Icebike 2013: Volare range and new 853 Equilibrium + video

More details of the four-frame Volare range plus the new Equilibrium frame and fork in production colours

by Dave Atkinson   March 7, 2013  

The Madison-Genesis race team have already had some success on their metal race bikes, in fact Ian Bibby powered home to a win at the IG Nocturne at the London Bike Show at the Volare's first competitive outing. Soon the bikes will be hitting the shops and there's a range of frames all sharing the same race geometry.

The Volare will be available in four different grades of Reynolds steel Starting from the bottom end there'll be a Reynolds 631 frame, then an 853, a 931 and a 953. Reynolds 631 steel is a well-regarded tubeset that's often used for Audax-type bikes, whereas the more expensive air-hardened 853 and stainless 931 tubesets are more of a racing bent. The super -hard and difficult to work 953 tubeset is Reynolds' top offering and Dom told us that the stiffness that it can give at the crucial bottom bracket interface is second to none in steel.

The shaping of the tubes is mostly done by Reynolds. The 631, 853 and 953 tubesets are all made in the UK and much of the shaping is done as part of the manufacturing process, although some of the work is also done when the tubesets are assembled into frames in Asia. That stiffness, essential for power transfer in a race bike, comes from an 85mm bottom bracket shell with press-fit bearings, much wider than the standard 68mm unit ans allowing Genesis to use much bigger chainstays for extra stiffness. Three of the four Volare frames use the bigger BB shell, with the Reynolds 631 frame sticking with a more conventional setup. The 953 version will come in a Di2-friendly internally routed version, with the battery slung under the down tube and the wire heading into the frame via the bottom bracket as shown above.

The two top-tier bikes are essentially exactly the same frame as the team are riding at the moment; some of the riders are on the slightly cheaper 931 bike that gives a slightly more compliant ride and is also a touch lighter, although it's not as stiff. Genesis are also hoping to give the 853 bike a few outings in the pro peloton, both for rider feedback and to show that the bike can mix it with Carbon and the more exclusive steel.

So to the builds: the Reynolds 631 frame will be available as full bike in a Shimano Tiagra build with a tapered carbon fork, target price is £1299-£1399. The 853 frame will be available as a frame and fork for around £900, and also as a full bike in a Shimano 105 build for around £1799.

The Reynolds 931 frame won't be available on its own, as Genesis think that most people in the market for a steel frame at that end of the range will be prepared to pay the extra for the top of the range platform. It will come in a Shimano Ultegra build for "2-something, we're still working it out," Dom told us.

Right at the top of the pile is the Reynolds 953 frame, which comes in two separate versions for mechanical and electronic shifting. The frameset will be £2,200 for Di2 compatible or £2,100 for mechanical. There'll also be a full team build (most likely substituting the Shimano C35 tubular wheels for the clincher version) withe a full Dura-Ace 9000 series groupset and Pro Vibe 7s finishing kit. That's going to set you back around £6,000.

All of the frames share the same geometry as the race bike, so even the bottom bike in the range isn't really competing with Genesis' well-regarded Equilibrium; it's a fair bit longer and lower than that. We're looking forward to having a go on the bikes and there's a launch event scheduled for July; in the meantime here's Dom talking us round the important features of the frame.

We've gushed at length about the Genesis Equilibrium in the past and it remains a firm favourite in the office. Originally the frame was standard Reynolds 520 but was uprated to 725 a couple of years back. Now the 853 version, that we saw the prototype of at the London Bike Show, is a reality. So much of a reality that the one that we nicked from the show is sitting here in the Ramada Hotel room as we type this, ready to be built up for some testing. Lucky old us. They're making it with green and yellow highlights to match the colours in the Reynolds badge, on a dark grey base. Norwich City fans rejoice. The 853 Equilibrium frame and fork will retail for £749 and stock isn't far away.

