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Genesis Equilibrium 2021

8
£1,599.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Classic winter trainer cum mile-muncher with a stunning ride quality, thanks to its Reynolds 725 frameset
Excellent ride quality
Full set of mudguard and rack mounts
Classic looks
Brakes a little weak
Tyres a bit sketchy in the wet
Weight: 
10,130g

The Equilibrium has been part of Genesis' line up for many years now, and this latest version – with its Reynolds 725 frame and fork – is an absolute corker, thanks to a smooth ride and plenty of tyre clearance. The brakes could probably do with an upgrade, mind.

I reviewed the original Equilibrium when it was launched back in 2010, and it quickly became one of my favourite bikes. It's good to see that, all these years later, this 2021 model still has the same characteristics.

> Buy this online here

Whereas that original bike used a Reynolds 520 tubeset and carbon fibre fork, the Equilibrium now has a Reynolds 725 steel frame with a Genesis steel fork – and the ride quality is beautiful.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - riding 4.jpg

As you no doubt know from reading my other reviews, I like my tyres pumped up hard; if the frameset is any good, it'll deal with the vibrations. And this one does. Taking to the back lanes sees it float across broken road surfaces. It just seems to dampen everything out and feels so composed.

It's not the lightest bike at 10.13kg on our scales, but it actually seems to benefit from it. It makes it feel a little more planted and stable without being a handful up the climbs.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium.jpg

These comfort levels mean you can ride this bike for hours without feeling battered or broken. That makes a big difference on something like an audax, riding a challenging sportive, or if you're out touring.

The Equilibrium achieves all of this while retaining plenty of feedback through its frame and fork, making it a bike you can feel and listen too. The geometry is slightly slacker than a race bike and that brings neutrality to the handling, helped by the longer wheelbase too.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - head tube badge.jpg

This makes it perfect as a winter trainer, commuter or light tourer; anywhere you are likely to be riding in bad weather or poor road conditions.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - tyre.jpg

As temperatures drop near to freezing and the roads get damp and cold, the WTB tyres struggle for grip. I could feel the traction go at the front straight away and correct it before the front tyre slid out on a roundabout.

Because the handling is so smooth and controllable, it won't really let you get flustered or overcompensate. It's a very easy bike to live with, and one that gives the rider confidence.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - head tube.jpg

When it comes to descending, the Equilibrium isn't the sharpest handling machine out there, but it feels more lively and precise than many so-called endurance bikes on the market.

On my favourite descents, the Genesis tracks well and while there's a little bit of flex in the fork under heavy steering loads, that never detracts from the enjoyment or control.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - bottom bracket.jpg

It's the same at the bottom bracket area, where hard sprints or out-of-the-saddle climbing brings on a bit of sway around the chainset. I only really noticed because I was looking for it, though – for 99% of the riding this bike is designed for, it's never going to be an issue.

Frame and Fork

Reynolds 725 is a chromoly steel based on the industry-standard 4130 steel alloy, although unlike the cold-drawn 525 often found on cheaper bikes, 725 is heat treated. This increases the strength so the tube walls can be made thinner if you want to drop weight.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - front.jpg

It's a nicely made frame, well finished at the joints, and I'm a big fan of white and blue paint job. It just looks a bit different against a lot of colour schemes out there.

Even with a steel frame, many brands will opt for a carbon fibre fork. It keeps the weight down for a start, although I'm glad Genesis has gone with the steel option here. It really helps the front-end ride quality, while giving the Equilibrium a bit of a classic look without going too retro.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - front brake 2.jpg

Tyre clearance is good for both frame and fork at 30mm, thanks to the deep section, dual-pivot calipers which also allow you run full mudguards.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - seat tube junction 2.jpg

The mudguard mounts are all in a traditional position, so fitting is pretty straight forward without too much faffing and bending the stays. There are also rack mounts on the seatstays and the standard twin bottle cage mounting points.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - bosses 2.jpg

Five sizes are available, ranging from XS to XL, and we have the medium that sits smack bang in the middle. The top tube is 561mm long, the head tube is 160mm and overall wheelbase is 1,016mm. The reach is 385mm and the stack, 579mm.

