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Buyers Guides

Genesis Vs Cannondale – Gravel Bikes

Gravel bikes are quickly becoming the most sought after bikes in the industry, as they propose this ‘one bike’ theory that many customers are after. Commuting – Gravel bike, BikePacking – Gravel bike, Leisure rides – Gravel bike, Events/races – Gravel bike. These bikes are often all lumped into one category. However since Gravel bikes can do such a multitude of activities it is impossible for every bike to be the best at every activity. Therefore naturally there are some differences between bikes to look out for when buying one that will suit you better, depending on your riding style.

Generally Gravel bikes are split into two main categories – reliability and performance. Brands such as Genesis are best known for their exceptional reliability which makes there bikes ideal for multiday tours in remote areas where bike shops are few and far between and getting to work mechanical free. On the other hand brands such as Cannondale are best known for their performance, which makes their bikes best suited for Gravel events and BikePacking adventures. Both brands offer bikes that fall into both the reliability category and performance category, but as a general rule of thumb Genesis = reliabilty and Cannondale = performance.

Reasons to buy a Genesis –

CDA

Budget. The CDA range from Genesis offers outstanding quality and reliability at an affordable price range starting at £749.99. The CDA is the little brother of the ever popular (and more expensive) Croix de Fer (CDF) from Genesis. They share the same frame design and therefore have the same mounting points to take on mudguards, pannier racks and anything else you might need. The only difference is the frame material, the CDA is made from aluminium whereas the CDF is available in Titanium and Steel options. Aluminium isn’t quite as reliable as Titanium or Steel, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have benefits of its own. Aluminium is a whole lot lighter than steel and comes in at a way cheaper price point than titanium. Making this bike more accessible to a wider demographic and your overall set up will be lighter once you load it up with bags and the like. The CDA is best suited to riders who are just getting into gravel, commuting as it keeps the cost down on repairs and riders starting out their touring/BikePacking journey.

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To view the Gensis CDA range on our website

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CDF

The CDF from Genesis is one for the ‘Steel is real’ club. If you’re an avid tourer/BikePacker with plans to be off in the wilderness for days on end, then the CDF offers the best reliability and comfort to do so. Steel is not only reliable but it also offers a super smooth, yet responsive, ride feel which you will be thankful for on those long days in the saddle. The CDF also has relaxed geometry with riding fully laden in mind. Meaning that the CDF is a lot easier to navigate once you’ve got all your bags on, which can be a lifesaver when on unfamiliar routes. Like I said above the CDF is also available in a Titanium frame option which provides the best of both world, lightweight and bombproof. However that does come at a price. Unlike other brands, the CDF is a high end touring/BikePacking machine with mounting compatibility for pannier racks (due to the bike not being full carbon). Therefor the CDF is ideal for riders not looking to break any time records but have the ability to be on tour with more luggage. Or have a bombproof commuter.

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To view the Genesis CDF range on our website

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Fugio

If you’re all about having fun with friends on weekend Gravel rides and overnight BikePacking adventures then the Fugio is the bike for you. Built for fun and backed up with Genesis’ heritage in reliability, you can push your limits without worry. The Fugio comes spec’d with 650c wheels and wide tyres allowing you to ride even the roughest terrain. It’s not all about fun though, the Fugio still has the practicality of mounting points for bags on the frame so you can always carry gear for longer trips. Furthermore the ‘entry level’ Fugio is available in an aluminium frame option, as well as steel further up the range, so can be available to customers on a bit more of a budget (however still not CDA territory). Like the CDF above if you’re after a high end Gravel smasher, that isn’t carbon, the Fugio is an ideal bike for epic social rides and overnight stays.

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To view the range of Genesis Fugios on our website

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Reasons to buy a Cannondale –

Topstone Aluminium

The Topstone Aluminium is Cannondale’s ‘entry level’ Gravel bike range which blends performance with practicality. Therefore the Aluminium Topstone is ideal for people looking for a slightly nicer bike to commute on or a BikePacking adventure ride without splashing the cash for full carbon. This bike has the capacity to take full length mudguards and a pannier rack (which none of the other Topstones can offer) making it ideal for carry laptops to work or longer BikePacking/Touring trips. Since the Topstone is aluminium rather than steel (like the CDF) it is a lot lighter, especially once you have loaded up with luggage. Therefore if you’re more of a weight weenie, as opposed to searching for ultimate robustness, then the Topstone Aluminium is a great performance option with a cheap price tag for what you get.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Aluminium on our website

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Topstone Carbon

The Topstone Carbon is Cannondale’s flagship range of Gravel bikes which are ideal for events/racing and minimalist BikePacking set ups in order to keep the speed high, even when carrying kit. Whilst offering a an exceptionally high performance fast ride, the Topstone really stands out from the crowd with what they call, ‘Kingpin suspension’, this is a single pivot design, located at the join of the seat stays to seat tube, which offers 30mm of suspension. Don’t worry this doesn’t hinder its efficiency and therefore speed, Kingpin actually advances efficiency, comfort, control and therefor in turn, speed. However this does mean that the Topstone carbon cannot take a rear pannier rack, however BikePacking bags are still suitable. If you’re after a performance Gravel machine to rip the legs off your mates, chase the win at Grinduro or faster BikePacking trips then go for the Topstone Carbon.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Carbon on our website

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Topstone Carbon Lefty

If you’re really a mountain biker at heart or looking for a bit more comfort and confidence when out on rides then the Topstone Carbon Lefty could be for you. This bike is ideal for blurring the line between Gravel and MTB, with Kingpin rear suspension, Cannondale’s Lefty Oliver Gravel specific front suspension fork and 650c wheels with wide tyres, you can tackle much more challenging terrain than a rigid Gravel bike. On the other hand if you are new to off road riding, having that extra bit of cushion can boost your confidence and allow you to push yourself to ride further without taking unnecessary risks. Again due to the Kinpin design the Topstone Lefty cannot take a pannier rack but BikePacking bags can be fitted if you wanted to take your adventures to the next level. Due to the 650c wheels this bike has more of a comfort and/or playful story as oppossed to flat out speed. However depending on how technical the event, this bike could be the one to go for so you don’t get caught out on any descents.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty’s on our site

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In summary, Genesis’ heat lies in long tours in the outback, whereas Cannondale’s lie in going fast and day trips with your friends. Therefore depending on your top priority (Reliability or Performance) start with choosing between Brands then decipher which other characteristics you would like. For example, if your top priority is reliability but you still want to be able to have fun on the weekends and don’t plan to be an out and out tourer then go for a Genesis Fugio. Whereas if Performance is your top priority but you don’t want to break the bank, then go for a Cannondale Topstone Aluminium.