If you prioritise comfort over outright speed and are looking for a sorted commuter at a very reasonable price then you’d be foolish to look past this, the £799 Skyline 30 from UK brand Genesis.
Unassuming paintwork and a typical hybrid shape make this a bike that will happily blend into the background. Yet shine a headlight on the side of the Skyline and its frame and tyre decals will glow in a way that’ll sharpen the senses of even the doziest of drivers.
Buy a Genesis Skyline 30 from the shops and you’ll also get a Tubus rack at no extra cost Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
The alloy frame and fork at the heart of this bike don’t create your usual hybrid chassis, that’s because Genesis has used its expertise in mountain bike frames to come up with a geometry that it knows will amount to a great riding bike. Bring up the geometry charts and you’ll realise that the angles used on the Skyline 30 are very close to that of Genesis’ Longitude mountain bike — a coincidence? Don’t be silly.
Similarly, Genesis has fitted a 70mm stem (80mm in larger sizes), which I feel is a good match for the backswept 640mm (660mm in larger sizes) handlebar and should translate to handling that’s familiar and maybe even fun for mountain bike folk.
Another big part of the Skyline 30 is just how well equipped it is out of the box, with full-length mudguards and dynamo front and rear lights as standard. These aren’t cheap after-thought additions and should serve to keep you dry and well illuminated. Better still, each Skyline 30 sold will arrive with a compatible Tubus rear rack at no extra cost, something that isn’t fitted to our sample bike.
Most hybrids will arrive with a stem that’s considerably longer than the 70mm one fitted here. We approve Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
The AXA brand lighting units draw power from a Shimano dynamo hub at the front wheel, while the front light in particular uses a light sensor to alter its output between daytime and nighttime modes. Its 30lux output is claimed to deliver up to 65m of visibility, while a reflector and two side diodes should help at junctions.
Driving the wheels of the Skyline is a triple chainset with nine cogs at the rear; all parts belonging to Shimano’s robust, mountain bike-honed Acera line.
The Skyline’s shifters feature large gear indicators, which beginners can often feel lost without, particularly with 27 different places to put the chain. Other highlights include the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with their subtle new-look calipers yet familiar three finger levers.
The Skyline 30 arrives with full-length mudguards and dynamo lighting already in place Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
Surrounding the regular 160mm Shimano rotors is a 32-spoke wheelset with Jalco XCD12 rims, which should be more than up to the task considering these are parts that are fairly popular on cheaper mountain bikes.
In a shift away from the Genesis spec sheet on the company’s website, our Skyline 30 was fitted with Schwalbe’s Little Big Ben tyres. Coming from a name that’s synonymous with dependable rubber we’ve got high hopes for these balloon-like treads. At 38mm wide they should provide plenty of comfort for the otherwise unsuspended Skyline too.
Elsewhere, the Genesis own brand finishing kit all looks to be well finished and of a decent quality. We found our size medium Skyline 30 tipped the scales at 12.9kg / 28.4lbs without pedals.
On the whole, this has to be one of the most practical, sensibly priced and well thought out bikes we’ve had in for a long time. We’ll soon be putting this example into daily commuting duties here in Bristol, so stay tuned to find out if it’s as good as I’m hoping.