Genesis go carbon (but just the forks for now) and 28mm tyres for 2015

Carbon forks and wide tyres for the Equilibrium. Saracen and Ridgeback road and touring bikes too. And a fat bike...

by David Arthur   February 28, 2014  

We've just got back from iceBike, the annual trade and dealer show of distributor Madison, where we've been checking out the latest products from Genesis, Ridgeback and Saracen. We'll have more highlights from the show soon.

Genesis Equilibrium gets new carbon fork and wider tyres

Lots of changes for Genesis for 2015, the brand revealing this week that all Equilibrium non-disc road bikes will be fitted as standard with 28mm tyres, while the Equilibrium Disc will come with a new carbon fibre fork. 

The entire Equilibrium range, that's the 00, 10, 20 and titanium version, will come with a new carbon fibre fork developed to accommodate 28mm tyres and clearance for mudguards. The new fork has a 10mm taller axle-to-crown height to allow the necessary space for fitting mudguards. Previously the Equilibrium’s have been shod with 25mm tyres. As for the tyres they’ll be using, they’ve plumped for Continental’s newly developed Contactsport 28.

The Equilibrium Disc also gets a new carbon fibre fork for 2015. Launched last year, the first disc flavoured Equilibrium steel fork heavily divided opinion, so the latest version will gets a carbon one. There’s less clearance space with this fork so it’ll take 25mm tyres rather than the 28s spec'd on the other Equilibriums. That switch from the retro steel fork to the beefier carbon fork will no doubt shed a bit of weight, one of the concerns voiced by many commenters on Dave's review of the bike. Both forks are still in development, these are pre-production samples they were showing us. 

Other rolling changes across the range is a switch to wider 23mm rims, so they’ll work better with the 28mm tyres. They’ll also be fitted the new TRP Spyre C disc brakes, a new more affordable version of the regular Spyre mechanical disc brake - basically it's the same brake as the standard Sypre but with a plainer finish. They’ve also upgraded to compression-less brake cables across the range which should further enhance the braking performance of mechanical discs.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the increased popularity of wider tyres, it’s generally accepted that they roll faster with only a marginal weight and aero penalty. A few years ago I conducted some coast down tyre testing and the 25mm tyres did indeed prove to be faster, about time I conducted that test again… German TOUR magazine recently conducted a test of tyre width, and found a 28mm tyres faster with lower rolling resistance than both the 23mm and 25mm tyres they tested, with the difference between the slowest and fastest tyres a claimed 9.5 watts, a margin not to be sniffed at.

We had an interesting chat with Continental’s Shelley Childs, and it seems that as you would expect sales of wider tyres are lagging some way behind the hype. 23mm tyres still outsell 25mm tyres at the moment at but there has definitely been a shift and it is one that is continuing Shelley told us - he estimates that this year sales of 25mm tyres will pull level with 23s.

Continental is also getting increased demand for 28mm - it seems some people are skipping straight past 25 to 28, with the latest endurance bikes like the Synapse and Infinito designed with wide tyres in mind - and have a Grand Sport Extra tyre available in 23, 25 and 28mm and a 28mm version of the GP 4000 S II due to demand. More on those soon.

Prototype Fugio with 1x10 groupset breaks cover

Here’s a really interesting bike. To demonstrate the versatility of the Fugio, a Reynolds 853 tubed cyclo-cross bike with an oversized 44mm head tube and tapered carbon fork, Genesis brand manager Albert Steward built up this test mule with a 1x10 groupset. He’s paired SRAM Apex shifters and a mountain bike derived SRAM X7 rear mech with a clutch system to keep the chain tensioned, a 42t single ring and a Shimano 11-36t cassette. A square tapered bottom bracket is used to get the desired 47.5mm chainline to keep the gears running sweet.

It’s still very much in development and is currently being testing, hence the slightly grubby appearance and hotpotch build, but they expect to put it into production, and would go by the name of the CdA, replacing the Vapour, and be available at two price points. Looks like a fun bike for gravel or bridleway riding, with provision for racks and mudguards so it’s properly versatile if you want to use it for light touring or daily commuting.

