Genesis is a relatively young brand. But while it might not have the deepest laurels to rest on, its stainless Volare frame has picked up an impressive trophy haul in the last three years.
Highs: Very smooth and surefooted ride quality, great value for stainless tubes and Di2
Lows: Wheel and component choices dull responsiveness
Buy if: You want a sublimely smooth, Di2-equipped package rather than a pick and mix charger
The bike you’re looking at isn’t exactly the same as the Reynolds 953-tubed Volare frame evolved and still regularly raced by the Madison Genesis pro team. The American-developed KVA stainless tubeset is created using the same cold drawn, homogenous welded seam methods though, and tensile strength is high compared with other Reynolds or Columbus options.
Genesis has also decreased tube sizes slightly to keep weight down, relying on the thicker tube walls for similar stiffness. Stout chainstays and press-fit BB86 bottom bracket add some width to channel wattage in the right direction when you put the power down. It’s Di2 specific with the battery and wiring running internally. We did experience occasional, irritating cable rattle and the semi-raw finish reveals a few spots of functional rather than flawless welding, but the alignment of the ring-reinforced head tube to cowled dropout is perfect.
A bb86 press-fit bottom bracket provides a stiff, efficient pedalling platform:
A BB86 Press-Fit bottom bracket provides a stiff, efficient pedalling platform
The Taiwanese ADK fork is superb in terms of ride quality. It smoothed out incoming impacts and rough road sections so well that we stopped and checked we hadn’t lost front tyre pressure several times before we realised it was just the exceptional damping performance doing its job.
That same smoothly planted and connected feel carries through the whole frame. The 25mm tyres add a bit more smoothness and while they don’t have pose value the Genesis-branded contact kit is comfortable.
Even allowing for that (and swapping wheels about to check) the stainless tubes had a distinctively more ductile and fluid interaction with the road when we got deep into our swap over, back-to-back segment riding sessions. While they’re not light the Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels roll smoothly and Genesis has specced the CX version, which gets better bearing seals than normal.
The volare stainless is a planted and confident descender:
The Volare Stainless is a planted and confident descender
This permanently connected feel means that while the wheelbase is relatively short, we never doubted the ability of the Volare to push the Continental tyres hard on descents without overstepping the mark. There’s enough authority in the front and fork that it never started to twitch or stand up just when we were trying to calm our breathing and totally commit to a sweeper, and you can work the brakes hard and late without worrying.
Where the Genesis is less compelling is on climbs. The slight spring of the steel means it can tap a rhythm out beautifully and there’s a generous stretch in the top tube to give ample breathing space. Kick hard though and the heavy wheels and extra Di2 weight can be felt dragging you backwards.
The FSA chainset is slightly soft underfoot too but even when we swapped to an Ultegra crank and lighter wheels to isolate the chassis, the Genesis still doesn’t feel as responsive and taut as we’d like.
This is no dealbreaker though, and the complete package deal makes it very good value for a stainless-tubed Di2 bike. You’re reliant on your dealer, though, to accommodate any changes you might want to make.