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Genesis Equilibrium 20 review

Since my first look review (http://girodilento.com/2014-genesis-equilibrium-20-first-look-review/), I’ve spent around 600km out riding the Genesis Equilibrium before writing this review.

In this time, my view on the bike hasn’t changed. My affection for the bike has only increased and I feel that I’ve learnt more about who the bike would suit and where its strengths and weaknesses are.

The Equilibrium has been a terrific success for Genesis and deservedly so. It’s also helped bring steel bikes back into consideration for many people in a road bike market that’s become obsessed with carbon and to a lesser extent aluminium. The Equilibrium has been a reminder of why so many people speak so fondly about steel bikes.

Genesis Equilibrium 20 2014 visiting Westerham, Kent
Genesis Equilibrium 20 2014 visiting Westerham, Kent

I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t enjoyed riding an Equilibrium, they’re a bike that engenders positive feelings in the vast majority of people who’ve spent time on them and I think there are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, they look great – a terrific fusion of old and new. Slim-ish steel tubes with a modern geometry, packaged with 32 spoke wheels and really, very good finishing kit. Of course looks aren’t everything, especially if there’s not the substance to back up the looks, but it’s a pleasing starting point.

Secondly, they have a personality in the way they ride. I’ve named the one I have on loan and I’ve never named a bike before. Steel has a reputation for being heavy and for having a springy ride quality that soaks up a lot of the lesser bumps on the road. This is true of the Equilibrium although when you ride one for the first time , you might well be surprised that the ride is stiffer than you were expecting – it certainly was for me. It’s a comfortable, brisk and pleasant bike to ride. The geometry seems to be bang on for all kinds of recreational riding. It’s a bike that feels like it’s working with you and enjoying the adventure as much as you are.

Genesis Equilibrium 20 on the Ashdown Forest
Genesis Equilibrium 20 on the Ashdown Forest

The one “weakness” of the Equilibrium if you’re looking for faults is the weight. The complete bike in the 20 spec I have been riding is 10kg. For me, that’s over 2kgs heavier than my own steel bike and nearly 3 kgs heavier than the carbon bike I have. To be fair to the Equilibrium, you can’t or shouldn’t just look at the weight. My lighter bikes are race bikes. The Equillibrium isn’t and isn’t designed or intended to be. When I have gone out riding with my friends on their race bikes, I have tried and failed to keep up but to complain about that would be as unfair as complaining that oranges aren’t apples.

Something important to note though is that the Equilibrium frankly defies it’s weight most of the time once you’re riding. It climbs and descends beautifully. It’s also a terrific bike to munch up the miles on. You can ride it briskly all day and I’ve felt on many a ride that of all bikes that I’ve ridden and reviewed to date, the Equilibrium feels most like a bike that was designed for whiling away the hours exploring the British country side. To me, it really does feel like a British bike designed for British roads and countryside – it’s perfect for riding and exploring on.

The Equilibrium is also an incredibly versatile bike: you could audax on it, you could ride Sportives on it (as long as your not looking to ride them as a race), you can do clubruns on it, you can do social or solo rides on it. It’s a terrific winter bike. You could commute on it. You can ride to the shops on it. You can ride with your kids on it. You can ride bike paths on it. All of this makes it a fantastically useful bike to have in your collection.

In the Equilibrium 20 spec that I have been riding, you have Shimano 105 as the groupset, which is a perfect choice for a bike like this – effortlessly reliable, cheap and dependable to run. A pleasure to ride and the 105 components even extend to the wheelhubs which roll beautifully for the money and should for many, many thousands of kilometres.

I have also been really impressed with the finishing kits on the bike. The Madison Prime saddle is terrific for the money and is well worth considering to buy on its own if you’re looking for a cheap but good saddle.

The Genesis own brand handlebars are the best stock own brand bars I’ve ever used. They’re short reach at 70mm and a fantastically shaped 125mm drop. I would buy and use these bars if they sold them – they’re very, very good.

Genesis Equilibrium 20 on the back roads of Kent
Genesis Equilibrium 20 on the back roads of Kent

Whilst I haven’t been personally wowed by the colour of the bike I’ve been riding (having much preferred last years copper colour), I’m been surprised by how  many people have said how much they like it and certainly the tan saddle and bar tape work terrifically with it.

It’s rare that I get to review a bike where even after 600km on board, I think I wouldn’t change anything about the bike and the Genesis Equilibrium 20 is has got closer to this than most. The only things I would personally change are the brake pads (to Koolstop Salmon) and the Continental tyres, which I haven’t especially enjoyed. They decent enough but I think they are plenty of tyres out there that are nice and ride better for not too much money. I have enjoyed that they are 25mm which I think it perfect for this bike. Genesis rate the Equilibrium as being able to take mudguards with up to 28mm tyres. I feel that with the SKS Chromoplastic mudguards I’ve been running, it might be tricky particularly on the front wheel. I’d stick with 25mm personally which works very well indeed.

The Equilibrium was designed for a 3 point rack for light touring so, if you want to you can run a rack as well as mudguards on it.

I’m not looking forward to the day that Genesis ask for the bike back – it’s a fantastic companion and I’ll miss it. It’s a bike that makes sense for so many situations and so many types of riding. I’m sure it’ll continue to delight new and old owners for many years to come. Even if you like

If you’re not looking to race but want a bike that’s a great companion, that does everything well, that’s comfortable but sporty then the Equilibrium is a terrific bike. If you’ve been thinking about trying a steel bike, then you’ll struggle to find a better example for the money.

For information on the Genesis Equilibrium, you can visit the Genesis site here:  http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/road/sportive/equilibrium-20

Or you can even just order one from Evans Cycles here (& this site gets a very small commission): http://tidd.ly/e8faca5d

For more information from this blog on the Equilibrium 20, I’ve also posted these posts:

http://girodilento.com/2014-genesis-equilibrium-20-first-look-review/

http://girodilento.com/genesis-equilibrium-2014-updates-evolution/

Thanks for reading