The new 853 frame comes with a matching 853 fork. Dom reckons that the ride from the 853 tubeset is similar to the cheaper 725 frame but the fork is a real improvement in terms of comfort without losing any of the Equilibrium's super-planted feel. We'll have a chance to find out for ourselves soon. Also in the pipeline is a disc version of the Equilibrium, which will have a steel disc fork and an inboard-mounted calliper mount to the rear, heel clearance allowing. We're looking forward to seeing that one too.

27 user comments

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Sounds like there will be a good range of Volares to choose from. Confused about the reasoning for the 931 not being available as a frameset though when the models above and below it will be.

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posted by thegibdog [72 posts]
7th March 2013 - 21:47

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I've often thought that the only improvement I'd really want to make to my Equilibrium would be to add disks. Nice move Genesis, really looking forward to seeing that one.

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posted by andyspaceman [218 posts]
7th March 2013 - 22:53

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I agree it is strange not offering the 931 as a frame. It would come in a bit cheaper than the 953 and would sell well I reckon. In fact I would have one!

posted by othello [279 posts]
7th March 2013 - 23:22

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Looks fab.

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

posted by notfastenough [3079 posts]
7th March 2013 - 23:23

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I agree about the 931 frame option. Would be my frame of choice, not highly expensive 953, and presumable a reasonable price point as frame only option. I'd def buy one!

posted by richardvaltos [18 posts]
8th March 2013 - 0:29

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The Equilibrium is a fabulous bike especially for riders like me who are not in the first flush of youth and want a responsive comfortable bike that won't be disgraced in a Sportive; worried that Genesis are making too many different versions of the Volare although the steel should help with the terrible roads everywhere.

New Forester

posted by Forester [86 posts]
8th March 2013 - 7:49

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Quote:
The 631, 853 and 953 tubesets are all made in the UK and much of the shaping is done as part of the manufacturing process, although some of the work is also done when the tubesets are assembled into frames in Asia.

So, you are buying something that has been shipped halfway around the world twice? How is that sustainable? No wonder the prices are so steep. High-end is high-end, and consequently irrelevant, but £1299-£1399 for Tiagra on the base model has FAIL written all over it. Still, on the plus side, at least they cannot be accused of pricing local frame builders out of business. You can get custom-sized, high performance frames from the likes of Rourkes for less, no matter what grade of steel, and you can choose your own paint scheme (colours based on the Reynolds badge - how naff can you get.)

And isn't a disc-equipped Equilibrium a Croix de Fer?

Sorry but, for me, Genesis has jumped the shark.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
8th March 2013 - 9:08

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Quote:
So, you are buying something that has been shipped halfway around the world twice? How is that sustainable?

How can any bike be sustainable?

The Iron ore to make the tubes probably came from Brazil, the Shimano components are shipped from Japan/Singapore, The tyres though badged Continental are probably from India, etc etc etc.

If you want a bike that has never seen a component travel you might as well give up now.

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
8th March 2013 - 9:51

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The Croix de Fer is a completely different bike with distinctly different capabilities.

Also you are deluded to think in this day and age most products don't have few air miles.

Check this website for some up front info, more than you will find from any other brand. http://www.patagonia.com/us/footprint/

I do hope though as you mention that local frame builders will benefit from a resurgence in steel frames.

posted by Nzlucas [89 posts]
8th March 2013 - 10:03

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In truth, shipping bike parts around the world must have a much lower impact than for example shipping engines round the world.

posted by pmr [166 posts]
8th March 2013 - 10:16

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Would be interested to see what Rourke would quote for a 953 with similar worked tubes, press-fit BB shell and oversize HT. 99.9% sure it'd be considerably more than £2.2k/£2.1k!

posted by Alb [80 posts]
8th March 2013 - 11:53

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Re the 931 frame: The comment from Genesis suggesting that most people in the market for a high-end frame, will go the extra mile for the 953, would suggest that the difference in cost between the two must not be that much. My initial reaction however, was that it's an intentional ploy (perfectly acceptable) on behalf of Genesis, to guarantee sales of the 953 frames. As there is a very clear distinction between the 853 and 953 versions, in terms of cost, people will definitely go one way, or the other. If the 931 version is just a little cheaper than the 953, then a lot of people would opt for that, potentially leaving the really high-end frames stacking up on the shelves.

