Columbia Road is the home of London’s famous flower market and if ever a bike was aesthetically suited to cruising around town in style, this is it. The Genesis Columbia Rd is certainly a stylish looking bike with a mixte-style step-through frame in a fetching cream, chrome-coloured accents, handlebars and badge, and tan sidewall tyres. Frame and forks are both constructed from double-butted chromoly tubing.
The Columbia Rd offers a ride that feels more like a hybrid bike, with a slightly more forward position and a Genesis Town Women’s saddle to match. This is great if you need to get your pedal on, but isn’t quite so cruisy or relaxed. That said, while the saddle’s fine, you miss the cushioning of a sprung saddle on rougher road surfaces and cobbles, though we appreciate the shock-absorbing properties of the cork-style handlebar grips.
The Columbia Rd also has an integrated rear pannier rack. Though it doesn’t come fitted with a basket, there’s room on the bars to strap one on and the right lugs on the forks for fitting a supporting frame.
There’s no kickstand on this bike, so you do need to find somewhere to park it up, and the minimal chainguard doesn’t offer a huge amount of protection from catching long or loose clothes in the drivetrain.
Having a 1x chainset, which means no front derailleur, reduces the amount of maintenance needed, and the nine-speed 11-34t cassette provides a good range of gears that’s good enough to get around town. It can also take on a short, sharp climb. The other advantage here is simpler gear changes, with all the control via just one lever system on one side of the bar.
The Columbia Rd comes with full mudguard covers and the rubber flaps provide extra protection against splashes and spray, but with enough flex to stop them catching on the ground when dropping down over curbs. Talking of rain, for those riders who’ll happily venture out in less than perfect weather, the mechanical disc brakes provide excellent stopping power even in the wet.
The Columbia Road is more for the rider who wants a nippy town bike with an easy-access step-through frame, but doesn’t want to sacrifice style or performance in the process.