Genesis Equilibrium 20 disc review£1,499.00

Classic steel sportive machine gets the disc brake treatment

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The bold yellow and black retro finish represents a change of direction for the usually understated British company Genesis – and it’s one we like.

    One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is Genesis’s choice of material – steel. Why steel? Well, it has a great reputation for comfort and if looked after it should last a lifetime, though it will never rival carbon for lightness. The Reynolds 725 heat-treated chromoly frame is neatly welded, and just because it’s steel doesn’t mean it’s entirely retro. The Equilibrium is specced with Shimano’s newest 11-speed 105 groupset and Genesis has also futureproofed the frame by making it ready for electronic groupsets, with very neat diamond-shaped braze-ons for wire entry.

    Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the equilibrium:
    Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the equilibrium:

    Holes in the frame for electronic gearing futureproof the Equilibrium

    The smooth and precise 105 is matched to great brakes. TRP’s clever Hy/Rd hybrid cable-hydraulic system pairs standard mechanical levers with a hydraulic reservoir that’s housed in the caliper body. This offers the convenience of cables with some of the improved modulation offered by hydraulic braking. It’s not quite on a par with Shimano’s full hydraulic brakes when it comes to feel, with the levers firmer from the first squeeze, but they do feel progressive and are a definite step up from mechanical disc setups. The wheels are Mavic’s new Aksium One Discs, which are a highlight on a bike at this price.

    The frame has the familiar classic road geometry of previous generations of Genesis road bikes, although with a long stem and a top-tube approaching 57cm on our 58cm model it does have a slightly longer riding position. Another positive is that Genesis uses size-specific kit throughout, the long stem being paired with a suitably wide 44cm bar.

    The 725 steel delivers a zesty ride that’s still smooth enough to cope with poorly surfaced roads, while high quality 25mm Continentals provide plenty of cushioning. Steel’s inherent smoothness makes it ideal for rolling terrain, though this is balanced with a decent amount of stiffness too, making it pretty responsive, with the front end reasonably nimble.

    The equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn't hold it back:
    The equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn't hold it back:

    The Equilibrium excels on rolling terrain where its relative heft doesn't hold it back

    At a fair bit over 10kg it’s never going to be that sprightly uphill, and when you leave the rolling terrain behind for longer hills, the Equilibrium’s weight does hold it back. When descending, though, it feels planted, precise and impressive.

    If you look at the Genesis as a well-appointed commuter bike or a fast tourer it makes sense – its 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette offer a good range of gears and the frameset features provision for mudguards and racks. But if you want to turn it into more of a sportive bike it would be hard to seriously lower the weight. It already has a carbon fork and decent quality rolling stock, drivetrain and finishing kit which means that most of the weight penalty is from that hefty – albeit beautifully finished – steel frame.

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

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