For the other sizes you can find a full geometry table on Genesis' website.

Finishing kit

Primarily the Equilibrium uses a Shimano 105 groupset, the only deviation being the deep-drop Promax RC-477 brake calipers and a KMC chain.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - front brake 2.jpg

There isn't much that hasn't been said about the performance of 105. It's a brilliant groupset that delivers much of the shifting quality of Ultegra and Dura-Ace, but without their price tags.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - front mech.jpg

The Genesis is using the latest R7000 iteration, and if you want the full ins and outs then head over to Dave's review to get the full details.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - rear mech.jpg

Here Genesis has gone for a 50/34t compact chainset paired to an 11-34t cassette. The majority of road bikes using 105 come with an 11-28t, so it's good to see the Equilibrium packing a couple of lower ratios to help offset the weight on the climbs.

As I mentioned, you aren't getting 105 brakes here as they limit tyre clearance to 28mm, and you won't squeeze mudguards through them either – at least not with a safe amount of clearance between guard and tyre.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - lever.jpg

The Promax RC-477 isn't the worst deep-section brake I've used, and they are at least decently stiff, which cuts down on flex when you brake hard. They can't compete with the TRP RG957s I run on my T2 though.

> 17 of the best mudguards - find out how to stay dry on any type of bike

The Promaxes don't quite have the punch, and in traffic I have to sit back a bit further from the car if front because I just didn't have the confidence they'd scrub off speed quick enough.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - stem.jpg

The finishing kit is all Genesis branded and decent quality stuff. The bar, stem and seatpost are all pretty generic, but plenty stiff and are easy to set up.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - saddle.jpg

The Genesis Road saddle has a slender shape which is ideal for fast riding, while the firm padding offers comfort without creating too much bounce on rough sections.

Wheels and tyres

The wheels use Jalco MRS24 rims, which are relatively shallow at 24mm, but their width works well with the 30mm tyres.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - rim.jpg

The 32-spoke build front and rear adds to the weight, but it's certainly a strong set of wheels and to be perfectly honest I don't think I'd really upgrade unless shedding grams is the main priority.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - front QR.jpg

Running smoothly throughout testing too were the KT hubs. The weather has been really changeable over the test period, and they've seen plenty of water and grit, but there hasn't been any grumbling from them.

Price and competition

A couple of months back I was thinking of updating my Kinesis T2 to something new, and a quick scan around the internet showed that the traditional rim-braked, mudguard-shod winter trainer/commuter isn't really available anymore, especially from the big brands. If you want steel that list gets even shorter.

> 6 of the best winter bikes — but do you really need a bad-weather bike?

Ribble offers the Endurance 725 Sport for £1,399 with a Reynolds 725 frame, carbon fork, Mavic Aksiums and a 105 groupset. It's not a bike we've managed to get in for review yet, but I'd be really interested to see how it rides, especially as it does look a good deal.

The problem is that a lot of riders want carbon fibre, and when you can get something like the Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon for a grand, it looks very appealing. It's a lot lighter at 8.8kg, but with guards on you're limited to 25mm tyres. It's a great bike – I was certainly impressed when I reviewed it – but it's a completely different machine to the Equilibrium.

This is going to make me sound old, but the Boardman is almost like a winter trainer for the young 'uns. The Equilibrium may not be the lightest, but it has a beautiful ride and looks the part in my eyes.

2021 Genesis Equilibrium - riding 3.jpg

Forget about weight – it's kind of irrelevant for this type of bike. If you want a comfortable, relaxing ride, from a bike that can deliver the speed when you want it, the Equilibrium is a very good choice.

