Thanks to brands like Boardman, Planet X and, until this year’s price increases, Focus, £1,000 full-carbon bikes are now a reality. Why, then, would you possibly want to part with £999.99 for a steel Genesis Equilibrium?
Well, you’ll stand out from the carbon crowd for sure – due both to your choice of frame material and the fact that this British-designed machine is one of the best looking sub–£1,000 bikes on the market. Buy it on a Cycle To Work scheme and you’ll be making a very reasonably priced style statement.
Ride & handling: Confidence inspiring and comfy road machine
When you’ve grown used to carbon or aluminium, riding the Equilibrium is a bit of a treat – like slipping out of your work shoes into your slippers. Most of all, it's comfy.
But comfy doesn’t mean slow, dull or old fashioned. The Equilibrium more than holds its own against other bikes at this price. If you want to turn up the wick it’ll let you – it’s stiff in all the right places and positive and conﬁdent in the twisty stuff.
The Equilibrium was a popular test machine – everyone who rode it came back with a smile on their face. Maybe it’s simply because riding a steel bike is now more the exception than the norm. More likely, though, it’s because the Equilibrium is simply a rather good bike.
Can steel still cut it in this age of carbon? The striking looking, stiff but comfortable, positive handling, confidence-inspiring Equilibrium certainly tips the balance in its favour.
Frame: Real steel feel and fantastic looks
Although we love the Equilibrium's looks, beauty has to be more than skin deep to really impress us. And the Genesis boasts substance. The double-butted Reynolds 520 chromoly in the frame isn’t an especially light or fancy steel, but it works well. Elegant, slim seatstays help soak up bumps and buzz, as does the carbon-bladed fork (okay, there is some black stuff) and there’s a real steel feel.
Equipment: Dependable kit selection, but we weren't fans of the brakes
The Alex AT 400 rims laced to Shimano Tiagra hubs are dependable, if not especially exciting performers. Likewise the Continental UltraRace 25 rubber. Shimano’s 105 transmission guarantees miles of smooth, effortless shifting and feels right for the Equilibrium.
The eponymous brushed-effect 6061 seatpost and excellent shallow drop bar are pleasingly pretty and, along with the white saddle, stem and bar tape, help enhance the frame’s aesthetic elegance.
We’d suggest only the brakes for an early upgrade. The Tektro BR358s didn’t provide quite as much stopping oomph as we’d have liked. We’re also not massive fans of the ‘double-action’ quick-release. It’s kind-of-cool but if you’re being inattentive when you put your wheels on and only push it to the ﬁrst position your stopping might be compromised.