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Genesis Fugio 30 review

4 Jun 2021
Verdict:

The epitome of what makes gravel riding so fun, all wrapped up in a keenly priced, in your face paint package

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Does it all
Against 
There are faster gravel bikes for road

They say a generation is about 40 years, so it’s no surprise that every 40 years ideas come along that appear new to some but repeated to others. Take gravel bikes – they’re just early mountain bikes aren’t they? Particularly when they’re painted like the Fugio.

The lairy fade is more than reminiscent of a classic mid-90s mountain bike, the Fat Chance ‘Yo Eddy’, made in the States by Chris Chance (who by chance has resurrected his company). But I’m not complaining. I loved the Yo Eddy for its skinny tubes and its paint, and I love the Fugio for just the same reason.

Zip, nip, hooray

There is substance beneath the eye-piercing style. The Fugio’s tubing is Reynolds 725 steel, which resides as Reynolds’ least-expensive-but-still-heat-treated tubeset. That means tubes are ‘annealed’ – heated then cooled, a process that increases strength. The Fugio’s frame is a mixture of economy and performance, designed to be stronger than many alternative steels, if potentially heavier than the topmost tubesets.

As a result I can’t see anyone coming close to breaking a Fugio. This thing feels – to borrow another well-worn phrase from the 1990s – bomb proof. I’d go as far as to say you could go at it with a hammer and it would still get up and bite the behind of the nearest trail.

The Fugio feels like I remember my first mountain bikes felt – zippy thanks to the steel, and robust, but still you’ll know about it if you ride with stiff limbs and locked joints. You need to move as one with a rigid bike over bumpy terrain – you are the bike’s limiting factor and you are its primary suspension.

The 47mm, 650b WTB tyres produce superb grip in many conditions thanks to their width, and help a lot with ironing out trail buzz thanks to their greater volume. This all while turning and accelerating that little bit quicker as the overall diameter is less than a comparable 700c wheelset. Which the Fugio can fit too – in theory up to 40mm on a 700c wheel, although a few Fugio owners suggest 38mm is the maximum non-stay-rubbing size.

 

Versatility off-road therefore abounds. The Fugio coped with anything I could reasonably throw at it. However, it is not a mountain bike. By chance a mate brought along a front and rear-sprung Cannondale Topstone on one gravel ride, and when we swapped bikes I was struck by how much the suspension added to the gravel experience, the Topstone floating over seriously lumpy terrain that had the Fugio bouncing. Yet of the two I still preferred the Fugio feeling.

Buy the Genesis Fugio 30 now from Freewheel

Despite the wide tyres, springy steel frame and near-11kg weight the Fugio took me to the trails and back unfussily, but I’d be reluctant to do long or fast road miles on it. But on gravel this pared-back nature makes even the most basic trails come alive.

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When I asked for her opinion, my friend agreed, adding that of all the bikes she’d ridden, the Fugio felt noticeably assured through corners, a point I’d second, and one I’d lay at the feet of a longer wheelbase and slacker fork than many ‘racier’ gravel bikes.

How I’d like it

The Fugio isn’t cheap cheap, but I’d say you get a useful spec for the price – the Shimano GRX 810 1x groupset is as good as mechanical groupsets get and plenty rangy at 11-42t rear and 40T front; the WTB wheels spin up well, are suitably wide for that useful tyre volume, and feel like a quality build. In fact, I look at this bike and only actually want for less.

 

Try as I might I can’t get on board with dropper seatposts. The X-Fusion here has 50mm of saddle up/down at the flick of the otherwise redundant left-hand GRX shift lever, which is novel to mess around with in the car park but which I never found necessary when riding. And I’d say I ride fairly aggressively on some fairly steep stuff (for gravel). I’d therefore save some weight and go regular seatpost. And so too the bolts.

There are 18 bolts on this bike, adding up to 60g (I weighed them because I lack social skills). OK, I’m not seriously bemoaning the weight, but it does seem overkill to have three sets of bosses on the fork legs and two positions for each bottle. I’m just not sure the average bikepacker is going to ride around the world on the Fugio.

Buy the Genesis Fugio 30 now from Freewheel

It may be nice to have the option, but for a bike whose simplicity is precisely what makes it so brilliant to ride, all those bolts and the dropper post are overkill. The Fugio is proof that sticking to the basics is the way forward, over anything, with a big fat smile.

Pick of the kit

Lazer Sphere Mips helmet, £119.99, lazersport.co.uk

Lazer’s latest lid enters the market as a cheaper pretender to the range-topping Genesis throne. And I like it. That’s because it’s £70 less than the Genesis helmet but has Mips all the same.

Plus there are plenty of vents and though heavier – 280g plays 200g (claimed) – I’d struggle to notice the difference on my head. That said, it does feel like it sits higher than the Genesis, but I forgive it as I think I actually prefer the styling. 

Buy the Lazer Sphere Mips helmet now from Freewheel

Alternatively…


Genesis Equilibrium Disc

It might seem similar, but the Equilibrium (£2,599.99) is more of a ‘road bike does off-road’, borrowing endurance road bike geometry and wide tyre clearances and keeping it steel for spring and robustness.

Buy the Genesis Equilibrium Disc now from Freewheel

Genesis Fugio 10

For almost half the money, the Fugio 10 (£1,699.99) gets an identical frameset but built using aluminium alloy. Spec changes compared to the Fugio 30 include a Sram Apex drivetrain with mechanical discs.

Buy the Genesis Fugio 10 now from Freewheel

Spec

Frame Genesis Fugio 30
Groupset Shimano GRX 810
Brakes Shimano GRX 810
Chainset Shimano GRX 810
Cassette Shimano GRX 810
Bars Genesis Alloy
Stem Genesis Alloy
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic Gravel dropper
Saddle Genesis
Wheels WTB ST I25 TCS 2.0 rims on Formula hubs, WTB Venture 650b x 47mm tyres 
Weight 10.87kg
Contact www.genesisbikes.co.uk

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£2,999.99