Genesis are launching a new version of their Day One all-rounder with Shimano’s 11-speed Shimano Alfine hub gear. We're pretty sure that this is the first production Shimano Alfine 11-speed equipped drop bar bike – it's certainly the first we've seen. The combination of an Alfine 11-spd hub and drop bars is made possible by the new Versa 11-spd lever, a piece of kit almost as eagerly awaited as Shimano's Alfine hub itself.
We'll be updating this story with more bikes from the new Genesis range this morning and check out our mighty gallery of lavishly captioned* pics of the range highlighs - now with super-duper light box captioning too.
The bike is inspired by the Genesis Croix de Fer Cross bike that Vin Cox used to set his round the world cycling, hence the ‘163 days’ badge on the seat tube – referring to the amount of time his epic ride took. Had the 853 version of the Day One frame been available when Cox set out on his ride that is what his bike would have been based around. According to the guys from Genesis the inspiration provided by Cox's round the world record-setting bike extends beyond merely the way this Day One is built up – the frame geometry has changed a touch too becoming slightly more relaxed for a more stable ride.
You don’t have to think quite that ambitiously to get the most out of the Day One Alfine 11, though. Genesis see it as a multi-purpose set-up that’ll turn its hand to pretty much anything, including commuting duties. You can even take the Day One back to its roots by converting it to a singlespeed - removable cable guides are a nice tough offering a neat finish should you choose to go down the one gear route… although don't forget where you leave them.
The frame is made from Reynolds 853 steel – with heat-treated, air-hardened, butted tubes – whereas all the other Day Ones are Reynolds 520. The fork is cromo – that should lop a chunk of weight out of the frame and compensate for the extra weight of the 11-speed hub– and you get a full complement of mudguard and rack mounts for multiple set-up options.
The wheels are similar to those Vin Cox used on his global ride – or as close as Genesis could reasonably get on a production bike. That means you get the Alfine hub at the rear, obviously, and an alloy front hub laced up to Alex CXD rims with stainless black spokes – 32 per wheel. The tyres are 28mm Continental Ultra Gatorskins and the brakes are Avid BB-7 mechanical discs.
The Day One Afline 11 will be available in October and will cost £1,699.99.
If you can’t stretch that far, the Day One with an Alfine 8 hub is £1,149.99. It comes in a new orange finish and the removable cable guides are new too.
While the Day One Alfine does it's bit to push the boundaries of bicycle design just that little bit further, the equally eye-catching Flyer Classic comes at things from a very different direction… the Eighties. It's retro with a modern twist again, or if you like the Eighties with better gears.
Genesis have spotted the trend for urban riders retrofitting gears to fixed and singlespeed bikes to opt for down tube shifters… well if you're making the psychological shift from one gear to some gears you can see there's a logic there - plus a lot of home made fixers started out as old bikes rescued from sheds and garages and given a new lease of life, so their owners are simply putting the original shifters back on… the Flyer Classic is for those that want that retro look without all the retro-fitting hassle.
For £899.99 you get the standard Flyer fixed Reynolds 520 frame and finishing kit but with some different wrinkles and a few extras. So, it's vertical rather than horizontal dropouts and gears – a Shimano Tiagra 9 speed rear mech and 12-25 cassette at the back with the other end of the drivetrain consisting of a Tiagra front mech and Sora compact double chainset. We're guessing that the limiting factor on the number of gears at the back is that Shimano don't currently make a 10-spd down tube shifter – many people will be surprised they make a 9-spd one. They do, and it's a beauty, the Dura Ace SL-7700 - it's indexed and it'll work with a double or triple set-up at the front. According to the spec sheet the Flyer Classic comes with the same 57mm Tektros as the Equilibrium, but the display bike we saw was kitted out with Shimano Sora brakes - we'd rather have them if it was us.
The original Flyer continues in the range for 2012 too, both Flyers are available in five sizes from 52cm through to 60cm in two centimetre increments, both also come with Continental Ultra Sport tyres - Genesis continuing their tradition of not just sticking any old rubber on their bikes. The two Flyers get different wheels Alex A400 rims laced up to Shimano 2200 non- series hubs for the Flyer Classic, while the Flyer gets Alex DA-28 rims on unbranded alloy hubs, the rear one being threaded.