ESMMH

posted by Paul Madden [8 posts]
8th March 2013 - 12:04

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Alb wrote:
Would be interested to see what Rourke would quote for a 953 with similar worked tubes, press-fit BB shell and oversize HT. 99.9% sure it'd be considerably more than £2.2k/£2.1k!

I'm equally sure 99.9% of potential buyers wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Builders like Rourkes have been producing high performance bikes for decades, and have pioneered the use of such materials. Genesis, on the other hand, seems to think that a good reputation for producing value-for-money products can be parlayed overnight into becoming a high-end brand, charging Colnago-like prices, because they've spec'ed some wider diameter head tubes and bottom brackets from their suppliers.

Also nobody is saying that local frame builders make their products out of rainbows and moonbeams, but (a) the fact that their raw materials are produced abroad nowadays is not their fault and (b) if their wares have been halfway around the world two fewer times then that is a big selling point, for those who care about such things.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
8th March 2013 - 12:15

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Alb wrote:
Would be interested to see what Rourke would quote for a 953 with similar worked tubes, press-fit BB shell and oversize HT. 99.9% sure it'd be considerably more than £2.2k/£2.1k!

Looking at the Rourke website it says

Reynolds 953 Stainless Super Oversize, Race Carbon fork, FROM £1700.

Going to be pretty similar I reckon.

posted by othello [279 posts]
8th March 2013 - 12:41

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othello wrote:
Alb wrote:
Would be interested to see what Rourke would quote for a 953 with similar worked tubes, press-fit BB shell and oversize HT. 99.9% sure it'd be considerably more than £2.2k/£2.1k!

Looking at the Rourke website it says

Reynolds 953 Stainless Super Oversize, Race Carbon fork, FROM £1700.

Going to be pretty similar I reckon.

The two are not alike othello. Dom has worked really closely with Reynolds on actually developing new tubesets, pushing the limits of what is possible, for the 953 frame, it's not just using a stock tubeset that has been available since Reynolds launched 953 a few years back.

This is a photo of the Rourke 953 BB junction, and you can clearly see the difference between the two. The Genesis has a wider bottom bracket shell, Shimano BB86 press-fit, 20mm wider than BB30. The chainstays are also much fatter as is the seatube, which is 35mm at the BB and tapers to 31.8mm up top. It's not just any old top tube either, it's bulged in the middle section to make it stiffer

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posted by David Arthur [1475 posts]
8th March 2013 - 13:22

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That 853 equilibrium looks almost so lovely, but real shame about the colour. Bet it rides beautifully though...

posted by Wig9255 [48 posts]
8th March 2013 - 14:42

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@david I wasn't meaning the bikes would be similar, more the frame price would be.

posted by othello [279 posts]
8th March 2013 - 14:49

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pmr wrote:
In truth, shipping bike parts around the world must have a much lower impact than for example shipping engines round the world.

You can pack a lot of frame tubes into a shipping container.

The choice of not selling 931 frames is explained in the article:
"most people in the market for a steel frame at that end of the range will be prepared to pay the extra for the top of the range platform."
It would be an extremely small market to service in a range of sizes in addition to offering 631, 853 and 953 (and this one in both mechanical & Di2 versions).

£1400 for 10 speed 631 isn't so terrible, and remember this is the race frame. The Equilibrium 10 (also Tiagra) in 725 steel is £1150.

I'm pleased that Genesis are doing their own thing, it's good to see a range of steel road frames being made available. I like to think that my next bike/frame could well be a Genesis.

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posted by Simon E [1940 posts]
8th March 2013 - 15:12

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Wondering how much difference the BB and tapered seat tube really make to the stiffness and influence the ride quality? Some lab results would make interesting reading. Great project though and would love to ride one for myself. Fantastic materials for road bikes.

