Yesterday we took delivery of our first (hopefully of many) Genesis Equilibrium frames. Genesis make a range of fantastically versatile bikes and the Equilibrium is a prime example. I built this one up for myself (Tom) as a reliable training bike but was well impressed with what you could do with the bike given the right build.
The frame is, in a word, classy. There is something timeless about the look of steel bikes and Genesis have, as usual, really nailed the paint job(s). Steel is an under-rated material for bike these days and I’m determined that it is not forgotten about, the natural ‘springiness’ of a steel frame gives a very comfortable ride (akin to some carbon frames). Combine this with a carbon fork (as Genesis do) and with the array of modern componentry available you’ll be impressed with what can be done from such ‘humble’ starting points. Sure, it’s not going to be a thoroughbred racer with the stiffness of cutting edge carbon frames but with the solid (UK) design work that’s gone into the Equilibrium you get an agile bike with all day comfort that rides much lighter than its weight (which as you will see is not as heavy as you might expect), if you’re after smiles per hour and not so worried about miles per hour then look no further.
To get the fit I need I went for a 58cm frame size which, for the record, tips the scales at 2.04kg (the uncut carbon legged fork adds a further 0.6kg). I opted for Shimano 105 components which have over the years (and many, many miles) proved themselves to be my go-to groupset for all round reliability and performance. The single best cycling purchase (in terms of performance gains) I have ever made was that of my powermeter which is an essential addition to the bike. Given the time of year, and the fact that we are in Wales, mud (read rain) guards are also a must.
A good set of hand-built wheels are hard to beat but in this instance I didn’t have the time to spend on putting a set together so will be rolling on some Shimano RS20 wheels. As this blog develops you’ll discover that I’m a fan of Shimano; if there is one thing they have really nailed as a company it’s reliability and in this instance that’s exactly what I’m after. Mavic wheels would have been a good alternative here but at the time of building RS20’s are what we had in…. Tyre-wise Schwalbe’s Durano folding offering is hard to beat for getting the miles in; durable and puncture proof whilst being reasonably light, fast rolling and grippy enough to have some fun. I’m a fan of running wide tyres (but that is a whole different subject) so have gone with 25mm wide rubber. If you wanted to go wider the Equilibrium has plenty of clearance.
Contact points are always important on a bike and everyone has their personal preference here. I went for an RSP cockpit; the shape of the bars is one that I like – compact drop with a shallow curve and a wide, flattened top section. Neither the bars or the stem are fantastically light, or indeed stiff, but I’ll be able to see the damage if (probably when) they hit the deck and they aren’t costly to replace and it gives me something to blame in case I don’t win the sign sprints 🙂 In the summer I ride without gloves and prefer a more leathery bar tape but the winter months call for something a bit stickier…. I opted for Cinelli c-ribbon which stays grippy in the pouring rain and doesn’t absorb sweat on the indoor sessions. I am currently trialling a Madison Stratos saddle in my never-ending search for a comfy perch. So far it seems pretty good but perhaps a little too squishy for my taste. The one place it is nearly always worth having carbon is the seatpost; a decent carbon post will make a noticeable difference to rear end comfort and is less likely to get fatally damaged in a crash (my reservation with using a carbon cockpit).
The final (but all important) bits and pieces also come down to personal preference but Blackburn’s stainless steel bottle cages are hard to beat, as is Lezyne’s Road Drive pump. I’ve also recently turned to Moon lights for the dark winter roads, they are well worth a look.
I was impressed when I put the bike on the scales as I’d not been considering the weight at all during the build. As pictured the bike came to 10.7kg! With a little weight weenie-ing you could easily build a sub 10kg bike and with the right wheels probably get that closer to sub 9kg category. Given the great ride quality (longer term reviews to follow after) the Equilibrium could quite easily compete with carbon offerings from other brands for the keen sportive rider!
Get in touch if you fancy a Genesis Equilibrium of your own.