Dolan CDX vs Genesis Day One Alfine 8

Cope

Senior Member
So having dismissed the idea of a self-build on the grounds that it's looking to be uneconomical, I've narrowed my choice down to two. First, my criteria:

- Something with good disc brakes, suitable for a fairly hilly 25 miles/day nasty winter weather commute
- Something which will be happy on bumpy/muddy bridleways / paths
- Low maintenance / highly reliable
- If using derailleur gears, Campag. I've always used Campag, and dislike the Shimano shifters; Never used Sram
- Possibly internal hub gears

With this in mind, I've narrowed down the choice to:

1) Genesis Day One Alfine 8 2014

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/genesis/day-one-alfine-8-2014-cyclocross-bike-ec055501

This has a nice steel frame, felt responsive and not too heavy, and with a 28 inch lowest gear, should be fine for my hills. It's available right now in my LBS (not Evans) at a very attractive price (£800)

2) Dolan CDX

http://www.dolan-bikes.com/dolan-cy...carbon/dolan-cdx-carbon-cyclo-cross-bike.html

This is a carbon frame and forks with a veloce groupset. At £1200 it's right at the top of my budget, but it ticks all the boxes. I've had a Dolan frame before, and liked it, but never a Carbon one.

My concern is that the Dolan is remarkably cheap, which makes me wonder what quality the frame is.

So my questions:

- Do you think the Dolan is worth the extra £400
- Are you concerned by the quality of the frame/forks
- Any experiences / comments / questions?
- At the price of the Dolan have I missed anything else obvious that fits the requirements?

Thanks!
 

Soltydog

Legendary Member
Location
near Hornsea
I had the Genesis for a while, but had a few issues with it & it ended up going back. It's a very nice bike though, 'very retro' My problems weren't helped by poor service from Wheelies :angry: Had a few rear spokes break, the hub gear constantly needed adjusting & there was quite a bit of movement between the rear hub & axle. Might have just been unlucky, but the rear wheel looked badly built IMO. If it's a very hilly route you would probably be better off with a lighter bike, I bet the rear wheel on the Genesis weighs as much as the carbon bike complete :laugh:
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
In my experience the Alfine hub needs to be firmly located to work well.

It also likes a bit of tension on the chain.

Some makers fit an Alfine in vertical derailleur style dropouts, making it difficult to achieve both firm location and chain tension.

The Genesis in the link appears better engineered - horizontal dropouts and screw-in chain tensioners ought, together with firm tightening of the axle nuts, make it possible to achieve good location and tension.
 

John_S

Über Member
Hi Cope,

I'll start by saying that I don't have a wealth of experience to draw upon and so by no means is my opinion expert in anyway but I'll just feedback from my experience.

I've been cycling for about 30 years now and although I've cycled a lot of miles in that time I've never had many bikes. Over time apart from what I had as a very young child I've had a Raleigh Mustang followed by a Raleigh Apex, both of which were mountain bikes, followed by a Trek 7.1 FX hybrid bike which I got second hand from a friend who emigrated and I've had for about 7 or 8 years now. Although I've never owned any road bikes despite this apart from doing quite a bit of mountain biking when I was younger the vast majority of my cycling over the years has been on the road and probably on a bike which isn't best suited to the job.

Anyway this might appear to be a bit of a digression but at the moment I'm currently saving up for a bike to be my regular everyday bike for my daily commute which is about a 20 mile round trip on a mixture of rural & urban roads which are predominantly flat. On my own personal shortlist I want a bike with hub gears and having only ever used bikes with derailleur gears a friend kindly let me use their 2014 Genesis Day One Alfine 8 (in blue like the 2014 one you're looking at I think). As I've mentioned take this feedback with a pinch of salt if you like because I won't be offended because I don't have a wealth of knowledge from having ridden a lot of bikes. Nor have I ridden the Dolan CDX and so I can't make any comparison between the two bikes.

However all that I can say is having used the Genesis a few times on my daily commute I really liked the bike. It was very comfortable for my daily 20 mile round trip and the hub gear seemed very convenient and a real bonus for year round commuting in all weathers whereby hopefully the hub gear (whilst it's not no maintenance) would hopefully be low maintenance.

