Just in: Genesis Volare Team 953

We've just received the Madison-Genesis team edition race bike to test

by David Arthur   January 24, 2014  

The Genesis Volare was launched last year and is now available in four flavours. This is the top-end Reynolds Team 953 version and it costs £4,999, with a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 groupset and RS81 wheels.

It’s the same bike that most of the Madison-Genesis team has been riding on the past season. Professional racers just don’t race on steel bikes these days, the weight and stiffness of carbon fibre is just hard to beat, but the team have proved that there is still life in steel, racing and winning on the Reynolds 953 frame. An impressive achievement.

road.cc has been following with keen interest the development of the Volare. After all, it’s not everyday you get a British brand trying to push steel frames back into the pro peloton with the same confidence that Genesis has. So naturally we’ve been itching to get a ride on one of the bikes, and we’ve lucked out in receiving the posh Reynolds 953 model in team colours.

Genesis worked closely with Reynolds in developing the tubeset for the Volare frame. They’ve used Reynolds 953 in this frame, a stainless steel tubeset. It’s been a long time since steel has been in the performance road bike spotlight, but that hasn’t stopped Reynolds developing and really pushing steel as far as they can. Reynolds 953 uses a specially developed “martensitic-aging” stainless steel alloy that they claim offers a tensile strength in excess of 2000MP (853 is around 1400MP), giving a good strength-to-weight ratio. This high tensile strength means the tube walls can be really thin, down to 0.3mm in places. That brings the weight right down, without sacrificing strength.

Stiffness is important, especially for one that is going to be raced. To that end Genesis have gone large with a 44mm head tube accommodating a tapered Enve carbon fork. The large head tube beefs up the front end and provides the real estate for the large down tube and top tube, which is ovalised at each end. It's a similar story at the bottom backet. A Shimano BB86 Press-Fit bottom bracket uses an 86mm wide shell which like the head tube creates a huge area for the down tube, seat tube and oversized chainstays to be welded to. The seatpost increases in diameter towards the bottom bracket too, and accepts a 27.2mm seatpost.

The Madison-Genesis team has been critical in the development of the frame since its inception. Genesis has been back and forth to Reynolds, tweaking the shape and profile of the tubes, and changing small details based on feedback from the racers. That’s the advantage, and attraction, of working with professional riders, you get a lot of feedback very quickly, because they rack up the miles and are usually very demanding. Based on that feedback they’ve made changes like given the top tube more slope, and decreasing the diameter of the tubes to build in a little more compliance and reduce the weight. Genesis claim a weight of about 1,650g for a size 54cm frame.

From that initial development they’ve expanded the range to four versions, all using Reynolds tubesets. The Volare 00 gets the range going with Reynolds 631 frame priced at £1,199, the Volare 10 using 853 costs £1,699 and then there is the 931 Volare 20 at £2,999. The Team gets the Reynolds 953 treatment. The bike as pictured costs £4,999, or you can buy the frameset, Di2 compatible for £2,299 or non-Di2 for £2,249. Both come with an Enve Road 2.0 tapered carbon fork.

Geometry for the frame (we have the size 56cm on test, 50 to 60cm are available) is fairly racey, as you’d expect. A 14.5cm head tube sets the bars low, the effective top tube is 56.1cm, the wheelbase is 985mm and the chainstays 407mm. The head angle is 73.3° and the seat angle 73.25°. These are the sort of measurements you would expect to find on many frames sold as race-capable bikes.

The Volare Team is specced with a full Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed groupset with a 52/36 chainset and 11-28 cassette. You can read our review of the Dura-Ace groupset here. The Shimano theme continues with the RS81-C24 wheels, which use a carbon laminate rim design, and are shod with Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm tyres. Yes, this is a race-ready bike fitted with on-trend 25mm tyres.

Genesis has been developing its own range of finishing components in recent years, and the Volare Team is fitted with a 0.4 Road Compact handlebar, stem and 27.2m seatpost. The saddle is Genesis branded too. It's all nice look stuff and the saddle, based on a very short spin, feels like the sort of shape that is going to prove comfortable on long rides. 

