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Team Madison Genesis’ steel Genesis Volare

This is the bike Ian Bibby rode to victory in the IG London Nocturne at the London Bike Show. We spoke to team rider Chris Snook about its development

Team Madison Genesis rider Ian Bibby piloted the new Genesis Volare to victory at the IG London Nocturne at the London Bike Show earlier today, proving that a steel bike can still cut it against carbon. We showed you a prototype the other day but this is the version that Team Madison Genesis were showing when the team was launched to the public at Excel.

Designer Dom Thomas gave us details in that article (link above), but we’ve also spoken to Chris Snook about the bike. Chris is in the unusual position of working for Madison, who own the Genesis brand, and riding for the team, so he has been following the development of the bike from the initial concept right through to the finished product. Can you tell us about the material used for the Genesis Volare?

Chris Snook The team race bikes will be made from Reynolds 953 which has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio. We will be using the widest tubes available for the down tube to gain maximum stiffness. Using a wider tube also makes for a lighter tube. This is because the increased diameter means that you can get away with using a smaller wall thickness (0.4mm in places).

The training bikes will use Reynolds 931. The bikes will share identical geometry, but the tube profiles will be slightly different.


Was the tubeset developed especially for this bike?
We are using a custom tubeset specifically made for Genesis and this race project. We are taking steel to the limits of its capabilities. The tubesets have to be formed by Reynolds in Birmingham as they are the only people who are able to swage – make narrower – and ovalise the tubes that we require, due to the oversize tubing we are using.

The top tubes are swaged at each end and also ovalised. This allows us to use an oversize tube and to maximise the weld areas for increased stiffness. The down tube is also swaged and ovalised to meet the bottom bracket, again maximising tube diameters and weld areas.

We use pencil-thin seat stays to provide stiffness – more swaging as they meet the chainstays. The chainstays themselves are massively oversized, and swage from 24mm at the bottom bracket to 15mm around the dropout. The chainstays are ovalised to allow extra tyre clearance, rather than crimped, to eliminate a potential for fatigue.

Lastly, the seat tube is swaged from 34.9mm at the bottom bracket shell to 31.7mm at the top and then shimmed to allow us to run a 27.2mm post for comfort.


The head tube looks chunky…

It’s an XX44 standard, which is the lightest way to run a fork with an oversized steerer. XX44 itself was originally designed with Reynolds and Genesis. It is a standard that is being used increasingly in the industry. The bottom bracket is BB92. This uses an oversize shell and a press fit bottom bracket. Not only does this increase stiffness and reduce weight, it also provides the all important weld area.

The mechanical bikes will use external cabling, but the Shimano Di2 (electronic shifting) bikes will be fully internally routed, with the battery mounted on the chainstay.


How long has the bike been in development?
The concept has been on the drawing board for at least 18 months. That’s how long it has been since I first heard about the idea.


And it was designed by Genesis’ Dom Thomas?
Yes, it’s designed by Dom. It has been a two way process with him saying, “I want to do this,” and then Reynolds come back and saying whether it was possible, and if not, what could be done instead. Both parties have been pushed by the concept.


Has there been much input from other riders?
Like all Genesis bikes, there is a degree of testing internally. However, the team has allowed us (Genesis) to gain feedback from the riders. I was given a prototype 953 frame to ride last year, and Andy [Tennant] was given a 931 one. We have both been giving feedback on the bike which is being incorporated into the design.

The rest of the riders had bikes at the end of last year, and they have also been giving their input. The frame is still under development, and you may see a few tweaks to geometry over the early part of the season. Prototyping is key to this project, as there is so much that hasn't been done before.

What equipment will the team be using?
We’ll be using Dura-Ace 9000, with a view to moving across to the 9070 [Di2] groupset when that becomes available. We will be riding Shimano wheels and PRO finishing kit.

Being Madison sponsored, we have a number of brands supporting the team – Giro, San Marco, Elite K-Edge, GoPro... We also have external sponsors in Volvo UK and Little Trees.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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