£949 The more expensive of Genesis’s two CDA models and still the cheapest bike on test
IN THE words of Genesis themselves, the CDA is “a modern-day Frankenbike with a long, stable wheelbase, generous clearances, large volume tyres, and an accessible, relaxed geometry”. In our experience, it’s a bike so rugged you could probably hurl it off a building and still ride it home. FRAME AND FORKS The clearance of the CDA’s aluminium frame is the most noticeable feature at a glance, with this bike easily accommodating its 40c tyres within the alloy tubing. There are also mounts for racks and mudguards, which gives it proper long-weekend ability. It is the heaviest of our three bikes by more than a kilo but, unlike performance road bikes, the kind of use this bike will get doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hampered by its extra bulk – it just adds to the feeling of robustness and stability. The welding of the alloy is neatly done and, on a purely aesthetic point, the pale blue colour looks even better in the flesh. The carbon forks feature sizeable offset, and combine with a relaxed steering head angle to promote sure-footed handling. Cables are externally routed with a single inline barrel adjuster under the stem to adjust the rear derailleur cable on the fly. We’re not fans of the cable routing for the front brake, as cable ties are never the prettiest solution. THE KIT The Genesis is a showcase for Shimano’s most recent generation of Sora groupset, 9-speed (giving this bike a choice of 18 possible gears), and carrying many of the features of higher-price component ranges, it’s a durable and proven set-up. The chainset is a standard road compact 50/34 item and is paired with an 11-34 cassette, which gives a smallest gear of 34-34 – we reckon even your grandad could turn that gear on a steep trail. In common with the other two bikes here, the CDA uses mechanical disc brakes to haul up its 11.22kg. While not quite as high-performing as the Spyre set-up of the others, the Promax brakes are easily modulated, never locked up either wheel nor did they let us down even in some pretty sloppy conditions. In addition to the usual brake levers, the Genesis also has “shorty” levers on top of its alloy handlebars, designed for oneor two-finger use when riding in a more upright position with hands on the bar tops. As we’ve already mentioned, the CDA20 wears the fattest tyres of any of our test bikes and the Kenda Flintridge rubber is extremely confidence-inspiring. The Jalco XCD22 rims they’re wrapped
around aren’t the lightest, but they’re resilient and will take the inevitable knocks that long off-road rides will dish out. THE RIDE Despite being the bulkiest machine here, the Genesis acquits itself remarkably on the trails. It’s ever so slightly harder work to propel up steeper, more technical sections, but the fact that there’s a 34-34 gear on offer allows you to seek out traction on even loose stones and off-camber slime. This, of course, is as much down to the tyres as anything – we took a rather unscientific “double hiss” of air out of the high-volume tyres before setting off down the track, and this dialled out any vibrations we’d have otherwise suffered through the frame, handlebars and saddle. The brakes gel well with a package that feels reassuringly big, bulky and tank-like. Small inputs of lever power scrub off enough speed to slow us when hitting a tricky downhill section, without fear of a rear wheel skid that ends in a crumpled heap of man and gravel bike. The long wheelbase and relaxed geometry also give us no cause for concern in the comfort stakes and it’s safe to say we’d happily bid farewell to our loved ones for a few nights with just the contents of a rucksack and the Genesis CDA20 for company. It embodies the spirit of adventure these types of bikes are designed to evoke and it’s made us get busy with Google Earth, looking for alternative routes to the usual destinations.
“It’s a bike so rugged you could probably hurl it off a building and still ride it home”
Cabling isn’t pretty, but echoes the utilitarian feel of this bike
The chainset is a standard, 50/34 road compact arrangement
Shorty brake levers are a useful addition