The weight on the road.cc Scales of Truth is 7.91kg (17.43lb), impressive for a steel-framed road bike.

We haven’t tested that many steel frames with a performance focus like the Volare. Springing immediately to mind is the Zullo Vergine, which uses a Columbus XCr stainless steel frameset. There is the Tokyo Fixed Road Race with its Columbus Spirit tubeset, and of course the Stoemper Taylor with a True Temper S3 tubeset. They’ll offer three very interesting reference points when it comes to reviewing the Volare.

More info at www.genesisbikes.co.uk

33 user comments

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If you want to compare and test a top end steel frame, why not look at Waterford and their r33, lighter than the volaire and full custom as well!

posted by TheDoctor [78 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:33

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You missed the Condor Super Acciaio, self build with Cappy Chours (with semi compact crankset) and some nice Zondas, Deda M35 cockpit and Condors own carbon seat post, cost less and I think be a bit of a looker, what more could you want!

posted by 60kg lean keen ... [56 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:34

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Saw someone commuting to work (in London obviously) the other day, and I must say this is a gorgeous bike in real life, even when kitted out in shimano. I literally couldn't stop gawking at it. Why would someone choose to commute on it I never know

posted by Scoob_84 [193 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:34

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Would love to see a head to head between the Condor, this Genesis, and some of the other steel race contenders.

posted by Marcus Peabody [1 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:47

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Grizzerly wrote:
Quite agree! I often wonder at the manufacturers who produce what should be beautiful, elegant bikes and then bolt on clumsy, clunky looking Shimano kit.

Can't agree with you there, there's nothing clumsy or clunky about Dura-Ace. I think it looks good, but aesthetic judgements are purely a subjective thing

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posted by David Arthur [1489 posts]
24th January 2014 - 16:32

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David Arthur wrote:
Grizzerly wrote:
Quite agree! I often wonder at the manufacturers who produce what should be beautiful, elegant bikes and then bolt on clumsy, clunky looking Shimano kit.

Can't agree with you there, there's nothing clumsy or clunky about Dura-Ace. I think it looks good, but aesthetic judgements are purely a subjective thing

I agree, it is neither clumsy or clunky but it definitely doesn't suit this bike. It might be more suited to the vulgar lines of a modern carbon framed jobby with it's ridiculously oversized tubes.

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posted by netclectic [118 posts]
24th January 2014 - 16:45

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netclectic wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
Grizzerly wrote:
Quite agree! I often wonder at the manufacturers who produce what should be beautiful, elegant bikes and then bolt on clumsy, clunky looking Shimano kit.

Can't agree with you there, there's nothing clumsy or clunky about Dura-Ace. I think it looks good, but aesthetic judgements are purely a subjective thing

I agree, it is neither clumsy or clunky but it definitely doesn't suit this bike. It might be more suited to the vulgar lines of a modern carbon framed jobby with it's ridiculously oversized tubes.

don't agree with you, i think it suits the bike very well. but like other dave said, aesthetic judgements are purely a subjective thing.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7317 posts]
24th January 2014 - 16:52

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On the dura ace debate, I don't personally like the cranks, but the rest of the dura ace kit looks the biz. And the paint job on the frame is lovely. Is the rear triangle polished or brushed stainless? Looks brushed rather than mirror polished, but couldnt tell whether that was just the lighting. I ask because I've got a stainless frame on the way, and I wouldn't mind having parts of it brushed rather than polished if that's how it comes out!

posted by step-hent [672 posts]
24th January 2014 - 17:46

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7.9 kg is anything but impressive at this price.

Looks good, though

posted by DrJDog [107 posts]
24th January 2014 - 18:02

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DrJDog wrote:
7.9 kg is anything but impressive at this price.

Looks good, though

I believe the team bikes still hit the 6.8kg minimum, so I'd be interested to hear what the differences are.

