Genesis Equilibrium has long been loved by BikeRadar's UK test team, and we've always appreciated its blend of traditional racy geometry and a smooth, sporty ride.
Keeping steel alive for the mass market has been the British company Genesis' goal from its earliest days. Genesis started out using Reynolds steel, which it still uses for its higher priced frames.
For lower-spec bikes Genesis has developed its own-butted tubeset called Mjölnir (named after the unbreakable hammer of the Norse god – or Marvel Avenger – Thor).
This has allowed the manufacturer to bring high-quality steel to a lower price point, and the 2016 Equilibrium model we've chosen includes disc brakes, which Genesis was also instrumental in bringing to drop-bar bikes, with the likes of its Croix de Fer cyclocrosser.
For 2016 Genesis has made a few changes to the chassis – as alluded to above, out has gone Reynolds 725 steel to be replaced with that Mjölnir chromoly custom tubeset. Weight and strength figures are in line with the old chassis, but this one feels significantly more rigid.
The Disc 10 also features a new all-carbon disc fork, and it rolls on Fulcrum's new wider-rimmed DB CX wheelset and fat and supple 28mm Continental rubber, which offers a brilliant balance between responsive rigidity and cushioned comfort.
The addition of TRP's excellent Spyre disc brakes is a welcome one
The frame looks pricier than the modest price tag would suggest; the new 'British racing blue' finish and updated graphics give it a classy air. Nice touches like the disc-specific dropouts that incorporate rack and 'guard mounts, and which are drilled out to save weight, look like they came straight from a custom builder's bag of tricks. We also love the brass threaded cable adjusters on the head tube-mounted bosses.
The Equilibrium is a sports-shaped bike, and historically Genesis fitted more aggressive gearing based around a mid-compact 52/36. The downside is that a chassis like the Equilibrium's is never going to be race-light, and it'll serve you far better as an all-rounder for commuting, sportives and – thanks to its greater clearances, wider rims and bigger tyres – even the odd excursion onto gravel.
Poised and confident performer
With that in mins, it's good to see the switch to a more cruising friendly 50/34, 11-28 drivetrain, in the form of the all-new, highly polished Tiagra complete with 105-alike four-arm chainset and cables that are routed internally at the levers.
In effect, the new Tiagra is the last generation 10-speed 105, and that was a fantastically accomplished and hardwearing groupset. It shifts slickly and we can't honestly say we miss the 11th sprocket found on the higher groups.
The Equilibrium's handling is full of poise and the new wider wheels and tyres up the confidence further, especially when descending on the limit. The bike simply pounds downhill at an ever-greater rate of knots, making us all the more thankful for TRP's excellent Spyre-C cable disc brakes, whose twin-action pad movement offers plenty of control and power.
Shimano's new 10-speed Tiagra groupset is basically 'old' 105 – and very good it is too
It's not all rosy for the Disc 10 though. Like we said earlier, this is never going to be a featherweight bike, and that fact is telling when the roads rise. You find yourself settling into a low gear and spinning steadily rather than being able to really attack the hills.
If you're a high-climb fan, this wouldn't be ideal, but if you want a bike that's smooth, tough and fast yet can handle the rigours of commuting, winter training, touring and dirt roads, the new Equilibrium is a value-packed choice that's a real looker too. Its rack mounts deliver versatility and the braking from its discs puts it streets ahead of rim-brake competitors in the wet.