We’ve been waiting to try the Genesis Volare for over a year. It’s had three revisions in its debut race season starting with a reduction in frame weight. The front end has got stiffer by going to an oversized 44mm head tube and ENVE carbon fork with a 1 1/8 to 1 1/2in steerer.
Stiffness has also been bolstered by adapting the frame to Shimano‘s press-fit BB86 bottom bracket. The result is that when you crank up the power it feels efficient, free of twist and flex.
HIGHS: Smooth riding and slick handling – a stunning all-rounder
LOWS: Aluminium bar and seatpost are a little below par on a bike at this price
BUY IF.… You want a bike that rides like a dream, and will stay that way for many, many years
The Volare is all you’d want from a race bike. The geometry is close to classic race, with a 72-degree head and 73.5-degree seat angle. The 1,007mm wheelbase and 165mm head tube are ideal for 58cm biketoo.
It turns and responds rapidly, providing beautifully balanced feedback. The Volare makes you feel instantly at home and is rewarding when pushed hard. The frame is also velvety smooth, which is a welcome surprise.
It’s rare to find a bike that’ll cut it at the sharp end of the peloton and still be great for everyman riders. We can only think of the Giant Defy Advanced Zero or Cannondale’s new Hi-Mod Synapse that offer the same balance of responsiveness and smoothness. True, the 7.9kg weight isn’t light by modern race standards, but our test model is large and isn’t running top tier wheels or components.
It does have a top-notch groupset. We approve of the versatile 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette combination. But though Shimano’s RS81 carbon hoops are fine wheels, we’ve seen bikes for similar cash with higher spec Dura-Ace versions.
And though the Genesis-branded aluminium bar and seatpost might be the professional’s choice for strength and toughness, the typical buyer would expect at least a carbon seatpost, along with a carbon bar from a premium brand.
The same is true of the saddle – we like the San Marco Concor, but on a premium bike we’d prefer the premium option.
We do understand corners have to be cut to get the Volare frame into a complete package, the expertise of building a stainless steel frame not coming cheap. It may sound like we are a bit down on the Volare but that’s not the case – we think that this rust-free, race-ready speedster is a masterpiece of race bike design, though we’d be tempted to opt for the Di2 frameset and build up a mix of cutting-edge and traditional.
The Volare doesn’t just dispel the myth that carbon is the only material for professional racing, it arrives as a mirror-polished sledgehammer and smashes it to pieces.