The Genesis Datum 10 will take pretty much whatever you can throw at it, on or off-road. The spec represents excellent value and the ability to jump between town and country use positions it as a sound contender for an 'only bike' that you won't be sheepish about getting muddy on, while being worthy of a shine-up for the Sunday morning group ride.
At launch two years ago, Dave rated the Di2 11-speed Datum 30 at 4.5/5, finding it a 'hugely capable bike that is loads of fun over all sorts of terrain'. Later that year it won our Sportive Bike of The Year Award, with only the Shimano Di2-influenced price holding it back from taking overall honours. At £3,200 in 2015 money, the Di2 version was a hefty price to pay, so this time around it's the base model £1,899 10-speed Tiagra model on test. Again, for this spec it's not a class-leadingly cheap bike, but the overall package is worthy of inclusion on anyone's to-be-considered list.
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We covered a lot of detail in the Just-In video and for 2017 the frame that Dave found so capable at launch is identical to the millimetre. You still get loads of clearance, both frame and fork taking 36mm gravel-orientated tyres with no problems. The mudguard mounts are the same, and there are still the three sets of bottle cage mounts for those considering a bit of bikepacking or ultra-long-distance riding.
The paint job is simply stunning – a metallic pearl finish, with acceptable amounts of branding. I did manage to get a hefty chip near the small chainring, but given what I put it through (see later) that's entirely forgivable. Owners might consider a few well-placed areas of helicopter tape to keep things looking tip-top.
For 2017 it's a change of spec, with notable improvements on the 2015 base model being the addition of Shimano's BR-405 hydraulic callipers and levers over the cable-operated TRP HyRd. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that Shimano can do no wrong brake-wise, the performance being consistently excellent across all specs from base model non-series to Dura-Ace. Stopping power is enhanced by the use of a 160mm rotor up front, meaning there's never any need for more than two fingers on the levers, even with hands on the hoods let alone in the drops.
The included 32mm Clement Strada tyres aren't tubeless-ready, nor are the 19mm internal-width rims. They're perfectly fast enough on the road, and 32mm allows for decently-low and comfortable pressures, but the risk of flats is still there. This would be my only grumble about the Datum 10 spec – I'd say any bike benefits from a tubeless tyre setup, and if you are specifically pointing it at bridleways and gravel roads, tubeless-ready is a must-have that rates alongside water, shelter and WiFi as a basic human right.
The Strada is a perfectly capable tyre for general riding purposes, but 32mm is a bit on the slim side for decent off-tarmac forays where you benefit from dropping the pressure to enhance grip and comfort. On the first outing joining the road.cc Team Dirty Reiver for a 60km bash along Wiltshire's finest gravel roads, I suffered no fewer than three punctures. Mankind has evolved beyond inner tubes, and I couldn't get the bike set up tubeless fast enough. This was easily done with a few layers of tubeless rim tape and a swap to the excellent 36mm Clement X'Plor MSO gravel tyre (review to follow).
Speaking of grip and comfort, the handlebar is a tad on the skinny side, diameter-wise. Adding an extra layer of bar tape improves things dramatically, a £5 fix that I'm surprised isn't employed more often by brands to improve comfort.
A clear nod to the UK's weather is in the form of the nicely-done mudguard mounts, hidden from view for summer builds. You don't get rack mounts, but this isn't the bike for multi-day adventures requiring panniers – handlebar and frame/saddlebags, sure. Further adding to the clean lines are the cable ports around the hefty head tube, although as-built there's no front mech adjustment so you might want to add an inline barrel adjuster at the first gear cable service.
With a 9.6kg build weight (without pedals), the Datum 10 isn't going to win any hillclimbing shootouts, but this bike isn't about being first to the top – rather, making the trip down on rough surfaces one that's enjoyable, not lethal. The 1,020mm wheelbase (as measured) makes the Datum 10 a very forgiving on and off-road sled – there are no surprises lurking when you've piled on the miles and aren't paying close attention to steering input.
On tarmac, smooth or rough, the Datum 10 was a very enjoyable ride. As Dave found with the Datum 30, the Datum 10 frame and fork combine to offer an engaging ride at any speed, the wide tyres and hydraulic brakes giving you the confidence to bomb rough-tarmac descents without fear. On a 100km outing around the South Downs Way and associated to/from tarmac stretches, the Datum 10 was both fast and comfortable – with five Strava top 10s and a KOM in the one ride, this is clearly a bike that doesn't hold you back.
It's off-road, long-distance where the Datum 10 reveals its hidden side – one that, like 95% of urban 4x4s staying clean and dry, may never see the light for many riders. But if you want to, it's comforting to know that the capability is there. In this case, the test was arguably the UK's toughest one-day cycling challenge: the Dirty Reiver.
The Dirty Reiver is a 200km, almost entirely off-road ride in Northumbria's Kielder Forest, taking in every possible combination of gravel, rock, moss and grass. You can enjoy the full video and write-up from the team – suffice to say it was the hardest day out on a bike I think I've ever had. The Datum 10 performed flawlessly – the long wheelbase and handling meaning that going up or down, fast or slow, on hard-pack or deep gravel, there were no nasty surprises.
