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Genesis Delta 10 review

1 Sep 2016
Verdict:

The Genesis Delta 10 is an all new entry-level sportive machine that shouldn't break the bank.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£600

British brand Genesis is aiming its entry-level Delta 10 at, well… everyone, it seems. Billed as a fast road bike with practical touches that help transform it from debut sportive machine to able all-rounder, the Taiwanese-built alloy-framed Delta features a carbon fork, a sensible, no-nonsense spec including Shimano Claris gears and a very tempting price tag. It’s the cheapest of the four bikes we’ve tested, but is it proof that do-everything budget machines are often compromised?

Frameset 

The Delta 10’s frame is constructed from what Genesis calls a ‘hybrid double-butted tubeset’, incorporating two grades of aluminium alloy (6066 and 6061), to provide stiffness in areas where it counts, yet deliver compliance in others. The stiffer alloy (6066) is used for the down tube and chainstays for the best possible power transfer, while more flex is found through the application of 6061 to the top tube, seat tube and seatstays. There is clearance (and eyelets) for mudguards, which gives this bike an edge if you’re looking for a road bike for all seasons. Its frame geometry is classic endurance-spec, with a relaxed 71.1°head angle partnering with a 170mm head tube to ensure minimum twitchiness from the front end. Inline barrel adjusters on the down tube allow on-the-move fiddling to coax misaligning gears. 

Groupset 

Shimano’s Claris groupset provides the shifters, plus front and rear mechs. Aimed squarely at the beginner cyclist, Claris is seen on much cheaper bikes than the Genesis. It’s fine in use, and its eight-speed set-up provides new riders with an easy introduction to multi-geared road bikes. However, the 11-32 cassette means the jump between gears is more pronounced than it would be in an 11-speed set-up. The non-series compact chainset ensures that even your nan could ride up the hill to the shops on this bike. Long-drop Tektro brakes leave room for mudguards come the muckier time of the year.

Finishing kit 

The handlebars, stem and seatpost are serviceable, unexceptional, own-branded alloy tubes. The bars on our size M example are 420mm in diameter, and fairly comfortable for a few hours. Basic bar tape does the job, and overall the ride is free of vibes at the three main contact points. It’s very upgradeable, though. 

Wheels 

Alex Rims AT470 rims are laced to Joytech hubs by 28 stainless spokes with brass nipples. It’s a set-up designed with longevity and minimal maintenance in mind. And although the overall wheel weight is high, they do roll well. Kenda’s 25c Kriterium tyres are budget options with ample grip and feel for most conditions.

The ride

Straight away, it’s clear that the Delta 10 is proof you can get a very biddable alloy road bike for £600. We’ve ridden disc-braked carbon bikes that weigh as much but perform only marginally better. The downhill run at the opening of our test loop highlights the Delta 10’s stability at speed, aided by its laid-back geometry and 25c tyres. Not only is the Delta perfectly stable at speed, it’s also particularly comfortable, especially for a budget alloy frame. Aluminium can so often transmit vibrations to the bum or hands, but this is tuned out by the thickly padded alloy handlebars and the bike’s arcing, semi-flexible seatstays.

Staying at the rear of the Genesis, there is some considerable scope for getting the power down – jumping out of a corner just a few miles into our loop, the bike responds surprisingly well to a big-gear input. It’s only when flat ground gives way to undulating terrain that chinks appear in the bike’s armour – if only the fact that its eight-speed Claris groupset punishes anything but perfectly timed gearshifts. For shorter climbs, it’s simple enough to choose a ratio and stick with it, but an ill-timed downshift between the widely spaced gears is almost enough to slow us to walking pace, or set the legs spinning at lightning speed. The compact chainset gives plenty of scope for tackling long, hilly rides, however, and gels well with the shifting set-up. Tektro’s R315 brakes are strong performers in this context; they’re low-end, long-drop callipers but grip with enough enthusiasm to slow you without fuss. 

Pitched at those looking for their first bike with drop handlebars, the Delta is a particularly cosseting place to be. Although sporting a fairly standard 71.1° head angle for a bike aimed at endurance riding rather than racing, it still offers a bit of excitement. There’s nothing ponderous about its handling, which is confidence-inspiring and comfortable; it pulls off the trick of flattering its rider very nicely, especially on twisting downhill stretches, with planted handling, direct response and exceptional stability. The 25c Kenda tyres on workhorse wheels are nothing special, but running a fairly standard (for 25c tyres) 85psi front and rear, the wide contact patch inspires you to push harder through turns, and enhances the feel of a bike that could be capable of doing all you ask of it on the road.  

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