Home
Gears tweaked and brakes bled, David's Croix de Fer project is complete and ready to be ridden

Last month I revealed details of my Genesis Croix de Fer long term project, and, after some spannering and brake bleeding, it’s finally built and ready to ride. Here it is. So what do you think?

I'm quite happy with how it has turned out. To recap briefly, I've chosen the Croix de Fer because it looks like it offers me what I want for a winter training bike. The steel frame should be comfortable, it takes disc brakes - a definite requirement - and there are mounts for mudguards for the Audax I've already entered in the New Year. And when I feel like it, I can fit some cyclo-cross knobbly tyres and head off-road. 

To start with, I've slung on the latest SRAM Red hydro disc groupset. It's been a long time coming for SRAM's recalled disc brakes, so during this long term test I'll be keen to see if the brakes hold up okay. I want to find out if they're a match for Shimano's road disc brakes, which on all bikes I have used them on this year, have been nothing short of excellent. 

Fitting disc brakes is a bit more laborious than a cable brake system though. The hoses were too long which meant I had to trim them down, which isn't as straightforward as snipping a brake cable. It's not actually that tricky though. Bleeding the brakes is a bit tricky however, but following the clear instructions made the whole process a doddle. If a bit messy. Fortunately, once bled, I should never have to do it again.

To complement the SRAM groupset I’ve got a pair of Zipp 303 Firecrest Clincher wheels. These wheels have proven to be durable and tough enough for the hardest and most demanding races like Paris-Roubaix, so they should be just fine on the Cotswolds lanes. Some might say it's a bit flash to run carbon wheels in the winter, but that's a benefit of disc brakes straight away, I don't have to worry about the poor braking performance of a carbon rim in the rain because the braking surface has been moved to the centre of the wheel.

I do have in mind a pair of tubeless wheels eventually - I'm very much a fan of tubeless for the road. For now I've got a pair of Michelin PRO4 Service Course 25mm tyres on the bike because they were free, but I have some wider 27 and 28mm tyres that I do plan to sling on the wheels during the course of this long term project. 

Yes, I do need to fit some mudguards, and I will do before the next blog update. 

I’ve had a rummage around in the parts bin and found a nice Thomson carbon fibre handlebar and aluminium stem that used to be on my race bike. There’s a new 3T Stylus seatpost with a simple two-bolt saddle clamp, and the red graphics are a nice complement to the red details on the SRAM groupset. A happy accident. Finally, providing sofa-like comfort is the Fabric saddle with carbon fibre rails keeping the weight down.

Talking of weight, the whole bike weighs in at 8.65kg (19.07lb), which is pretty reasonable for a steel-framed disc-equipped road bike. We’ve had carbon disc bikes through the office this year that have weighed about the same.

With the Christmas break looming, the Croix de Fer is going to get plenty of use. I'll report back after a few rides in a couple of weeks.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com 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.

25 comments

Avatar
birzzles [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

that is lovely. Be interested in a full spec sheet but looks towards 5k.

Avatar
joemmo [1163 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

Avatar
MKultra [393 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
joemmo wrote:

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

When did steel mean "low end"?

It's a brilliant material, those who disreguard it as old hat have obviously never had a good quality steel frame.

Avatar
giobox [361 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
MKultra wrote:
joemmo wrote:

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

When did steel mean "low end"?

It's a brilliant material, those who disreguard it as old hat have obviously never had a good quality steel frame.

Steel doesn't mean low end. I think what joemmo is referring to is that the Genesis CdF is a surprisingly low-end frame, of any kind of material, for a build of this specification. In that regard I completely agree, I would have spent more of this clearly sizable build budget on a nicer steel frame.

For perspective, those wheels alone would probably clock in at around 6 to 7 times the money spent on the frame. The CdF is nice, but it's hardly high end steel. With a build kit like this attached to it it looks a little out of place. Still a great looking build though.

Avatar
adrianoconnor [85 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
joemmo wrote:

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

Heh, that's exactly what I thought when I saw the wheels and the groupset in the first picture. But why not, I guess  1 It's supposed to be a very fine frame for the money, so might as well do it properly if you can. Very nice bike.

Avatar
Metjas [362 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

looks beautiful; should ride like a dream; make sure you report back, maybe sling on a different (less high end) wheel set for comparison. Enjoy!

Avatar
bigshape [186 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

nice! what guards are you going to fit?

Avatar
joemmo [1163 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
MKultra wrote:
joemmo wrote:

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

When did steel mean "low end"?

It's a brilliant material, those who disreguard it as old hat have obviously never had a good quality steel frame.

I never said that either steel or this frame was low end, you've leapt to your own conclusion there.

FTR I've had nice steel frames (Ritchey to name one) and I'd buy another but as Giobox points out the cost of the frameset is out of proportion to the wheels alone. In terms of matching a groupset to this frame then it feels more like 105/ Rival to me, especially for a winter bike.

Avatar
therevokid [1023 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

do SRAM hydro systems now not use DOT fluid ?

just thinking about the one bled forget statement, my avids
need a fluid change about once a year !

Avatar
Plasterer's Radio [520 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I would have expected less bling wheels and fatter tyres given the clearance on offer.

I have a question. What size frame is that? and how tall is the rider?

Word up massive respect like.