Looks cracking.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3098 posts]
24th January 2014 - 18:14

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60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:
You missed the Condor Super Acciaio, self build with Cappy Chours (with semi compact crankset) and some nice Zondas, Deda M35 cockpit and Condors own carbon seat post, cost less and I think be a bit of a looker, what more could you want!

I'd hope it would cost a lot less - with Campy's third tier groupset, compared with top end Shimano. Not really a straight comparison.

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posted by andyspaceman [219 posts]
24th January 2014 - 18:30

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My steel forked Master 30th weighs in at 7.9kg, colour me unimpressed.

posted by Nick T [799 posts]
24th January 2014 - 18:34

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andyspaceman wrote:

Campy's third tier groupset, compared with top end Shimano. Not really a straight comparison.

weight is roughly the same between them though.

posted by Nick T [799 posts]
24th January 2014 - 18:35

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Has to be said, with a bit of shopping around, you can get the frameset for £2300, DuraAce groupset for just over £1000 and RS81 wheels for sub £500.....leaving over £1000 for better finishing kit than the own brand Genesis stuff......

posted by mtbtomo [54 posts]
24th January 2014 - 20:09

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Of course it's all subjective and all that but I reckon that frame would look just right with the shiny Athena groupset hanging off it. I suppose I would settle for Super Record at a pinch.

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
24th January 2014 - 22:00

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andyspaceman wrote:
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:
You missed the Condor Super Acciaio, self build with Cappy Chours (with semi compact crankset) and some nice Zondas, Deda M35 cockpit and Condors own carbon seat post, cost less and I think be a bit of a looker, what more could you want!

I'd hope it would cost a lot less - with Campy's third tier groupset, compared with top end Shimano. Not really a straight comparison.

Correct me if wrong but I don’t believe that you can match Campy and Shimano as simply as third tier second tier ect, when Campy starts at Veloce / Tirgra 10 speed price and weight??? and then goes on two groups above were Shimano have finished at Dura-ace. There is also some difficultly in price as the two are unevenly matched here also, some groups are more some are less. This means I judge a groupset on its merits not in were it stands in the order of things!!!

posted by 60kg lean keen ... [56 posts]
24th January 2014 - 22:06

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I think the weenies who baulk at the weight of the Volare may be missing the point, that single number says so little about how a bike feels. If the number was 6.9 would that make all the difference?

Genesis are trying to do something a little different, distinctive. Try reading this 3-part story behind it:
http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/blog/14/02/13/a-very-british-engineering-c...
http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/blog/27/02/13/a-very-british-engineering-c...
http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/blog/07/05/13/a-very-british-engineering-c...

I like skinny steel tubes, that's how all race bikes looked when I was young. The distinctive colourscheme also ticks the box for me and while I don't like the chainset it would not matter once I'm on the bike.

Would I commute on one? If I could afford to then absolutely yes!

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posted by Simon E [1946 posts]
24th January 2014 - 23:39

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I might just add that saying it weighs the same as / more than [insert your favourite steel frame here] and being unimpressed is kind of missing the point: the Volare 953 has been designed to be able to mix it in the modern carbon peloton. a classic steel frame wouldn't do that job: technology has moved on and the expectations of a racer with them. this is a frame that is winning races at a high level. hats off to Genesis – and to Condor, too, for that matter – for putting in the man hours to come up with steel that can be genuinely competitive on the professional circuit.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7317 posts]
24th January 2014 - 23:51

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Love the look of this frame, I've got the Equilibrium 853 and I wish it was in the team colours instead of the black, green and yellow. Still don't regret selling the plastic bike to buy it!
As for group sets, it's got to be Campag on a bike like this but Shimano on everything else!

posted by antozzi48 [17 posts]
25th January 2014 - 0:00

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Surely you could build this for way less than the rrp of the full bike?

posted by bendertherobot [270 posts]
25th January 2014 - 8:49

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bendertherobot wrote:
Surely you could build this for way less than the rrp of the full bike?

it does seem that way, i've just specced one up with 9000 groupset, dura ace C24 wheels and FSA SL-K finishing kit – so a bit spendier than the stock build – and it came out at £4,300 buying the stuff online.

