The latest bike to roll over the road.cc threshold is the 2020 version of the Genesis Croix de Fer Ti – the first bike equipped with Shimano's new GRX gravel groupset that we've managed to get our mitts on.
The Croix de Fer has become a do-it-all classic over the years. When we reviewed the Reynolds 725 steel version way back in 2013 we were singing its praises as an on- and off-road mile-muncher, and Dave described the 2015 frame as "a solid choice that is capable of being pressed into service for daily commuting, winter training, Sunday club rides and, with the right tyres, following the path less travelled".
Essentially, the Croix de Fer has built up a reputation for being a bike that's capable of taking on many different guises. A practical, solid jack-of-all-trades.
What we have here is a 2020 model built around a 3Al-2.5V double-butted titanium frame.
Genesis says that the tube profiles are designed to give "a stiff and efficient pedalling platform, retaining the same connected feel and 'in-saddle' comfort for which the steel CdF is famed".
You get an oval-profiled top tube and a swaged seat tube that, Genesis says, are designed to offer comfort, while the large diameter down tube and tapered head tube (1 1/8in upper bearing, 1 1/2in lower bearing) are intended to "ensure direct and efficient power transfer and pinpoint sharp handling". The S-Bend chainstays are derived from Genesis' mountain bikes.
The fork is full carbon and, like the frame, it takes 12mm thru axles.
You get mudguard eyelets front and rear, mounts at the back for a rack, and enough clearance for 38mm tyres if you go without 'guards.
The Croix de Fer Ti has a similar geometry to that of the steel model although the head tube is 10mm longer whatever size you choose. The effect of that is offset by the use of an integrated headset as opposed to an external design.
We have the large sized model in for review with a 550mm seat tube, a 582mm sloping top tube and a 185mm head tube. The seat angle is 73° and the head angle is fairly slack at 71.5°. The trail (the distance from the centre of the front wheel's contact patch and the point where the steering axis intersects the ground) is lengthy at 66mm and the same is true of the wheelbase: 1,051mm. These figures suggest that the Croix de Fer Ti will feel stable out on the road or track, but we'll have to wait and see.
The 2020 model comes with components from Shimano's box-fresh GRX gravel groupset, although Genesis had to make a couple of substitutions on our review bike because GRX is still in short supply (the production version of this bike will feature all of the components listed on Genesis' spec sheet).
GRX is divided into three levels: the top-end 800 series (which corresponds to Shimano's Ultegra road groupset) and the more affordable 600 series (105 level) and 400 series (Tiagra level, 10-speed). It's the 800 series that'll come specced on the production version of this bike, although our test bike has an RX600 double chainset with 46-tooth and 30-tooth chainrings. You'll get 48/31-tooth chainrings on the production version. They're matched up to an 11-34-tooth cassette.
The RX-810 rear derailleur, like the other GRX options, uses Shimano's Shadow RD Plus technology that's designed to reduce chain slap and the possibility of dropping the chain while providing a quieter ride. You have a stabiliser on/off switch that allows you to tune the behaviour to suit the terrain.
The front derailleur will also be Shimano RX-810 on production versions of the Genesis Croix de Fer Ti, although it's actually Shimano Ultegra on our review bike. The same is true of the dual-control shifters and brakes (which act on 160mm rotors).
Genesis specs wheels made up of Jalco SR240D tubeless-ready rims laced to Formula hubs with 32 spokes both front and rear. The tyres are gravel-specific WTB Riddlers (not the tubeless version) in a 37mm width. These have a low-profile centre tread, fairly deep corner knobs, and tan sidewalls.
The Genesis Adventure bar has an official width of 44cm but that's measured across the shoulders. The drops flare outwards by 12° and the width between the ends is more like 49cm (centre to centre).
The 27.2mm diameter alloy seatpost is topped by Genesis' own Road Comfort saddle.
Our complete large sized bike weighed in at 9.79kg (21lb 9oz). The Croix de Fer Ti is available as a frameset (frame, fork, headset) for £2,299.99, or as a complete bike for £3,799.99.
We're looking forward to getting the Croix de Fer Ti out on the roads, tracks and trails, and finding out whether it lives up to the reputation set by its steel siblings. Stay tuned for a review on road.cc soon.
Get more details at www.genesisbikes.co.uk.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.