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

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

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. 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.

34 comments

Avatar
ped [241 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Except for the ever-ugly Dura-Ace, I love the look of this. Looking forward to the review.

Avatar
Grizzerly [339 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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.

Avatar
Abdoujaparov [21 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Grizzerly wrote:

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

Madison, the people behind Genesis, are the UK Shimano distributor so I'm guessing they won't be bolting anything else on their bikes.

Avatar
TheDoctor [199 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
60kg lean keen ... [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
Scoob_84 [384 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
Marcus Peabody [1 post] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [715 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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

Avatar
netclectic [134 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
step-hent [723 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
DrJDog [376 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

7.9 kg is anything but impressive at this price.

Looks good, though

Avatar
notfastenough [3715 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
andyspaceman [249 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
mtbtomo [213 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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......

Avatar
Martin Thomas [382 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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.

Avatar
60kg lean keen ... [69 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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!!!

Avatar
Simon E [2851 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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.

Avatar
antozzi48 [20 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
antozzi48 [20 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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!

Avatar
bendertherobot [1273 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

Avatar
dave atkinson [6258 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
VeNT [53 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

sweet baby Jesus, how much? would love this!

Avatar
curdins [39 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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?

Avatar
bendertherobot [1273 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
Nick T [970 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
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.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1273 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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.

Pages