Where it’s most at home is on the rolling terrain that typifies much of the riding in Britain. Banging along in a pack or slicing through the lumps and bumps of Hampshire this was a tremendous bike to ride. It’s charms were subtle, they sneak up on you and that’s enough to, on its day, put some clear air between it and the rest of the pack, much like its former owner.
Great balanced handling
Surprisingly plush ride
Not the lightest
By Vern Pitt
When Connor Swift popped out of the lead pack at the National Championship road race in 2018 it took everyone by surprise. Looks were exchanged between the bigger name riders, and before they could think too long the Yorkshireman was up off the road never to be seen again.
It’s not that Swift was a total unknown he’d been around for a while racking up results on the British racing scene for a couple of years. He was just the best on the day, maybe even a little underestimated.
The Genesis Zero was the bike he rode that day - though CW’s test rig is the subtly detuned and disc version (Swift was on calliper brakes and the higher grade SL frameset) – and it has some of the qualities of its former owners ride that day in Northumberland.
A version of the Zero disc has been in Genesis’s product range since 2017 but it still has qualities that make it well worth considering if you’re in the market for something in the £2,500-£3,000 bracket.
The Zero Disc will set you back £2,699.99 what do you get for that money? Well you get full Shimano Ultegra R8000 disc brake groupset, bar the cassette and chain. A Fiziki Antares saddle and Genesis branded bar and stem. All of which is very impressive stuff, and not a given at this price point, especially from a smaller British brand, which doesn’t have the mass buying power of one of the industry’s biggest names.
The frameset and fork are the same geometry as the top of the range SL model but the carbon used is a combination of 24T and 30T as an opposed to the more exotic 30T and 40T sued in the lighter frameset.
With all that there has to be some compromises and the wheels bare little excitement with Jalco rims laced to Formula hubs, they’re solid but it’s not a spec that’ll set many hearts racing. Nor will the Donnelly Strada tyres.
No bike, however, is just the sum of its parts. Hop aboard the Genesis Zero Disc and the first thing you’ll notice is that the front end is quite high for a race bike our medium had a stack height of 558mm, it wasn’t unwelcome as my back isn’t what it used to be but it was I think the principal reason why the bike felt “big” to begin with. So perhaps consider trying to test one out before buying one.
Out on the road the first thing you notice is how smooth the ride is. For a bike with racing ambitions it’s a very plush ride, helped in no small part by the 28mm tyres, which despite their modest price-point were confidence-inspiringly grippy and supple (though the rear did acquire a sizable cut down the middle of the tread in CW’s 700km of testing).
The handling too hits a nice balance. I usually like my bikes to be quite twitchy so I feel like I can flick them around potholes of my local lanes but the Genesis is more steady in its handling. However, it was never sedate and it tracked beautifully through the corners while responding to any changes in direction with ease and after a while I really began to enjoy the balance it’d struck.
What’s more I could swear I began to descend faster and more confidently after a while with the bike. Whether this was the handling, the cushioning and grip of the fat tyres or the modulation of the disc brakes or a combination of all three, is hard to say. But it was a pleasure to sling it about the back lanes.
When the road points up is when the compromises that have been made are most obvious. While the Genesis Zero Disc isn’t a porker for a disc bake at this price, it’s not super light either. And the pedestrian wheels mean that an acceleration uphill has to be hard earned. Keep your momentum and it’s fine but it lacks a zing on the slopes.
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