The Genesis Equilibrium Disc is a fine-looking machine. The traditional frame shape sets it apart from a sea of dropped stayed, aero-tuned machines around this price point. It’s also constructed using skinny steel tubes from the Reynolds stable.
Now, 725 steel may not be the best known of the Reynolds numbers but, rest assured, it’s a smart choice: it’s stronger than 525 and with a wall thickness greater than more exclusive steels, such as 531 or above. That does mean it’s heavier, but it’s less prone to dents and damage than lightweight, thinner-walled tubes.
The frame is well thought out with flat-mount disc fittings, internal routing for Di2 and a full suite of mounts for racks and guards. Up front, the head tube is tapered between 11/8 and 1.5 inches to ensure this steel frame is modern road-bike stiff when it comes to handling.
Geometry-wise, it’s modern-endurance throughout with a 599mm stack and a 395mm reach with a 73-degree seat angle and a 72-degree head angle. This creates a ride position that’s on the sport side of sportive, giving the bike a great feel of swiftness in the steering.
This is beautifully balanced by the bike’s long wheelbase (1,024mm) and longer back-end thanks to its 420mm chainstays, which all adds up to the sort of handling a bike like the Equilibrium should have: stable.
The ride quality is good too, with the chassis offering enough stiffness to feel dynamic in the corners, or when quickly changing direction, yet supple enough to keep you feeling comfortable and cosseted on poor road surfaces.
This is only enhanced by the textured, treaded Donnelly X’Plor tyres, which at 30mm wide offer the opportunity to get the Equilibrium off the tarmac and onto towpaths and byways. This is by no means a gravel bike, but it is a bike that can take you beyond the road all the same.
The finishing kit is all from the Genesis stable. The saddle is well shaped and plushly padded. Up front, the aluminium bar and stem are nicely put together. I particularly liked the bar shape, the compact drop encourages a bit of getting down low, while up on the tops the flattened section makes for a great hold when cruising along.
The drivetrain is Shimano’s latest 105, which offers all the performance benefits of the higher groups: dependable, accurate shifting, hydraulic STI lever shaping that’s in line with the higher groups, and controlled braking.
While the brakes may be the new flat-mount 105 units, they are operating with TRP steel rotors (160mm up front, 140mm at the back). These initially didn’t feel like they had the bite of Shimano rotors, but after a few miles of breaking them in I was impressed.
The Equilibrium is a lovely ride with just a couple of downsides: one being the cause of the other – and that problem is weight.
When you get into the hills, the 10.7kg mass is one you can feel. I quickly started to run through available gears and while the wide 11-30 cassette is welcome it did mean getting to the upper reaches all too soon.
It’s obvious that the Equilibrium would carry additional heft compared with similar carbon bikes because steel is a much weightier material than carbon. Though it’s not just down to the frame, the Equilibrium’s extra mass also has a lot to do with the build.
Shimano 105 is a brilliant groupset – accurate, smooth shifting and great braking – but it’s heavier than the Ultegra or Potenza found on many of its rivals.
The unbranded wheelset is actually a pairing of Jalco disc rims and Formula six-bolt disc hubs, and the big tyres are a weight trade off I’m happy to accept for the ride quality, but I wish they were fitted to a lighter set of hoops to give the Equilibrium a bit more spark when the road starts to rise.
Taking the quality steel frame out of the equation, the Equilibrium just doesn’t represent the value for money you expect. The ride experience is good, but the frameset really does deserve much better.
Genesis Equilibrium Disc geometry
- Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
- Head angle: 71.5 degrees
- Chainstay: 42.5cm
- Seat tube: 50.5cm
- Top tube: 57cm
- Head tube: 16cm
- Fork offset: 4.6cm
- Trail: 6.7cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7.2cm
- Bottom bracket height: 27.4cm
- Wheelbase: 1,024mm
- Stack: 59.9cm
- Reach: 39.5cm
|Available sizes||XS, SM, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Donnelly Strada CDG 30c|
|Shifter||Shimano Ultegra R8000|
|Seatpost||Genesis Alloy 27.2|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra R8000|
|Handlebar||Genesis alloy 44cm|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra R8000|
|Frame||Reynolds 725 heat-treated chromoly|
|Cranks||Shimano 105 (50/34)|
|Cassette||Shimano 105 11-30|
|Brakes||Shimano 105 with TRP rotors (160mm/140mm)|
|Wheels||Jalco rims on Formula disc hubs|