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Genesis Croix De Fer 20 Custom Build


Genesis Croix De Fer 20



I’ve been looking for a new bike for a while for commuting and cycle touring after spending the last few years trying to maintain my old 70s steel road bike that was always five new parts away from being great.


Why I picked the Genesis Croix De Fer 20


I ended up picking up a Genesis Croix De Fer 20 from Ebay. The Croix De Fer has been around over a decade and has a kind of cult-like following in some parts of the cycling community. Apart from some changes to the colourways it looks pretty true to the original which was one of the early cyclocross bikes way back before gravel became cool.


I chose the Croix De Fer 20 for a few reasons. It is the first model in the range that comes with a Reynolds 725 steel frame. It also comes with a Tiagra groupset. The 2016 version I picked up also has some pretty decent rims and tyres as standard.


The bike arrived on Thursday well-packed. But to be honest I was very disappointed when I took it out of the box. I know buying from Ebay can be hit and miss. Over the years we’ve bought some excellent bikes. Lukas recently bought a Specialized Allez that came absolutely spotless at a bargain price which deserves a separate post.


The drive chain on the Croix De Fer was caked on with a few years’ worth of grease and from the cobwebs between the spokes it was pretty obvious the bike hadn’t been used for a very long time.


I washed it down with hot water and soap and then some white spirit for the tougher spots. As I scrubbed away thankfully it became clearer that, under all the dirt, the frame and components were all in very good condition.


The bike weighed 12.5kg.



Croix De Fer 20 Ebay




Croix De Fer custom


I stripped it down, cleaned each part and then began reassembling.


I made a few carbon upgrades where I could to improve the ride quality and bring the weight down. I replaced the Genesis seatpost that comes standard on the Croix de Fer 20 with our Litebike Mach ^2 carbon seatpost 27.2 matte 200g. I wanted carbon fibre because it will make a big improvement to comfort, especially as I want to use the bike for touring.


I also made some big weight savings on the handlebars and stem. I combined the Litebike x Pro superlight carbon handlebars 176g with the UNO Kalloy x Litebike stealth stem 90g. Our handlebars have been incredibly popular because of their weight to strength ratio. Where many carbon bars tend to flex under load, especially when sprinting or descending on the drops, ours offer that same level of stiffness and support as a heavy pair of alloy bars at half the weight. If you want to read up on how they are made, we did this write up last summer. The UNO Kalloy stem is also very highly regarded. Described by Weight Weenies as the holy grail of bike parts! In my opinion both handlebars and stem work very nicely together.


Apart from the few hours of initial degreasing and cleaning, the only other challenge was working with the disc brakes. The TRP Hy/Rd-C on the Croix De Fer work like a hydraulic brake, and took me a while to figure out that a cone wrench is far more appropriate than a tyre lever for pushing the pistons back into place so I could reinstall the pads.


For now I have kept the original rims and tyres. But I have saved a few hundred grams in weight by removing the old butyl inner tubes and replacing them with our lightweight Litebike Performance TPU inner tube road 50g (bundle).


The final build weighs in at just over 11kg.


Croix De Fer 20 2016

Custom Croix De Fer


Full specifications on my Croix De Fer custom build:


Frame - Reynolds 725 Heat-Treated Chromoly

Fork - Straight Blade Unicrown Cr-Mo Disc

Headset - FSA Orbit DL / No.1

Shifters - Shimano Tiagra ST-4700

Rear derailleur - Shimano Tiagra RD-4700-GS

Front derailleur - Shimano Tiagra FD-4700

Chainset - Shimano Tiagra FC-4700, 50/34T

Bottom Bracket - Shimano BB-RS500 68mm

Cassette - Shimano CS-HG500-10, 11-34T, 10sp

Rims - Alex Rims Draw 1.9P Tubeless-Ready (TCS), 32H

Hubs - Joytech RCC 6-Bolt, 32H

Spokes - 14G Stainless Silver DB (2.0-1.8-2.0) w/ Brass Nipples

Tyres - Clement X'Plor USH, 60TPI, 700x35c

Brakes TRP Hy/Rd-C w/ 160mm Rotors & Jagwire KEB-SL Compression-less Outer

Brake Levers w/ Shimano Tiagra ST-4700

Saddle - Brooks B17


Genesis Croix De Fer 20 Ebay

Genesis Croix De Fer 20 Ebay

Reynolds 725 frame



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