Which one Steel Frame, 'Genesis Croix De Fer or Charge Filter'?

by steventhefifer   September 7, 2013  

I'm looking for something a bit different, I would like something to handle commuting in all weathers, can potentially be a tourer (I know!) if required and kind cyclocross(ish) bike, steel would be my choice so it can last and handle anything? I like the Genesis Croix De Fer or Charge Filter Apex. Any opinions welcome please!!!

17 user comments

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I love my Shand Cycles Stoater Plus for all this: http://www.shandcycles.com/frames/allroad-plus/stoater-plus-overview/
Plus fully british built.

posted by Dave42W [42 posts]
7th September 2013 - 20:05


No experience with the CdF, but I've had the apex for a little over a year now and it's handled a variety of conditions and terrain very well, with minimal maintenance required over around 1800 miles, never even had a puncture! Though that's got naff all to do with the bike Smile. Only issue I've had is when the bb5 brakes need tweaking, it can be a bit fiddly to get them biting right again. It's served me well over lots of commuting, plus a few events including RideLondon without issue. Would recommend it as a decent all rounder.

posted by twelveone [5 posts]
7th September 2013 - 20:07


Thanks for your posts guys. The Shand looks good, however the frame alone will be my entire budget!

Stevie Murray

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posted by steventhefifer [24 posts]
7th September 2013 - 20:38



I understand, it was a once in the lifetime treat for me using a legacy from my Mother-in-law.

It is proving good value as I will have done about 5,000 miles in a year on it. A small British company do give great service.

I also went for as many British made components as I could (Hope, Middleburn, USE, Brooks, Atomic22) but because I wanted comfort, convenience, reliability and low low maintenance nearly 50% of the total value was imported (Rohloff, Gates Belt Drive, Schmidt dynamo + front light, B&M rear light, Jones H-Bar, Tubus racks).

posted by Dave42W [42 posts]
7th September 2013 - 23:20


Thanks Dave, it sounds like a really nice, custom built bike. Unfortunately my budget is £1200, I've already bought a Di2 Kuota Kharma EVO this year, and I'm looking for something to be a bit of an 'all rounder', come winter bike/commuting machine with the reliability to last. I.e a steel framed cross type bike.
Maybe, my budget will go up, but I have to narrow it down to either one of these at that price, or any other.



Stevie Murray

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posted by steventhefifer [24 posts]
8th September 2013 - 1:14


I have a Condor Fratello for commuting, audax and light touring. A Veloce or Tiagra build would come in at around £1300, the frame and fork on their own would be £600.. I ride it anywhere in all weathers. It's a great 'do it all' bike.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [346 posts]
8th September 2013 - 10:16


I built up a Surly Long Haul Trucker from scratch recently for about £1000 or so. Not being a fan of disc brakes (wait till you get salt in the calipers in winter...) the Surly ended up the best choice for the geometry I wanted.

I did a deal on the frame and headset with an LBS, asking if they could come down a bit to meet me part way to avoid buying it online, which they did. Wheels I already had (M-wheel A319 Mavic, Deore hubs) and brakes (Shimano XTR V brakes), but I've factored those in. Group set is 105 or equivalent throughout, with parts from Merlin and Wiggle.

Surly Long haul trucker frame and fork
FSA seatpost
Cinelli Vai stem and handlebar
5700 105 STIs, compact double chainset & BB, FD, RD, SRAM 12-27 cassette, SRAM 1070 chain with KMC breaking link.
Shimano XTR V brakes, the old ones with the parallelogram action
M-Wheel Mavic A319, Deore hub wheels, which fit the slightly odd width of the Surly rear dropout (135, not 130)
Zefal mudguards
Rack (can't remember the make, it's a bog standard one)
spare computer mount, light fittings from my old hybrid...
700x26 Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres, Conti tubes.
Hope headset, but with a standard star nut instead of that daft expanding bolt.
Down tube cable tensioners.

I reckon you can put that lot together for £1200 easily. Plus about 4-5 hours building it. Or you can go for Surly's idea of a build, which I didn't like.

