I’ve been riding the Genesis Datum since March, and throughout the summer it was my training partner as I prepared for a challenge to ride more than 200 miles in three days for charity — something I’d never done before.
The ride I was training for would cover mostly tarmac roads, with some country lanes, as well as the quieter roads and tracks of Bodmin and Exmoor. I had a lack of confidence with less-than-smooth terrain on skinny tyres, so I decided that a bike built for comfort and ‘adventure’ would suit me best — especially one with voluminous 32mm Clement Strada tyres.
The Genesis Datum W is the women’s specific model in the Datum range and is available in sizes XS, S and M. The frame is the same as the men’s model but has been designed with narrower bars, a shorter reach and a women’s saddle to better suit female riders.
Another bonus of the women’s model was the lovely looking purple, blue and orange paint job.
I’m 5′ 2in and ride a size small frameHelen Cousins
At five-foot two inches I agonised over whether I should choose an XS or S and plumped for a S frame.
When the bike arrived I was a little concerned that I had made the wrong choice and that the bike was too big, but after I lowered the seatpost and adjusted the saddle into my preferred, slightly pointed downwards position, the bike felt like a good fit.
Although the Genesis Road Comfort WS saddle is designed for female riders, I really didn’t get on with it so this was one of the first changes I made.
The Specialized Power saddle is now my chosen seatHelen Cousins
I decided I wanted a saddle that had less pressure on the nose and so opted for something with a cut out. I tried a Fabric Line Elite saddle and Specialized Power Expert, and even though I liked both, I ended up riding with the Power.
As well as the cut out, the Specialized Power has a slightly wider seat than the Line, which I found added a bit extra comfort when climbing. Interestingly, both of these saddles are unisex, so don’t feel that as a female rider you are limited to women’s designs only.
Another change I made was to switch out the Datum’s wheels for a lighter (and handily spare) set of Easton xc90 wheels. The bike weighs a claimed 9.58kg and although this is by no means a heavy bike, having a little less bike to pedal round would help — and I needed all the help I could get!
In the drops
I find the hoods and drops comfortable for long ridesHelen Cousins
One thing I really noticed was the shape of the handlebars compared to previous long-term bikes I’ve ridden.
I found the shallower scoop of the drops comfortable on the flat and that dropping from the tops down seemed much less of a movement than on my last bike. It also made braking in the drops easier as I have small hands. This is definitely something I feel has paid off for me with the women’s specific design.
With plenty of hill climbing on the cards, the 20-speed compact Shimano Tiagra gears with 34t/32t lowest gearing was just what I needed, as were the BR-RS405 hydraulic disc brakes, which work really well and offer plenty of confidence when descending.
A final change I made was to shorten the reach. I experienced some numbness and pins and needles in my hands on longer rides, but by shortening the stem by just 10mm this eliminated any pain and I found my comfortable ride position.
Out on the road
At the top of my regular training climb in WiltshireHelen Cousins
Training began with a few 20-mile jaunts around my local countryside in Wiltshire, which often included the near nine percent climb up to the Westbury White Horse from Bratton – this became a really good marker for my training progress.
I then increased my mid-week rides to 30–40 miles and began extending my weekend rides to 50–60 miles.
I was also lucky to have a few trips out to Mallorca in the springtime too, which meant I could get in some good hill training and set some goals, such as cycling out to the lighthouse at Port de Pollensa.
When my three-day ride arrived, I found the bike handled and rode superbly for the duration — I was spending approximately 6–7 hours on the bike each day.
Clement’s Strada 32c tyresHelen Cousins
I was lucky not to suffer any mechanicals, not even a puncture. And after finding the ride was much hillier than expected, I was pleased to have disc brakes — a number of other riders with caliper brakes had issues slowing down due to the length and steepness of descents and how much they were on their brakes.
Since the ride I have ventured back out on my training routes but have also incorporated some gravel tracks into the mix. The Clement Strada 32c tyres have performed really well on the mixed terrains and I definitely prefer having wide tyres for the stability they give me — although a lot of this is confidence too as I mentioned before. I ran 70psi front and rear at 68kg.
Genesis Datum W ride impressions
Having spent approximately 50 hours in the saddle on this bike, I do feel as if I should have chosen the XS frame size. The bike is an excellent fit but I did have to make a few tweaks and I reckon I’m on the edge of it being a little bit too big for me.
I am really enjoying riding this bike; it looks good and rides great and, apart from getting the fit sorted, I’ve had no problems so far.
I’ve been lucky with the weather too when out riding, so it’ll be interesting to see how the bike performs in the colder months.
Most enjoyable ride: A 60-mile route on a hot, sunny day from Trowbridge via Bruton and on to Meare for a lunch stop, the roads were pretty quiet too, which was a bonus. And of course the three-day charity ride was amazing.