Genesis Croix de Fer 2014

by deero83   November 15, 2013  

Hi

I am thinking of buying a Genesis Croix de Fer to replace my Charge Filter Mid 2011 as my winter bike.

I would use it for commuting and winter club runs.

I hate the groupset on the Charge (Shimano 2300) and the brakes (crappy cantilevers, despite various different brands of pads and endless tweaking of the cables when necessary)

I've never ridden a bike with discs brakes before. I've seen contrasting articles as to whether mechanical disc brakes are any good. Cyclocross people seem to dislike them at the moment, but then I am very unlikely to get the bike as caked in mud as them to cause the problems some of them report (i.e. massive brake fade). General roadies/commuters seem to love the bike though.

Am I best to wait until hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes have been around for a while?

Other than that, the bike seems fantastic. I would probably take the knobblier tyres off for road use - what would be the narrowest road tyres I could put on those wheels?

19 user comments

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I have had a Croix de Fer 2013 since March 2013 and use it now predominantly for commuting. It arrived with CX tyres though, so to begin with I was out with my son on his mountain bike and it was fantastic; responsive, nice to handle, and the brakes were great. The tyres got too many punctures commuting though, so I've swapped them for Conti Touring plus which are much more robust - but obviously little good for anything rougher than forest trails etc. It's loaded up now with full length mudguards and a disc-specific rear rack, and as a work horse it is equally fantastic. You can clip along at 18-20 mph quite well, but the handling is much less 'skittish' than a dedicated road bike - I presume highlighting its CX orientation. Can't recommend it enough.

posted by Gemianini [3 posts]
15th November 2013 - 21:29

11 Likes

Ditto

posted by carytb [55 posts]
15th November 2013 - 22:38

8 Likes

Super bike.

But, why not build it yourself?

Frame and forks, then SRAM Apex and some nice handbuilts.

Finishing kit should bring it bang on RRP of the normal bike but it will be so much better.

Here's mine:

posted by bendertherobot [538 posts]
16th November 2013 - 17:25

9 Likes

@Bendertherobot... I can't make out who built your wheels?

Thanks

posted by Cyclist [307 posts]
16th November 2013 - 19:06

11 Likes

Cyclist wrote:
@Bendertherobot... I can't make out who built your wheels?

Thanks

They say Archetype! Cool

H Plus Sons on Novatech Hubs. Almost a year old now, thousands of miles, £325 and bombproof.

Built by UGO on Bike Radar.

Apex was £375 but sold the brakes for £40 as didn't need them.

Frame was existing but reckon you can do that for £400 or so.

posted by bendertherobot [538 posts]
16th November 2013 - 19:34

11 Likes

Lots of cyclocross racers are changing over to disc brakes, even at the top level. The Hope Factory team have, not surprisingly been running prototype hydraulics for 2 years or more while others are using cables. If I was shopping for a winter/year-round bike then whether it had disc brakes would be a significant factor.

Have you considered a Genesis Equilibrium or the new disc version?
http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/blog/14/08/13/2014-bikes-equilibrium-disc

With tyres I wouldn't necessarily go too narrow, there's nothing to be gained by doing so, just get some good 28mm tyres e.g. Schwalbe Durano or Conti 4 Season. Or 25mm Michelin Pro4 Endurance.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2339 posts]
17th November 2013 - 0:00

10 Likes

I'm seriously tempted by one of these, but can anyone advise me about something please?

Being the wrong side of 50, my previous steel bikes have all had a rake to the forks, and yet these modern machines all have straight forks. Given there's no inherent compression of a straight steel tube, I'm wondering what the ride would be like. I'll have a test ride, but advice would be welcome.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
17th November 2013 - 0:32

8 Likes

Croix forks are super springy

posted by bendertherobot [538 posts]
17th November 2013 - 8:46

10 Likes

I'm not adverse to building it myself, but as my summer/best bike is my CAAD10, I wouldn't want to spend any more than that was on my winter/2nd bike.

Epic Cycles in Ludlow are currently selling the 2014 Croix for £1049 with Tiagra. The only thing that bugs me about Tiagra is that horrible dinner plate chin ring. I wouldn't really want to spend any more than that on it?

posted by deero83 [38 posts]
17th November 2013 - 13:25

10 Likes

Simon E wrote:
Lots of cyclocross racers are changing over to disc brakes, even at the top level. The Hope Factory team have, not surprisingly been running prototype hydraulics for 2 years or more while others are using cables. If I was shopping for a winter/year-round bike then whether it had disc brakes would be a significant factor.