Anticipating snow? This is the bike f​or such conditions

From the their mountain bike range is this madcap Caribou, a fat tyred version of the Fortitude. Fat bikes are all the rage in some small circles at the moment, where they’ve spread from essential for riding over snow in events like the Iditarod, to being used on British trails.

Some mad fools are even using them for 24-hour solo mountain bike races. All that said, it does look sort of appealing for the go-anywhere-extreme-adventure sort of riding, with all the luggage capacity you would possibly need from the Alpkit frame, bar and post bags. Those 4in - yes, 4in - tyres aren’t likely to be fazed by much at all. More at www.genesisbikes.co.uk

Saracen road and urban bikes

This Saracen Urban Studio 74 caught our eye. Well, it’s not like you can walk past a paintjob like that and not stop and take notice. It’s an urban/commuter bike based on a mountain bike frame with fat slick tyres and an Shimano Acera M390 Rapid Fire 9x3 groupset, wide upright riser handlebar and Tektro HDC-300 hydraulic disc brakes, so you can stop on a dime, as the Americans like to say. It costs £539.99.

Saracen also do a couple of nice road bikes. Like this £749.99 Tenet 2 for example. Hydroformed 6061 alloy frame, carbon bladed fork (alloy steerer), Shimano Sora ST-3500 9-speed groupset and 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres complete the spec. More at www.saracen.co.uk

Ridgeback touring bikes with 26in and 700c wheelsizes

Did you know that Genesis Bikes was born from the Ridgeback range many years ago? They make some very nice bikes, and in particular their touring bikes we really like the look of. Like this a £949.99 chromoly framed touring bike with mudguards and racks, and bar-end shifters, from the World range. While most of the World range are built with 700c wheels, this one uses mountain bike inspired 26in wheels, fitted with 1.75in wide Schwalbe Marathon Reflex tyres. You get almost the same outside diameter as a 700c wheel with a skinny tyre, but you benefit from the much larger volume of the 1.75in tyre so comfort is increased, with minimal impact probably on rolling resistance. 

There are four bikes in this line-up, priced from £599 to £1,249. This is the £799 model, the Voyage it's called. It's a Reynolds 520 frame available in seven sizes and built with a mix of Shimano Deore/Claris/Alivio components. Talking of Alivio, Shimano have just updated that groupset. 

21 user comments

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Really liking that Fugio 1x10. I expect to see a lot more 1x10 set-ups at CX races next season. Interesting to see how it handles for road use (gear range etc)

posted by othello [279 posts]
28th February 2014 - 18:11

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Can we please move beyond the Climate-Change-grade denial in the industry? 28's *are* faster overall than 23's, unless your roads are like glass. It's all about suspension losses and fatigue, and sweet F-A to do with anything else. Ride over a set of rumble strips at speed and you'll need double the power to maintain speed - as any MTB rider on a farm tractor-tyre-marked track will attest. Poorly-surfaced UK roads are crying out for 28c to become the norm, not the weird Audax cousin with an underbite and a cardy.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [473 posts]
28th February 2014 - 19:51

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Hear hear Mike! With the roads round here getting worse and worse I've rapidly gone from 23 through 25 to 28s.

posted by ped [165 posts]
28th February 2014 - 20:20

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Pretty sure the current Equilibrium can take 28mm tyres and guards...

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posted by thegibdog [72 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:21

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I see your Genesis's 4" tires and raise you the Surly Moonlander's 4.8"

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/moonlander

posted by Ush [389 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:25

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KiwiMike wrote:
Can we please move beyond the Climate-Change-grade denial in the industry? 28's *are* faster overall than 23's, unless your roads are like glass. It's all about suspension losses and fatigue, and sweet F-A to do with anything else. Ride over a set of rumble strips at speed and you'll need double the power to maintain speed - as any MTB rider on a farm tractor-tyre-marked track will attest. Poorly-surfaced UK roads are crying out for 28c to become the norm, not the weird Audax cousin with an underbite and a cardy.

