The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

Genesis CDA 30 review

Budget aluminium gravel bike spin-off of Genesis's venerated Croix de Fer

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £999.00 RRP
Pack shot of the Genesis CDA gravel bike

Our review

Good comfort and versatility but slightly weighty
Pros: Practical, comfortable, versatile; plenty of fittings for commuting, bikepacking and touring
Cons: Heavyish weight; slightly sluggish; disappointing disc brakes
Skip to view product specifications

The Genesis CDA 30 is an aluminium gravel-cum-adventure bike based around 10-speed Shimano gearing. It’s a spin-off of Genesis’s well-respected steel-framed all-rounder, the CDF – or Croix de Fer (iron cross) – so we reckon that CDA stands for the slightly less snappy-sounding Croix d’Aluminium.

Advertisement

Yep, CDA is probably a better name after all. But where this Genesis does stand out is in the sheer number of bosses on the frame and fork for carrying bags, bottles and all the kit you could muster for a big day out or perhaps an even longer adventure.

I’ve never seen such an array of fittings on any bike, with both the aluminium frame and skinny steel fork bedecked with bosses for everything, including a top-tube-mounted ‘bento box’ and a bottle cage underneath the down tube. You’re certainly not going to get thirsty.

Genesis describes the CDA as an adventure road bike, and it shares more than a little DNA with the CDF – they also share the same geometry. But in spite of having a double-butted aluminium frame rather than steel, its overall weight is over 11kg, making it heavy compared with similarly priced bikes, and over 500g heavier than another dedicated graveller, the Boardman ADV 8.9.

With no aerodynamic ambitions whatsoever, Genesis sticks with external cabling, which is a boon to the home mechanic or if you were to have mechanical issues out in the wilds.

Genesis has also stuck with a threaded bottom bracket, which should be less prone to creaking than a press-fit unit and be easier to fettle and replace. A final major plus is that both the CDA frame and fork come with a lifetime guarantee.

Genesis CDA 30 geometry

The CDA’s geometry is very much as you’d expect for this type of bike, with a long wheelbase and shallow head angle adding stability and slowing the handling down.

The flared bar also comes into its own when you’re off-roading, though the moderate length head-tube means you can still get down reasonably low if you want to.

XSSMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)7473.573.57372.5
Head angle (degrees)717171.571.572
Seat tube (cm)4750535558
Top tube (cm)52.454.456.158.260.5
Head tube (cm)11.513.515.517.519.5
Fork offset (cm)55555
Bottom bracket drop (cm)7.37.37.37.37.3
Wheelbase (mm)1,0071.0231,0351,0521,063
Standover (cm)76.178.480.882.685
Stack (cm)55.357.259.361.263.3
Reach (cm)36.537.538.539.540.5

Genesis CDA 30 ride impressions

Genesis has plumped for Shimano gears and drivetrain. The 10-speed Tiagra levers are paired with Shimano’s gravel-specific GRX derailleurs and sub-compact chainset.

The 46/30 chainset and 11-34 cassette combine for a low 24in bottom gear and a 114in top. The bottom gear isn’t quite low enough for touring in the mountains, but that’s about its only limiting factor. The 114in top is roughly the same as a 50×12, so you’ll rarely run out of gears that end.

Male cyclist in red top riding the Genesis CDA road bike
Well-geared for gravel and rough-stuff riding, it’ll also deliver as a commuter, fitness bike or tourer.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

While it would be great if all disc brakes were hydraulic, this isn’t the case yet and there’s no way that even the best cable-actuated discs can equal hydraulics. But some do a better job than others, and while the Promax 717 is a dual-piston design, the braking is very disappointing.

The 717s lack the power of TRP’s Spyre cable discs and the Rever Havits found on Planet X’s London Road. You really do need to grab a fistful of lever on descents for maximum stopping power.

Frankly, I even preferred the feel and stopping power of the Shimano 105 rim brakes on Van Rysel’s EDR AF.

The wheels are weighty but coped with everything I could throw at them.

Tyres on a bike designed for both road and gravel are always going to be a compromise between grip, weight and rolling resistance, and WTB’s 37mm Riddlers came up trumps on gravel – with very good grip from their small central knobbly tread and wider shoulder knobbles – without being too ponderous on tarmac.

If most of your riding is on the road and you rarely hit the trails, you’d probably be better off swapping them for slightly narrower, slicker rubber, which would give you greater speed without compromising comfort too much.

Cyclist in red top riding the Genesis CDA road bike
Well-geared for gravel and rough-stuff riding, it’ll also deliver as a commuter, fitness bike or tourer.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

On the road, the CDA is best in cruise rather than attack mode. On the flat, even with the Riddlers, it’s a real pleasure to ride and those tyres also cope well with sketchy winter-ruined road surfaces.

It is a bit more laborious when you reach the climbs, though the low bottom gear is a great help here, and while it’s not an ultra-dynamic descender, the CDA’s excellent stability makes it very sure-footed on any downhill sections.

Genesis CDA 30 bottom line

Pack shot of the Genesis CDA gravel bike
I approve of the CDA’s adventurous spirit.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Genesis’ top CDA model lacks the zing and wow factor of bikes such as Boardman’s ADV 8.9 and those Promax cable disc brakes are disappointing, but it is still a very enjoyable bike with loads of comfort and bags of versatility.

Advertisement

It’s well geared for gravel and rough-stuff riding, you can carry panniers or bikepacking bags – or both – and it’ll deliver the goods as a commuter, fitness bike, gravel machine and even occasional tourer.

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £999.00
Brand Genesis bikes

Features

Available sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Handlebar Genesis alloy, 16-degree flare
Stem Genesis Code 7
Shifter Shimano Tiagra ST R4700
Seatpost Genesis alloy 27.2mm
Saddle Genesis Road Comfort
Rear derailleur Shimano GRX
Headset PT-1606 upper, EC34 lower
Grips/Tape Velo tape with gel
Bottom bracket Shimano BB-ES300 sealed cartridge
Front derailleur Shimano GRX
Frame Aluminium
Fork Chromoly steel
Cranks Shimano GRX RX600 48/32
Chain KMC X10
Cassette Shimano HG500 11-34
Brakes Promax DSK 717 cable discs, 160mm/140mm rotors
Wheels Shining DB31 disc rims, KT-K68FR hubs