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Just In: Genesis Bikes Volare 853 frameset - steel race bike now with disc brakes

Race-ready Reynolds 853 bike now available with disc brakes

The Volare helped put steel back in the mind of performance focused cyclists when it was introduced in 2013, being used by the Madison-Genesis pro race team in crit and road races across the UK. For 2018 it’s available with disc brakes, so we've got one in to put it through its paces. 

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_top_tube.jpg

This is the Volare Disc 853 built using the classic Reynolds 853 tubeset. There’s also a pricier Reynolds 931 stainless option as well. Neither models are available as complete bikes, but UK distributor Madison kindly built up a bike with some parts to let us test it as a complete bike. The frameset costs £1,199, a £200 premium over the non-disc model. The 931 frameset is £2,199.

- Is there still a place for steel road bikes in the age of carbon fibre?

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_front_disc_brake.jpg

Let's furnish you with some more details on the frame. The disc brakes are attached to the frame and carbon fork via the now standard flat mount, there are 12mm thru-axles at both ends and external cable routing. Providing the necessary stiffness demanded by a bike racer is a tapered head tube and BB86 press-fit bottom bracket, while a 27.2mm seatpost lends a bit of seated comfort.

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_down_tube.jpg

During the early years of its development, the Genesis team spent a lot of time working with Reynolds and the pro racers to tune the stiffness of the Volare. It changed many times before the final tubing profiles and dimensions were nailed down.

The result is an ovalised top tube tapering from 31.8 to 25.4mm diameter, an oval-round downtube going from 31.4, 41.4 to 36.4mm diameter, 24mm wide round-oval-round chainstays, and the aforementioned tapered head tube and BB86 bottom bracket. The company’s own ADK carbon monocoque fork, with a tapered steerer tube, slots into the beefy head tube.

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_drivetrain.jpg

A complete Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset smothers the frame, with hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical shifting. Shimano RS 770 wheels sit under the Ultegra label and are tubeless-ready with a carbon wrapped rim that is lighter than the old 6800 wheels. They look very nice too. 

A PRO PLT aluminium handlebar and stem, Genesis aluminium seatpost and chromoly railed saddle complete the build, which weighs in at 9.18kg (20.2lb).

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_bottom_bracket.jpg

When I tested the original Volare Team 953 back in 2014, I said it was a fast and inspiring ride with great handling and fine looks and a true contender for any performance road bike shortlist. It still rates as one of my favourite bikes.  

We also reviewed the Volare 40 with a Reynolds 853 which got a similarly positive review. You can read that here.

genesis_volare_disc_853_frameset_-_fork.jpg

It's fair to say steel is popular at the moment, with a lot more choice from bespoke to production frames, and a growing appreciation for its virtues, even in a bike designed for racing, or at least riding very fast. It’ll be interesting to see how this new model rides, so watch out for a review soon.

More info at www.genesisbikes.co.uk

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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16 comments

Avatar
aloadofpants | 5 years ago
0 likes

For £1200 I would buy a 853 custom frameset from a top builder such as Brian Rourke in Stoke-on-Trent. It is worth the wait !

The fitting process and the time they spend with you is an experience in itself.

My 853 rourkie, Ritchey fork and Ultegra di2 weighs 7.6 kg without pedals.

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IanEdward | 5 years ago
0 likes

I wonder if they're counting on custom builders being too busy also, seems like you'd be waiting months for a custom build right now, plus there's the whole issue of actually knowing what you want instead of having someone else make that decision for you.

Long time disc-disliker here, but nice that Genesis are still offering rim brake too, just a shame (last time I looked) that they hadn't worked in some more tyre clearance, others have shown that you can fit 28s and guards under (long drop) callipers, so why not offer that? 

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IanW1968 | 5 years ago
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Discs on road bikes do look gopping and I'm still not feeling the need.  

What I need is minimum faff, maximum go. 

Avatar
crazy-legs replied to IanW1968 | 5 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

Discs on road bikes do look gopping and I'm still not feeling the need.  

What I need is minimum faff, maximum go. 

So disc brakes then...
Minimum faff because they're pretty much maintainence free
Maximum go because you can stop more quickly and more reliably so you can carry more speed into corners and on descents.

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joules1975 | 5 years ago
0 likes

And another thing.

I think is off that they make the frame Di2 compatible, but then the cable guides aren't removeable.

I wouldn't want to be spending that kind of money on a frame and Di2 groupset only to have redundant cable guides spoiling the tidyness that Di2 can otherwise provide.

