Genesis’ new Smithfield is a UK-designed electric bike that resembles a classic urban roadster, with an impressive spec list, a smooth ride and a claimed maximum range of up to 150km.
It has classic design details such as a twin-spar top tube, ‘nurse’s’ lock, metal mudguards and fine metal detailing on the dropouts, bosses and cable ports.
Beyond that, it mixes things up with a powerful motor, high-capacity battery, disc brakes and 29in wheels for a modern-retro mix that cuts a stylish path through the occasionally drab world of commuter bikes. It’s an attractive combination that will enable you to enjoy the benefits of riding an electric bike.
How we tested
Some models are motor-equipped folding bikes for nipping around town. Others have mountain-bike style wide tyres and can cope with rugged terrain.
Besides commuter-bike staples such as racks and full-length mudguards, some have integrated lights and locks. The range of most is sufficient for all but the longest and hilliest trips home from the office.
In this test, we’ve looked at four premium assisted bikes that offer different riding experiences in the £2,000 to £4,000 bracket.
Also on test
Genesis Smithfield frame details
The Smithfield’s frame is made predominantly from double-butted Genesis-branded Mjolnir chromoly steel and, at just shy of 23kg, that’s a lot of weight to carry up steps.
However, the quality of the frame imbues the Smithfield with a glorious compliance and a lively feel that you don’t normally associate with a commuter bike. These are some of the Smithfield’s properties that contend with the best electric hybrid bikes.
Genesis Smithfield ride impressions
Combine the lively frame, big wheels and wide tyres and you get an enjoyably smooth ride.
The Smithfield isn’t the snappiest when it comes to acceleration, and it can’t match some of the best electric bikes for zip.
However, I found that by dropping into a lower gear and upping the power to max at traffic lights, I could get away ahead of vans and buses.
But the Smithfield is most at home on long commutes, and not just on tarmac. Its impressive range and comfort opens up byways, towpaths and bike paths for more relaxed rides to work.
The 2in-wide Maxxis tyres not only provide comfort, they also offer great traction on wet roads and over broken surfaces.
The ‘Urban’ saddle is more generous than that of a full-on sports saddle, but is still quite sporty.
This meant that, combined with the bike’s simple suspension seatpost, I could ride around for hours without needing to wear padded cycling shorts.
Genesis Smithfield geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||72||72||72|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||71||71|
|Seat tube (mm)||430||470||510|
|Top tube (mm)||579||590||633|
|Head tube (mm)||165||185||210|
|Fork offset (mm)||55||55||55|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||65||65||65|
Genesis Smithfield spec details
The all-Shimano drivetrain and ebike power work harmoniously. The nine-speed cassette is paired with a mid-level Acera derailleur operated by an Acera trigger shifter.
Shifting is easy, accurate and positive, but a little clunkier than on some rival bikes and with more chain noise. For this price, I’d have expected something further up the Shimano hierarchy.
However, Shimano’s STEPS motor system is a fine rival to Bosch’s mid-mounted motor alternative.
At just 2.88kg, it’s one of the lightest Shimano has made, and it’s quite a narrow system too. So, unlike on some budget ebikes, you’re not riding with your legs splayed out.
It’s much quieter than earlier Shimano systems, and with 60Nm of torque on tap and wide-ranging gears from the 38t chainring and 11-36 cassette, I had all the gears and assistance I needed to tackle some of the very steepest local climbs with relative ease.
The SC-E5000 controller is simple, with up and down buttons to cycle through three assistance modes, and a button to switch between the range, distance and odometer.
Another button switches on the lights, and the battery level is permanently on the screen. The Smithfield’s walk mode is helpful for pushing the weighty bike up slopes.
Genesis Smithfield battery and range details
Shimano claims a range of up to 93.2miles / 150km in the Eco mode, but where’s the fun in that?
By switching between modes – Eco on the flat, off on descents and the top two modes on the hills – I could still manage 50.66 miles / 81.5km, with 3,816ft / 1163m of climbing: impressive figures.
The Shimano system also charges quickly, reaching 80 per cent in two hours and charging fully in four.
As with all batteries, the Shimano one will degrade over time, but Shimano is one of the few brands to acknowledge that, and claims that over 1,000 charges (around 81,500km of riding) it’ll still retain 60 per cent of its capacity.
The braking from Shimano’s hydraulic MT200 brakes offer impressive stopping power and progressive feel.
Genesis Smithfield bottom line
The Smithfield really is a high-quality commuting package, offering everything you need for riding to work, doing the shopping, or embarking on trekking weekends away.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, and the handling is steady and easy, while not being dull. I admit that I’m sold on its classic looks and super finish.
The only thing I’d want to add to this bike is a chaincase to protect the cuffs of my trousers from a potentially oily chain.
A lot less
- Ridgeback Arcus 2
Ridgeback is in the same parent group as Genesis and makes good-quality bikes. The Arcus 2 has a Sportdrive MD250S mid-mounted motor with a claimed 90Nm maximum torque and 55km range.
The same price
- Genesis Columbia Rd
The Columbia Rd shares the same Shimano STEPS E6100 motor and battery as the Smithfield, but has a step-through Mjolnir steel frame. Big 29er wheels and tyres combine with full mudguards, racks, lights and a kickstand.
|Features||Extras: Painted alloy mudguards, front and rear AtranVelo racks, front and rear lights, Trelock frame- mounted ring lock|
|Motor||Shimano STEPS E6100 motor, BT-E014 418Wh battery, bar-mounted LCD controller and 2Ah charger|
|Tyres||Maxxis Grifter 29x2.0in|
|Shifter||Shimano Acera SL-M3000|
|Seatpost||Genesis alloy 27.2 suspension|
|Rear derailleur||Rear: Shimano Acera M3100 SGS 9-speed|
|Available sizes||S, M, L|
|Handlebar||Genesis alloy 46° backsweep 32mm ride, 680mm wide|
|Frame||Mjölnir double-butted chromoly steel|
|Cranks||Shimano STEPS FC-E6100 170 mm 38T|
|Cassette||Shimano CS-HG200 9S 11-36T|
|Brakes||Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc|
|Wheels||Jalco XCD250S rims on KT-K68 hubs|