I found top gear (if I've got this the right way around) being the hardest gear to pedal a bit easy compared to my Trek 7.1 FX hybrid derailleur bike but this was only really noticeable on downhills and didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the bike. For me I really loved this bike and for me I only ruled it out on the basis of cost taking into consideration that for me my wish list also included a hub dynamo, dynamo lights and mudguards so for me by the time I'd added on the additional cost of these to the Genesis it was out of my price range.

However if I were to be offered the Genesis Day One Alfine 8 then bases on my test rides I'd happily take one if I could. Following this though bear in mind that I've not tried the Dolan CDX and with the limited number of bikes that I've owned for all I know the Dolan is even nicer but from what I've actually ridden I can say that I really liked the Genesis.

Good luck finding and getting the right bike for you.

John
 
OP
C

Cope

Senior Member
Thanks very much John. Where I'm at now in my thinking is as follows:

The two things I want to do are: 1) commute daily 24 miles, up a long hill and down a steep hill (and the reverse) in all weathers and 2) Be able to go out with my partner when she is riding her horse.

I already have a steel-forked, steel-framed audax/road bike. It has 28mm tyres, whereas the Genesis has 32 mm. It has low gearing, but not hub gears. It has dura ace bar end shifters, mudguards, rack, but not very efficient brakes. It's really the brakes that I'm most concerned about, especially on hills and in the wet/cold. It also needs to be blasted, sprayed and enamelled again, as rust is coming through. However apart from the rust and brakes, there's no reason why I couldn't commute on it. So perhaps I should invest in the respray and see about upgrading the brakes. What I'm getting at is that apart from the fractionally thicker tyres (which I could probably accommodate on my current bike), the hub gears (which aren't in any way an advantage for commuting, but might be nice for rougher/dirtier riding) and the disc brakes (which I do want), I'm not sure that the Genesis is *that* different from a machine I already have.

My second bike is an old steel 'mountain bike' frame from the 1980s, stripped down, and running as a fixed-wheel, with fairly heavy 26" wheels and 30-odd mm tyres. It's nice enough off road, notwithstanding the challenge of fixed-wheel off-roading, but has a sram hub which can be toggled between feed and free with a turn of a screw. Again apart from the overall weight (which is a bit high), again it's the brakes that let it down. I could again try to improve the brakes, and run it in single speed, should I wish to go out with my partner.

So as it currently stands, neither bike is ideal for starting my commute to my new job next week. And neither is ideal for what represents my best shot at recreational riding at present, which is bridlepaths with my parter on horseback. Which is why I started looking into CX bikes. But now I think about it, I'm not sure if the Genesis is really sufficiently different to be a wise investment of £800. By contrast I've never had a Carbon frame, and I sold my last Campag bike some 9 years ago. I get the sense that might be a somewhat different thing from my steel-framed audax, and steel-framed fixed-wheel. However I haven't yet established if it would take mudguards and a rack (which I think would be optimal for the commute).

So all in all I'm now in a position of doubt about whether this is right avenue at all. Maybe I just need to improve my current road bike, use that for commuting, and get a basic mountain bike for going out with my partner? Or also improve the single speed bike and use that off road?

Sorry - bit of a stream of consciousness ramble! Thoughts, comments and questions invited!
 

John_S

Über Member
Hi Cope,

That’s an interesting dilemma and I guess it’s not easy to definitely recommend one route or another. With respect to getting the right bike for your commute and for riding alongside your partner when they’re out riding I think it’s pretty impossible to get the right bike which will perfectly suit all conditions.
However that applies pretty much to any bike and whatever type of riding you do. Unless anyone has a bottomless pits of money, and a partner who doesn’t mind them having fleet of bikes, then whatever bike you have ends up being a compromise and you just have to try and pick the one that does the best job of suiting your riding requirements.

I don’t think that there’s really an easy answer to say whether it’s best to upgrade your current bike or get something new. Perhaps the only thing to try and think about is to work out the cost of upgrading your current bike versus the cost of a new one and at the same time take into consideration how close the finished upgraded bike would be to what you want when compared to the new bike that you’d potentially buy. There’s nothing wrong with going the upgrade route if it’s a bike that you’re already essentially happy with but needs some tweaks to suit your current riding requirements.