Agreed. http://janheine.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/bicycle-quarterly-performance-o...

posted by Ush [389 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:32

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My 2010 Equilibrium has been very happy for the past 3 years with its guards and 28s...

posted by CarbonBreaker [79 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:33

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The truth is that technological progress in road bike design is hopelessly stifled by the UCI. Mid-priced mountain bikes and soon pedelecs will make £6000 road bikes anachronisms even before the latter leave the showrooms. Take f.i. the discussion about tires: my 29 inch mtb is shod with 2.1 inch tires. This wheel/tire combination is massively larger in diameter than the 700c wheels shod with 28mm tires of my road bike (and yes I have been riding on 28mm rubber for many years for all the good reasons cited). Once mtbikers discovered the benefits of larger wheel diameters, the industry switched almost overnight from the random 26 inch wheel format to the 27.5 and 29 inch formats. No UCI to block progress! It is obvious that road bike design would benefit inmensily from a new larger disk-brake, thru-axle, broad rim carbon wheel/ tubeless tire format to fully exploit wind cheating possibilities, more comfort, faster rolling and increased safety, with virtually no increase in rotating mass. The downside? None. Long live the UCI! Long live bigotry and backwardness!

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [50 posts]
28th February 2014 - 23:00

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Good god man, how will elite race mechs do quick wheel changes with thru-axles? Eh?

WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE PROS?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [473 posts]
28th February 2014 - 23:17

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Just to register as another person who will be disappointed if the new Equilibrium Disc can't take 28mm tyres and guards!

posted by Dave42W [32 posts]
28th February 2014 - 23:43

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Has the Equilibrium not always has carbon forks? My 2011 certainly does.

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posted by netclectic [118 posts]
1st March 2014 - 0:46

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Fat bikes on British Trails? It's way beyond trails... I passed a single speed Fat Bike on a Sportive last year, he was doing the short route but still 52 miles and almost 5000ft of climbing on a fattie. Nutter.

Still, wide rims and tyres do seem better, I appear to have slowed down since switching to 23mm rubber from 28mm.

posted by Initialised [114 posts]
1st March 2014 - 0:54

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Iv just put a 700x32 schwalbe marathon plus tyre on the front of my Ridgeback Voyage to replace a continental contact of the same size. I was expecting it to be a bit sluggish, but from the start it felt good. It pumps up to a larger size and pressure than the continental but rolls really well . I'm sure it weighs more but so what ! and it may be a bit slower on the hills (cant be sure about that though it could just be me). I'm not out to win races on this, just winter day rides and commuting. Its taken me by surprise and its a credit to a good bike, "iv ordered another for the back". Genesis bikes look great but they don't excite me with that unknown don't make sense little extra wow must have factor !

posted by rojre [21 posts]
1st March 2014 - 7:53

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My 25mm Specialized Armadillos are wider than my 28mm Vittoria Randonneurs Smile

But, yes, can we move on from "fashion" tyres please? And could the manufacturers leave just a bit more space? If it's seat tube clearance I accept that's the bike's geometry, but it's often the rear brake stay - like that would make a difference a few mm higher?

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [124 posts]
1st March 2014 - 10:28

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I just had this message from Genesis brand manager Albert about the clearance on the two new forks:

"The road disc fork we've sourced has 36mm clearance at the crown whereas the new non-disc equilibrium fork has 38mm. You could probably squeeze a 28c tyre and mudguard on the road disc fork but it'd largely depend on the rim and tyre combo "

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posted by David Arthur [1479 posts]
1st March 2014 - 11:41

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Remembering, the most excellent SKS Raceblade Long QR mudguard only needs a few mm of clearance to mount the QR thingies under the crown

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [473 posts]
1st March 2014 - 12:15

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I actually recently switched from a 26inch disk brake quick release mtb to a 29inch disk brake thru-axle mtb. I was shocked by the ease of wheel change of the latter (Shimano E thru), everything falls pricesily in place (disk brakes are notoriously finnicky to get properly centred in their calllipers using qr). This problew does not exist with rim brakes.
If disk brakes get adopted in road biking, and I hope they will if only for safety (most notoriously in the wet), thru-axles are the only option.

But thru axles also massively improve wheel strength. As they get adopted, clever designs will appear which improve the wheel change time.

