When Genesis first emerged, we wondered if parent company Madison might be spreading themselves a bit thin, with a practical utilitarian range from Ridgeback already on board. However, two or three strong sales years down the line, Genesis have built themselves an excellent reputation and now we’re simply left wondering how Madison will handle the Saracen brand, which they recently acquired. The 00 is the cheapest of the Core range, which rises to just over £1,000.
Ride & handling: Feels like a far more expensive bike, but sticky fork is a big compromise
First, let’s get the one moan out of the way – the fork. The micro-travel rebound clunk in lockout mode is irritating, so we ended up avoiding the lockout altogether. And the fact that the fork action was feeling noticeably sticky towards the end of the test period suggests less than great sealing against the elements.
We couldn’t find anything else to detract from the ride feel. This bike climbs, descends and deals with tricky trails as competently as a far more costly one.
The high front end, 26in riser bar and long top tube reach all add comfort, efficiency and confidence to the already relaxed handling personality.
The static geometry is a couple of degrees slacker than that listed on the Genesis Bikes website. Even so, we liked the handling.
The Continental Mountain King 2.2in tyres, unusual on a sub-£500 bike, are a highlight, almost making up for the poor fork – but not quite.
We could live without the lockout option, but the fork’s increasingly sticky action trims a couple of points off the scores.
Frame: Nicely designed chassis with excellent geometry
The 00’s matt grey primer-look overcoat won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it suits the understated appeal of the Genesis range and there’s a handful of interesting tube profiles that bring attention to the design thoughts that have gone into the whole structure.
UK design elements include mudguard bosses under a big coffin-shaped down tube, plenty of mud room around the tyres and a forward facing seat clamp slot, out of the spray.
A pair of well designed open-ended gussets help protect the top and down tubes from frontal impacts and the geometry is ideal for the SR Suntour XCR 100mm travel fork.
Finishing detail is excellent, although we’re surprised that rack eyelets aren’t included at the back end on a bike that’s bound to be bought for its utilitarian as well as trail value.
There are two sets of bottle cage bosses and the rear stays are curved for maximum heel clearance, plus we like the shortest-way down tube gear cable routing.
Equipment: More Shimano parts than usual at this price plus excellent tyres
The SR Suntour XCR 100mm travel fork offers an initially plush feel, nicely controlled compression and rebound action. By the end of the very wet test period, that initially plush feel was starting to get a bit sticky and graunchy.
It has an effective preload dial if you feel a need to stiffen compression and a leg-top lockout lever that’s useful for road rides but annoyingly clunky if you use it off road, as it still allows the fork to move a little on bumps and when climbing out of the saddle.
As Genesis parent company Madison are the UK’s Shimano importer, it’s no surprise to find a generous helping of Shimano parts here.
The steel ringed crankset and Deore rear derailleur are supported by an Alivio front derailleur and shifters, so you’re limited to eight gears out back – a downside if you imagine upgrading at some point.
Shimano hubs can’t be assumed on bikes at this price either, but it’s worth seeking them out. They’re durable and we prefer the simplicity of Shimano centrelock disc rotors to the six-bolt system on other brakes. These are Shimano’s most basic hydraulic disc brakes but they’re adequate performers.
We like the tyre choice on the 00 too: Continental Mountain Kings roll fast, the wide spaced knobs don’t block in the mud and their volume lets you run them soft for good shock absorption/comfort.
The Genesis branded 26in bar, stem, saddle and seatpost are all decent enough offerings on a bike at this price.