Gosforth.cc :: Reynolds 931 & 953 Road Frames

posted by mrdannyjohnson [1 posts]
8th March 2013 - 15:15

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Not just a case of slapping an oversize bb and headtube on there though. The frame is very much a sum of all the parts and to utilise them fully you need to look at the connecting tubes. The 86.5mm bb shell provides surface area for 24mm round chainstays (with ample clearance) and a swaged downtube and seattube. Likewise, the ovalised toptube at the headtube junction uses pretty much the full diameter of the headtube - there simply wouldn't have been the suficient material there to weld such a tube to with a standard 1-1/8" or tapered headtube.

posted by Alb [80 posts]
8th March 2013 - 15:56

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Liking the 853 fork on the new Equilibrium.

Does it still need a band on clamp? I'd prefer a braze-on, unless the diameter of the tubing has increased to 32 mm.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1334 posts]
8th March 2013 - 16:17

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ubercurmudgeon wrote:
I'm equally sure 99.9% of potential buyers wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Builders like Rourkes have been producing high performance bikes for decades, and have pioneered the use of such materials. Genesis, on the other hand, seems to think that a good reputation for producing value-for-money products can be parlayed overnight into becoming a high-end brand, charging Colnago-like prices, because they've spec'ed some wider diameter head tubes and bottom brackets from their suppliers.

that's a pretty blinkered view. what genesis are doing is trying to bring steel back into the professional peloton and they've had to do a lot of work to make a viable platform for that level of competition. how many professional teams are riding rourkes? or any other steel frame? the game has changed.

to say that most people wouldn't notice the difference is to entirely miss the point of the whole endeavour. the 953 bike is designed specifically for people that *do* notice the difference. you can buy one too, although the nuances might be wasted on you. if they will be, then don't buy one.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7310 posts]
8th March 2013 - 16:50

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Any info on weights of the respective frames yet?

posted by othello [279 posts]
8th March 2013 - 17:15

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
to say that most people wouldn't notice the difference is to entirely miss the point of the whole endeavour. the 953 bike is designed specifically for people that *do* notice the difference. you can buy one too, although the nuances might be wasted on you. if they will be, then don't buy one.

I wasn't specifically talking about the 953 bike, and I wasn't addressing my comments to the people who can tell the difference (although I still say that having a frame that is custom-fitted to your needs is more important than all the fancy new BB??? bottom brackets and XX?? headsets they can cram into their designs.) I was merely stating my opinion that, as a value proposition, Genesis isn't what it used to be, as they attempt to push upmarket. Unsurprisingly, really, given the cost of sponsoring team and shooting fancy videos (and shipping steel back and forth around the world.)

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
8th March 2013 - 20:21

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were you against those 'fancy new' STI shifters and 'fancy new' aheadsets and 'fancy new' clipless pedals too? Thinking

things move on. not all new stuff is good, but not doing anything new isn't the solution to that. i doff my cap to genesis for making a steel bike that can mix it in the modern peloton. your mileage may vary.

othello wrote:
Any info on weights of the respective frames yet?

not definitively. from what i understand the current 953 and 931 frames are in the 1,500 to 1,700g range with the next generation (more compact geometry) a bit lighter. so heavier than carbon but still buildable into a UCI-weight-limit-bothering bike.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7310 posts]
8th March 2013 - 20:55

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ubercurmudgeon wrote:
Builders like Rourkes have been producing high performance bikes for decades, and have pioneered the use of such materials.

Aren't Genesis are also pioneering but in a different way? Aren't they attempting to move steel frames forward by doing things with the tubing that aren't done by traditional frame builders?

I agree that Genesis don't present the value they once did but, whilst you can get a custom frame in the same tubing from the likes of Rourke for a similar price, it will be a very different bike.

The material is only one part of it - are all 7005 aluminium frames equal? How about 3AL/2.5V titanium? T700 carbon?

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posted by thegibdog [72 posts]
8th March 2013 - 23:40

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Cool

posted by nabobofthrob [4 posts]
16th March 2013 - 7:44

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