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Genesis Equilibrium Disc 10 review

11 Aug 2016
Verdict:

Classic looks, 21st century bike.

Cyclist Rating: 

About the bike

Genesis is up-front about the Equilibrium Disc 10’s primary functions – we’re not looking at a race rocket but at an easy-going ride that echoes the brand’s ever-popular steel-framed Equilibrium, only with the addition of disc brakes. Or, as Genesis puts it, ‘It’s an ideal road disc bike for those who favour comfort, stability and fun over KOM leaderboards.’ But even with modern components fitted, how will a steel-framed bike fare against similarly priced aluminium and carbon bikes? Only one way to find out…

The spec

Frameset 

Steel, if you believe everything you’re told, is real. Specifically, it’s double-butted, cold-drawn, seamless, Taiwanese chromoly, otherwise known as 4130, and one of the commonest forms of steel used in bicycles. Buying this from the Far East potentially allows Genesis to load up the Equilibrium with higher-spec parts. They haven’t. But they have added practicality that befits a bike that’s unashamedly aimed squarely at the leisure rider rather than sportivist or racer. For starters, there’s clearance for tyres and up to 40mm, according to Genesis. Mudguard eyelets and rear rack mounts give this bike all-weather touring potential. Brass cable adjusters look stunning. Geometry-wise, a measured steering angle of 70.8° is so relaxed it’s practically comatose, while a fairly long head tube for the frame size amplifies this bike’s easy-going nature. A sub-1000mm wheelbase ensures the Equilibrium doesn’t have the turning circle of a Routemaster, however.

Groupset 

Shimano Tiagra is a regular find on bikes at this price. It requires a delicacy of touch to get the best from gearshifts, but if crisper shifting is what you’re after, the £1,549.99 Equilibrium Disc 20 has you covered. TRP’s Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes have a dual-piston action, which goes without the slave pad of cheaper disc brake set-ups. It’s also easily adjusted and requires less maintenance. A compact chainset matched to a 12-28 cassette offers a useful spread of ratios.

Finishing kit 

Own-brand alloy parts are used throughout the Equilibrium’s build. It’s the Burt Reynolds of finishing kits – it gets the job done, but is faintly unremarkable. The 42cm handlebars wear comfortably padded tape, and a 110mm alloy stem adds to the rather stretched-out overall feel. We’re not complaining; it’s most becoming. The alloy seatpost and gel saddle do their best to deaden vibrations. 

Wheels 

Genesis has chosen CX (cyclocross) wheels from Fulcrum on this do-everything-with-a-smile-on-your-face road bike, in part for the maintenance-reducing advantage of double-gasket hub seals. They also have a 23mm outer rim diameter to better accommodate tyres well over 30mm, so your choice of replacement rubber is vast.

The ride


First impression

It might seem an unfair detail to dwell upon, but the over-riding first impression is of how heavy this bike is. At 10.42kg, our size S example is hauling some serious timber. With a few notable exceptions, steel bikes are going to be weighty, especially at this price. However, they make up for it in other ways…

On the road

Of course, the greater the bulk, the quicker the descent. This bike excels when pushed really hard downhill, for a number of reasons. Its frame offers more stiffness and enthusiasm than its conservative geometry suggests, and its 28c Continental tyres are enormous confidence boosters when you’re pushing the limit. It soon becomes clear, however, that while a rapid descent proves thrilling, when the road rises the Equilibrium suffers. Progress is verging on power-sapping up the steepest climbs, but those cyclocross wheels do their best to urge you on, while the smallest gear of 34x28 was engaged several times. On hills where we’d normally get out of the saddle and leather a bike, the Genesis is much happier for you to sit down and grind it out. But that’s exactly what it’s designed for, so we’re not going to give it a shoeing for that. In fact, what the Equilibrium forces you to do is forget the Garmin, look around and admire the view – for some still the main reason for riding a bike. We’d whack on a rack and panniers and happily set off for an all-terrain adventure on this bike.

Handling

The frame geometry might be slack but the ride is more involving than mere numbers suggest. Because the frame is fairly stiff, not only is there a heap of feedback for what’s going on underneath you, but also a healthy amount of power being transferred to the ground. You won’t win any sprints or hill climbs on this bike, but progress on rolling roads is bordering on joyful. Continental’s Grand Sport tyres aren’t at the pointy end of performance rubber technology, but they’re still hugely confidence-inspiring and transform this bike into something you could happily take on gravel tracks, too. That’s where those nicely-modulated disc brakes come into their own; who wants to lock up the front wheel on a patch of loose chippings or grass? What you’re getting here is a sturdy, durable bike, built to last, built for most roads, and guaranteed to broaden your horizons. 

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 542mm 540mm
Seat Tube (ST) 500mm 500mm
Down Tube (DT) 618mm 618mm
Fork Length (FL) 388mm 388mm
Head Tube (HT) 150mm 150mm
Head Angle (HA) 71 70.8
Seat Angle (SA) 74 73.3
Wheelbase (WB) 990mm 995mm
BB drop (BB) 72mm 68mm

Spec

Frame Genesis Mjolnir seamless double-butted comroly steel, carbon forks
Groupset Shimano Tiagra
Brakes TRP Spyre mechanical disc, 160/140mm rotors
Chainset Shimano Tiagra, 50/34
Cassette Shimano Tiagra, 12-28
Bars Genesis Road Compact
Stem Genesis Road 
Seatpost Genesis
Wheels Fulcrum Racing Sport DB-CX
Saddle Genesis Road Race
Weight 10.42kg
Contact genesisbikes.co.uk

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