Madison Genesis Volare 953 - First look

Steel frames the UK's newest U23 team will race on

The Madison Genesis Under 23 road team, which will be officially presented at the London Bike Show this Saturday, will be racing on steel bikes. It's a noteworthy departure from carbon fibre and we've had a sneak preview of the Genesis Volare frame that they'll be using in 2013.

It's built from Reynolds 953 steel tubing, which Reynolds say has a much greater ultimate tensile strength than grade five Ti-6Al-4V titanium for no weight penalty. That said, the claimed weight of a 54cm frame is 1,600-1,700g – about 400-500g heavier than a decent carbon fibre frame. Go easy on the burgers, lads…

Madison Genesis team manager Roger Hammond has had input into the design to ensure that the frame geometry is suitable for racing. To that end, they've used an oversized head tube, which gives more weld surface area for the down tube and top tubes and also helps increase front end stiffness for smoother handling and tracking through corners.

The bottom bracket is Shimano BB86 press-fit. This is nearly 20mm wider than BB30, which should also help increase stiffness as well as allowing for bigger diameter chainstays. The main tubes are swaged, a form of cold-working the metal aimed at retaining more of the material's integrity compared to heating and cooling it. The seatpost is 27.2mm in diameter, to help with comfort.

With Madison sponsoring the team, the bikes will be fitted with Shimano componentry – the bike we saw at the London Bike Show was kitted with Ultegra gears and brakes, PRO stem, bars and seatpost, DT Swiss Tricon wheels with 700x24c Continental Grand Prix tyres, a San Marco Regale saddle and a Chris King headset.

What will be interesting is to find out how the experiment goes this season. Results will tell part of the story, as will rider feedback.

A Shimano BB86 press-fit bottom bracket shell enables bigger diameter chainstays

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