Genesis Croix De Fer 30 - Thoughts and Possible Alternatives Please..?

wafter

Well-Known Member
Location
Oxford
I'll try and keep this short, but I'm not known for being concise so please humour me..

I'm 95% of the way towards buying a 2020 CdF 30; my LBS have a 20 in stock I can try for size and feel (same geometry, different components) and are prepared to price match the best price I've found online (£1600 v. the somewaht silly RRP of £2k). I'm just waiting for the weather to sort itself out so I can physically get to the shop and get in a decent test ride without being literally blown away.

This will be a very significant, long-term purchase for me so I want to be as sure as I can it's worth it and am fishing for a bit of a reality check please.

I've been an uncompetitive fair-weather road cyclist for most of my life but find myself less concerned with speed and drawn increasingly to the solitude and safety of lightish off-road routes - bridleways, tow paths, single-tracks etc. I also like the idea of some light touring at some point.

Added to this a lot of stuff associated with modern road cycling and the products themselves leaves me cold; the aesthetic-driven culture, constantly changing and often (IMO) highly dubious mechanical standards (press-fit bottom brackets :blink:), built-in-obsolescene, finite lifespans of large and expensive components (composite frames)..

I'm tight, environmentally-conscious and hate the anxiety attached to making new purchases so try to buy products that will last me well for as long as possible while giving the minimum of hassle.

So in general the CdF appeals to me for the following reasons:
- Road-like (if somewhat relaxed) geometry, so it should still be capable on the tarmac (if not as good as a modern composite bike) as well as off it.
- Steel frame and forks, so should last forever if looked after and won't make me paranaoid about unannounced catastrophic failure as has been known with CFRP
- Proper threaded bottom bracket, so cheap and easy to change; a proven, common, known quanitity with no potential for fit issues / squeaking / mis-alignment
- Understated, timeless and somewhat retro aesthetic
- British "made" (well, at least the company's British - not that this is a reason to buy an inferior product bit it's nice to buy from a UK company if the goods are sound)

My plan was initially to keep an eye on ebay and pick up a used example, however there don't seem to be that many on there and those that are seem to be up for pretty silly asking prices that aren't too far off what you can buy new / last year's models for.

I.ve found examples of last year's CdF 20 new for £1k (current model's RRP is around £1350 and they don't seem to be selling for a lot less) but I'm put off by the semi-mechanical TRP disk brakes and outdated / outgoing post-mount disk brake format. By contrast the CdF 30 uses Shimano 105 (pretty much throughout) so fully-hydraulic, flat-mount calipers (which appear to be firmly cemented as the new standard), along with 12mm thru-axles in place of quick-release wheels (again these appear to be the new standard on higher-end road bikes being stronger and better suited to running disks).

To be honest, even with 20% off RRP I'm not convinced that the CdF 30 represents great value compared to the CdF 20 (the RRP cost of the groupsets and brakes on both models is actually pretty similar, differences in the frame notwithstanding) however the 30 is the better bike and in the name of future-proofing I'd far rather have the current/new-spec parts and mounting systems in place.

Anyway, congratulations if you made it this far! I'm after any feedback / thoughts experiences that anyone has on the CdF in general (or specifically the CdF 30), as well as any suggestions of any other similar steel-framed bikes I might have overlooked while chasing the CdF.

Ultimately I think the purchase will be won or lost on the outcome of the test ride, however other than the price, slightly portly weight and somewhat untidy cable routing I'm pretty much sold - on paper at least. That said it's always good to get as much info as possible (and a bit of validation!) about one's choices before taking the plunge.

Cheers all - thanks for reading ^_^
 

Spiderweb

Not So Special One
Location
North Yorkshire
I’m guessing the £1600 offer you’ve seen is from SPA Cycles. They have a custom CDF built buy themselves but with far superior hand built wheels and some other upgraded components. The description also lists SKS Chromoplastic mudguards too, All for £1490.
https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s23p3993/GENESIS-Croix-De-Fer-Custom-Hydraulic
504029
 
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CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
Gosh, you sound similar to me a couple of weeks ago! I have the same intentions roughly speaking, though I'll probably do very little off road.
Mine was a choice between the Tour de Fer 10 (I'm not bothered about what groupset it has, simple was best for touring) and a small handful of other bikes, and my budget was lower. I thought very hard about the Spa Wayfarer but in the end I ordered the TdF 10 from the local shop. I take delivery tomorrow.