We'll see what Madison say.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7317 posts]
25th January 2014 - 10:15

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sweet baby Jesus, how much? would love this!

posted by VeNT [37 posts]
25th January 2014 - 10:23

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I always remember 753 in the early to mid-eighties having wall thicknesses of 0.3mm at the centre, so find it strange that 30 years on it's spoken about as if it's revolutionary in some way. Or were TI-Raleigh's Ilkeston/O'Donovan frames simply not as strong as today's 953 versions for presumably the same weight?

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posted by curdins [24 posts]
25th January 2014 - 11:06

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
bendertherobot wrote:
Surely you could build this for way less than the rrp of the full bike?

it does seem that way, i've just specced one up with 9000 groupset, dura ace C24 wheels and FSA SL-K finishing kit – so a bit spendier than the stock build – and it came out at £4,300 buying the stuff online.

We'll see what Madison say.

Cheers Dave. Would be very interesting to know as, frankly, it almost looks as if they don't want to sell a full build. After all, who'd buy it?

I suspect you could get a lbs to give 10% for cash. Most do. Meaning the frame is around £1800 or so. I'd stick full SRAM Red on from Merlin at £900. So up to £2700. Wheels? Dunno. Handbuilts, but even with Dura Ace and carbon stuff I'm still well under £4k.

Mind, I could also do all of that with a Condor Super Accaiao and be another £800 or so better off.

I love the look of the Genesis, I was close to getting the frame but they won't sell the cheaper one frame only. So I got an Accaiao instead.

posted by bendertherobot [270 posts]
25th January 2014 - 14:08

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
... the Volare 953 has been designed to be able to mix it in the modern carbon peloton. a classic steel frame wouldn't do that job ...

Who's to say that a Tomassini Tecno or Cinelli Supercorsa or whatever wouldn't be up to the task in a modern day race? The main reason they're not raced on anymore because there's not a lot of point sponsoring a team to sell 30 year old tech, you want to sell the latest craze - be it a new aero carbon or a new steel alloy like this one. There's never been a lot wrong with classic frame design anyway, and mine certainly doesn't give much away to this even with its lugs and steel forks.

posted by Nick T [799 posts]
25th January 2014 - 17:03

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My £750 Accaiao only gives 150g away. Which is negligible in frame terms. But I get a huge amount back with SRAM Red, Carbon finishing kit and Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels.

Gut feeling here is that this frame is overpriced. Should be same or slightly more than a Super Accaiao, perhaps on par with a more exotic Enigma? And that the whole package above is at least £1k too much. At least.

posted by bendertherobot [270 posts]
25th January 2014 - 17:15

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on the subject of pricing, it's certainly an interesting one and the genesis is far from unique. in fact, with DA9000 available online for just over a grand when the RRP is nearly twice that, it's possible to build up a whole bunch of bikes more cheaply than you can buy them.

take the specialized tarmac s-works for example. the frame retails at £2,600, so £300 more than the Genesis, but a Dura Ace build is £6,500. Admittedly that's with better wheels and finishing kit, but with the groupset only setting you back a grand you can have pretty much whatever wheels you like and keep to a £6.5k budget. Reynolds 32s or Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLRs would still leave a grand for finishing kit.

there's plenty of others too. it's been an interesting trawl...

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7317 posts]
25th January 2014 - 21:54

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Same as a Super Accaio?

Try comparing it with the Accaio Stainless. That's £2800

posted by Guy Collier [17 posts]
25th January 2014 - 22:09

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Think I'd take the S-Works thanks...

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
25th January 2014 - 22:26

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Guy Collier wrote:
Same as a Super Accaio?

Try comparing it with the Accaio Stainless. That's £2800

Fair point, save that the Stainless is bespoke, comes with a fitting and is available in any colour?

Before we talk about being lighter.........

posted by bendertherobot [270 posts]
26th January 2014 - 9:58

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