With its steel tubes, pale blue paint, panel graphics, polished components and tan bar tape and saddle, the Equilbrium has a very traditional aesthetic. But it’s not anything like as old-fashioned as the looks may suggest. In terms of frame geometry and spec, this is a thoroughly modern bike.
Highs: Lovely combination of gorgeous looks and an inspiring ride
Lows: A winter bike really needs better brakes
Buy if: You’re a fan of traditional bikes but don’t want any compromise in performance
Tidily welded Reynolds 725 tubing forms the frame, which uses a traditional headset and sports mudguard eyelets at the back (the SKS mudguards on the test bike don’t come as standard, so allow a bit more in your budget for those). There aren’t any mounts for a rack, though.
Cockpit components are all Genesis-branded and get the job done. For moving parts, Genesis have specced a 10-speed Tiagra groupset that includes a 12-28 cassette that, combined with the compact chainset, makes light work of hills without excessive jumps between gears.
The only bits of non-Tiagra running gear are the brakes. The callipers fitted to the demo bike didn’t carry any branding, but apparently they’re from Tektro. While they slow you down, they’re significantly less effective – and more wooden in feel – than the brakes on the other bikes. On the upside, you do get pedals, though the MTB-style SPDs may not be to all tastes.
Ritchey dropouts include mudguard eyelets but no rack holders: Tom Simpson/Future Publishing
Ritchey dropouts include mudguard eyelets but no rack holders
We appreciated the straightforward wheel package that combines durable Shimano hubs, silver Alex rims and 32 spokes per wheel. You’ll never be stuck for spares. The folding Continental 25mm tyres are a cut above the treads on most of the rival bikes in terms of weight and rolling resistance.
While the steel frame comes with a weight penalty, the bike’s overall heft isn’t far off its aluminium rivals (and it’s nearly a kilo lighter than the Dawes). A whisker over 10kg (22lb) isn’t too shabby for a bike in this category, and with those slender tubes, the Genesis has a distinctly springy feel, though it responds best to gradually winding up the pace rather than brute-force attacks.
The combination of springy frame, 25mm tyres, carbon fork and small-diameter seatpost delivers impressive comfort, though. As a winter bike, the Equilibrium has a lot going for it, and it deserves to get out during the rest of the year too.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.