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Icebike 2012 - Genesis protoypes: new Equilibrium Ti + Fugio crosser and Volant alloy road bike + video

Designer Dom shows us round the three new road and CX bikes coming to the Genesis range

That Dom at Genesis has been busy. He had a whole rack of prototype bikes on display at Icebike, most of which will be hitting these shores in the summer. A bunch of them had knobbly tyres so we didn't spend too much time ogling them (even the 700C ones - sorry, '29er') but that still left us with three really interesting new models to look at. And interestingest of all was the new Equilibrium Ti.

If you're not familiar with the Equilibrium, well it's something of a modern classic. Steel bikes with carbon forks are twenty to the dozen nowadays, but roll the clock back a few years and your steel options were a lot more limited. The Equilibrium was one of the pivotal bikes in bringing steel back to the mainstream, the reason being that they really nailed it, first time. The original Reynolds 520 framed Equilibrium remains one of the best bikes we've tested, and it's my bike of choice for long-distance adventures such as the 360km-in-a-day Bath to Colchester epic last year.

The current Equlibrium has gone up a step on the tubing ladder and it's now made from Reynolds 725, but there has been plenty of demand, Dom told us, for something a bit more high end but sharing the same geometry and ride characteristics of the steel machine. And so the Equilibrium Ti was born.

It doesn't look a great deal like the steel bike. At first glance it seems more compact and racy, but that's down to the fact that it uses a much larger tubeset for the main triangle: in fact the geometry is exactly the same as the Reynolds-tubed bikes. Dom's philosophy for the bike was that is should be stiff at the front end and compliant at the rear, something the steel bike manages very well in spite of only using standard tube profiles. The Ti bike is beefed up considrably; the XX44 head tube has enough room for a tapered steerer fork and the down tube is based on Genesis' Latitude Ti MTB, albeit with thinner walls. That should make for pin-sharp tracking on the descents...

At the back end Dom has put a lot of work into the tube profiles to make sure that the bike has a similar compliant feel to the steel Equilibrium. The chainstays are flattened and the seatstays ovalised to work some laterally-stiff-yet-vertically-compliant magic.

It's good to see that the Equilibrium Ti carries on the all-seasons philosophy of its commoner sibling; there's mudguards eyelets at the rear and Genesis have sought out a tapered steerer fork with eyelets too, so you can fit full mudguards for winter excursions.

The frame and fork (with headset and seat clamp) will retail for about £1,500 and there'll be a Shimano 105-equipped full bike available too for about £2,200. That's similar money to the Kinesis GF-Ti that was third overall in our 2011 Bike of the Year round-up, and it's a similar steed; it'll be interesting to see how the two compare when we can get our sticky mitts on one. And, of course, how the Titanium bike compares to the steel one.

"Why haven't Genesis ever made a CX race bike from steel?" was one of the questions we were asking directly before Dom showed us the Fugio, which is, erm, a CX race bike made from steel. Reynolds 853 steel, to be precise. The bike is based on the geometry of the popular Vapour Aluminium 'cross bikes, and it's built with a short head tube for an aggressive racy position. There's no rack or 'guard mounts here; Genesis have the CX-muter territory very well covered indeed, and this is a bike for thrashing round the park for an hour of a Sunday.

The fork is by an American brand, Whisky; they're from the same stable as Salsa and Surly and the fork is a chunky and purposeful looking thing indeed, with a tapered steerer running inside the 44mm head tube.

The Fugio is a disc frame, and the bike will be offered as a full build with Shimano CX50 (105 level) components and Avid cable discs for £1,699. The frame and fork on their own will set you back £799.

The other new bike is the Volant, which is a new mid-range alloy race bike. You may remember that Genesis had the Aether in their line up in the recent past, but it was discontinued. There were a couple of things that stacked against the Aether; one was the fact that it aped the geometry and sportivey market positioning of the already popular Equilibrium and people preferred the steel bike. The other was a choice of colours and graphics that might best be described as esoteric; the grey one, in particular, wasn't pretty.

Anyway. Skip to now and Alloy is back, and the Volant is an entry level race bike. The geometry has been tightened up and Genesis have kept with traditional round profile tubes. When we first saw it we took it for an oversized steel frame, especially since Dom had dressed up the show bike in some very tasty high-end kit.

The frame itself is triple-butted 6069 alloy which is high quality spec considering the cheapest of the builds (using Shimano 2300) is £650. There's be a Sora version at £800, and you can have Tiagra 10-speed for a grand. The frame features an oversize head tube and the seatpost is extended slightly above the top tube to balance the look of the bike.

The look of the bike. This is a really good looking bike. The minimal paint scheme will come through to the finished bike, and the classic tube profiles and simple lines are very easy on the eye. It helps to have it dripping in Dura Ace, of course, but it certainly didn't look like mutton dressed as lamb. Let's hope the ride matches the looks.

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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Jonny_Trousers | 12 years ago

Think the ti Equilibrium looks great, but sounds a tad expensive at the prices quoted given what else is available out there.

thegibdog | 12 years ago

£1500 for the titanium Equilibrium frameset? Ouch! What happened to the Reynolds 853 version?

SteveJ72 | 12 years ago

Hello Russ from a fellow Plymothian and club member!

I have a Carbon Ribble and have to say that it's stiffer than a very stiff thing and I have no complaints whatsoever with the ride and handling of it and I'm 92 kilos!! However, I have a steel and ti bike too and much prefer the overall ride of the metal bikes over the plastic.

I love the look of the Ti Equilibrium but have slight concerns over the availability of replacement headset bearings etc as the Cane Creek xx44mm headsets seem rather thin on the ground...

russyparkin | 12 years ago

i have learned from experience you get what you pay for, i wont knock ribble as i have never used them but i had a planet x for a short time and it was terrible (floppy,nightmare handling, seat refused to stay up), i also had a specialized roubaix pro which got involved in a lowish speed accident with a white van and it was f++ked. steel or alloy i would still be riding it.

now riding a cannondale caad10, which is getting reviewed to high heaven everywhere.

i seriously will look at the cx bike as fancy a crack at the discipline being a former mountain biker.

hoping to sneak up to the handmade show actually, hmm train from plym to bristol? must look it up

pmr | 12 years ago

I like the look of these bikes, but I'd bet my bottom dollar none would ride as comfortable as my carbon ribble that only cost £1100 with 105.

joules1975 replied to pmr | 12 years ago

pmr - I bet the power transfer from your Ribble is pretty poor though. Making a carbon bike comfortable is easy, but as a result the bike is highly likely to be rather laterally un-stiff as well. That's the main problem with cheap carbon frames, and why few if any of the big manufacturers (Giant, Merida, etc) only do Alu bikes at the 1000-1200 price range.

The alu framed Genesis bikes won't be as comfortable as the Ribble, for sure, but they'll probably sprint and climb better.

nick_rearden | 12 years ago

Promise you, Russy, at the Bespoked show coming up in Bristol there will be plenty of posh kit mounted on steel frames. But I know what you mean; better componentry on *reasonably priced* steel production frames as exemplified by the Genesis bikes. Give it a year or two. Only a couple of years ago the Genesis brand looked like it was swimming against the tide.

russyparkin | 12 years ago

more manufacturers should showcase their alloy/steel frames with decent kit. so many manufacturers dont put more than tiagra on alloy frames.(cannondale being one of the main exceptions) but not all of us are that bothered about carbon. no pun intended but cycle trends do go in cycles thankfully and im pleased to see steel making a big impact. love the look of the genesis, i wonder if im allowed the cx 853 bike. it is only 1600 ish..

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