With the explosion of interest in all things gravel related, it’s no surprise the humble Croix de Fer is having somewhat of a renaissance right now.
Gravel, all the cool kids say, is more relaxed than road cycling. It’s about the experience, not about how fast you go.
And in a world of go-fast, lightweight bicycles with carbon everything, there’s something reassuring about heavy steel bikes with all types of mounting points for mudguards, luggage and other accessories.
What is Bike of the Week?
Every week, we bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes (or framesets) to arrive at BikeRadar HQ – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.
This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.
Head to our Bike of the Week hub for previous editions.
Flat bars for the win
We know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t just a nineties mountain bike. As we commented when Specialized launched the flat-bar equipped Diverge Evo, while flat-bar gravel bikes undoubtedly share some similarities with their old-school off-road cousins, there are important differences.
In this case, the Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar has more in common with a commuter-focused hybrid.
This 2020 build has road-friendly Maxxis Overdrive Excel 700 x 35c tyres and a 50-34-tooth compact chainset. Next year’s builds will be even more gravel focused, seeing 700 x 40c WTB Nano tyres and a super-compact 46-30 tooth chainset.
The rest of the build remains similar, with a reliable Shimano Sora 9-speed drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Genesis finishing kit. The RRP is a not unreasonable £999.99.
There’s also a slightly pricier version, the Croix de Fer 20 Flat Bar, with Shimano’s gravel-specific GRX RX400 10-speed groupset, for 2021.
Cruising for a bruising
Essentially, Genesis has built a bike that can cruise the commute Monday to Friday, then shred gravel trails at the weekend.
You could do those things with a standard drop-bar equipped Croix de Fer, of course, but flat bars do have their advantages on bikes like this.
While drop bars are usually designed to offer multiple hand positions and aerodynamic benefits, flat bars bring increased control and leverage, as well as one-finger braking. The latter is what you want for commutes and gnarlier gravel blasts.
It might not be quite as hipster friendly as a rim brake, fixed gear, safety-pizza toting gravel wagon, but pop a fancy handlebar bag on this and it will be instantly grammable too.