Genesis Altitude 30 review£1,565.95

Sweetly sprung singletracker

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Genesis are one of several UK brands with a quality steel singletracker in their line-up. The Altitude 30 benefits from competitive pricing and the latest components.

Ride & handling: A joy to ride, but not one for novices or the nervous

It’s getting harder to build steel frames strong enough to pass the latest safety standards without making them heavy or killing their distinctive supple spring. However, the Genesis is a joy to ride.

It loads up and then whips you out of corners. It launches drops and hops with infectious agility and even seems to stick better where alloy frames scatter across rocks. It shrugs through rough stuff and catches landings smoother too, which keeps comfort and enthusiasm levels high even on marathon rides.

While the back end whips about, the screw-through-axle fork keeps steering accuracy impeccable and the relatively steep head angle means it snaps into turns or catches sketchy slips with immediacy. It isn't all that stable under heavy braking though and occasionally stumbles in really tight, slow situations, so it’s not for novices or the nervous.

The steel feel isn’t for everyone either. It’s not as light or sharp to accelerate as alloy and feedback from the rear isn’t as clear either. There’s also noticeable twist and flex underfoot when cranking, and gear adjustment accuracy is key to prevent ghost shifting.

Genesis altitude 30: genesis altitude 30
Genesis altitude 30: genesis altitude 30

Frame: Classic light and strong Reynolds 853 steel with practical touches

Reynolds 853 has been the pinnacle of steel tubing for years now. Not only is it light and strong in raw form but it increases in strength where it’s welded, allowing even more refined tubing profiles. 

While the Altitude only uses 853 main tubes, tapering chromoly rear stays continue steel’s spirited spring right through to the classic rear end, complete with cowled dropouts.

As you’d hope for a UK designed frame, vast mud room, bolt mounts for a down tube mudguard and forward facing seat slot are all here.

Equipment: Superb fork and XT drivetrain, but own-brand kit won't please snobs

Genesis have got the kit spot-on too. RockShox’s new 120mm travel Reba with Maxle Lite screw-through 20mm axle is a superb fork. The Race model gets Floodgate low-speed compression damping adjustment. 

Shimano XT is still a benchmark trail groupset and SLX hubs on DT Swiss rims create a decent all-round wheelset. The basic compound Continental tyres can be slippery when wet though, and while the own-brand finishing kit works fine, it won’t please brand snobs.

The altitude is adorned with xt stop and go kit: the altitude is adorned with xt stop and go kit
The altitude is adorned with xt stop and go kit: the altitude is adorned with xt stop and go kit

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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