Good luck with your choice! Lots of knowledge here. :okay:
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Buy a decent quality secondhand vintage steel tourer. Plenty of real British made ones around, and you don't get all the marketing-driven throwaway shite engineering common in most new bikes.
The Genesis looks decent though, and it is steel, but I wouldn't consider it especially good value or cheap.
 

gbs

Veteran
Location
Fulham
wafter, PM if you wish. I will be willing to sell my 4 yr old, lightly used, stainless steel CdF, hydraulic disc brakes , 105 group set, 11spd. Maintained professionally. All in vgc. I guess it would suit anyone 2" either side of 6ft 1". Fulham based so transfer would be easy. At 78 yrs I am running down my "fleet".
 
One direct alternative to the CDF 30 is a Kona Sutra LTD. Like the CDF it has a steel frame with a standard external BB. It uses the normal touring Sutra's steel frame, so it's a really comfy road bike, but is fitted out for off road riding with a SRAM 1 x groupset and hydraulic brakes. It's also festooned with mounting points for mudguards, racks and 5 bottle cages. There's space for really wide tyres. I've got the 2016 version and it's a cracking bike. Winstanleys have a 2019 one for sale at the moment:

https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/kona-sutra-ltd-2019-bike

Possible downsides to this that I can see:

The 1 x group set, whilst a joy to use and really simple is not to everyones taste and the gap between some ratios can be a bit noticeable on the road, but off-road it's a non issue. The price of a replacement rear cassette is astronomical however, and far outstrips a Shimano Equivalent. (and guess who didn't check that out before buying their bike! :blush:) The fact that the Sutra uses unbranded cromoly steel, rather than Reynolds could be off putting to some folk. Personally I find it much stiffer off-road than my Reynolds tubed bikes though.

If you can get the CDF at your LBS, then that is a massive plus point in it's favour as well. I really like it as a bike and nearly went for one myself, but the Sutra came up secondhand at a good price and I went with that instead.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Well-Known Member
Location
Oxford
Wow - thanks for all the replies guys; wasn't expecting to get this much of a response!

I’m guessing the £1600 offer you’ve seen is from SPA Cycles. They have a custom CDF built buy themselves but with far superior hand built wheels and some other upgraded components. The description also lists SKS Chromoplastic mudguards too, All for £1490.
https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s23p3993/GENESIS-Croix-De-Fer-Custom-Hydraulic
Thanks and yes; the best price on the CdF 30 was found at SPA. I did have a quick squiz at their own builds but didn't really pay too much attention as I thought they were built on the CdF 20 frame; but from looking at your links it appears that they're actually based on the 2020 725 frameset (from the colour) so appear to have flat-mount brake fixings (however both models you link to have post-mount calipers so I guess they use adaptors).

The SPA builds certainly seem to offer better value for money than the 30 (and a better all-round spec and price than the 20), but I'm a bit put off by the lack of through-axles, and older / mixed range of components (not that I imagine these to be a huge issue in practice other than to my OCD!).

I'm also a bit torn on purchasing as I need to test ride a bike before committing and my LBS has so far been very good - the last thing I want is to be *that* self-gratification artist who wastes a load of a retailer's time using them to try a bike out only to buy elsewhere.

Cheers for the suggestion - I'll certainly give them a bit more thought before I settle on a decision.


I have the CDF 20. Great bike, but heavy.
Thanks - I hear this mentioned a lot and granted at 11-11.5kg (depending on source) it's clearly no lightweight when compared to a typical modern composite road bike, but what's your frame of reference - are you used to particularly light road bikes? I'm currently running an entry level carbon bike that's around 9.25kg bare; my old ally-framed Giant weighs about 1kg more but tbh the only time I notice this is is when picking it up (and even then I don't often actually notice the difference) - never when riding it does it feel heavy.

Unless I'm missing something I tend to view bike mass as part of the whole system; factoring in myself, water bottles, clothing, rucksack etc the additional 2kg ballpark of the CdF would account for maybe a 2.5% increase in total mass.. which (while I'd obviously prefer it not to be there) I think I'd struggle to clock the difference tbh.. but I'm happy to be educated otherwise as I don't want to barge into the purchase with rose-tinted specs only to ultimately be disappointed.


Gosh, you sound similar to me a couple of weeks ago! I have the same intentions roughly speaking, though I'll probably do very little off road.
Mine was a choice between the Tour de Fer 10 (I'm not bothered about what groupset it has, simple was best for touring) and a small handful of other bikes, and my budget was lower. I thought very hard about the Spa Wayfarer but in the end I ordered the TdF 10 from the local shop. I take delivery tomorrow.

