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Genesis Equilibrium Disc road bike review

24 Mar 2020

Steel framed long-distance tool with more than a touch of class

Cyclist Rating: 
Classic looks • Versatile • Comfortable • Stable
Fairly weighty • Won’t satisfy thrill seekers

‘They told me the classics never go out of style…’ Yes, to amply describe the 2020 Genesis Equilibrium Disc, I need to borrow a lyric from 1998’s Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull by Swedish post punk band Refused. This spoken word opening to one of the finest seven minutes of Scandi-hardcore you’re ever likely to hear has been the ear worm to accompany every ride of this bike.

Blending classic endurance geometry with steel frameset construction and lustrous metallic paint finish, the Genesis Equilibrium Disc is endowed with timeless looks and predictable handling. But it’s not a step back in time; it’s more a 21st century take on traditional road bike design, and built with distance in mind.

The Genesis website pitches the Equilibrium Disc as a ‘classic go-to sportive bike’, but my testing has revealed it to be better suited to slightly more sedate outings. 'We would say it is more of an all-rounder, it’s designed to be a comfortable all-day road bike,' offers Genesis brand manager Nick Manning.


Built to last

Fashioning the steel alloy frame from Reynolds 725 tubing lends the Equilibrium Disc a narrow profile frameset construction guaranteed to draw comments at the cafe (when the time comes to return to group riding). This heat-treated steel alloy - comprised of 0.3% carbon, chromium and molybdenum - also has the advantage of being stronger than alloys such as Reynolds 525, meaning the tube walls can be thinner, bringing the weight down and upping the comfort.

'Steel is what Genesis is known for,' says Manning. 'It’s the right material for the type of bikes we’re making – long-lasting, comfortable all-day bikes on which you go out and have an adventure, knowing the frame beneath you is solid and up to the job.

'The use of Reynolds 725 allows us to build a frame which will soak up the vibrations on a multi-day road tour, be tough enough to handle the week’s commute, and then be competitive on the weekend club rides.'

I’d concur with two of those three intended uses.


Designed to go the distance

The Genesis Equilibrium Disc combines several elements to create a road bike well suited to long-haul rides and life-affirming sunny Sunday forays into the countryside.

Firstly, the matching of a 73° head angle to a 1003mm wheelbase on our size M test bike contributes to handling that’s more direct than ponderous, with a feeling of stability in corners.

Secondly, the fitment of 30c Donnelly CDG tyres, which obviously don’t need to be run at rock-solid PSI, assists the springy frame in soaking up the many imperfections the nation’s B-roads throw at us. While we’re talking about the rubber, it’s wrapped around unbranded (but Jalco-built) rims with a 17mm inner diameter that will accommodate 32c tyres, should you want to fit something with deeper tread for light off-roading.

Buy now from Cycle Republic for £1,269.99

'The 30c tyre is there to give that little extra comfort and to cope with the rougher side of tarmac riding. The maximum frame clearance is 32c,' confirms Manning.

Oh, yes, thirdly: Shimano 105. Need we say more? Finally, the 420mm diameter Genesis-branded compact drop alloy bars are particularly ergonomically pleasing, with a flat top which amply accommodates the heels of your palms as you while away the hours.

The Genesis Road Comfort saddle lives up to its moniker, although I later fitted a Brooks B17 Classic leather saddle, which trades a little comfort and padding for aesthetic effect.


Ups are downs

The positive engagement of Shimano 105 compact gearing, across a well spread 11-30 11-speed cassette is a perma-joy, yet a compromise. Shimano Ultegra (if we were to replace the groupset components with Japanese equipment) would not only add some finesse, but also shed some weight. And this is where the Genesis Equilibrium Disc lags behind carbon and alloy bikes in the same price bracket.

For all the charm of the brass ferules on its externally routed cabling, its handsome aftermarket saddle, slender steel tubing and traditional (dare we say ‘retro’?) looks, the Genesis Equilibrium Disc will get left behind on 80% of climbs on that club run.

The losses are mitigated slightly by the slick operation of its gearing, and time can be made up with last-minute braking on the descents – those hydraulic stoppers are easily metered and can be applied with serious force without a lock-up – but grinding 10.42kg of bike up an incline just isn’t as fun as dancing up the same climb out of the saddle, giving your mates ‘the look’ over your shoulder.


Not the whole story

However, the bike's weight shouldn’t be a reason to walk away from the Genesis Equilibrium Disc. In fact, if you’re prepared to accept the weight penalty, or ride mainly on rolling roads, then you should probably even take a step closer.

Add into the mix the fact that it has all the necessary mounts for luggage and mudguards to turn the bike into something capable of ferrying you with all you’ll need for a long weekend of wild camping or B&Bing, and what we’re really looking at is a bike whose dashing good looks belie its versatility.

It’s a bike that’s built to last, to go the distance, and to perform the most basic – and heartwarming – of a road bike’s duties: to propel you, no matter at what speed, through rural scenes, rewarding your input with a smoothness that cossets and a silhouette that harks back to what many would term ‘the golden era’ of cycling.

It’s ignited a sense of adventure and new-found freedom, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my next purchases are a frame bag and rear rack…

Buy now from Cycle Republic for £1,269.99


Frame Reynolds 725 heat treated chromoly frame, carbon road disc fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano 105 Disc
Chainset Shimano 105, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-30
Bars Genesis, alloy
Stem Genesis, alloy
Seatpost Genesis, alloy, 27.2mm
Saddle Genesis Road Comfort
Wheels Jalco rims/Formula hubs, Donnelly Strada CDG tyres, 700 x 30
Weight 10.42kg (size M)

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