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David embarks on a Croix de Fer bike build project

David starts a new bike build project with a Genesis Croix de Fer frames as a starting point

This fine looking thing is the Genesis Croix de Fer and it’s the beginning of a new bike build project.

Reasons for picking the Croix de Fer are numerous. The main one is to see if it can replace an old Enigma Etape touring bike I've got, and which is my go-to winter training bike, the staple of my winter training miles, fitted out with mudguards and durable tyres. It's very comfortable. But it doesn’t have disc brakes and I’ve ridden enough road bikes with disc this year to know that winter is the time when I’m going to appreciate the benefits of discs more than ever. Better ability to stop in crappy conditions and less maintenance. 

There’s more to it than just the brakes though. I was drawn to the Croix de Fer’s versatility. Sure it has the same rack and mudguard mounts as the Etape, but the Etape couldn't take very big tyres whereas the Croix de Fer can, and because it's borne from a cyclo-cross bike originally, it should be ideal for a spot of off-road. And with buzzwords like "adventure" and "gravel" being popular in the cycling sphere at the moment, I wanted a bike that might be up for such rides. Yeah I want to be able to throw a bit of off-road cycling into the mix.

First born from cyclo-cross roots, the Croix de Fer has slowly matured into a more road-orientated bike and for 2015 it takes a bigger step in that direction. The bottom bracket is now 5mm lower (so it’s 70mm), there’s a longer axle-crown fork (now 401mm) and the head tube is taller. They’ve also developed their own carbon fibre fork with an aluminum 1 1/8in steerer tube. No tapers here.

The Croix de Fer frameset costs £474.99 and is made from Reynolds 725 tubing (it’s the same frame as used on the Croix de Fer 20 and 30 models) and features Di2 compatibility along with conventional external mechanical cable routing. This is a 56cm frame (six sizes are available) and the frame, fork (with uncut steerer), headset and seat collar weighs 3.15kg (6.94lb). Check out the frame in detail on the Genesis Bikes website. It's a really nice looking frameset and this "Burnt Bronze" paint job is, well it's a bit different, but different in a good way.

So in a way it’s straight replacement for an old winter training bike like my Enigma Etape, but it offers more scope to broaden my horizons. The reason for going down the frame route and not a fully built bike is so that I can test its versatility by trying different components and take the build in a different direction based on the ride I have planned. The immediate direction is going to be a regular road bike, with hydro disc brakes and mudguards and some reasonably wide tyres, but I've got more planned for it down the road. 

That’s about as far as I’ve got so far, I’ll be keeping you update with regular blogs as the build progresses, hopefully at a rapid rate because I can’t wait to get it out on the road. The next step is to assemble the parts and starting bolting them in place, so tune in next week for that installment. It should be a fun build this, and hopefully the resulting bike is as much fun to ride as I hope, and reckon, it will be.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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