To be fair, the way the Equilibrium looks you could forgive it if it was an absolute pig to ride. You could ride to your local cafe, sit and have a coffee and just look at it. It really is a beauty to look at in that understated retro classic way that only the British can do. Thankfully it rides like a dream so you can spend as much time on it as looking at it.
Essentially designed with the big mile rides in mind don’t for a second think it’s going to be a sedate sluggish ride. I managed to ride the Genesis everywhere from an audax and fast commute to five laps round Castle Combe race track and it took them all in its stride. If you’re after a sportive bike that you can use every day make sure the Equilibrium is near the top of your shopping list. Not only is it comfortable for a whole day in the saddle, it can climb and best of all it can descend like nothing I’ve ever ridden. It’s no point training like mad and giving up beer and chocolate so you can climb 1 mile an hour quicker if you can’t come down the other side like a cheetah with its tail on fire!! This bike will let you do just that it's a phenomenal descender.
At the heart of the Genesis is a Reynolds 520 chromoly tubeset to provide a stiff yet compliant ride and using a 34.9mm diameter downtube to keep things tight for out of the saddle efforts and high speed descending and slim chainstays to reduce road buzz. With the way the road surfaces are at the moment the chain and seat stays do a great job of filtering out the harshness of the potholed back lanes. To keep things comfortable at the front the forks are carbon and they work well with no discernable flex felt during the test period. Good quality welding throughout and a great paintjob make for a frame that looks far more expensive than it really is.
Genesis branded finishing kit completes the high quality look of the frame. The stem, seatpost and handlebars are all 6061 alloy, the post and bars having a brushed finish which makes a change to the usual black and the stem painted white to match the bar tape and the Genesis branded saddle. All the kit works well, no flex through the bars or stem and the shallow drops are just right for getting aerodynamic without adopting a full racing crouch.
The transmission is taken care of by Shimano 105 excluding the crankset which is a non series FC-R600 compact with external BB. Everything worked in the usual Shimano efficient way with a slight tweak of the rear mech on day one and then nothing needed to be touched again. With a 50/34T chainset mated to a 12/25T cassette all terrains are catered for. Tektro takes care of the stopping with their BR358 dual pivot callipers, after initial reservations they actually performed really well especially when taking into consideration the weather the bike has been tested in. Braking was easily moderated and powerful wet or dry.
A set of 32 spoke three cross wheels complete the retro look of the frame using Alex AT400 rims laced to Tiagra hubs. These are no lightweights but they are good solid performers with a machined braking surface and stainless spokes. You can feel the weight penalty of the wheels on the climbs but under day to day riding and acceleration it’s barely noticeable. Even with hitting the odd pothole at speed no truing was necessary and the hub bearings were smooth from the outset. Continental UltraRace 700x25c tyres are grippy and resistant to cuts, wear rates are quite shocking though with the rear squaring off in less than 1000 miles but it’s a fair sacrifice for reassurance in the corners.
The Genesis is a really versatile machine, a great climber, superb descender and all round mile muncher, add in full mudguard clearance and eyelets and you've got your commuter and weekend bike all in one. With its classic looks and balanced finishing kit its certainly one to consider, especially if the goverment are and your employer are willing to help out through the cycle to work scheme
road.cc test report
Make and model: Genesis Equilibrium
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Reynolds 520 cr-mo steel with carbon forks, Genesis finishing kit throughout with Shimano 105
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Genesis claim the Equilibrium is aimed at the big mile rider including sportives and audax. I agree with them as its comfortable to ride all day but still thrilling enough to keep you alert. Also being on the bike to work limit brings it into the realm of the commuter
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Build quality is excellent with smooth welds and the finishing paint job is second to none. The choice of colour and decals makes the Genesis stand out in the crowd.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
cromo steel which provides great stiffness and comfort all in one. The forks are carbon fibre with an alloy steerer
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
size tested was a 56cm,
top tube (horizontal) 555mm
head tube 150mm
head angle 72 deg
seat angle 73.5 deg
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
pretty standard stuff in terms of top tube, nice long headtube for a more upright position.
Full geometry on Genesis' website
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The ride quality is sublime, comfortable yet still stiff enough for when you need to get the power down
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
yes, no flex anywhere
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The heavy wheels blunt the acceleration a touch but the sprint is there when you need it
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral, nothing to catch you out
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Handling is brilliant. when descending the front weights up nicely and its equally at home meandering around the lanes
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Saddle was comfortable and supportive, handlebars had enough flex to be comfortable without detracting from the handling
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Shimano's chainset really puts the power down and everything else backs it up
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Lighter wheels would make a huge difference to climbing and hard accelerating
I've ridden nothing better
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
not as flash as the higher groupsets but when you consider the price, a cracking groupset
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
They work well together, good solid performers but are obviously specced to hit the budget. If I was riding sportives on the Equilibrium I'd treat myself to a set of lightweight wheels which would transform the bike
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
all the controls work so well you don't even notice them to be fair. The shallow drop bars should work well both for taller and shorter riders.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? yes
Would you consider buying the bike? yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Fastback Pro My best bike is: Dolan Chrono TT Custom
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.