Genesis Equilibrium 20 road bike, Real steel at a realistic price - £1,299.99
With the exception of the titanium flagship, the Ti, Genesis’s Equilibrium range are all steel. For the Equilibrium 20, Genesis and Reynolds have done a great job in keeping the weight under 21lb, not bad for a rugged all-rounder.
Reynolds 725 is a modern tubeset that undergoes a heat-treating process making it stronger, meaning wall thicknesses can be reduced without compromising the frame’s structural integrity. The TIG-welded construction is functional rather than pretty, but the retro-looking, skinny, straight tubes and graphics give it a nice, clean look.
Genesis specs a carbon fork with an alloy steerer; a steel one would be too heavy. The geometry is more relaxed than a race bike, with a 72° head angle across all the sizes.
The Equilibrium 20 uses Shimano’s 10-speed 105 groupset. Its compact chainset and 12-28 cassette provide a good spread of ratios for both the sportive rider and the commuter.
The only exception is the brake calipers.
To create clearance for mudguards and 25c tyres, non-series 57mm-drop calipers have been used. The longer caliper arms mean extra flex, and with the budget, moulded one-piece blocks, braking performance is not as sharp as it could be. But, in the greater scheme of things it’s not a big deal.
The original Shimano 105 hubs are laced to Alex Race 18 rims, a classic 32-hole box rim. These are sturdy rather than speedy for every-day, all-conditions riding the Equilibrium will most probably be subjected, as well as its traditional aesthetic.
They are shod with Continental Grand Sport 25C — tough £30 tyres that roll well and don’t pick up flints. Unlike some of the others in this test — notably the Condor — the Genesis has acres of clearance giving it that extra bit of versatility.
Tackling the rough, battle-scarred roads of the South-East, there’s a springiness to the Reynolds 725-tubed frame that damps the bumps without dampening the rider’s efforts. The feel of steel is still present and correct. While the styling is retro, the handling is thoroughly modern. Neutral best describes the Equilibrium’s characteristics, with the steering fast enough for fun on steep, switchback descents but with none of the twitchiness you might expect from a race bike. As a bike for all seasons, there are few to match the Genesis.