BIKE REVIEW (longtermer): Genesis Croix de Fer

The summer has arrived, the bikes are out and as an LCC staffer I am currently riding a long term test bike, a fantastic Genesis Croix de Fer 30. Retailing at around £1699, I would have expected this bike to be good, but not this good!

                           

 

I have been on the Genesis since April, putting it through its paces everyday both in the city and out on the trails. As I said in the first mag review, the beauty of the Croix de Fer 30 is that it’s not just an adventure bike, it’s so much more. Since May I’ve added mudguards and a pannier rack to fit my needs as a summer tourer and workhorse commuter - and those additions have only emphasised its versatility.

  

I’ve ridden the same route to work now for more than three years; a number of different bikes have taken me along this corridor but none have done it with such style as the Genesis. It handles wonderfully in the city even when it’s dragging me and all my football kit around and the combination of a fantastic Reynolds 725 steel frame and Alex rims/Clement tyres gobble up potholes and drain covers to provide a smooth ride every day. This is most evident as I roll through Moorgate at 9am, where the road is often more of a bone shaking obstacle course than traffic thoroughfare.

 Whilst the CDF is seriously comfortable, practicality has to be the key word for this bike when in its commuter guise. Firstly, the Shimano gearing makes this bike a go-anywhere road bike - in London this means the climb up Crystal Palace is a breeze, whilst at the same time the CDF will happily cruise down Milbank with the carbon racers. Secondly, this bike is set up to take all of your gear; front and rear rack mounts will take large or slim racks and even when laden with gear, which is a common occurrence for me, the bike’s performance is still impressive.


Genesis refers to it as the ‘Swiss army knife of bikes’ and that couldn’t be more apt. In its tourer guise this bike gets even better, combining that great practicality with top-end components and comfort. Granted, I did change the original tyres for longer rides, the stock Clements are great off-road and just as good in the city, but slicker tyres are better if you’re planning on putting the pure road miles away.


In more recent months, I have begun to run the bike on country routes, mainly around my home county of Suffolk, that often take you along a combination of roads and woodland trails. Just like Moorgate at 9am, these roads are made to feel well maintained by the CDF! A recent day of riding around the North Suffolk coastline took me through a very soggy and muddy Tunstall woods, just outside of Aldeburgh. With the Clements back on, the bike became an off road monster, transitioning seamlessly from tarmac to sandy lane and back again. It truly felt like this bike could go where others couldn’t.   

 

It’s evident that this bike masters different terrains with ease – with such reliable performance perhaps best demonstrated by the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. I’m very new to discs – though recently reviewed a Bianchi with mechanical discs and was stunned by how good they were - but that didn’t prepare me for just how good these would be. I never want to ride a bike again without these brakes! Come rain or shine, down steep or shallow gradients, over long and sudden braking periods these brakes give you reassurance by the bucketload.


It’s that extra quality that defines this bike, from its beautiful, classic steel frame, to its mix of build quality and high-end components, it really does stand out. The ‘ride quality’ is something I have touched on, but it’s quite hard to define. I have spent the best part of my bike-riding life on road and fixed-wheel bikes, so this is a new experience and I can’t believe it’s  taken me so long to get here!

  

In the next few months I will continue to use it as my everyday workhorse - as mentioned in my first review, London flats aren’t built for bikes so I have had to take this on as my everyday bike - but hopefully this can give even more evidence of its longterm capabilities. But it will also be put it through its paces a lot more in a range of terrains across the UK, Germany and Holland. It’s mad; I literally can’t wait to get on it and ride home!