Bikes of the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals


The 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships wrapped up in Lakewood, Washington for a weekend of traditional, muddy, wet 'cross racing. We took a lap around the team pits during Sunday's Elite Races to take a look at the bikes of Team Shimano. With the addition of GRX into the family of Shimano components this year, we saw plenty of variety in the drivetrain configurations of each athlete. Thanks to the cross-compatibility of GRX and DURA-ACE and ULTEGRA, cyclists are able to mix and match their components to their riding style and strengths. 


Kerry Werner - Kona/Maxxis/Shimano

Birdsboro, Pennslyvania

"Two major things have me preferring GRX for cyclocross and gravel. The ergonomics of the hoods are a bit bigger and the braking has a more positive feel and the clutch is stronger and stiffer leading to more consistently precise shifting and no dropped chains. I have been using a single 42t chainring all year. Depending on the race, if dry I’ll use a DURA-ACE 28t cassette for a tighter gear group, and in the mud I use an ULTEGRA 32t cassette for a bit more range. With the 42t chainring I have never spun out and never felt like I needed more gears. There is less to go wrong this way and I can modify my shift buttons. For instance, I have both of my lever's buttons set up to go up and down gears on the cassette (right shifter controls shifting like normal left shifter is mirrored). I have my right hood button set up to shift into harder gears (smaller cogs) and the left button set up to shift into easier gears (larger cogs). My big thing is more space behind the lever.  With GRX I can keep fingers wrapped under the hood and two finger or one finger brake and not pinch my fingers. Also, the lever itself feels much better. I race a lot of mountain bike races and the brake modulation and throw feels like am on XTR or XT brake". - Kerry Werner 
Kerry Werner's Kona Cyclocross Bike


Kerry Werner USA Cyclocross Nationals 2019


Rebecca Fahringer - Kona/Maxxis/Shimano

Concord, New Hampshire

"The number one thing I have noticed about the GRX groupset is the super-smooth braking power. The higher pivot point allows for a ton of brake modulation. This also allows for more space between the hoods and the bars, so there is a better ability for more grip and control even if you have larger hands. I use a double chainring, because it takes any guesswork out of gearing choices. When I travel I can use the same bikes for training as I do racing even if I am doing a workout on the road. And I can run the same drivetrain on a flat course as a hilly on as a muddy or dry one". - Rebecca Fahringer
Rebecca Fahringer Kona Cyclocross Bike


Rebecca Fahringer USA Cyclocross Nationals 2019


Lance Haidet - Donnelly Cycling

Bend, Oregon

"I have absolutely loved racing the GRX groupset this season. Cyclocross is not an easy sport on equipment, but through all the mud, bumpy descents, and grabbing of gears out of every corner, GRX inspires confidence. It truly rides like a groupset that was designed to exceed all the demands of cyclocross. I am a huge fan of the new hood shape, insane braking power and modulation, and the clutched rear derailleur. I chose to go with a single chainring drivetrain. I really enjoy the simplicity and clean look of a 1X setup, and I find running 42T chainring with an 11-32T cassette provides plenty of range for most of the races we do. With the combination of the clutched GRX rear derailleur and the wide-narrow 1X chainring, dropped chains are not really a concern of mine. This means I can take the lines I want, apply power when I want, and ultimately put in faster lap times. Its pretty awesome! Since I am running a 1X setup, my mechanic, James, and I decided to program the left shifter to mimic the right. Having both levers shift the rear derailleur comes in pretty handy when I’m totally redlined and going cross-eyed mid-race. I also decided to program the remote switch on the inside of each hood to shift as well. The left hood shifts easier and the right shifts harder. Not only is it pretty cool, but I also really like using the remote shifters on long straightaways since it allows me to rest my hands on top of the hoods and simply use my thumbs to shift. The hoods are extremely comfortable and offer a super secure grip even over the roughest of terrain. Additionally the extended length of the hood and the new lever shape allows me to ride with three fingers around the hood without fear of pinching them while on the brakes. This is awesome on steep and bumpy cx or gravel descents, because it allows me to maintain tons of grip on the hoods. You might be asking to yourself, “if Lance grips the hood with three fingers, then that means he must only be braking with his index fingers right?” All I can say is, yes, the brakes are that good!". - Lance Haidet
Lance Haidet' Donnelly Cyclocross Bike


Lance Haidet US Cyclocross Nationals 2019


Gage Hecht - Donnelly Cycling

Parker, Colorado

"One of the things I love about GRX is the shape of the shifter. I really like how it sits in your hand. It seems extremely natural to me and allows me to descend confidently with only a finger on the brake lever.  As for gearing I am currently using the ULTEGRA double chainring. I like that I can have both a larger range while not having big jumps in interim gears. I also like that it’s a bit more forgiving as far as dropped chains.  It’s also a little easier to get the chain back on as well.  As for the shifters I like the customization and programing capabilities. One of the ways we have customized my shifters is by programming the buttons on the top of the hoods to shift the rear derailurer". - Gage Hecht
Gage Hecht's  Donnelly Cyclocross Bike


Gage Hecht US Cyclocross Nationals


Lauren Zoerner - Alpha Bicycle/Groove Subaru CX

Highlands Ranch, Colorado

"With the GRX shifting, I like that I can shift with one finger, and it is easy to shift. I am also able to use both hands if I need to which is nice for racing when one hand is doing something else. On my race bikes, I have one chainring in the front,  that way I don’t have to worry about shifting the front to keep the chain even. I have noticed that the grips on the hoods are more pronounced, and it felt weird at first, but it’s really grown on me since we got them because they help me hold on. I also like the buttons to shift with, which I did not have before. I don’t use those in races, but in training or warming up, I like to use them sometimes". -Lauren Zoerner
Lauren Zoerner's Moots Cyclocross Bike


Lauren Zoerner USA Cyclocross Nationals 2019


Brannan Fix - Alpha Bicycle/Groove Subaru CX

Fort Collins, Colorado

"The hoods have to be the biggest difference, but the robust nature of the GRX derailleur has given me a lot of confidence shifting in tough conditions this season. I've really noticed the reconfigured hood shape, and its made a difference in my control while in the hoods, and in my ability to modulate my brakes even better.  I use a double ring set up because I enjoy the options and the mud clearing capabilities that a double ring set up has. The only change made for Nationals was the new DURA-ACE R9100 Power-Meter on my bikes to capture even more data from racing!"- Brannan Fix
Brannan Fix's Moots Cyclocross Bike


Brannan Fix USA Cyclocross Nationals 2019


Photography by: Bruce Buckley