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The Genesis Flyer is a great winter bike or no-nonsense commuter and Genesis have sensibly concentrated the spend on the excellent frame and fork, with unexceptional but solid wheels and finishing kit that'll last for ages. Overall it's fun to ride as a training bike and with mudguard and rack mounts it's versatile enough to carry a load too. For £600 it's a great addition to your stable and it'll get plenty of use.
First things first: the Flyer is a fun bike to ride. Much of that is down to the frame. It's no coincidence that the geometry of the Flyer is the same as that of the Genesis Equilibrium. The Equilibrium was instrumental in bringing steel back into the limelight, thanks in the main to the fact that it was – and still is – a lovely bike to ride. And the Flyer is too.
Genesis have used several varieties of Reynolds tubing for the Equilibrium – 520, 725, 853 – but the Flyer uses what Genesis have dubbed their Mjölnir tubeset. It's a double butted, seamless 4130 chromoly, but the fact that's it unbranded means it's a bit cheaper and that leaves room for a slightly better spec at the same price. The steel frame is mated with a carbon/alloy fork and both frame and fork are designed for long-drop brakes with clearance for bigger tyres and mudguards.
The Flyer doesn't suffer for not being a Reynolds-tubed frame. It's not a light bike at 9.65kg, but it responds really well to rider input and it has a supple feel, especially over rougher tarmac of which we have plenty round here. You need to put some oomph through the rear triangle to get a singlespeed to crest the hills and the Flyer copes with that admirably; it doesn't have the monolithic feel of a carbon bike but neither is it flexy enough to cause any problems. It's springy, if it's anything. And not in a bad way.
Coming down the other side the Flyer doesn't really suffer for the lack of a tapered headset, with an assured and unfluttered gait on the descents. Mostly you'll be freewheeling them as the 68-inch gear spins out at not much over 20mph. The plus side of that is that it's a low enough gear to get up most of the climbs around here without expiring. For varied terrain it's pretty much the perfect gear. If you live somewhere flat you'll probably find yourself swapping the 18-tooth sprocket out for something a bit smaller.
The position is comfortable and not especially racy. The 60cm I tested has a stack height of 612mm and a reach of 404mm. That's a stack-to-reach ratio of 1.51, which is well into sportive geometry (race bikes are rarely below 1.4, and a tourer would be closer to 1.7). It doesn't feel like you're catching too much of the wind and the compact drops offer a slightly more aero position when you need it, although given the geometry I'd probably be happy with a deeper drop for when the headwind is blowing, it's not like it would be too aggressive.
The kit the Flyer is built up with is decent and sturdy. It's not top-end stuff but then at £600 there are going to be a few compromises. The Lasco 46-tooth chainset spins on a square taper cartridge bottom bracket. Some might look at that as a compromise but personally I think it's a sensible spec for a winter bike. Chainset and bottom bracket flex (there's a bit) are much less of an issue on bikes like this, especially a singlespeed where there's no mech rub to annoy you, and a cartridge bottom bracket will run for ages.
The wheels are best described as solid: 32-hole Alex rims on deep-flange Joytech track hubs. Certainly they're not light but they stayed true throughout testing and they're stiff enough to cope with an uphill grind without any brake rub. The rear uses 120mm track spacing and has a flip-flop hub so you can also run the Flyer as a fixed wheel. The frame has decent chain tensioners built into the dropouts; bear in mind that with rearward-facing horizontal dropouts, getting the back wheel out can be a bit of a fiddle if you decide to fit mudguards. It's worth buying an extra set of pop-out stay mounts, like you'd normally fit at the front, to allow you to move the 'guard out of the way.
I took the Conti 28mm tyres off because they wouldn't fit under the mudguards I fitted; Genesis say there is room for 28s and 'guards but not the ones I tried. Anyway, the bike was a lot better with some fast-rolling 25s, the Contis are durable but they're wire-beaded and heavy and they feel a bit lifeless. Stopping them going round is a job for Tektro R315 long-drop callipers and RL-340 brake levers. They're not the most powerful brakes in the world – long drops seldom are – but they're decent enough and the lever shape is good, with a fairly long body for plenty of hand space. Fitting better quality brake pads once the stock ones wear out will improve matters.