On the few occasions that user-induced numptyness had me heading off-line for a bank or ditch, a quick tap on the brakes and swerve got things back on track. I'd made a schoolboy error in my rear tyre tubeless setup (the pump head came apart when checking the pressure and I couldn't reseat the tyre), meaning on the day I ran pressure twice as hard as planned, with an inner tube in the rear. I suffered no flats as a result, and the 36mm tyre width combined with the rest of the Datum 10 package to leave me feeling much better than I expected to. Had I run the tyre pressure as planned I'm certain the ride would have been much more enjoyable and inevitably faster because of improved confidence in the corners and over rough surfaces.
The Tiagra groupset never missed a beat – even when left in small-small hammering over Belgian pavé-esque surfaces. The Tiagra-shaped hoods might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they did the job and I suffered no issues with hands or arms. The 420mm bar was just right – I usually run 400 and the extra width was appreciated for stability and leverage when needed.
It's difficult to imagine a tougher test for a do-it-all bike than the Dirty Reiver – and it passed with flying colours. Of course you don't have to go to that extreme. Pre-Dirty Reiver I rode the 40km immaculately gravelled loop of Kielder Water itself, at an average of 25km/h with a 3rd overall on the final 9km leg back to the holiday house.
> Buyer's Guide: 17 of the best gravel and adventure bikes
This trail comprises almost constant twists and turns, with frequent pitches of 5-10% as it rolls around the stunning lakeshore. The Datum 10 was an absolute hoot to ride here, early morning meaning no other trail users to worry about. While 'snappy acceleration' isn't a term oft-used alongside 'gravel', the overall experience was grin-inducing and well worthy of repeat.
Okay, it's only May, but I reckon the Genesis Datum 10 is, for the money, an early contender for All-Round Bike Of The Year. It's clearly far more capable than most riders will ever need, it's light-ish, fast and fun on the road and confidence-inspiring off. The minor omissions in spec can be improved at minimal cost, and the base package of frame, fork and hydraulic groupset are absolutely sound.
A very comfortable, forgiving, yet engaging bike for adventures on and off the road, with a great value spec
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Make and model: Genesis Datum 10
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: 24/30T Monocoque Carbon Road Disc w/ Tapered Headtube & Fully Internal Cable Routing
Fork: Full Carbon Fork w/ 1-1/2" - 1-1/8" Tapered Steerer w/ 15mm TA
Headset: FSA Orbit C-40-ACB, NO.42
Shifters: Shimano ST-RS405 / 2x10 speed
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra RD-4700 / GS cage
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra FD-4700
Chainset: Shimano Tiagra FC-4700 / 50-34T /S, 170mm / M-L, 172.5mm / XL, 175mm
Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-RS500-PB
Chain: KMC x10
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG500-10 / 11-32T
Rims: Jalco XCD22 / 28h
Hubs: Formula RX-81Q/RX-26 28h / front 15mm TA / rear QR / 6-bolt
Spokes: Stainless steel 14g
Tyres: Clement Strada USH 700x32c 60TPI
Brakes: Shimano BR-RS405 hydraulic brakes w/160/140mm TR160 rotors
Levers: Shimano ST-RS405
Handlebars: Genesis Furio Pro / 118mm drop x 70.9mm reach / XS, 400mm / S-M, 420mm / L-XL, 440mm
Grips: Velo tape w/Gel
Stem: Genesis Code 7 / -7deg / XS, 90mm / S-M, 100mm / L-XL, 110mm
Saddle: Genesis Road Comfort
Seatpost: Genesis Alloy / 27.2x350mm
Weight (Kg): 10.46
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?
It's for someone wanting to go far, fast, on or off-road.
Genesis says: "It could be a gravel bike to some, in the same way it could be a fast, comfy road bike to others...
"Our large-tyred road disc bike that'll comfortably sit mile-after-mile on tarmac, but, should the tarmac come to an end, it won't mean turning back or the premature end of the ride. Not necessarily about out-and-out overall speed, but more fun, adventure, exploration and pneumatically-suspended comfort. The Datum 10 sports the latest Shimano Tiagra groupset with hydraulic RS405 disc brakes and is all about enjoying yourself, across a variety of terrain, both paved and unpaved, be it fast or leisurely."
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Exemplary. Gorgeous paint job.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Relaxed, yet still engaging.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
It's not going to upset most moderately-flexible riders, yet you can slam the stem and feel aero.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Supremely comfortable. The long seatpost helps absorb shocks that make it past the tyres and seatstays.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Just right – the head tube and fork kept the front on track.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Yes. it's not the lightest but I didn't feel it wanting for out-of-the-saddle effort.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral, but not dead.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's not a race bike, but it lets you dive into corners and make quick adjustments.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Fatter handlebar. Definitely.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
As a system it was flawless.
Rate the wheels for performance:
Should be tubeless in my opinion.
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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?
They should be tubeless, but did the job once set up with tape and valves.
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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?
I'd swap for tubeless, wider too – 35mm-plus.
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
I'm not the biggest fan of the lever hoods, but they are perfectly functional.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
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Use this box to explain your score
A few minor niggles aside – no front mech adjuster, small diameter bar, non-tubeless-ready rims – the Datum 10 is a cracking bike.
Age: 43 Height: 183cm Weight: 72KG
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.
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