That Dom at Genesis has been busy. He had a whole rack of prototype bikes on display at Icebike, most of which will be hitting these shores in the summer. A bunch of them had knobbly tyres so we didn't spend too much time ogling them (even the 700C ones - sorry, '29er') but that still left us with three really interesting new models to look at. And interestingest of all was the new Equilibrium Ti.
If you're not familiar with the Equilibrium, well it's something of a modern classic. Steel bikes with carbon forks are twenty to the dozen nowadays, but roll the clock back a few years and your steel options were a lot more limited. The Equilibrium was one of the pivotal bikes in bringing steel back to the mainstream, the reason being that they really nailed it, first time. The original Reynolds 520 framed Equilibrium remains one of the best bikes we've tested, and it's my bike of choice for long-distance adventures such as the 360km-in-a-day Bath to Colchester epic last year.
The current Equlibrium has gone up a step on the tubing ladder and it's now made from Reynolds 725, but there has been plenty of demand, Dom told us, for something a bit more high end but sharing the same geometry and ride characteristics of the steel machine. And so the Equilibrium Ti was born.
It doesn't look a great deal like the steel bike. At first glance it seems more compact and racy, but that's down to the fact that it uses a much larger tubeset for the main triangle: in fact the geometry is exactly the same as the Reynolds-tubed bikes. Dom's philosophy for the bike was that is should be stiff at the front end and compliant at the rear, something the steel bike manages very well in spite of only using standard tube profiles. The Ti bike is beefed up considrably; the XX44 head tube has enough room for a tapered steerer fork and the down tube is based on Genesis' Latitude Ti MTB, albeit with thinner walls. That should make for pin-sharp tracking on the descents...
At the back end Dom has put a lot of work into the tube profiles to make sure that the bike has a similar compliant feel to the steel Equilibrium. The chainstays are flattened and the seatstays ovalised to work some laterally-stiff-yet-vertically-compliant magic.
It's good to see that the Equilibrium Ti carries on the all-seasons philosophy of its commoner sibling; there's mudguards eyelets at the rear and Genesis have sought out a tapered steerer fork with eyelets too, so you can fit full mudguards for winter excursions.
The frame and fork (with headset and seat clamp) will retail for about £1,500 and there'll be a Shimano 105-equipped full bike available too for about £2,200. That's similar money to the Kinesis GF-Ti that was third overall in our 2011 Bike of the Year round-up, and it's a similar steed; it'll be interesting to see how the two compare when we can get our sticky mitts on one. And, of course, how the Titanium bike compares to the steel one.
"Why haven't Genesis ever made a CX race bike from steel?" was one of the questions we were asking directly before Dom showed us the Fugio, which is, erm, a CX race bike made from steel. Reynolds 853 steel, to be precise. The bike is based on the geometry of the popular Vapour Aluminium 'cross bikes, and it's built with a short head tube for an aggressive racy position. There's no rack or 'guard mounts here; Genesis have the CX-muter territory very well covered indeed, and this is a bike for thrashing round the park for an hour of a Sunday.
The fork is by an American brand, Whisky; they're from the same stable as Salsa and Surly and the fork is a chunky and purposeful looking thing indeed, with a tapered steerer running inside the 44mm head tube.
The Fugio is a disc frame, and the bike will be offered as a full build with Shimano CX50 (105 level) components and Avid cable discs for £1,699. The frame and fork on their own will set you back £799.
The other new bike is the Volant, which is a new mid-range alloy race bike. You may remember that Genesis had the Aether in their line up in the recent past, but it was discontinued. There were a couple of things that stacked against the Aether; one was the fact that it aped the geometry and sportivey market positioning of the already popular Equilibrium and people preferred the steel bike. The other was a choice of colours and graphics that might best be described as esoteric; the grey one, in particular, wasn't pretty.
Anyway. Skip to now and Alloy is back, and the Volant is an entry level race bike. The geometry has been tightened up and Genesis have kept with traditional round profile tubes. When we first saw it we took it for an oversized steel frame, especially since Dom had dressed up the show bike in some very tasty high-end kit.
The frame itself is triple-butted 6069 alloy which is high quality spec considering the cheapest of the builds (using Shimano 2300) is £650. There's be a Sora version at £800, and you can have Tiagra 10-speed for a grand. The frame features an oversize head tube and the seatpost is extended slightly above the top tube to balance the look of the bike.
The look of the bike. This is a really good looking bike. The minimal paint scheme will come through to the finished bike, and the classic tube profiles and simple lines are very easy on the eye. It helps to have it dripping in Dura Ace, of course, but it certainly didn't look like mutton dressed as lamb. Let's hope the ride matches the looks.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.