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philhubbard | 5 years ago
0 likes

For £1200 I have no idea why anybody would buy this over a custom frame. You could get a Bob Jackson, Cycles in Motion or also get a Shand for this money

Avatar
I am a human replied to philhubbard | 5 years ago
0 likes
philhubbard wrote:

For £1200 I have no idea why anybody would buy this over a custom frame. You could get a Bob Jackson, Cycles in Motion or also get a Shand for this money

One of the things that always puts me off custom-made anything is that you can't try it before you buy it.  I know you're probably going to get a certain level of quality, but you won't know if it speaks to you until you try it.  Obviously your own experience and that of the builder will help you get close, but until your bum's on the saddle and you're on the road you're never really going to know if it's got what you're looking for.

Avatar
philhubbard replied to I am a human | 5 years ago
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I am a human wrote:
philhubbard wrote:

For £1200 I have no idea why anybody would buy this over a custom frame. You could get a Bob Jackson, Cycles in Motion or also get a Shand for this money

One of the things that always puts me off custom-made anything is that you can't try it before you buy it.  I know you're probably going to get a certain level of quality, but you won't know if it speaks to you until you try it.  Obviously your own experience and that of the builder will help you get close, but until your bum's on the saddle and you're on the road you're never really going to know if it's got what you're looking for.

 

Most customs places now have a couple of bikes you can try. Not an exact replica, but normally they have something in your size/tubing which can give you a good idea

Avatar
check12 | 5 years ago
2 likes

Press fit bb...

9.2kg built up

interesting but pass

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dafyddp replied to check12 | 5 years ago
0 likes
check12 wrote:

Press fit bb...

9.2kg built up

interesting but pass

Absolutely- although i guess a quality steel frame probably has higher tolerances than cheap carbon, but still, the benefit of buying a frameset is custom building at home and nobody wants to mess about with extra pressfit tools on top of standard kit. Besides, its was originally a pro system not really designed to last more than a few seasons, right? Steel is way better suited to more conventional screw in options

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joules1975 replied to dafyddp | 5 years ago
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dafyddp wrote:
check12 wrote:

Press fit bb...

9.2kg built up

interesting but pass

Absolutely- although i guess a quality steel frame probably has higher tolerances than cheap carbon, but still, the benefit of buying a frameset is custom building at home and nobody wants to mess about with extra pressfit tools on top of standard kit. Besides, its was originally a pro system not really designed to last more than a few seasons, right? Steel is way better suited to more conventional screw in options

Yes, but...

Press fit works fine when done well. The concern I have with the Volare is that I have a Genesis High Latitude LT mountain bike, with a threaded BB. When it started creaking almost straight out the box, I was surprised to find that the left side cup would not tighten properly. Turns out the BB shell was very slightly too large a diameter (fraction of a mm), meaning that the cups would move up/down. Plumbers tape solved the problem and I've been riding it for four years without issues ever since.

Point is, even threaded BBs can be problematic, and I would be warey of any Genesis frame with PF.

Despite having no general issue with the PF BBs concept, I will only purchase a bike with one if it's from one of the leading manufacturers (i.e. Merida, Giant, Spesh, Trek) as they have the QC in place to ensure the manufacturing is to the required tolerances.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
1 like

discs, disks are something completely different. Sorry but looks minging with the discs, still, sure to shift some, totally unecessary addition but going with the trend created by the marketers so don't want to be left out. 

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joules1975 replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

discs, disks are something completely different. Sorry but looks minging with the discs, still, sure to shift some, totally unecessary addition but going with the trend created by the marketers so don't want to be left out. 

there's a whole load wrong with your general sentiment there, but on one thing we do seem to agree ... the bike doesn't look great with discs.

Maybe the older style slim, round, straight tubes just don't go with the discs. And I'm a total disc advocate.

Thinking a little more about it, the whole Genesis steel bike aesthetic is a little odd with a number of their models - traditional looking frame but with more modern and thoroughly 'engineered' looking parts (i.e. fiddly, sculptured). I think they should try harder to find some more classic looking wheels and parts. I'm not saying they should go back to down tube shifters etc, as the function of a lot of new kit is worth keeping, but maybe some more classic looking wheels would be a good starting point.

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Morat | 5 years ago
0 likes

Disks are worth £200 all day long....

But yes, I don't know if the changes actually cost that much.

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RobD | 5 years ago
1 like

A £200 mark up for disc mounts seems a little excessive, I get that it's a different fork and the frame will be different, but really £200 worth of difference?

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hawkinspeter replied to RobD | 5 years ago
1 like
RobD wrote:

A £200 mark up for disc mounts seems a little excessive, I get that it's a different fork and the frame will be different, but really £200 worth of difference?

You get Thru-Axles too. (In theory, they stiffen/strengthen the frame and have better failure modes).

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