We're certainly in the queue to give the Flyer Classic a go - for one thing we'd like to know if the Dura Ace down tube shifters are as much of a faff in traffic as the shifters on the Cooper we're testing have been… not to say we don't like 'em mind.
Genesis have added a new base-level model to their Equilibrium range of road bikes – last year Genesis added the Equilbrium 10 and renamed the original Eqilibrium the Equilibrium 20, this year they've gone and added a new base model the Equilibrium 00 – we're guessing that's so's they've got a sub-£1000 model for the bike to work scheme… ironically that was also the reasoning behind the introduction of the Equilibrium 10.
Since launching three years ago the Equilibrium has been a massive success for Genesis – we certainly liked it when we tested it. Designed for UK conditions the Equilibriums are built to offer both practicality and performance bikes – which is a neat trick if you can make it work. Whereas many other brands concentrate on producing wannabe race bikes right down the price points, What you get with an Equilibrium is a fast and efficient bike that can cope with real world conditions; that means coping with unexpected potholes halfway down a quick descent and all the other treats of riding over British roads in British weather. Where the Equilbrium has also scored is that it offers such a comfortable and engaging ride – something not unconnected, we reckon, to the fact it has a Reynolds 725 steel frame - upgraded last year from the original Equilibrium's Reynolds 520.
The new Equilibrium 00 comes in at £899.99. Like the other two Equilibriums, it’s based on a Reynolds 725 steel frame with a suitably skinny carbon fork up front – there’s really not much fat on those blades. The differences are in the spec choices.
The 00 gets a build that’s largely 9-speed Sora – the entry-level complete group in Shimano’s road range. The rear mech, though, is next-level-up Tiagra; that’s 9-speed Tiagra, rather than the new 10-speed version. The wheels consist of Shimano 2200 hubs laced up to Alex AT400 rims and most of the finishing kit is Genesis branded. We’ve got to say that the Tektro brakes that the 00 shares with the other Equilibriums don’t look too flash and if we're being honest they look a bit… what's the word we're grasping for here? Ah yes, cheap. Of course, cheap looking doesn't mean cheap performing. And while by comparison the similarly priced Ridgeback Mercury fast tourer (more on that in a separate story soon) has some classy looking Tektro R539s for much the same money, it doesn't have the benefit of a Reynolds 725 frame. The problem for Genesis here is that there aren't many long drop brakes to chose from when speccing a bike especially when you're trying to make a price point, too. Why go for long drops then? Well, functional is the name of the game and speccing long drops means you can fit a set of full mudguards in there comfortably for added protection when the going gets soggy. Naturally, too, you get eyelets both front and rear.
The £1,149.99 Equilibrium 10 still comes with a largely Shimano Tiagra groupset although it’s the new 10-speed version for 2012 so instead of the largest cassette sprocket being 25T it’s now a 28. It does jump in price by £150 over last year's model, though, bringing it over the bike to work £1000 limit. For 2012 the Genesis 10 reverts to the classy silver grey colour scheme of the original Equilibrium.
The top model in the range is the Equilibrium 20 which is £100 more expensive than last year at £1,399.99. The groupset is still Shimano’s ever-reliable mid-range 105 although there’s a wheel upgrade from Shimano RS10s to RS30s.
If none of these spec choices sounds quite right for you, the heat-treated cromo frame is available for £279.99 with the carbon blade/alloy steerer fork an extra £119.99.
Vapour & Croix de Fer
Genesis expand their 'cross bike range for 2012 where last year there was just one Vapour model last year, this time there are two with a new disc brake version; disc brakes now being UCI-legal for cyclocross. The Vapour Disc is a reasonably lightweight cross bike that’s built around an aluminium frame: 6069 alloy last year, 6061 for 2012. You can race it if you like, or you can add a rack or guards and use it for commuting. It’s another rough ’n’ tough do-it-all machine - an aluminium alternative to the Croix de Fer..