All I can say, and this doesn’t come from a vast knowledge of trying lots of different bikes, is that having tried the Genesis Day One Alfine 8 over my 20 mile round trip daily commute I really liked it. For me because the gear ratio is slightly different to what I’ve been used to I read into various posts on cycling forums about pedaling techniques. Having ridden for years & years without even thinking about pedaling technique I think that I’ve realised that I’ve been a bit of a masher. However the Genesis gear ratio is different to what I’ve been used to which at first I didn’t like but having read about pedaling I’ve now realised that I’m probably better off being more of a spinner and so I’m trying to move that way. Another thing that I meant to say is that some people have mentioned the bar end shifter and I have to say that I’ve had no problems at all with using it and find it second nature to change gear now that I’m used to it. However it sounds like you already have experience of bar end shifters and so it wouldn’t be a problem for you.

Good luck figuring out which route to go down and I hope that your new commute goes well!

John
 
OP
C

Cope

Senior Member
So after a few days of pondering, and a chance to chat it over with my partner and also my (very keen cyclist) uncle, I've moved slightly further in my thinking:

- Whatever road cycling I do is going to involve mudguards and a rack. Although that's currently just the daily commute, I could very well see myself doing some longer audax-style runs (Hampshire Hilly 100 being the most likely). This rules the audax (and most other carbon frames) out.
- Having had a go on a Shimano STI equipped bike, I have to say I just don't like it. I've not tried Sram yet, but I'm perfectly happy with bar-end shifters
- I'm increasingly tempted by the idea of an 'adventure bike' - something that can genuinely handle the kind of terrain that I'd encounter on, say, the South Downs Way, or some other long distance routes, and could be used for some short camping type trips.

So, if I were to get a new bike, I think it'd most likely be one of the Kona Sutra, Surly Disc Trucker or the Salsa Fargo 3. The Kona Sutra is in budget, and includes mudgaurds and rack. But is perhaps the least capable on track. The Surly is available for similar money, but would need mudguards and rack to be added. The Fargo 3 is the wild card. This would totally manage any offroad work I'd throw at it, and while a bit more than I was thinking, and also needing mudguards and rack, I think it's closest to the perfect machine.

So, I visited a different LBS (recommended here), and showed them my current road bike. They're going to give me a price for a respray and service / tidy up. This will give me a sense of how much I'd need to spend to get something servicable out of what I already have. Additionally, they recommended (as a pure tourer) the Tour De Fer, which looks like a super bike. Or the Genesis Longitude as something similar to the Fargo, but cheaper (and admittedly without drop bars).

I'm inclined against spending £900 on a new bike which is purely (or mostly) going to be used on road, which puts me off either the Genesis TDF or Alfine. I'd be more inclined to get either the Fargo or the Longitude as the best chance of a compromise.

However if the price for fixing the current road bike comes in looking attractive, I'm likely to succumb to the desire to reuse and recycle.
 

Darren Gregory

Rides a Pinnacle Arkose 3 and a Trek Emonda SL6
Hello Cope

The Arkose 2 might be up your street, http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pinnacle/arkose-two-2014-cyclocross-bike-ec054865, I tried one recently, it was my "wildcard" although I did in the end dissmiss it for the Arkose 3 instead.

It has bar end shifters which some people dont like but I found them to be perectly fine and it also has hydraulic brakes which a lot of people rave about. On the test ride I found little to no difference between the hydraulics on the Arkose 2 and the cable discs on the Arkose 3 (both were much better than the cantilever brakes on the CAADx that I also test rode). In hindsight I do wonder if both the cable and hydraulic disc brakes just needed to be "bedded in" and I would be curious to see how the hydraulic brakes work on a bike tha has been bedded in. My main reason for eventually going for the Arkose 3 over the two was a combination of not being impressed by the hydraulic brakes but also the higest gear on the Arkose 2. I was concerned that in the long term that this might hamper me.

In hindsight I dont think it would have as I rarely use the highest gear on the Arkose 3.

I live in Hampshire near to Liphook so probably riding terrain and places similar to you (you mention South Downs) I have found the Arkose 3 to be great for on road and off road cycling on all but the most severe terrain and even then if you take it easy it copes well.

Good luck.

Darren
 
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