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BikeRadar Builds | Matthew’s Genesis Croix de Fer 853

Matthew’s Shimano GRX testbed is all steel all the time

Genesis CdF 853

This week’s BikeRadar Build is my Genesis Croix de Fer 853 with GRX – Shimano’s dedicated gravel and adventure groupset. 

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The Croix de Fer is a bit of an institution, an unapologetically weighty steel tourer that was a gravel bike before gravel became the achingly trendy riding niche it is today. 

Genesis offers the CdF (as it’s widely known) in various grades of steel, and there’s a titanium option too. 

The Reynolds 853 variant is the poshest of the ferrous options, and it’s sold as a frameset only, complete with an all-steel fork.

I was looking to build a bike based on a mid-range Shimano GRX gravel groupset and the CdF ticked the boxes because it takes the latest flat-mount brakes and has 12mm thru-axles front and rear, so I knew there wouldn’t be any compatibility issues.

At the same time, it’s a very straightforward frame with fully external cable routing and a proper threaded bottom bracket. 

The bike is meant for 700c wheels but, as we’ll get to, 650bs will fit, sort of. I’m keen to use this bike as a do-everything machine for on-road cruising, gravel and perhaps winter riding with full mudguards too. 

Welcome to BikeRadar Builds

BikeRadar Builds is our occasional look at the team’s personal bikes, including custom rigs, commuters, dream builds, component testbeds and more.

This is our chance to geek out about the bikes we’re riding day-to-day, and explore the thinking (or lack of it!) behind our equipment choices.

Croix de Fer 853: heavy metal