Good luck with your choice! Lots of knowledge here. :okay:
Thanks for your thoughts - I like the look of the TdF and did briefely consider one just for touring (tbh I prefer the idea of a triple on the front too), however once the idea of going off-road got rooted in my head it became a bit too specialised for what I'd probably want to use my next bike for most. Ideally I'd like to boil my fleet down to two - the CdF for everything fun and my "other" wafter for shopping and pub duties, if I can get acceptable performance relative to the road bike with the CdF to justify flogging the roadie.

I'll be really interested to hear how you get on with the TdF - I hope you'll be gracing the forum with a full write up with pics etc once you've got your hands on it. I bet you can't wait until tomorrow and I hope it turns out to be everything you'd hoped for :becool:


If you're a 54cm rider, this is a bit of steal (not steel though ;) )
https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s221p3924/SPA-CYCLES-Elan-105-Hydraulic-(Ex-Demo)
Thanks - hadn't considered Ti due to budget constraints (plus a slight mistrust of anything that's not steel tbh) and that looks really nice; however £1600's already over-budget so I couldn't possibly justify going any further - besides I think it'd be a bit small for me so that's the decision (thankfully!) made for me.


Buy a decent quality secondhand vintage steel tourer. Plenty of real British made ones around, and you don't get all the marketing-driven throwaway shite engineering common in most new bikes.
The Genesis looks decent though, and it is steel, but I wouldn't consider it especially good value or cheap.
Thanks - I'd considered this, but getting something that's entirely compatable with the modern components I want (especially disk brakes) looks difficult (well, impossible) without frame mods.

I agree totally with your synopsis of the Genesis though - nice, competent but not great value. That said, it doesn't seem like there are many better value options that would provide a similar package..


wafter, PM if you wish. I will be willing to sell my 4 yr old, lightly used, stainless steel CdF, hydraulic disc brakes , 105 group set, 11spd. Maintained professionally. All in vgc. I guess it would suit anyone 2" either side of 6ft 1". Fulham based so transfer would be easy. At 78 yrs I am running down my "fleet".
Thanks - I can't say I'm not intrigued and would certainly be interested to hear more if you'd like to drop me a PM with some more details, pics, ballpark price etc; however I fear it might be a bit large for me anyway..


One direct alternative to the CDF 30 is a Kona Sutra LTD. Like the CDF it has a steel frame with a standard external BB. It uses the normal touring Sutra's steel frame, so it's a really comfy road bike, but is fitted out for off road riding with a SRAM 1 x groupset and hydraulic brakes. It's also festooned with mounting points for mudguards, racks and 5 bottle cages. There's space for really wide tyres. I've got the 2016 version and it's a cracking bike. Winstanleys have a 2019 one for sale at the moment:

https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/kona-sutra-ltd-2019-bike

Possible downsides to this that I can see:

The 1 x group set, whilst a joy to use and really simple is not to everyones taste and the gap between some ratios can be a bit noticeable on the road, but off-road it's a non issue. The price of a replacement rear cassette is astronomical however, and far outstrips a Shimano Equivalent. (and guess who didn't check that out before buying their bike! :blush:) The fact that the Sutra uses unbranded cromoly steel, rather than Reynolds could be off putting to some folk. Personally I find it much stiffer off-road than my Reynolds tubed bikes though.

If you can get the CDF at your LBS, then that is a massive plus point in it's favour as well. I really like it as a bike and nearly went for one myself, but the Sutra came up secondhand at a good price and I went with that instead.
Thanks - I've heard it mentioned but not really paid that much attention, so will take a look. I must admit the groupset does put me off though; I'm not personally a fan of SRAM hardware and really struggle to buy into the whole 1x hype machine - is the simplicity and loss of weight really worth the massive gaps between ratios and overall reduced range? Perhaps less of an issue in dedicated off-road use, but I think I'd struggle on the road.

Great point about the cost of the cassette too; which is pretty much a consumable I guess; especially if subject to a lot of off-road contamination.

I certainly appreciate the suggestion and will do a bit of digging on the subject :smile:
 
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Thanks - I've heard it mentioned but not really paid that much attention, so will take a look. I must admit the groupset does put me off though; I'm not personally a fan of SRAM hardware and really struggle to buy into the whole 1x hype machine - is the simplicity and loss of weight really worth the massive gaps between ratios and overall reduced range? Perhaps less of an issue in dedicated off-road use, but I think I'd struggle on the road.

