Genesis is a new brand from the same UK designers who've been producing the excellent Ridgeback Urban MTB range for years. Their experience shows in some neat features and ride characteristics that should make their bikes an immediate hit.
The Core's well thought-out frame has neat forked gussets top and bottom behind the head tube to spread impact stress. Triangulated cross sections, grooved undersides and gradual tapers on both the main tubes manipulate the strength and flex characteristics to give a well tuned ride.
The triangular rear stays curve in for ankle/heel clearance and the split wishbone design means massive tyre clearance. A forward facing slot on the seat tube and bolted mudguard mounts show that this bike is designed by UK riders for UK riders. There are twin bottle mounts too, although the lack of rear rack mounts reduces commuter friendliness.
The designers have based their geometry around the working ride height of the bike, rather than the unloaded or slightly sagged position used by most builders. This means a more stable vibe than classic cross-country geometry, but a short stem keeps the steering quick and responsive. Even when the front end steps out, you know the back will compensate a split second later, managing sideways slides, counter steer and 'poise not panic' stall moments on steep climbs with impeccable balance and authority.
to power input gives
the Core a really
lively, naturally rapid feel on the trail
The combination of relatively thin-walled tyres and a well-tuned frameset also provides pliable comfort and shock absorption levels that are really impressive on a bike at this price - just watch you don't burst the tyres on sharp edges because the smoothness of the bike means you're likely to be carrying more speed than you suspect when you hit the rough. The low overall weight and a spirited response to power input gives the Core a really lively, naturally rapid feel on the trail. However, while there's ample feedback to control traction and the oversize cockpit gives excellent steering clarity, it never felt harsh or painful, even when we flat landed from a fair height.
Although you can still feel the topping-out of the fork as a loose clunk down steps or up climbs, it can be pushed hard through roots and rubble without compromise. The rebound tuning really works too, although a tiny turn makes a huge difference, so be subtle.
The extended seatpost layout means the frame is slightly shorter than most 19in bikes, so those after a big stretch might want the next size up. The compact fit definitely boosts the bike's technical agility though, making it easy to shift your weight all round the bike to prevent slides turning into a spill, and it never felt sketchy even on seriously steep sections.
At this price fork spec is crucial, and the clanking top-out of the Marzocchi MZ Super Comp was worrying in the workshop. But on the trail it's a smooth, control-enhancing fork, despite maxing out at only 86mm (3.4in) instead of the advertised 100mm (4in) travel.
The full Shimano Deore transmission works faultlessly too, with a lovely light action once you get used to the reverse shifting set-up. The Shimano Hollowtech cranks running on a splined bottom bracket are lightweight but very stiff and the clipless pedals are great for the price. Genesis prep the bike with top quality Finish Line lubricants to keep it running smoothly, long term.
The Shimano Deore disc brakes initially feel more soft and subtle than most, but still bite well and provide loads of control when it's needed. You get easy-to-remove splined rotors for travelling too.
On to the wheels: Shimano Deore hubs are legendarily longrunning and the Alex rims stayed stout and true despite some real clouting. Continental's Vertical tyres are smooth rolling and springily comfortable, and although they slide and spin early in damp or muddy conditions, they always do it predictably and controllably. The clamp-on file pattern grips are, well... grippy, and the saddle is comfy.
You'll have probably gathered by now that we like the Core 2.0 a lot - it gets big UK-friendly points for mud clearance and involving, immediately encouraging technical singletrack poise. It's an outstanding crosscountry all-rounder, even at this highly competitive price point.
MBUK'S MECHANIC SAYS...
Fantastic frame Genesis produce bikes in alloy (the Core range) and steel (Altitude). The Core frames are more supple and steel-like than we'd expect at this price. Relatively slim tube sections, with practically considered tube manipulation and internal butting, keep the sting out of the front end, while the rear wishbone helps at the back. Add a smooth fork and pliable, fat-carcass tyres, and you've got a bike that'll stay smooth and controlled in the rough.