Verdict

Classic winter trainer cum mile-muncher with a stunning ride quality, thanks to its Reynolds 725 frameset

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Genesis Equilibrium

Size tested: Med

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

BOTTOM BRACKET: Shimano SM-BBR60

WHEEL SIZE: 700c

BRAKE LEVERS: Shimano 105 ST-R7000 11 Speed

BRAKES: Promax RC-477

CASSETTE FREEWHEEL: Shimano CS-HG700-11 11-34T

CHAIN: KMC X11

FORK: Genesis Steel

FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano 105 FD-R7000 L

GRIP TAPE: Genesis

HEADSET: PT-1767D EC34 Upper / EC34 Lower

HUBS: KT Front - KT-G15F / Rear - KT-GTER

REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano 105 RD-R7000-GS

RIMS: Jalco MRS24

SADDLE: Genesis

SEAT POST: Genesis Alloy 27.2 x 350 mm

SHIFTERS: Shimano 105 ST-R7000 11 Speed

SPOKES: Steel 14 g

TYRES: WTB Exposure 700 x 30c

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Genesis says, "There is good reason why the Equilibrium has been a staple in our range for many a year now - the combination of a lightweight, durable Reynolds 725 frame, classic looks, full-length mudguard capabilities, sublime ride and handling qualities has made it a true riders' favourite; to many the quintessential four-season UK road bike.

"With a little more relaxed geometry versus a conventional road race frame (longer wheelbase, slacker headtube angle & more fork offset), the Equilibrium is our lightweight steel all-rounder, ideally suited to big mile rides where comfort, stability and efficiency come before KOM leaderboards.

"That said, it's no slouch, the surefooted geometry, spritely steel frame and fork work wonders to smooth out and tame the worst of the UK broken roads and will have you descending and cornering like you're on rails!"

The steel frame gives a lovely ride feel and even though it os a bit more relaxed than a full race bike, it's still a bike you can ride hard.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

This is the only rim-braked Equilibrium in the range. There is a disc version, the aptly named Equilibrium Disc which costs £2,399.99. It comes with a steel frame and carbon fork, plus a 105 groupset with hydraulic brakes.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

It's a well made and finished frame. The welding looks tidy and the paint job is hardwearing.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Both the frame and fork is manufactured from Reynolds 725 steel tubing.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The Equilibrium is the quintessential training bike, so slightly slacker angles than a race bike, plenty of clearance for mudguards and large tyres plus a longer wheelbase. This makes it a bit more stable, especially on poor roads or challenging conditions without losing the fun feel of a road bike.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The medium model has a stack of 579mm and a reach of 385mm. That makes it slightly taller than a race bike of this sort of size.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, lovely comfort levels thanks to the steel tubing, also helped by the 30mm tyres.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness levels are where they need to be for the style of riding the Equilibrium is likely to see. The small diameter tubing and bottom bracket shell does show some flex when really going for it, but this isn't a race bike.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

On the whole, yes. It's not exactly a light bike, but that doesn't seem to hold it back.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling feels nicely balanced. You can take on technical descents at a decent speed without having to worry too much as you can really feel what is going on underneath. I overcooked it a couple of times, but the Genesis doesn't throw a hissy fit if you try to rein it in.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The 30mm tyres give decent levels of comfort, and I got on well with the Genesis' saddle.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The alloy components have decent stiffness to cope with sprinting and climbing.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Going for an 11-34T cassette over a more common 11-28T gives some lower gears without sacrificing the top-end speed.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The 105 groupset works excellenty when it comes to the gearing, but I did find the Promax brakes lacking a bit of punch.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

The Jalco rims and KT hubs worked fine throughout the test period, so to be honest, unless you want to shed some weight I'd stick with them until they wear out.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

The WTB Exposure tyres are good in the dry with reassuring grip, but when things turn cold and damp the compound gives up grip quicker than a lot of tyres I've used.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
6/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The alloy components offer plenty of stiffness and comfort, and just get on with the job.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Ribble Endurance 725 comes with a steel frame and a carbon fork. You get a full 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels for £1,399, which looks like a very good deal.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

On paper the Equilibrium might not look like the greatest deal. It's not the lightest, or the cheapest, but out in the lanes it proves one of the most comfortable road bikes out there. It has a sprightly side too, and I just loved being on it.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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