First Ride: Garneau STEEPLE-XC Performance Bike
The Garneau Steeple-XC Performance bike is a well thought-out balance of components and design that come together offering the performance and frame innovations of a flagship bike, but with minor weight compromises that serve to keep the price manageable.
Garneau is a Canadian company that has been working since 1983 to supply the industry with innovative designs, most familiar being bright and contrasting apparel. In addition to the soft goods, for the last three years, they have been producing their Steeple-XC cyclocross bike. Each successive year, the bike has seen iterative improvements based on user and team feedback and this year’s model is no different.
The frame has been changed from last year to provide greater clearance for the rear disc with the bottom bracket dropped 66mm, providing more stability on fast, dropping descents. The corresponding shift forward of the center of gravity provides an extremely responsive cockpit that is built out with a 3T stem and handlebar that match the 3T carbon seat post.
Bridging the gap between rider and deck is a full carbon front fork with 15mm thru-axle, a nice addition that increases the stiffness and precision of the front end. This provides a pleasantly laconic ride when pointed forward, soaking up tree roots and gopher holes without flinching, yet turns intuitively and predictably, navigating downhill chicanes and hairpin gravel pits without hesitation. Rounding out the build are Shimano BR-R317 mechanical disk brakes, a concession to cost that fits the performance proportions of this bike.
We tested the Performance model of the Steeple-XC, a bike that shares all the frame technology of their Elite model while shaving costs by opting for Shimano 105 and Alex ATD490 wheels. Both are fine choices in terms of function and durability, and new entrants to cyclocross will welcome the forgivability of aluminum wheels. The trade-off comes down to added weight, though not by much, total weight is just over 19 pounds for a size large with pedals.
FRAME: RTCC1 carbon, no void monocoque technology
FORK: Garneau, full carbon, 1½’’ tapered steerer, 15 mm thru axle
HEADSET: FSA Orbit C-40 ABC, integrated
BOTTOM BRACKET: Shimano BB72, 86.5 mm press fit type
STEM: 3T ARX II Team, -6°
HANDLEBAR: 3T Ergonova, compact bend, 31.8 mm
GRIPS: Garneau anti-slip
CRANKSET: Shimano RS500, compact 46/36T
FRONT WHEEL: Alex ATD490 tubeless compatible rim, System T15 Centerlock hub
REAR WHEEL: Alex ATD490 Tubeless compatible rim, System Centerlock disc hub
TIRES: Vittoria, Cross XG Pro, 700 x 32c
FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano 105 5800
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano 105 5800
SHIFT LEVERS: Shimano 105 5800, dual control
CASSETTE: Shimano 105 5800, 11-28T, 11-speed
CHAIN: Shimano HG600, 1/2 x 11/128’’
BRAKES: Shimano BR-R317 mechanical disc, 160 mm rotor
BRAKE LEVER: Shimano 105 5800
SADDLE: Garneau Cadence
SEAT POST: 3T Ionic Team, carbon, micro-adjustable, SB25, 27.2 mm
ACCESSORIES: Chain drop protector
The Performance model is also available in Arctic Blue