Have you considered a Genesis Equilibrium or the new disc version?
http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/blog/14/08/13/2014-bikes-equilibrium-disc

With tyres I wouldn't necessarily go too narrow, there's nothing to be gained by doing so, just get some good 28mm tyres e.g. Schwalbe Durano or Conti 4 Season. Or 25mm Michelin Pro4 Endurance.

I've considered an Equilibrium but not sure I can justify 2 purely road bikes. The Equilibrium disc would be out of my price range. Would probably be looking at the Tiagra or possibly the 20 with 105.

I like the idea of disc brakes on a winter bike to cope with the wet and crap on the roads- do they actually do this?

posted by deero83 [38 posts]
17th November 2013 - 15:15

9 Likes

Totally

posted by bendertherobot [538 posts]
17th November 2013 - 15:34

11 Likes

bendertherobot wrote:
Croix forks are super springy
Cheers for that. I'll check it out.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
17th November 2013 - 15:59

9 Likes

I've had my 2014 Croix for 4 months and have done about a thousand miles on her, including a brief trip through northern France. The initial glow that comes with owning a new bike has worn off, but the love affair continues.

I bought the Genesis mainly as a commuter and, like one of the other owners here, I swapped the spongy tyres for some decent Duranos and fitted lightweight mudguards. The bike performs its role superbly, it's comfortable and responsive without being at all edgy and it's capable of surprising average speeds.

The Hayes cable discs are fine. In the dry they don't offer any more power than good rim brakes but they are very comforting in the wet as the performance doesn't drop off. I have adjusted mine a couple of times over the last fifteen weeks and it takes only a few minutes. I definitely wouldn't go back to canti's or callipers.

You're right about the Tiagra chainset, it will never win any beauty contests, but it has a functional charm of its own. The gear changes, both front and rear, are crisp, and the 30 tooth cassette makes light work of the climbs.

I really tried to love the standard Madison saddle, but eventually I surrendered and swapped it for a Spoon in matching brown. Bliss!! You might not need to worry about this but my arse is notoriously choosy.

The Croix has rapidly become my bike of choice when I open the garage door. It's not the most expensive machine I own and definitely not the quickest but it has character and seems to do most things very well. If reliability continues to be excellent it could just be the perfect bike.

Mike

mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [357 posts]
17th November 2013 - 17:48

11 Likes

Hi again

Is the Tiagra OK on the new Croix? I've got 105 on my CAAD10 which is great, but wonder whether there's much of a difference, and if it would be worth getting the LBS to upgrade me to 105.

I've also looked at the Cannondale CAADX disc as there's one that has 105 and looks to be similar in weight to my CAAD10.

Thoughts?

posted by deero83 [38 posts]
25th November 2013 - 18:01

9 Likes

The only downside to Tiagra is the wires sticking out of the shifters. 105 or Apex are neater in that way. Shifting wise, there's nothing in it.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1162 posts]
27th November 2013 - 0:31

8 Likes

I'm not sure I agree entirely with the last post, based on my reading of many 105 magazine tests. There seems to be a significant body of opinion saying that the new, concealed routing of 105 cables has degraded the quality of the gear changes. It makes sense if you consider the sharper angles involved, but I haven't tried it myself.

What I do know is that the new 10-speed Tiagra flicks between gears very nicely, certainly as well as Campag' Centaur and the old 105.

Of course, you are left with that rather unusual dinner plate chainset, but that's purely a matter of taste.

Mike

mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [357 posts]
27th November 2013 - 19:54

8 Likes

I had a 1st gen Croix with a carbon fork and 105: it was brilliant but I bought one that was a little small for me. Sold it and have been craving another since.

I had a 5600 shifter fail and replaced with 5700: no difference in shifting with the changed cable routing.

Currently running a Kaffenback with Force: not quite as nice as the Genesis but a good winter bike that I can stick knobblies on occasionally.

I had/have BB7s on both bikes and Sram Red on my road bike. I would say that the BB7s are better even in the dry than the rim brakes (although the Red's were great when my wheels were new I think they've tailed off a bit now). The discs just seem to bite a bit quicker: you can brake later with confidence. When wet it's obviously a bigger deal.

