioned mitering or fudging” with material added right at the ends of the tubes where they are welded together. It says that focusing on the material needs in the highly stressed weld zones and putting the necessary material exactly where it needs to be “gives us the freedom to use tubing that delivers the ride characteristics we want instead of having to make do with overbuilt tubing that sacrifices ride quality in order to be strong enough to survive the trauma of old-school welding.”

The Crux DSW comes either as a frameset with the FACT 12r Crux carbon fork (£1,500) or fully built with a SRAM Apex XPLR mechanical groupset, DT G540 wheels and Pathfinder Pro 700x38c tyres (£2,300). There are six sizes from 49cm to 61cm; two colour ways for the frameset and two for the complete bike. The highlight colourway has to be the frameset-only option of Gloss Amber Glow/Vivid Pink/Metallic Midnight Shadow/Speckle, which is truly spectacular. The complete builds come in the more muted Gloss Birch/Clay or Satin Smoke/Oak Green (pictured in the lifestyle shot above). Check out all the details at Specialized's website.

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