Genesis Equilibrium 20 disc review

Classic steel sportive machine gets the disc brake treatment

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
£1,499.00 RRP

Our review

A lovely ride from the classy steel frame, but its weight will limit personal bests
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The bold yellow and black retro finish represents a change of direction for the usually understated British company Genesis – and it’s one we like.

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  • Highs: Lovely finish of the frame, matched by its smooth ride
  • Lows: Heavy chassis limits its climbing aspirations
  • Buy if: You need a well-appointed commuter-cum-tourer whose ride is as good as its looks

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is Genesis’s choice of material – steel. Why steel? Well, it has a great reputation for comfort and if looked after it should last a lifetime, though it will never rival carbon for lightness. The Reynolds 725 heat-treated chromoly frame is neatly welded, and just because it’s steel doesn’t mean it’s entirely retro. The Equilibrium is specced with Shimano’s newest 11-speed 105 groupset and Genesis has also futureproofed the frame by making it ready for electronic groupsets, with very neat diamond-shaped braze-ons for wire entry.

Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the Equilibrium
Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the equilibrium:
Robert Smith

Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the Equilibrium

The smooth and precise 105 is matched to great brakes. TRP’s clever Hy/Rd hybrid cable-hydraulic system pairs standard mechanical levers with a hydraulic reservoir that’s housed in the caliper body. This offers the convenience of cables with some of the improved modulation offered by hydraulic braking. It’s not quite on a par with Shimano’s full hydraulic brakes when it comes to feel, with the levers firmer from the first squeeze, but they do feel progressive and are a definite step up from mechanical disc setups. The wheels are Mavic’s new Aksium One Discs, which are a highlight on a bike at this price.

The frame has the familiar classic road geometry of previous generations of Genesis road bikes, although with a long stem and a top-tube approaching 57cm on our 58cm model it does have a slightly longer riding position. Another positive is that Genesis uses size-specific kit throughout, the long stem being paired with a suitably wide 44cm bar.

The 725 steel delivers a zesty ride that’s still smooth enough to cope with poorly surfaced roads, while high quality 25mm Continentals provide plenty of cushioning. Steel’s inherent smoothness makes it ideal for rolling terrain, though this is balanced with a decent amount of stiffness too, making it pretty responsive, with the front end reasonably nimble.

The Equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn't hold it back
The equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn’t hold it back:
Robert Smith

The Equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn’t hold it back

At a fair bit over 10kg it’s never going to be that sprightly uphill, and when you leave the rolling terrain behind for longer hills, the Equilibrium’s weight does hold it back. When descending, though, it feels planted, precise and impressive.

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If you look at the Genesis as a well-appointed commuter bike or a fast tourer it makes sense – its 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette offer a good range of gears and the frameset features provision for mudguards and racks. But if you want to turn it into more of a sportive bike it would be hard to seriously lower the weight. It already has a carbon fork and decent quality rolling stock, drivetrain and finishing kit which means that most of the weight penalty is from that hefty – albeit beautifully finished – steel frame.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Equilibrium 20 disc (15)
Brand Genesis Bikes

Available Sizes 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm
Year 2015
Seatpost Genesis aluminium 27.2mm
Shifters Shimano 105 (5800) 11-speed
Stem Genesis 0.3 oversize 12cm
Trail 6.8
Weight (kg) 10.3
Wheelset Mavic Aksium One Disc, 6-bolt, 24 spokes front and rear
Weight (lb) 22.71
Saddle Genesis
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Seat Tube (cm) 51
Standover Height (cm) 80
Top Tube (cm) 58
Wheelbase (cm) 102
Seat Angle 73.5
Rear Wheel Weight 1510
Bottom Bracket Shimano Hollowtech 2
Frame Material Reynolds 725 steel
Brakes TRP Hy/Rd cableactuated hydraulic disc callipers
Cassette Shimano 105 (5800) 11- speed 11-28
Chain Shimano HG600
Cranks Shimano RS500 50/34 175mm
Fork Carbon with aluminium steerer
Fork Offset 4
Front Derailleur band-on front
Rear Tyre Continental Grand Sport 700x25
Front Tyre Continental Grand Sport 700x25
Front Wheel Weight 1950
Handlebar Genesis 0.3 oversize 44cm
Head Angle 72
Headset Type FSA external 1 1/8in
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 (5800)
Frame size tested 58cm