Some might consign the likes of the Genesis Equilibrium Disc 30 to merely a winter bike. I would have been one of them until I felt the butter smooth ride quality. Now, howvever, I'm convinced that there are riders out there unfazed by PRs ad KOMS that want an assured handling, Ultegra level, steel bike for year round use.
Really comfortable ride
Shimano Ultegra groupset
Rolls along nicely
Will be too heavy for some
A little sluggish on the off
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Self-titled material snobs, Genesis happily welcome anything from carbon and titanium through to steel and aluminium for their frames.
It’s a quality that allows them to be versatile, and while Genesis is not the best known brand, in the UK it has quite the cult following, with most riders associating its bikes with winter training, and for good reason.
But, is the Genesis Equilibrium Disc to expensive to considered a dedicated winter training bike? At £2000 it’s not cheap for just 6 months work, and it’s a tad heavy to be your dedicated bike if you like to push performance on the hills.
However, if you’re not fussed about weight, and are looking for something comfortable and easy going, then the Genesis Equilibrium Disc is a great, comfortable ride for long days in the saddle.
The steel framed bike is something of a beast and as far as bikes go you could consider it a tank, but that’s all to its credit, and the frame feels totally bombproof.
The Equilibrium’s frame is forged of 725 Reynolds, an improved variant of Reynolds famous 753 steel. It’s a heat-treated steel that resists oxidation, much improving the longevity of your frame.
The heat treatment also also allows the walls to be made thinner, keeping the weight down compared to other Reynold steel offerings. Either way, the ride quality of the bike is exceptionally comfortable, making it an absolute pleasure to jump on and ride.
However, it’s not an all steel story and the Equilibrium Disc comes specced with a carbon fork, a neat touch to help keep the weight down. It also has the effect of ironing out any road buzz you might otherwise suffer through your hands.
With disc brakes, 28mm tyres and a steel frame, you’d be forgiven for assuming the Equilibrium Disc 30 would be the perfect dedicated winter bike. But the inclusion of Shimano’s mechanical Ultegra groupset gives the game away – this is a bike capable of year long use, if you don’t mind a weight penalty.
The 28mm tyres are a match for that big, comfortable frame and help clarify that this was a bike designed to be ridden in comfort. Meanwhile, the frame is paired to an equally big handlebar which, despite its school bus looks, gives a very comfortable riding position and plenty of assured control.
Last time we had the Equilibrium Disc 30 in for review, one of our only qualms was that for £1899 there weren’t any Shimano Ultegra components on the bike. Our disappointments have since been allayed, with the full Shimano Ultegra groupset specced across the bike.
It’s a groupset we’ve spoken lots about, and it’s great, with good, clean shifting that doesn’t fail and great disc brakes that keep you in control no matter what’s on the ground.
Some people might consider it an over-speccing for a “winter bike”, but we’ll take it over 105 and it’s nice to see Genesis stepping the capable Equilibrium up to Ultegra level for those that do want a comfortable bike year round.
Watch: eight things you didn't know about disc brakes
It’s not just comfort that the Equilibrium Disc offers, though. Part of the ride quality is the assured stability that the bike gives. It feels incredible balanced thanks to those long, 420mm chainstays and the stretched wheelbase, akin to a limousine. It’s not a fast, moveable bike but its turns are steady and easy to predict. It all helps create a great ride experience.
Of course, akin to a limousine, the bike is a tad lumbering, however it rolls along nicely once up to speed and doesn’t feel inefficient.
There are plenty of riders that a heavy steel bike won't particularly appeal. Equally, though, I think there are plenty that do, and for those that don’t care about PRs or KOMs, then the Equilibrium’s ride quality is easily good enough to go the distance.
For £1250, you could snap up a Shimano Ultegra equipped Ribble Reynolds 525 steel bike. The finishing kit is different, but both bikes are Ultegra level with the same wheels. However, the tubing won’t be heat treated like it is with the Genesis Equilibrium 30 disc.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that you also don’t get a carbon fork or disc brake with the Ribble, which will have made a big difference in the comfort of the Equilibrium’s ride.
For us, the fact that Genesis has stepped the Equilibrium 30 disc up to Ultegra is great news. However, it does come in at an extra £200.
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