Last year’s Vapour has essentially morphed into the Vapour 10. Well, kind of. There are quite a few changes but you still get a carbon blade/alloy steerer fork plugged in up front and a largely Shimano Tiagra spec, although it’s the 10-speed version now. The brakes are cantis – Tektro’s CR-520s to be precise – and they work via both Tiagra STI levers and top-mounted ones from Tektro. That set-up costs £999.99, so you can get yourself one tax-free if your employer has a Cycle to Work scheme in place.
The new Vapour Disc is £200 more expensive. The discs in question are Avid BB-7s and they’re of the mechanical/cable operated variety (rather than hydraulic). This version has the same frame as the Vapour 10 but with a new disc-specific carbon-bladed fork instead of one with canti mounts - both forks are reinforced at the crown – effectively the alloy steerer extends down further and is wrapped in carbon with the carbon legs plugging in to it - the dropouts too add extra reinforcement with bayonet fittings extending up in to the fork leg to add further reinforcement against both the rigours of cross and the forces involved when a fork mounted disc brake stops a 700c wheel.
Brakes aside, the two models have broadly similar specs, the Vapour Disc also coming with shifters and a rear mech from the Tiagra group. But instead of the Vapour 10’s Tiagra front mech and compact (50/34T) chainset, the Disc version comes with Shimano cyclocross options. Those are 46/36T chainrings. The wheels on both bikes combine Shimano hubs with Alex rims and they’re factory-produced especially for Genesis.
Top of the Genesis cyclocross range, the Croix de Fer has the same Reynolds 725 steel frame as before but it gets Shimano’s new 10-speed Tiagra groupset for 2012. This is one of the workhorse bikes in the Genesis range that really isn’t constrained by any particular category. Yes, it's top of the Genesis 'cross range but it is pretty much the definitive do it all cross bike that demonstrates the versatility of the cyclocross bike platform. Build to withstand the rigours of cyclocross it’s actually more used to handling the abuse of everyday commuting and can cope with whatever touring is thrown its way, too. It's potential as a light tourer was demonstrated to full effect last year when Vin Cox rode one when breaking the record for cycling around the world.
Genesis bill the Croix de Fer as a bike for exploring on, so as you'd expect you get a bunch of eyelets for fitting mudguards and racks both at the rear and onto the skinny-bladed cromo fork. Last year the brakes were Shimano’s BR-R505 discs. This time around they are Avid BB-7s – still mechanical discs. You can get disc-specific racks, including M:part models from Genesis’s owners Madison, that work fine around these.
Tiagra’s shift from 9-speed to 10-speed allows Genesis to offer a wider range of gears on the Croix de Fer this time around. Whereas last year the compact (50-34T) chainset was linked up to a 12-25T cassette, this time the biggest sprocket is a 28T, so you’ll have an easier time of it when you’re heading uphill heavily laden. The hubs are Tiagra too, laced up to Alex XD-Lite rims, which should prove to be a dependable wheelset without too much weight.
Buy the Croix de Fer as a complete bike and it’ll cost you £1,249.99. It’s available in a frame only format too for £279.99 with the fork at £59.99
Madison Track Bike
While Genesis have had fixed gear and singlespeed bikes in their range for a few years now they've never done and out and out track bike… if memory serves. That changes for 2012 with the addition of the Madison Track, Genesis getting to have their cake and eat it too on the bike naming front being able to get a reference in to their parent company and the famous track racing discipline in on one hit. As is the way with track bikes, it’s a straightforward, no-nonsense piece of work.
As is also the way with modern track machines, it's aluminium rather than steel; the Madison Track comes with a 6061 aluminium frame and a bladed alloy fork. The chainset is a Driveline 50t model matched up to a 15t sprocket at the back – fixed, obviously, and there’s no flip-flop freewheel here. There are no brakes either, this being a track bike, although you can retro-fit them if you like; the holes are there if you want to sling some callipers on for riding on the road – you'll need to zip tie on the cables though.
Geometry is classic track with steep angles and short chainstays plus the obligatory high bottom bracket to enable you to get the power down as rapidly as possible around the bankings. Off the track we'd hazard a guess that handling will be pin-sharp and punchy
The Madison Track will be available from March at £599.99
More details to follow on the new Day One Alfine 11 and other range highlights.
*The ones that need lavish captions
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.