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Genesis Delta 20 review

30 Mar 2017
Verdict:

The Delta 20 just about gets the balance right between practicality and performance

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£850

Genesis describes the Delta as an ideal option for both the seriously minded newbie rider and older hands who might be looking for a practical and fast-paced training bike.

With clearance for full-length mudguards it certainly appears practical on paper. However, with its slender tube profiles it doesn’t look to be dragging around any unnecessary heft either.

Buy now from Tredz Cycles for £699.99

Frame

The Delta’s frame is extremely unfussy in its appearance, something further underscored by the minimalist graphics and very attractive electric blue paint job.

However, an inspection of its constituent tubes reveals that each has been shaped to fit its specific purpose. The downtube, for instance, starts wide and round at the head tube before being squished to expand horizontally to meet the bottom bracket.

Along with the flattened chainstays it’s fabricated from relatively stiff 6066 aluminium alloy. Conversely, the seat tube, seatstays and square profile top tube are made of slightly more forgiving 6061. The intention here is to tune each area of the bike with an eye to either stiffness or comfort.

All the cables are housed externally; while internally routed options are often trumpeted for streamlining the look of a bicycle, they rarely streamline servicing.

As many riders buying bikes at this price will just be starting out, the more easily replaceable external cables seem sensible. With the space for mudguards come their attendant mounting points on the dropouts, and with the addition of a seatpost collar adapter, these also allow for the fitting of a rack.

Groupset

It’s been a couple of years since the Tiagra groupset’s cables went undercover. These days even lowly Sora’s are routed beneath the bar tape rather than flapping around above it.

Still, the similarities with Shimano’s higher-end groupsets are impressive and it’s great to see the stiff and quick shifting crankset included.

With only 10 sprockets, Genesis has elected to do without the smallest possible 11t option, but in truth there aren’t many occasions where you’ll feel its absence.

There are still some roadies who consider anything larger than a 28-tooth sprocket to be cheating, but we reckon it’d be nice to have the get-out clause of a wider-ratio cassette than the Delta’s 12-28, for hillier areas.

On the flat, though, the close spread keeps the jumps between the 10 cogs pleasingly minimal.

Finishing kit

The deeply padded saddle is a model to sink into rather than shuffle fore and aft on, and once we got settled, we found it to be plenty comfortable.

The handlebars are short and shallow, meaning their drops don’t require much of a stretch to get hold of, which suits the bike’s personality and means they’re likely to get used regularly.

They’re also quite stiff and come wrapped up in quality tape. The stem is functional and features some subtle, but attractive, contour-line graphics.

Wheels

It’s unusual to find wheelsets specced on bikes at this price point that set the tarmac ablaze. The ones on which the Genesis rolls are no exception.

Functional enough, with 28 spokes they save a little weight versus alternatives with a full complement of 32, without ever suggesting they’ll be anything less than robust and easily serviceable.

Engagement from the rear hub comes 16 times per revolution which isn’t especially quick, although that engagement does feel robust. The wire beaded Kenda Kriterium tyres come in a sensible 25c width.

The ride

With its high head tube and short-drop bars, everything on the Delta seems in place for collecting the miles without too much danger of overextending your back.

The first turn of the pedals reveals an acceleration that may not lightning quick but certainly isn’t held back by any flex either.

Progress is solid and the bike instantly feels stable, while the head-up position is comfortable and allows for easy surveying of the road ahead without cricking your neck.

Shifting up into the big ring reminds us how nice it is to have a decent crankset and not a cheap stand-in, as the chain switches between the rings quickly and clunks into place with reassuring authority.

Finding ourselves with a bigger gear to push also reveals one of the bike’s other characteristics – its surprising front-end stiffness. Neither the prow, nor the bars attached to it, seem much inclined to budge when pulled upon.

Not that the Delta was designed with an emphasis on sprint-winning ability, but it’s a quality that also makes aggressively stomping up climbs more rewarding than on other bikes of similar weight.

The flipside of this is that it’d be a stretch to describe the front of the bike as overly forgiving. However, with the geometry tilting the rider towards an even weight distribution between the front and back of the bike, our hands stayed pressure-free and comfy for the duration of the testing.

The back end is equally resolute, exhibiting precious little flex despite our best efforts. Most bikes intended for racing will have a head angle of around 73° but the Delta’s is a more moderate 71.5°.

This won’t make the bike go any slower (that’s down to how fast you can pedal!) but it does mean it’s a little less hurried when changing direction.

For most riders, this is likely to prove reassuring, as it requires less attention to keep the bike on an even keel.

The added stability actually makes it fun to muck about while descending, as the wheelbase and head angle combine to increase confidence as velocity goes up.

Unfortunately, to accommodate the fitting of mudguards the Delta employs long-drop Tektro R315 callipers which while proficient aren’t quite as nice as the shorter Shimano Tiagra models, slightly marring this effect.

As mentioned earlier, the stiffness of the bike rewards putting in effort by transforming it into forward momentum rather than unwanted twanging.

This offsets the bike’s middling weight in most instances except on longer climbs. The entire package feels solidly reliable and if this were ever in danger of translating into a harsh ride its geometry and contact points more than compensate.

Ratings

Frame: Well thought out, delivers stiffness and comfort. 8/10
Components: Includes a nice smattering of Shimano Tiagra. 8/10 
Wheels: They do a decent job while feeling solid and robust. 7/10 
The Ride: Enjoyable, comfortable and confidence inspiring. 8/10

VERDICT

The Delta 20 just about manages to get the balance right between practicality and performance.

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 556mm 545mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 530mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 640mm
Fork Length (FL) N/A 387mm
Head Tube (HT) 170mm 165mm
Head Angle (HA) 71.5 71
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 73
Wheelbase (WB) 1021mm 1017mm
BB drop (BB) 72mm 71mm

Spec

Genesis Delta 20
Frame Double-butted aluminium, carbon fork with tapered alloy steerer
Groupset Shimano 105 5700
Brakes Tektro R-315 57mm drop
Chainset Shimano Tiagra FC-4700, 50/34
Cassette Shimano CS-HG500, 12-28
Bars Genesis alloy 125mm drop, 70mm reach
Stem Genesis AS-007, 7deg
Seatpost Genesis Alloy 27.2mm
Wheels Alex 28h rims, Joytech hubs
Saddle Genesis Road Comfort
Weight 9.72kg (size M)
Contact genesisbikes.co.uk

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