Lisa Jacobs’ carbon Apollo Bikes Arctec CX disc as ridden in China. © Cyclocross Magazine
Lisa Jacobs (VIS) became Australia’s first Women’s National Cyclocross Champion in August.
But it wasn’t until September, at the first-ever UCI cyclocross race in China, that we got a closer look at Jacobs’ unique Apollo Bicycles’ carbon Arctec CX that she propelled to victory in Australia at the 2013 National Championships and 14th in China.
Take one look at the top tube and seatstays and you’ll see it’s a unique frame design. The frame features GT-like seatstays that meet the top tube in front of the seat tube, but without the “Triple Triangle” that GT creates by continuing the top tube all the way to the seat tube. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a national champion race with such long seatstays, as the McCormack brothers of Saturn won plenty of races on their steel GT bikes (seen here), but it might be the first on a carbon frame.
Jacobs actually got the Arctec CX just in time for the Australian Nationals, after having ridden Apollo’s $1599 (AUS) SRAM Apex-equipped aluminum Xact through the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In fact, Jacobs powered the Xact to the 2012 Australian Cyclocross Series Championship before sitting down with Apollo to develop the Arctec CX.
The Arctec CX is now featured in Apollo’s lineup, but the bike Jacobs rode at Nationals was none other than a prototype, shipped directly from its trade show debut. With help of a Victoria Institute of Sport mechanic and the local Apollo dealer, the bike was ready to race.
The first thing one notices is the unique shape of the frame, made from hi-modulus multi-weave Torayca carbon from Toray.
Perhaps a visual marker, perhaps a design feature, the Apollo Arctec CX top tube/seat tube/seatstay juncture is undoubtedly unique. © Cyclocross Magazine
The frame’s unique design leverages what Apollo Bicycles calls a S.L.I.M. Monostay, which the company claims “ vertical flex that dampens the vibrations coming up through the frame.” It’s quite thin, but does form a solid joint by the seat tube, unlike the Trek Domane, where the seat tube is isolated from the seatstays. The company also claims its longer tubing (compared to compact frames) “allows bumps and road vibrations to be soaked up along the length of that tube.”
Speaking of bump absorption, Jacobs has some custom-colored FMB 33mm SSC tubulars to show off her Australian Championship stripes and give her bike a unique look (in case that unique top tube isn’t enough).
Australian National Champion stripes on her FMB SSC tubulars, and canti mounts if she doesn’t like discs. © Cyclocross Magazine
Jacobs’ prototype still has the holes to insert cantilever bosses on the fork and seatstays, but Apollo is not trying to compete with Lapierre, Pivot or Redline on frames that can accept disc or cantilever brakes. Production models are disc brake only.
SRAM Rival cranks are standard on the Arctec CX, but Jacobs opted to run a 42t single front ring over the stock configuration, eliminating a front derailleur. Her stealth, black single ring is without markings but is a wide-narrow tooth ring, similar to XX1 and designs by Wolf Tooth and Absolute Black, used with the goal of avoiding a derailed chain without needing a chain guard or dual ring guards.
A SRAM X9 Type 2, clutch-equipped rear derailleur was chosen over a standard road mechanism and easily accommodates the wide range 10-speed cassette. It’s a setup that’s growing in popularity. We’ve tested a similar setup on the 2013 Marin Cortina reviewed in Issue 19, and found it effective to reduce chain slap, and SRAM-equipped racer Ryan Trebon has been spotted with a prototype SRAM 11-speed single ring group that also employs a clutch-equipped (Type 2) rear derailleur.
Jacobs’ bike has a specific parts selection compared to the stock offering, including the SRAM X9 type 2 rear derailleur. © Cyclocross Magazine
Controls and braking come from 10-speed Force-level SRAM S700 hydraulic shifters mated to SRAM S-700 brakes. Hope Pro2 EVO hubs match up nicely to HED Belgium C2 rims.
Shimano’s pre-XTR M959 SPD pedals handle the power transfer.
Jacobs samples cockpit components from all of Easton’s aluminum line-up, choosing an Easton EA50 seatpost, EA90 stem and EA70 handlebars finish off the build.
As her bike sponsor tells it, Jacobs had previously focused on a road career, but the demands of her career as a practicing lawyer meant shifting race priorities to cyclocross. It seems safe to say that with a National Championship in hand, Jacobs’ move was a good one.
- Frame: Apollo Arctec CX full carbon frameset
- Fork: Apollo Arctex CX full carbon, tapered steerer, 1-1/8 to 1.5
- Handlebars: East EA 70
- Stem: Easton EA 90
- Brakes: SRAM S series hydraulic disc
- Rims: HED Belgium
- Hubs: Hope Pro2 EVO disc
- Tires: FMB 33mm SSC
- Shifters: SRAM Hydro
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM X9 type 2
- Front Derailleur: n/a
- Crankset: SRAM Rival
- Pedals: Shimano M959
For more information visit www.apollobikes.com.