However cable discs aren't fit and forget like Hydraulics (I have Hopes on my MTB) - I'm forever having to try and tune out the squeals and squeaks and deal with rubbing.

posted by Pauldmorgan [202 posts]
27th November 2013 - 23:00

12 Likes

Hi!

A fresh comment on this 2014 Genesis Croix de fer

I purchased a frame/fork kit at my LBS in Brussels, belgium, and purchased the components on the internet.

Here is a rough idea of the components :
- Size 56
- levers 2x10 shimano 105
- rear derailleur shimano 105 long cage
- cassette 12-30 tiagra
- compact crankset/bottom bracket SRAM Apex 36/46 GXP
- front derailleur shimano CX70
- wheelset double wall 36 spokes, shimano deore hubs
- tyres Schwalbe Sammy Slick 700*35c (foldable)
- Saddle brooks swallow (B15)
- basic aluminum seatpost, stem, road handlebars
- extra pair of CX brake levers
- Avid BB7 road mechanical disc brakes

That was for the technical aspects.

Here is now how I feel about this bike.
I use it for commuting 30km per day. Brussels is a hilly and badly paved city, lots of pot holes.
The frame is not too light that's true. I weighed the complete bike with rear rack and rear mudguard at 12.5kg. But despite the weight, the frame is very rigid, reactive to accelerations, comfortable. The position is very comfortable and the front fork takes away a lot of the vibrations and shocks.
For my use (half city with lots of stops and traffic, half straight road) the gear setup is perfect. With a bike of this weight, it would kill my knees to ride a 52 chainring.
You can go slow, you can go fast. It is very versatile.
The 35c tyres also help with the shocks and bumps. To me riding in brussels is like a MTB ride : terrain is changing a lot. The Schwalbe sammy slicks are easy rolling and I hope they will allow be to ride in all weathers. So far it has been quite dry with some rain.
BB7 brakes are really powerful, especially when it is damp. Takes some time to adjust them properly though.

I'll try to post some pictures when I have time to take them.

If you have any question just ask, but remember that I have been riding it for less than a month now.

posted by rouliane [2 posts]
4th December 2013 - 13:34

7 Likes

Hi!

A fresh comment on this 2014 Genesis Croix de fer

I purchased a frame/fork kit at my LBS in Brussels, belgium, and purchased the components on the internet.

Here is a rough idea of the components :
- Size 56
- levers 2x10 shimano 105
- rear derailleur shimano 105 long cage
- cassette 12-30 tiagra
- compact crankset/bottom bracket SRAM Apex 36/46 GXP
- front derailleur shimano CX70
- wheelset double wall 36 spokes, shimano deore hubs
- tyres Schwalbe Sammy Slick 700*35c (foldable)
- Saddle brooks swallow (B15)
- basic aluminum seatpost, stem, road handlebars
- extra pair of CX brake levers
- Avid BB7 road mechanical disc brakes

That was for the technical aspects.

Here is now how I feel about this bike.
I use it for commuting 30km per day. Brussels is a hilly and badly paved city, lots of pot holes.
The frame is not too light that's true. I weighed the complete bike with rear rack and rear mudguard at 12.5kg. But despite the weight, the frame is very rigid, reactive to accelerations, comfortable. The position is very comfortable and the front fork takes away a lot of the vibrations and shocks.
For my use (half city with lots of stops and traffic, half straight road) the gear setup is perfect. With a bike of this weight, it would kill my knees to ride a 52 chainring.
You can go slow, you can go fast. It is very versatile.
The 35c tyres also help with the shocks and bumps. To me riding in brussels is like a MTB ride : terrain is changing a lot. The Schwalbe sammy slicks are easy rolling and I hope they will allow be to ride in all weathers. So far it has been quite dry with some rain.
BB7 brakes are really powerful, especially when it is damp. Takes some time to adjust them properly though.

I'll try to post some pictures when I have time to take them.

To sum up : the bike is a beauty, very nice finishing, sturdy and fast. perfect for my use!

If you have any question just ask, but remember that I have been riding it for less than a month now.

posted by rouliane [2 posts]
4th December 2013 - 13:35

8 Likes