Genesis, the company behind the Zero, Croix de Fer, Tour de Fer and Fugio, is having a reinvention and change of direction for 2020, and is now describing itself as ‘the original adventure bicycle brand’.
The British firm stopped production of its carbon Zero road bike this year — coinciding with the season-end cessation of the Madison Genesis pro team — to concentrate more on its core market of practical, adventure-inspired bikes.
We went along to Genesis’ UK HQ to take a closer look at the highlights of the 2020 range, including some of the first bikes we’ve seen with Shimano’s GRX gravel groupset. We also got the chance to check out the 2020 Panorama from Genesis’ sister brand, Ridgeback.
The 2020 Genesis Croix de Fer Ti complete with Shimano’s new GRX gravel groupset. Simon Withers/Immediate Media
2020 Croix de Fer Titanium gets Shimano’s gravel-friendly GRX
The Genesis Croix de Fer was first launched a decade ago as a steel drop-bar bike with wide tyre clearance, mudguard mounts and disc brakes, paving the way for many of the genre-straddling machines that have followed since.
The 2020 Croix de Fer range includes the steel Croix de Fer 10, 20 and 30, as well as the Croix de Fer Ti. The latter is available as a frameset for £2,299.99 or a complete bike for £3,799.99 with Shimano’s new 11-speed GRX gravel setup in a two-chainring setup.
The Croix de Fer Ti has front and rear thru-axles, a threaded bottom bracket, hydraulic discs and all the fixtures and fittings you need for full-on touring (or is bikepacking more your thing?). The claimed weight of 9.5kg is on the light side for a cycling beast of burden.
At the more affordable end of the scale, the Croix de Fer 10 (£1,099.99) comes with Shimano Sora and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, while the Croix de Fer 20 (£1,349.99) gets Shimano Tiagra and cable-actuated TRP HY-RD hydraulic disc brakes. The Croix de Fer 30 (£1,999.99) is equipped with a Shimano 105 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, and a GRX rear derailleur.
The venerable Croix de Fer is also available in a flatbar version. Simon Withers/Immediate Media
If drop bars aren’t your thing, the £999.99 Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar has a Genesis Mjölnir steel frame (named after Thor’s hammer – Chris Hemsworth not included), 2×9-speed Shimano Sora gearing, hydraulic disc brakes and Maxxis Overdrive tyres.
Croix de Fer 725 (£499.99), 853 (£899.99) and Titanium (£2,299.99) framesets complete a comprehensive range.
Tour de Fer… tourer de force
The Genesis Tour de Fer 30. Simon Withers/Immediate Media
The Genesis Tour de Fer 30. Is this everything you need from an out-of-the-box tourer?
Bikepacking might be all the rage but there’s still a place for old-school touring bikes — that’s where the Genesis Tour de Fer comes in.
The £1,199.99 Tour de Fer 10 has a Genesis Mjölnir frame, while the top-of-the-range £1,799.99 Tour de Fer 30 has a Reynolds 725 steel frame and chromoly steel fork.
This is about as comprehensive a touring package as you’ll find. Not only do you get 30-speed Shimano Tiagra gearing, Schwalbe Marathon tyres and TRP Spyre braking, you also get an Shimano dynamo hub with front and rear B&M lights. Batteries not needed.
It’s a weighty little number at 15.86kg but its twin Tubus racks will swallow everything you throw at it.
The Tour de Fer 20 Flatbar, meanwhile, features a Reynolds 725 chromoly frame for £1,499.99. There’s a triple chainset for 30 whole Shimano Deore M6000 gears, Shimano hubs, Sun Ringle Rhyno Lite rims and, once again, dynamo lighting. We were slightly surprised to see Promax DSK 717 mechanical disc brakes.
Fugio frameset uprated to Reynolds steel and Shimano GRX
The 2020 Genesis Fugio 30 now gets a Reynolds 725 frame and a glorious sunburst fade paint scheme. Warren Rossiter/Immediate Media
For 2020, Genesis’ range-topping Fugio 30 gravel bike also gets a Reynolds 725 frame in place of the Mjölnir steel we tested back in 2018. The change in material is accompanied by an all-new spec lineup with Shimano GRX, this time in its single-ring 1×11 version.
The ADK full carbon fork takes care of front-end comfort, aided by WTB’s 650 x 47c tyres. The claimed weight of 10.98kg is also around half a kilo lighter than the 2018 model we tested, and we all like to shed a little weight.
Ridgeback’s £1,349.99 Panorama primed for touring and commuting
Sportline, the parent company behind Genesis, also distributes Ridgeback bikes, so we took the chance to have a look at the 2020 Ridgeback Panorama.
It still has a TIG-welded Reynolds 725 steel frame along with everything you need for loaded touring from the get-go, including a Tubus rack with a hefty 40kg capacity.
Yet another triple chainset — just where have they been the last few years? — contributes to a 27-speed Sora setup with a (valuable) upgrade to an XT rear mech. There are three bottle cage mounts, including one under the down tube and Schwalbe’s Marathon 35mm tyres are a tough-touring classic.
Old-school Reynolds 725 steel frame and triple chainset (!) – this Ridgeback Panorama really is made for touring. Simon Withers/Immediate Media
Though slightly surprising these days, Ridgeback has stuck with quick-release axles, and while the cable-actuated TRP Spyre brakes may lack the power of hydraulics they should be adequate for touring duties.
One addition to the braking that we’re very fond of is Tektro’s in-line brake levers.
If you’re riding on the tops, which you’re likely to be doing a lot whether touring or commuting, these allow you to brake without reaching down to the drops. Unlike the ‘suicide levers’ of yore, in our experience these have one advantage — they work!