Domestic bike brand Genesis is the first to show its hand for the 2011 model year this week. It’s price rises all round but in biting the bullet we at least get better frames and nice component additions.

Genesis is the ‘other’ in-house bike brand belonging to Madison Cycles, the UK importer that handles Shimano, Cervélo, Giro, Pearl Izumi, Blackburn, you name it. Their original bicycle brand was and is Ridgeback which, although building a peerless reputation for common sense and good value in around-town bikes over many years, wasn’t deemed a cool enough name for tackling some of the sub-zero niches developing in the very recent past.

Thus Genesis, which under the direction of self-confessed bike nut James Olsen, has built quite a name for itself in the specialist markets for fixies, cyclo-crossers, honest-to-goodness dirt bikes and, yes, sportive commuting bikes for riders of a certain speedy disposition.

It’s this last category that has taken off into the stratosphere now that employers with the help of Her Majesty’s Government will stump up a £1,000 budget for a decent ride-to-work machine.

Two new variations of successful 2010 bikes were on show at Madison’s open house over the weekend which we thought might interest Cycling Weekly readers in this practical, utilitarian general riding and training category.

Both bicycles sold through in dealerships so fast that the new 2011 versions are being rushed into the shops more or less now while the weather is still good.

The 2010 Equilibrium was reviewed by our sister magazine Cycling Active in May and came top of five sub-£1,000 British-branded road bikes with the summary, “the Genesis is a quality machine from top to bottom.”

If it was criticised for anything it was that the frame could be a tad lighter and the wheels were a little heavy, all to keep it within the £1,000 Ride-To-Work-Scheme threshold.

Well, they should have been careful what they wished for because the 2011 version of the Equilibrium now comes indeed with a lighter Reynolds 725 (instead of 520) triple-butted frame, Shimano RS-10 wheels and a complete 105 groupset.

Yes, the price is now £1,299; up £300. Half due to the better parts and the rest to unfavourable exchange rates and increased shipping costs from where the bikes are made in Taiwan.

We’d be more worried for the vital £1,000 price-point except that to hit it Genesis is also offering a second variant of the Equilibrium based on the same frame but with components slightly downgraded from last year. Essentially, Shimano Tiagra 9-speed gears instead of 10-speed 105.

The other model that took our eye was Vapour, a full-on triple-butted aluminium cyclo-cross racing bike for £899. Yes, yes, of course you can spend a lot more than that for something very special but Genesis seem to have cornered the market for this speciality at such a keen price. If you fancy a first go at cyclo-cross and even if you only race  a couple of times a season you can justify it by using the Vapour for commuting. It comes with very practical features like mud guard eyes and rack bosses.


Genesis Vapour has gone up £50 to £899 for 2011. Still looks to us like a properly thought out cyclo-cross bike for reasonable money. And it otherwise makes a perfectly practical tow path hack and winter trainer.