Avatar
Nixster [412 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

TBH the wheels are not doing it for me either. Not because they're too pricey but the deep section just looks too visually heavy compared to the frame tubes. Something like H+Son Archetypes would be a better match IMHO and more in keeping with the frame costs etc.

Avatar
Tin Pony [73 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

If I'm honest not quite how I would have done it but totally respect the thought,work and money put into it. Certain it will do you proud and bring my happy miles of comfortable pedalling. Enjoy the Ride!

Avatar
flobble [143 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Zipp Firecrest super-aero wheels and ...mudguards?  24

Not my cup of tea at all I'm afraid. Just a bit odd. Like putting a Ferrari engine in a Ford Fiesta.

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [943 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
flobble wrote:

Zipp Firecrest super-aero wheels and ...mudguards?  24

Not my cup of tea at all I'm afraid. Just a bit odd. Like putting a Ferrari engine in a Ford Fiesta.

Lucky it's not your bike really

Avatar
flobble [143 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I like all the bits  1 I'd just use them in a different way personally.

But if it works for you, then it leads to a happy man on a bike. And that's *always* a good thing.

Enjoy riding it!

Avatar
edf242 [39 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Its certainly a different take on it to my custom CdF, nice to see how one frame can have two radically different iterations, both of which are beautiful in their own way. I present to you my slightly lower end CdF build, designed as a club run winter warrior and potential 3PCX machine (with a change of tyres and drive train).

I used the MT35 29er wheels with 25mm GP4000s and they are the best handling winter bike rim tyre combo if have ever ridden. The drive train is a mix of 105, Ultegra and XT.

It handles beautifully and the ride comfort is awesome. My only complaint is that is a little more hefty than Dave's bike coming in closer to the 10kg mark, however being a winter trainer, this is really only extra training on the climbs.

EDIT: I'm properly jealous of Dave's hydraulic/mechanical combo, money allowing I would definitely have done this, as it is I used the uber posh teflon cables from shimano witch mechanical discs, have just had to adjust the front pads after about 500-750 miles).

Avatar
DaveE128 [1009 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
edf242 wrote:

Its certainly a different take on it to my custom CdF, nice to see how one frame can have two radically different iterations, both of which are beautiful in their own way. I present to you my slightly lower end CdF build, designed as a club run winter warrior and potential 3PCX machine (with a change of tyres and drive train).

I used the MT35 29er wheels with 25mm GP4000s and they are the best handling winter bike rim tyre combo if have ever ridden. The drive train is a mix of 105, Ultegra and XT.

It handles beautifully and the ride comfort is awesome. My only complaint is that is a little more hefty than Dave's bike coming in closer to the 10kg mark, however being a winter trainer, this is really only extra training on the climbs.

EDIT: I'm properly jealous of Dave's hydraulic/mechanical combo, money allowing I would definitely have done this, as it is I used the uber posh teflon cables from shimano witch mechanical discs, have just had to adjust the front pads after about 500-750 miles).

I'm interested to know what the thinking behind the unusual mudguard stay config is! It's certainly eye catching!

Avatar
edf242 [39 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
DaveE128 wrote:

I'm interested to know what the thinking behind the unusual mudguard stay config is! It's certainly eye catching!

The rear stays are perhaps more conventional. Bending is an easy way of fitting them without hacksawing the stays, plus it looks nice. The font are a bit over the top to be honest, probably should have just cut them but felt like the challenge of doing it hacksawless and thought it might look quite interesting.

Avatar
Speedystevie [8 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Love the mud stays, very creative, artistic licence.

Avatar
Cyclist [295 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Nice  41

Avatar
mooseman [87 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Any update Dave?

I'm looking at either the CdF or Equlibrium disc as my new winter/audax/commuter bike.

Avatar
Mad cuclist [17 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Sram is acquired taste, I can't get the hang of the lever action, I like the bike and looks very pratical for winter

Avatar
Mad cuclist [17 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Old meets new. 42mm tyres and loads of mudguard space. 105 with cx CHAINSET.

Avatar
Mad cuclist [17 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
giobox wrote:
MKultra wrote:
joemmo wrote:

Looks great... but the high end build seems a bit at odds with the frame and intended use. Maybe it's a chance for you to kill two birds with one stone (test frame and group) but I can't imagine many people would build up a cdf frame like this.

When did steel mean "low end"?

It's a brilliant material, those who disreguard it as old hat have obviously never had a good quality steel frame.

cc

Steel doesn't mean low end. I think what joemmo is referring to is that the Genesis CdF is a surprisingly low-end frame, of any kind of material, for a build of this specification. In that regard I completely agree, I would have spent more of this clearly sizable build budget on a nicer steel frame.

For perspective, those wheels alone would probably clock in at around 6 to 7 times the money spent on the frame. The CdF is nice, but it's hardly high end steel. With a build kit like this attached to it it looks a little out of place. Still a great looking build though.

Lest we forget he is a journo who pays very little if anything for the kit.

Avatar
toddysax2 [5 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Nice bike. Looks a perfectly well built steel frame. I raced on steel with some success for 20 years. Have to question the name. Having ridden the Col de Croix de Fer twice, I would never have managed it on the gearing shown on either builds. I don't get the mudguard stays on the second build. Apart from the awful appearance, the extra flex induced will cause the
muddy's to catch on the tyres during vibration on poor surfaces.