Our boundary-blurring and irrepressible Croix de Fer might look a little niche on paper to many, but, in reality, it’s our best-selling model by a country mile. It tentatively falls under the ‘cross’ section, but, truth be told, we really could’ve picked from an abundance of similarly suitable tags. A large part of the models’ success is undoubtedly down to its incredible versatility. Perhaps ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ might’ve been more apt.
The ‘Croix certainly slots nicely into the ‘one bike’ mantra for many of you, sitting directly in the no-man’s land between road and dirt (and everything in between), and that’s exactly how we intended it to be – designed from a ‘see it, ride it’ perspective. A bike for exploring with!
With this in mind, we didn’t want to go changing things too drastically for 2014 - refinements and improvements as opposed to change for change’s sake whilst clinging onto the £1149.99srp...
Probably the biggest and most obvious improvement is the move to an inboard-mounted disc caliper. Many of you had expressed the faff of fitting a rear rack and mudguard to the previous design, having to space out the stays to clear the disc caliper. With the new design they’ll bolt straight on saving you having to rummage the parts bin to fabricate a suitable longer bolt and spacer combo. It also means that the rack no longer has to be a disc-specific model (with built-in clearance for the caliper).
We know a lot of you use the ‘Croix predominantly on tarmac so perhaps found the dedicated CX knobbies a little OTT for daily duties. On the other hand we didn’t want to completely abandon its off-the-beaten-path capabilities. Step forward the excellent compromise that is Continental’s semi-slick Cyclocross Speed 35c tyres. The lower profile diamond file centre tread will hopefully give a faster rolling performance on tarmac and hard-pack surfaces whilst the side knobbles should mean enough grip and traction for any off-road jaunts.
We’ve upped the gear range via a 12-30T cassette out back. Combined with the compact 50/34T Tiagra chainset up front it should give enough low-range spread for fully-laiden touring adventures into the unknown.
Hayes excellent CX Expert (formerly CX5) mechanical disc brakes take up the stopping duties. They give a nice a nice positive braking feel thanks to the stiff, forged one-piece caliper and include an integrated barrel adjuster for cable adjustments. We’ve offset the slight weight gain in the caliper body with their L-Series lightweight drilled rotor, so the overall is comparable to last years’ Avid BB7 setup. If you want to get really pedantic then I guess you could argue we’ve dropped rotational weight also.
The new M:Part Elite sealead cartridge bearing headset and upgraded Shimano Deore M525 6-Bolt hubs (vs. Shimano M475) should mean smoother steering and rolling for many a mile and drastically reduced service intervals.
So, there you have. Not massive changes by any stretch of the imagination but hopefully all small choice tweaks to improve the versatility, everyday use and overall ride characteristics of what is our best-selling model. If you think we’ve missed something out or you’d like to see certain features or kit integrated further down the line please let us know below - we’re all ears…
Happy pedalling & stay tuned for further 2014 news over the coming weeks!
Albert @ Genesis