Among a pack of 26in-wheeled, long-forked trail bruisers, the Genesis is the joker. With its 100mm air fork and big wheels it looks like it’s a whole different beast. But don’t dismiss it lightly. It’s a derivative of the well-respected Latitude series of steel-framed, 120mm-forked hardtails, plus we all know how well big wheels roll, right?
Ride & handling: Big wheeled smoothness with old school steel zing
You can’t escape the laws of physics. Those big wheels have got more metal and rubber spinning further from the hub than their 26in counterparts. It makes a difference to handling, particularly at the front.
In contrast to the (mostly) lively front ends of its smaller-hooped trail competitors, the High Latitude is more languid in its responses. If you’re the kind of rider who likes to duck and weave at speed, picking the front wheel up and replanting it a few inches away from where it used to be, you’ll have to work that bit harder to get on with the Genesis.
The ﬂipside of that big wheel inertia is a glorious ability: it will roll over almost everything. Where 26ers ﬁdget their way down the trail, the High Latitude glides serenely over just about anything.
The main tubes’ slender wall thicknesses lend a lively spring to its step, and the fork sucks up whatever the front wheel can’t cope with alone, though it’s easy to run out of travel and ﬁnd yourself hitting the brakes.
Riders who like to get physical with their hardtail are probably better served elsewhere, but don’t dismiss the High Latitude because it looks odd next to the 26in competition. If you prefer to keep your wheels rolling on terra ﬁrma, it’s well worth a good look.
Frame & equipment: Held back by big wheels
The High Latitude 2×10’s old-school appearance is down to the plumbing. Reynolds 520 doesn’t do the air-hardening party trick of its 853 stablemate; it’s a more prosaic alloy, based on the classic 531 steel that’s been used for frames for as long as jumpers have been goalposts, but made under license in Taiwan. Genesis look to have specced some thin-walled top and down tubes, reinforced with open-ended gussets at the head tube junction. There are Crud Catcher bosses too.
Out back the skinny steel theme is taken to its logical conclusion with anorexic-looking stays and minimalist socket dropouts (available in a choice of vertical or horizontal if you buy the frame only). Mud clearance is ﬁne, thanks partly to a driveside chainstay plate that looks, to our eyes at least, as though it’s taken some of its inspiration from Ragley’s three-ﬁnger chainstay bridge.
The go is provided by a slick-shifting SLX-based 2×10 transmission with the bonus of a 24T small ring, to make up for a 29er’s naturally higher gearing. The stop is handled by a pair of Shimano’s excellent Deore hydraulic discs, and the bouncy thing up front is 100m of air-sprung, RockShox Recon-powered travel – unless you opt for the 16in frame, in which case it’s 80mm to keep standover reasonable.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.