Genesis, the in-house brand of Shimano’s UK distributor Madison, are best known for their attractive Equilibrium steel bikes. For 2013 they have added a titanium Equilibrium, dropped their aluminium Aether bikes and replaced them with four competitively priced aluminium bikes, starting with this Volant 00.
Volant, incidentally, means ‘moving lightly’ or ‘nimble’, and these are designed with more aggressive geometry than the Aethers they’re supplanting.
The 00 has relatively racy geometry and gearing. Its compact chainset is paired with a 12-25 cassette, and the 16cm head tube makes for a lower and more aggressive riding position, and combines with the oversize steerer for sharp, snappy handling.
The frame has unfussy round 6061 tubes with bulky, functional but not elegant welds, though the finish quality is first rate.
The Volant is fairly portly, and the extra grams it carries don’t do it any favours; it feels just that bit slower to get up to speed when you put the foot down than.
And despite having a standard 27.2mm seatpost it doesn’t have quite the long-distance comfort of other budget bikes we’ve tried. But its transmission feels super-smooth and efficient, and its slightly firmer ride might well suit the bigger, more powerful rider.
The wheels pair Alex R450 rims with Formula hubs. They run well enough, and traditionally spoked wheels are easy to look after, but at 3,346g they’re not light. The Conti 25mm tyres run smoothly, grip well, survived cut-free on very poor rural roads and are a cut above a lot of budget rubber.
Genesis’s own bar, stem and seatpost are standard at this price, but the handlebar tape is lovely and grippy and the brakes better than on most bikes at this price point.
There are no mudguard or rack fittings, and clearance is minimal, so you’ll have to fit Race Blades or similar for ’guard duties. This does limit its use as a winter trainer/commuter, showing that it’s probably aimed more at the budget-conscious sportive or fast fitness rider, where it would do a bang-on job.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.