The frame is written up as heavy, but it rides very smoothly, and with 28mm tyres I'm doing road and towpath riding no problem. I've also had it off road on bridlepaths and up in the woods with no hassles. Spins up smoothly and I can get a decent speed on the flat. In fact it's got me some good placings on Strava even with panniers on. Takes my weekly shop on the back no problem, plenty of clearance, and the pannier weight is inboard of the axle, so stable. Nice tall head tube, so I could actually run it slammed if I wanted.

I'd recommend it. Yet to do a winter on it, but there's clearance for ice tyres if I need them (and I have them in case).

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [309 posts]
8th September 2013 - 19:34


Have you had a look at singular? They have the peregrine which would suit your needs.

I've been commuting on a singular osprey and they ride really well and look great if you are into the retro thing.

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posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
8th September 2013 - 20:05


+1 for Condor. I have an Accciaio and it's fantastic.

posted by snappyandrew [87 posts]
8th September 2013 - 20:25


Planet X Kaffenbach 2 for even better value.

posted by yiman [9 posts]
8th September 2013 - 20:26


Am riding one of the Evans Arkose CX bikes as my Zombie Apocalypse machine. Tough, versatile, if not fantastically quick, but will manage gentle sportives and long jaunts into the Peak District. Brilliant for commuting and off road riding. Cross-top levers and disc brakes have saved me from all sorts of - ahem - advanced driving, even if Jesus learnt some new words in the process.

posted by Argos74 [350 posts]
8th September 2013 - 21:23


looked at the Kaffenbach, but the clearances weren't so good, and the geometry wasn't right for me. Plus it's Planet X so guaranteed wouldn't have one in stock... (they never have anything I want in stock)

posted by robdaykin (not verified) [309 posts]
8th September 2013 - 21:56


Condor Fratello a good choice. Or the Bivio X.

I'd take the frame of both and build up.

I have a Croix De Fer. Awesome bike. But, if you go that route, the stock wheels aren't great and it's possible to build the bike for much the same as RRP and get a better one.

So, £400 ish frame and forks, £350 handbuilt Archetype wheels with Novatech hubs, £350 SRAM Apex or 105 Groupset. Leaves you £100 for finishing kit (Tifosi carbon seatpost a good idea here). Nothing for tyres but I'd always assume most would swap out the cross tyres the Croix comes with.

posted by bendertherobot [575 posts]
9th September 2013 - 8:25


robdaykin wrote:
looked at the Kaffenbach, but the clearances weren't so good, and the geometry wasn't right for me. Plus it's Planet X so guaranteed wouldn't have one in stock... (they never have anything I want in stock)

From an ex-owners experience there's enough clearance on a kaffenback for full mudguards and 28m tyres, the guard is touching the seat tube but it does fit, just a bit strange they didn't add a little more room.

Although it's an alu frame the kinesis crosslight 5T could be right up your street:
I have a crosslight for commuting, (slow) cx racing and winter riding. Have fixed a rack to it and done some light touring. It is, excuse the cliche, 'bombproof'

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posted by joemmo [1112 posts]
9th September 2013 - 13:06


+1 on the singular peregrine.
Singular frames look really lovely in the flesh and you will struggle to find a more versatile frame. I own a gryphon and it is awesome.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
9th September 2013 - 15:44


hadn't heard of Singular before, they look quite nice although I'm not so keen on the more retro frames.

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posted by joemmo [1112 posts]
10th September 2013 - 9:59


I've had my 2014 model Croix de Fer for a few weeks and, after two modifications, it has rapidly become my favourite bike. Not my fastest, not my prettiest and certainly not my most expensive, but the bike I enjoy the most. I use it for short hops and I've already taken it 600km to France, it copes with it all.

I did explore the Kaffenback and the Arkose and the Charge but for several reasons, mostly concerning my preference for full groupsets, went for the Genesis. I don't regret my decision for one second.

My two modifications? I rapidly swapped the soft, sticky CX Speed tyres for some decent Randonneurs and, after a week's trial I dumped the Madison saddle. It wasn't a bad seat, just bad for me.

If it was stolen tomorrow would I buy another? Like a shot.


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posted by mike the bike [396 posts]
10th September 2013 - 19:04