Hi Folks

I'm in the market for a new 'do it all' bike (actually - 2 bikes, one for my wife and one for me). I've done a bit of research and was ready to pull the trigger on a Croix de Fer - but then spotted the new Charge Plug range, which to be honest I think I prefer the look of. However they are classed as road bikes so I'm looking for your thoughts on the similarities/ differences between them and the Croix.

The bikes will be used for commuting on road/ canal path, 50-60 mile weekend rides on road and fire trails, and occasionally for light touring (credit-card touring only, 2 rear panniers max!).

I'd be looking at a Plug 3 or 4, http://www.chargebikes.com/plug (the Plug 5 looks nice but is probably out of my price range, and is obviously affected by the SRAM hydraulic brake issues). Is this a sensible alternative to the Croix de Fer? Any thoughts on the maximum possible tire size on the plug (they come with 28c), the brakes (Promax Render R), and the touring potential would be appreciated!

If I get a Plug my wife is likely to go with the Croix de Fer anyway, so we will end up with one in the family! We're not allowed the same bike however, so if I get a Croix she might go for a Salsa Vaya...

Link to the Croix de Fer spec - http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/adventure/multi-sport/croix-de-fer

Heading out later today to try and sit on both and see how they feel. Any thought before then would be welcome!

Thanks for your time.


mike the bike [1057 posts] 4 years ago

Hi Otto,

I must declare an interest here, I have a Croix and I love it. It has rapidly become my default bike - the one I instinctively reach for when I open the garage. I have commuted, trained and toured on mine, including a ride around Northern France. It takes everything in its stride.
But, when making my choice I also looked hard at the Charge Mixer, which was the Plug's name before the range got tidied up.

It has several advantages over the Genesis; the 4 is fifty quid cheaper, it has a full 105 groupset as opposed to the Croix's Tiagra and it comes with adequate pedals and a rather nice Scoop saddle.

On the downside the Charge has a Japanese Tange frame, which is OK but it isn't quite Reynolds 725. The Kenda tyres aren't a match for the Contis on the Croix and the Shimano hubs fitted to the Croix's wheels are probably superior.
And most reviewers seem to prefer the Hayes discs that certainly bring the Genesis to a rapid stop.

Purely on a personal level I prefer the subtle black of the Genesis and also the clutter free top tube, I have no plans to shoulder mine in the near future.

But this is as close a competition as you can get, the two machines really are fighting neck and neck. If you like the look of the Charge a little more, that could easily swing it. If the 105 is a deal breaker for you, fair enough. But me, I wouldn't swap my Croix and if it were stolen tomorrow its replacement would be another of the same.

OttoS [2 posts] 4 years ago

Hi Mike

Thanks for the detailed reply, it sounds like you have gone through much the same process that I'm going through just now.

The Croix does appear to be the superior bike on most fronts - frame, brakes, wheels, tyres - compared to the Plug where only the groupset looks obviously better. So the Croix probably is worth the extra £50. The deciding factor might be that so far it's been easier to track down a Croix to sit on and try - which I did yesterday, and really liked the feel of it. I've yet to find anywhere with a Plug in stock to have a shot on. The Croix is just back in the lead for me!

Thanks again.

Cafemitad [1 post] 4 years ago

Hi OttoS

I had similar criteria to you and also narrowed to a Croix de Fer or Charge Plug 4. I plumped for the Plug.

As Mike comments, either way, these two bikes should suit for purposes you describe.

I tried both and until I tried an older Charge Filter Apex (essentially the same as the Plug and not the Mixer as Mike suggests) I was erring towards the Croix as I too was thinking of the slightly higher spec tubing.

However I found the Filter Apex to be sprightlier and more responsive. The wheels on the 2012 Filter Apex were very similar spec to the Croix and the tyres were 35mm Kendas so really a very similar setup (albeit with SRAM Apex). When my LBS had a Plug 3 in stock I tried that directly against the Croix and again it had the edge for me in spite of the lower spec Sora. My head said the Reynolds 725 but the ride on the Charge felt smoother and quicker to me. That, the 105 and the fact that Charge are a small fairly local company all swayed me.

I’m sure I would be as happy with the Croix but having the opportunity to try both side by side the Charge just nudged it – for me.

The Plug comes with 28c Kenda’s. I’ve fitted 32c with mudguards easily and I reckon I could squeeze 35’s with careful fitting of mudguards. The 105 works well and is slicker than the Sora on the Plug 3 or the Tiagra on the Croix I tried which both worked well but felt a bit clunky.

The Promax brakes as opposed the Hayes? I can’t imagine there’s a huge difference. TRP Hy Rd brakes might be a future upgrade for either in any case.

Whichever you decide upon, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

ilmary [1 post] 4 years ago


Same doubt here. I have been offered:

Croix de Fer (Tiagra): 1200 €
Croxi de Fer 931 (105): 1900 € (catalogue price 2400)

So my question is. Should I spend 700 € more and go for the 931?

Thanks in advance.



Konazing [7 posts] 3 years ago

plug 3 down to 649 amd the 4 down to 849 at a couple of online shops at those prices there is only one winner PLUG PLUG PLUG