Genesis Equilibrium (2019) review

Reynolds 725 frame with Shimano 105 and cool looks

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Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,400.00 RRP
Genesis Equilbrium

Our review

Smooth-riding steel all-rounder that majors on comfort – an ideal long-distance commuter
Pros: Smooth, silent, superbly supple ride, classic steel aesthetics
Cons: The Promax brakes aren’t great and I’d have also liked a wider cassette
Skip to view product specifications

Many urban bikes display modernity wherever you look – disc brakes, thru-axles, wide tyres and the like. Not this Genesis. The Equilibrium is about as resolutely retro as it’s possible to be.

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In this era of instant gratification and ever-shrinking attention spans, this harks back to a golden age of steel frames with straight tubes, narrow tyres (at least by today’s standards) and a look that wouldn’t have been out of place a few decades ago.

Can it still hack it in today’s high-tech cutthroat world?

Genesis Equilbrium
This harks back to a golden age of steel frames with straight tubes and narrow tyres.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

The Equilibrium sports some of the narrowest tyres around, which made me think its ride might not match the wider rubber for comfort, but not a bit of it.

From the first ride this proved a slow-burning treat of a bike. It’s a little heavier than a carbon or aluminium bike at the same price, but on my largely flat 17-mile commute this was as pacy, poised and composed as anything I’ve ridden this side of a full-on aero road bike.

The Equilibrium zips along with a sublime smoothness, silent until you freewheel. This is thanks to steel’s comfort and ‘springiness’ and the excellent Donnelly Strada tyres.

The name may be new, but the Stradas would have carried Clément branding not long ago. They’re ‘only’ 25mm wide but these are high-end road and rougher-stuff tyres that cost £27 each, a lot on a bike at this price.

They contribute to the bike’s smooth, silent running and they handled well on gravel and the canal towpath; though this was in the dry. The tan walls look superb too.

Shimano 105 drivetrain on urban road bike
The Shimano 105 is a modern touch on a retro bike.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Shimano 105 is here, with one exception. It’s the newest R7000 series and I reckon it has the best shifting of the bikes I’ve tested recently. There’s nothing wrong with the Metrea or any of the SRAM groupsets’ shifting but the crispness of its shifting is a treat.

And this 105’s silver subtly complements the Equilibrium’s blue steel frame. The one exception is the braking, which comes courtesy of silver Promax deep-drop dual calipers with cartridge brake shoes. They’re not great.

It’s not that they won’t stop you, but compared with the effort of even cable-actuated disc brakes – let alone hydraulics – you have to grab a handful of brake lever to stop.

Brushed-alloy stem and bar on urban road bike
The brushed-alloy stem, bar and seatpost complement the steel frame well
David Caudery / Immediate Media

This has been a longstanding criticism of the Equilibrium and made more poignant by the fact that Genesis and Shimano share the same distributor. The new 105s don’t have a mudguard-compatible deep drop option, but older Shimano R650 Ultegras are still around, and in silver.

Another change I’d have liked is the cassette. Not that long ago 11-28 was standard, but with Shimano now making 11-32 and 11-34, I’d have gone for one of those.

I coped most of the time but climbs over 10 per cent would have been helped considerably (as would the knees) by a lower bottom gear.

Cyclist riding urban road bike
As pacy, poised and composed as anything I’ve ridden this side of a full-on aero road bike.
Robert Smith

But I massively enjoyed riding the Equilibrium. The reason that the design echoes those of yore is that steel was a good material then – as it is now.

This Genesis is smooth, subtle and purrs along nicely. The frame is well matched with its curved carbon fork, Velo gel bar tape and short-reach, short-drop bar.

The riding position is ideal for long, fast commutes, day rides, club rides and more, and it has mudguard and rack fittings for day-to-day riding. Sweet.

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Genesis Equilibrium geometry (M)

  • Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 71 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42cm
  • Seat tube: 53.5cm
  • Top tube: 56cm
  • Head tube: 16cm
  • Fork offset: 4.95cm
  • Trail: 6.5cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 7.2cm
  • Bottom bracket height: 27.4cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,011mm
  • Stack: 57.9cm
  • Reach: 38.5cm

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £1400.00
Weight 9.35kg (M)
Brand Genesis bikes

Features

Available sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Headset Prestine PT-1767D
Tyres Donnelly Strada 700x25
Stem Genesis alloy
Shifter Shimano 105
Seatpost Genesis alloy 27.2mm
Saddle Genesis Road Comfort
Rear derailleur Shimano 105
Handlebar Genesis alloy
Bottom bracket Shimano
Frame Reynolds 725 chromoly steel
Fork Carbon, alloy steerer
Cranks Shimano 105 50/34
Chain KMC X11
Cassette Shimano 105 11-28
Brakes Promax RC-482 deep drop dual callipers
Wheels Jalco double-wall rims, KT hubs