The point is: racing is where not only human possibilities are stretched to the limit but also where new technologies are tried out, the most successful of which then trickle down to benefit the public at large.

I get irate at the glaring imperfection of modern road bike design, because an organization as discredited as the UCI so fancies.

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [50 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 23:45

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Agreed, through-axles are a doddle to fit. It's no harder to push an axle through a spindle than it is to try get eyes aligned on a drop-in, indeed it's perhaps easier. There'll be quick-releases for through-axles too.

I've never had a problem with through-axles, and that's with a motorbike - much heavier, bulkier gear. Nor do they have problems doing wheel changes very quickly in endurance motorcycle racing.

However, I disagree with the notion that the UCI putting a brake on race bike evolution is a bad thing.

First, there are significant practical implications for neutral race support. The less standardised things are, the more useless race support becomes. While World-Tour level events might find ways to cope with neutral support for a plethora of different technologies, that becomes more and more difficult as you go down the ranks.

Next, I really don't want to see bicycle racing turned into a technology war. I want to see who is the best *athlete*. I don't care who can afford to spend the most on the best engineers, working away on CFD simulations on their computers. If I wanted that level of boringness, I could already watch modern Formula 1 - which I'd only do if I had trouble sleeping!

The implications of a technology war would be even greater for amateur level racing. At the moment you don't have to spend /too/ much to be competitive. It's reasonably feasible for kids and young athletes to get acceptable equipment. The UCI regulating the equipment helps achieve this (certainly wrt aero and weight). The last thing this sport needs at the grass-roots level is to make it so you can buy your way to a significant advantage.

Time-trialing has already gone down this route. You need to spend a good few thousand k on a special TT frame, aero wheels and helmets, or else someone who's a minute or two slower than you will beat you. So all the serious athletes go spend 3k to 5k+, and what does it get them ultimately? Nothing. They'd have been better off all agreeing in advance to stick to cheap equipment.

If you disagree, go buy your non-UCI approved time trial bike. Nothing stops you! Don't ruin the sport for everyone else though! Indeed, why are you even on an upright bicycle, you should be on a recumbent Wink.

posted by Paul J [595 posts]
3rd March 2014 - 9:12

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It is a matter of balance I suppose. If the UCI had any credibility left in it, I might perhaps very reluctantly accept its rulings on technology. As the facts stands, the UCI was keeping its eyes wide shut on doping whilst cracking down hard on bicycle weight.

Furthermore, no professional rider can aspire to win significant events on a £ 1.000 bike, and without a £ xxx.xxx support team. And technology breakthroughs do still occur even during bike racing, giving a rider a (temporary) competitive edge: Fignon vs Lemond final TdF time trial, Contador on 32 rear cassette...

The balance is lost: professional riders are obliged to ride on £ 10.000+ bikes without the benefit of elementary safety devices such as disk brakes. And carbon frames have made the minimum weight obsolete. And advances in materials and design make bicycles ever more areodynamic and comfortable. Should the pros not be allowed to show the way forward? The sport would not suffer because of the rapid dissemination of best practices.

What is left is a sclerotic UCI which justifies its existence by blocking progress.

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [50 posts]
4th March 2014 - 1:51

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"a new carbon fibre fork developed to accommodate 28mm tyres and clearance for mudguards"

The old carbon fork, used on the Aether, was described in road.cc as having this ability too, a quick google shows.

posted by vbvb [231 posts]
4th March 2014 - 3:32

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noether,

You're arguing that because the UCI didn't catch dopers, they shouldn't regulate machinery? Sorry, I don't think your argument makes any sense.

Doping, and failure in anti-doping, seem completely related to the machinery issues. Also, if the UCI had problems with anti-doping, well, so did many other sports. Anti-doping unfortunately has often not been very effective, and possibly probably still isn't. This transcends cycling and the UCI. That there may have been degrees of deliberate inaction or corruption on the anti-doping side at various levels in the UCI at times again doesn't really say anything about the argument for or against regulating machinery.

Play the ball, not the man. If the issue is regulation of equipment, argue for or against that. Smile

posted by Paul J [595 posts]
14th March 2014 - 21:37

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