Genesis Delta 20 review£850.00

Practical alloy from the steel specialists

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We tend to associate Genesis with stylish, slightly off-beat steel bikes like the adventurous Croix de Fer and the racy Volare, but the British brand also produces more mainstream fare. The Delta 20 is an entry-level aluminium-framed road bike with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra components and a fairly basic spec.

For £200 less you could have a similar bike with 8-speed Claris kit, but on paper at least, it’s this 20 that looks like the one to have.

The Delta’s frame is attractively, if not luxuriously, finished and uses two different grades of aluminium to target stiffness and comfort. It’s a fairly uncomplicated design but doesn’t look outdated thanks to a tapered head-tube and subtly varied tube profiles.

The top-tube is square-ish and slightly flattened for compliance, while the downtube morphs from a horizontal oval cross-section to a vertical one to create substantial interfaces at either end. 

10-speed Shimano Tiagra works well
10-speed Shimano Tiagra works well

The chainstays are quite wide and flat at their centre for a stiff (but not harsh, naturally) back end, while the seatstays are reasonably slim and bow inwards for a bit of extra give.

There’s a nod to practicality in the form of mudguard mounts front and rear, although Genesis has omitted to include bosses for a pannier rack. Fully external cabling and a threaded bottom bracket mean maintenance won’t be a chore.

At this price I don’t expect much finishing kit bling, and the alloy cockpit and seatpost are quite plain, but entirely fit for purpose.

Genesis Road Comfort saddle offers exactly that, over short rides
Genesis Road Comfort saddle offers exactly that, over short rides

The Charge Spoon-esque saddle is a little squishy for big days out, but comfortable enough on shorter jaunts. Aside from the non-groupset Tektro brakes, the one notable bit of penny pinching is at the headset, where Genesis has used caged bearings rather than proper cartridges. The wheels are pretty basic too with Joytech cup and cone hubs, but they get the job done and don’t blight your enjoyment — despite its modest underpinnings, the Delta has a real spring in its step.

Our test bike was initially noisy over the slightest bumps. It turned out the steerer had been cut fractionally too long, causing the headset top cap to bottom out. It’s a fault easily rectified with an extra spacer or a hacksaw, but Genesis is looking into it to make sure its mechanics aren’t making a habit of it.

The Genesis Delta 20 is a lot if fun
The Genesis Delta 20 is a lot if fun

With that sorted, the Delta is thoroughly likeable — it’s comfortable without feeling soft or sluggish, and the chassis is taut enough that your climbing efforts don’t feel wasted. It offers a reasonably moderate riding position that will suit most non-competitive riders.

The Tektro calipers with basic, one-piece pads don’t encourage aggressive descending but they’re not terrible. On a related note, the 12-tooth small cog on the cassette means you lose a little top end compared to the majority of road bikes with an 11-tooth but you’re unlikely to notice unless you attempt to race down a mountain.

The Tiagra groupset does a passable imitation of its big brother Ultegra, with identical ergonomics and similar styling.

The Delta 20 isn’t exceptional value for money but it gets the important stuff right. It’s a pleasant and well judged ride with some practical design features, and more importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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