Photo credit: Jeff Dieffenbach
Photo credit: Jeff Dieffenbach

As we looked forward to another cyclocross season, I took time to upgrade my wife’s bike, a 2014 Mares AX 3.0 with disc brakes, to better suit her strengths and riding style.

My goals? Decrease weight and increase efficiency.

Starting at the bottom, I replaced the stock wheels with an A-Class CXD4 wheel set and Clement MXP tires – a high value to low weight ratio choice for road disc wheels meant serious pounds off the bike, as well as improved traction (according to my wife).

During races she’s had two issues – dropped chains in crashes and maintaining speed and cadence shifting between chainrings. Considering a 1x (pronounced one-by) system, which would solve both issues with a special profile chainring holding the chain tight and a simplified drivetrain, we tested the idea by having her ride without shifting in the front.

After determining through these experiments that she didn’t miss the additional chainring, I upgraded the bike with SRAM’s Force1 drivetrain with a 36 tooth single chainring, 11/32 cassette and clutched rear derailleur which keeps the chain in high tension. Both chainring and cassette were selected to give her a maximum range for both climbing and the flats.

With three races in the books, she is very happy with the upgrades and looking forward to a full season of cyclocross.