Genesis Fugio review£2,000.00

Do a steel frame, small wheels and big tyres equal big fun?

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Genesis has always been on the ball when it comes to bike design. Not only did the original Croix de Fer anticipate the all-road bike by more than a few seasons but the brand has always been generous in terms of tyre clearance. Plus there's Genesis’s willingness to put disc brakes on road bikes when most manufacturers were still reluctant to change the way we stop.

The new Fugio is another step forward. Yes, it has a double-butted steel frameset, made from Genesis’s proprietary Mjölinir steel, but it’s designed around frankly massive tyres and smaller 650b wheels.

Pairing large-volume tyres to smaller wheels isn’t a new idea — it was pioneered by Open and 3T under the influence of Cervélo co-founder, Gerard Vroomen. But whereas the Open UP and 3T Exploro are superbike expensive, you can ride away on a complete Genesis Fugio for less than you would pay for one of the carbon frames bearing Vroomen’s fingerprints.

You won’t just come away from the exchange carrying a sizeable chunk of change. You’ll also be carrying quite a bit of extra weight thanks to the Fugio’s steel construction and hefty wheels. The Fugio is a 'road plus' bike, which amounts to big frame clearances for big tyres to offer big grip on any type of surface. The 50mm-wide tyres (about 2in in old money) on the Fugio certainly provide that — my test rides took in everything from tarmac, gravel byways to singletrack and deep dirt, and the Fugio just barrelled over it all.

Genesis Fugio frame and equipment

The reach on my XL test bike is reasonably long at 405mm, but the stack is tall (631mm). It gives the Fugio the feel of a rigid mountain bike with drop bars and helps it feel at home on tight, twisty dirt tracks.

In hard-packed dirt the Clement X’Plor tyres grip well. In more sloppy mud, their tightly packed tread tends to fill quickly, and on tarmac there’s no getting around the fact that a 50mm tyre feels sluggish.

The frame is made of Genesis’s own Mjölinir chromoly steel
The frame is made of Genesis’s own Mjölinir chromoly steel

Shimano provides the Fugio’s 105 drivetrain and it performed without drama, as did the RS505 brakes and 160mm rotors, which offered ample stopping power and bags of feel. The bulbous hoods of the 505 levers still divide opinion but I like their oversized shape for the confident control it provides.

The wheelset is an unbranded affair and the wide but basic rims combined with dependable hubs don’t do anything to reduce the overall weight. Despite the wheels being shod with classy tyres they feel hefty, noticeably so on tarmac where the Fugio comes across as ponderous.

All the fittings and fixtures you would ever need for a global expedition are present — there are mounts for front and rear racks, three bottle cages, mudguards and any sort of bag configuration you can imagine.

The Fugio is a compelling bike to ride. It’s the cycling equivalent of a monster truck — almost nothing can stop it moving forwards, making it a massive amount of fun on the trails. But on the tarmac it’s a substantial beast that labours on steep climbs thanks to its hefty wheels and 11kg-plus overall weight.

I love the go-anywhere nature of the Fugio, but I’d just love to be able to get there a bit quicker.

Large-volume tyres make the Fugio fit for gravel and more
Large-volume tyres make the Fugio fit for gravel and more

Genesis Fugio spec overview

  • Weight: 11.4kg (XL)
  • Frame: Double-butted Mjölinir chromoly steel
  • Fork: Carbon road+
  • Gears: Shimano 105 50/34, 11-32
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS505 with 160mm rotors
  • Wheels: Jalco XM420 rims on Formula RX disc hubs
  • Tyres: 50mm Clement X’Plor MSO 650b
  • Stem: Genesis AS-007
  • Bar: Genesis X-Race Pro bars with 16-degree flare
  • Seatpost: Genesis alloy
  • Saddle: Genesis Road Comfort

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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