The Genesis-branded alloy finishing kit is all solid and unremarkable stuff. The bars are a good shape, the bar tape (often a problem on cheaper bikes) is decent and comfortable, and the same can be said of the saddle. Overall there's nothing really that's bad enough that you'd feel the need to swap it out before it's worn out, with the possible exception of the tyres.
Most people will be looking at the Flyer as a winter trainer or everyday commuter, and for that sort of riding it's well-specced and fun to ride at a sensible price. The frame is excellent and versatile, and worthy of upgrading, and the stock build is all kit that's dependable and should last even in UK winter conditions. I'm not a fan of the tyres but those are easily swapped if you feel the same way. For £600 you're getting a well-thought-through bike with proven geometry. Recommended.
Sportline have been in contact to let us know there'll be some running changes to the Flyer, some of which address points in this review. The rear-facing dropouts are to be replaced by a traditional forward/diagonal dropout which should make puncture fixes a lot easier on the roadside if you're running mudguards. Which you will be, because the Flyer will ship with 35mm Chromoplastic guards in the longest length Genesis could find them, with full mudflaps for maximum winter protection. The gear is lowered slightly more to a 65" (42x17) so you'll definitely need to budget for an extra freewheel if you live anywhere that's not too lumpy. Brakes are upgraded to Promax units with catridge pads (still long drop of course) and the 28mm Continental tyres get swapped for Maxxis Re-Fuse 25c rubber. All those changes together mean the bike should be an even better out-of-the-box winter trainer in its next incarnation.
Well-considered singlespeed workhorse with a lovely frame and decent spec for the money
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Make and model: Genesis Flyer
Size tested: 60
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame and Fork
Genesis Mjölnir Seamless Double-Butted Cromoly
Carbon Road w/ Alloy Steerer
FSA TH-857 Semi-Cartridge
9.45kg (56cm w/o pedals)
Lasco Track 46T Single
TH BB-7420ST, 68x103mm
Shimano SF-MX30 18T
Wheels and Braking
Joytech Alloy Track (Rear = Fixed/Free)
Alex Rims AT470 w/ TCS, 32H
14G Stainless Silver w/ Brass Nipples
Continental Ultra Sport II, 700x28c
Tektro R315 57mm Long-Drop
Genesis Road Compact (D125/R70mm)
Genesis Road (+/-7
Microfiber Anti-Slip w/ VexGel
VP-363S w/ Toeclip
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?
The Flyer borrows not only the tried, tested and loved geometry from our longstanding Equilibrium model but also its practical aspects like generous clearances, long-drop brake calipers and mudguard eyelets that make it such a popular UK choice for obvious, rather damp reasons.
The new 'Mljonir' double-butted, seamless Chromoly tubeset opens up a little room for us to go full circle, adding back in the much-loved carbon fork that graced the original Flyer back in 2006/7; helping to drop weight and act as a nice buffer between the road and the handlebars.
This 'single-speed Equilibrium' makes for a great winter trainer, and, with the majority of the UK's roads in a sorry state, never more so than in the depths of the winter months, we've taken advantage of the clearances and added 28mm tyres paired to new-school wide 22/17mm Alex AT470 rims. The result of the wider base is a vastly improved tyre profile and an increased interior volume, allowing lower pressures and increased comfort.
The 46/18T gearing gives a perfect 'middle-of-the-road' ratio (68.4 gear inches) ensuring your knees don't pop on the climbs but you're not spinning out too quickly on the flat either. We've also kept the 120mm track rear spacing and flip-flop (fixed/free) rear hub for those wanting the option to run fixed.
Functional, reliable and as-practical-a-singlespeed as you're ever likely to encounter.
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Nicely built with a high quality finish.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Genesis Mjölnir Seamless Double-Butted Cromoly
Carbon Road w/ Alloy Steerer
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
60cm as tested. 589mm effective top tube. 612mm stack, 404mm reach. 72.5° head angle, 73° seat angle
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Ride quality is excellent.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
There's some flex through the bottom bracket under power but it's never a problem.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Not much is more efficient than a singlespeed.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
A bit with mudguards fitted, but not a problem.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's an assured bike with predictable handling.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
All good, even the stock bar tape and saddle.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Everything's okay here.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Tyres feel a bit draggy.
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?
Wheels are good, tyres not so much
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.