Great point about the cost of the cassette too; which is pretty much a consumable I guess; especially if subject to a lot of off-road contamination.

I certainly appreciate the suggestion and will do a bit of digging on the subject :smile:
To be honest the gap between ratio's is not that noticeable in real life, like you said in your original post, your an uncompetitive cyclist not drawn to speed, much like myself. It's kind of hard to describe, but there are certain gears I'll hit where I'll lose a bit of momentum or suddenly find myself grinding instead of spinning. I don't find it a major hassle though, just noticeable after coming from a 3 x 9 set up. I do find myself changing gear much more though because of the simplicity of the set up and will often be able to keep up much more momentum as a result. I ride a lot on road as well as off and whilst it is better off-road, it's not a sluggish bike or difficult to ride. Reduced range is also not really a problem, looking at the gear table for a 3 x 9 set up, there is significant overlap in ratio's that effectively means you only have about 11 useable gears anyway. The SRAM set up has a 10 tooth cog on the back which see's me bombing along at nearly 30kph with no hassle, At the other end is a massive dinner plate of a cog, I'm just not sure how steep a hill the dinner plate will get me up!

If the CDF offer wasn't so good, I'd really urge you to just try out a 1x system to see if it works for you or not. The SRAM system is not flawless, but it's a lot better than the naysayers would have you believe.
 
OP
wafter

wafter

Well-Known Member
Location
Oxford
To be honest the gap between ratio's is not that noticeable in real life, like you said in your original post, your an uncompetitive cyclist not drawn to speed, much like myself. It's kind of hard to describe, but there are certain gears I'll hit where I'll lose a bit of momentum or suddenly find myself grinding instead of spinning. I don't find it a major hassle though, just noticeable after coming from a 3 x 9 set up. I do find myself changing gear much more though because of the simplicity of the set up and will often be able to keep up much more momentum as a result. I ride a lot on road as well as off and whilst it is better off-road, it's not a sluggish bike or difficult to ride. Reduced range is also not really a problem, looking at the gear table for a 3 x 9 set up, there is significant overlap in ratio's that effectively means you only have about 11 useable gears anyway. The SRAM set up has a 10 tooth cog on the back which see's me bombing along at nearly 30kph with no hassle, At the other end is a massive dinner plate of a cog, I'm just not sure how steep a hill the dinner plate will get me up!

If the CDF offer wasn't so good, I'd really urge you to just try out a 1x system to see if it works for you or not. The SRAM system is not flawless, but it's a lot better than the naysayers would have you believe.
Thanks - while I'm not particularly fast and the drive to go quickly is certainly giving way to other pleasures of riding as I age, I do still like to maintain a nice steady cadence and do find myself quite sensitive to changes in ratio (I have quite a tight range too with a 12-28 10sp cassette). I agree it certainly sucks when you drop out of that sweet spot!

I always try to be objective and fair about stuff though adnd I'd certainly be interested to try a 1x setup if I got the opportunity. I had a similar crisis when I bought my road bike (shift from triple to double chainset) and went as far as researching retro-fit triple components.. but in the end it turned out to be a non-issue. As you say there's certainly a lot of overlap on a triple, although I do quite like the fact that you can do the bulk of the riding on the middle chainring (however I guess this is arguably worse for component wear)..

Thanks - it's certainly tempting although on balance I think I'd prefer the higher-spec components on the CdF (and it looks like it has a carbon fork too, which is something I'd like to avoid); although it looks like a great deal for a Ti afficiando - not sure I've seen anything cheaper in that frame material tbh!


I'm hoping that I might get to the shop tomorrow to try a CdF 20 for fit, although I'm not sure how keen I / they will be on a test-ride if it's still blowing a gale. That of course is assuming I can get there at all on my town bike; which renders me the frontal area of a house. Wish me luck :tongue:
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
What about a Jamis Aurora? All-steel construction, Reynolds tubing, looks like a proper bike and has Shimano 9 speed stuff on it, so the cost of replacement bits is not going to be eye-watering.
I cannot comprehend anyone that will buy a bike where a cassette and chain replacement bill is getting on for £100!. I've never paid that much for a complete bike, never mind a maintenance item - including the two I bought new (they were a long time ago mind you) As far as I'm concerned a replacement chain should be a Tenner, and so should a rear cluster. A BB should never even need replacement, just stripping down and regreasing.
 
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