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Genesis CDA 20 review

23 Nov 2016
Verdict:

A bike built for having fun on, the rugged Genesis CDA 20 is almost as off-roady as adventure bikes come.

Price: 
£949

About the bike

This bike stands out in this company, as being the only one of our four on test that’s not a pure road bike. The CDA 20 is designed for both road and all-terrain riding, coming equipped with mechanical disc brakes and whopping 40c dirt and gravel-ready tyres. However, Genesis claims that the CDA20 ‘blurs the line between more traditional CX features and a modern sportive/endurance road geometry.’ Making it a  bike for all occasions, then, but is such a rugged beast really going to be flattered by the addition of super Sora? 

The spec

Frameset 

Everything about the CDA’s aluminium frame is generous. There’s ample clearance between its fork and seatstays for the 40c tyres fitted, mountings for racks and mudguards, and a lengthy wheelbase of 1,035mm to add stability. A generous fork offset from the carbon legs out front further helps surefootedness and combines with a fairly lazy head angle of 70.9° to provide relaxed handling. The tubing is double-butted to create strong junctions, while narrower tubing for the length of the frame sections  keeps the bike’s not inconsiderable weight down. The 6066/6061 alloy’s welding is particularly neat, and although it might seem daft to make a bike designed for all terrain so handsome, the baby-blue paint is a delight.  

Buy the Genesis CDA 20 from Tredz Bikes now

Groupset 

Genesis have thrown some suitably durable components at this bike, with the Sora groupset proving a sound choice in this package. So, we have a 50/34 chainset (with 175mm cranks on our size M bike). Sora front and rear mechs are employed as are  Sora’s quality shifters. The brakes on the CDA are Promax mechanical discs, and there are also Promax shorty cross-top levers on the tops, as well as the Shimano items attached to the drops. The rear cassette, while using identical sized cogs to the widest ratio Sora block, is actually mid-level mountain bike kit, comparable to Shimano’s Alivio MTB range.

Finishing kit 

Genesis do quality in-house finishing kit, and it’s put to good use in this build. A 110mm alloy stem grips flared 400mm handlebars which bring the shifters closer to the frame. Their compact drop has enough flex 
in them to soak up any vibes not dialled out by those tyres. Their bartape is also sumptuously padded. At the rear of the bike, a 27.2mm alloy seatpost performs the same task, and holds aloft a Genesis Road Comfort saddle. 

Wheels 

The 28-spoke Jalco XCD22 rims are laced to Joytech hubs, and wear whopping 40c Kenda Flintridge tyres. These have a relatively flat central line to smooth the bike’s passage on tarmac and deeper knobbles on their shoulders help you find traction when the going gets dirty. They roll smoothly on the road, but come into their own off-piste where their huge volume and deep tread finds grip where you wouldn’t think it possible.

The ride

First impression

Open the hatch, heave yourself in, and put on your flak jacket. The CDA has all the feeling of a military vehicle from the off, displaying a particularly stable nature and a keen willingness to jump off kerbs. With the balloon-like tyres handling 25mph downhills with ease, this thing is fun!  

On the road

For a bike with divided loyalties, the CDA acquits itself well on the road, with an easy going and reliable nature. Its substantial weight means this is no  sprinter’s bike – but then you wouldn’t buy this machine for racing mates, or the local chaingang. Nevertheless, the wide-ratio cassette does lend a hand when the road heads up, although the 34x34 was engaged on one occasion, just to spin out the final 100 metres of one of our local climbs on post-downpour road surfaces. With lower pressures being run in the tyres, there’s the sensation of rear suspension when wringing the final drips of energy out uphill, the rear of the bike pleasantly boinging up and down. It’s not the most energy-efficient way of making progress, but it’s pleasantly floaty. Vibration is virtually non-existent, mainly thanks to those big tyres. The frame geometry lends the CDA the feeling of a small car, but cornering on the road is still predictable enough as long as you brake in good time. Forays into local lanes reveal that the Sora shifters and mechs are well up to off-road use, with swaps between ratios taken care of positively. One thing we’d liked to have seen on a bike designed to go off-road, though, is the inclusion of a chain-catcher.

Handling

This bike is a compromise. Where an outright cyclocross bike would be lighter and carry sharper steering geometry for chucking into loose corners and being carried over obstacles, the CDA ambles along, happy to be in the fresh air, and will capably overcome most bumps and country lanes. Ultimately, this is to a road bike what a labrador is to a whippet, but if you’re in the market for a bike you can ride all year round, for commuting whatever the weather, or for mini adventures on road and trail, this is the bike you’ll need. Its versatility is its strongest point, and the added Sora groupset means you’re less likely to have to take a spanner to it.

Buy the Genesis CDA 20 from Tredz Bikes now

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 564mm 565mm
Seat Tube (ST) 530mm 530mm
Down Tube (DT) n/a 626mm
Fork Length (FL) n/a 397mm
Head Tube (HT) 155mm 155mm
Head Angle (HA) 71.5 70.9
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73.1
Wheelbase (WB) 1,034mm 1035mm
BB drop (BB) 70mm 71mm

Spec

Frame ALX8 6066/6061-T6 double-butted aluminium frame. Carbon CX forks
Groupset Shimano Sora
Brakes Promax DSK-717 mechanical disc brakes, 160mm front/140mm rear
Chainset Shimano Sora 50/34
Cassette Shimano CS-HG400-9, 11-34
Bars Genesis X-Race Aero, alloy
Stem Genesis AS-007, alloy
Seatpost Genesis alloy 27.2
Wheels Jalco XCD22
Saddle Genesis Road comfort
Weight 11.22kg
Contact genesisbikes.co.uk

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