Hybrids can be quite quickly divided into two categories: those that are closer to road bikes and those that are closer to mountain bikes. This little Genesis is so damn close to being a mountain bike that it’s almost laughable. It turns out that’s no bad thing either.
- 2017 Genesis road line-up highlights
- Prototype Genesis mountain and gravel bikes spotted at IceBike 2017
When the Skyline first arrived we did a little digging on its geometry, I had an inkling that Genesis’ muddy heritage was going to have made its mark. I wasn’t wrong, as the shape of the Skyline’s alloy frame and fork come very close to those fitted to the company’s popular Longitude mountain bike.
Roomy standover clearance means you don’t have to be a gymnast to hop on the Skyline, which I found useful for regular dismounts at stop/start traffic. The geometry puts a rider in a position that’s ideal for cruising or riding at a moderate pace, making it easy to spot traffic hazards but without feeling too much like a 'sit up and beg' style commuter bike.
Give it large at the cranks and the Genesis will do its best but you’ll be working hard to keep up with riders on dedicated road bikes. The triple transmission works well enough and the large shift paddles and gear displays will probably be appreciated by beginners. I couldn’t help but feel like this bike would be better off with the narrower range and slicker shifts offered from a compact road chainset though.
The 640mm handlebars were just about wide enough for my shoulders to feel comfortable and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I even grew fond of the ergonomic grips at either end.
The 70mm stem is a real spec highlight, translating to fast yet stable steering that allows the Genesis to outhandle the majority of its peers.
There’s a downside though — you’ll have to behave yourself. Because when you get comfortable I’m willing to bet you’ll start riding it in the same way you would a mountain bike. Bunnyhops and kerb drops, little manuals and skids, the Genesis isn’t fazed, it flat out encourages it. And it’ll take it too, with a wheelset that would be at home on a mountain bike of the same price.
I knocked the little Genesis about the streets of Bristol for a few weeks and the only issue I encountered was the repeated loosening of its rear mudguard mount — nothing a bit of thread locker couldn’t fix.
Watch those Schwalbe Little Big Ben tyres in the wet though, they favour puncture protection and durability over outright grip — a fair compromise but one you should be aware of.
Genesis picked well with the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes at each end of this bike. Their subtle new-look calipers deliver familiar and dependable stopping power, while three finger levers are ideal for the less experienced.
At the heart of the front wheel is a Shimano dynamo hub, which pinches a bit of your rolling effort in order to power a light at the front and the rear. Both of the units put out a decent amount of light but I found the rear was positioned slightly too low to give absolute confidence on night rides.
I chose to run a light on my seatpost too, just to be sure. Still, it was particularly nice to not have to worry about either of the lamps being stolen or running out of charge.
The only thing I really didn’t get along with was the saddle, which I found did very little to dampen the stiff overall ride of the Skyline. I wouldn’t want to talk for your rear end but I’d be switching it out right away.
Production bikes will arrive with a Tubus cargo rack too, which is an added bonus that’ll add further versatility to an already useful bike.