The Genesis Vapour Carbon CX 30 makes a strong first impression as a fun to ride, well designed and realised cyclocross race bike, that’s capable of being enjoyed much more than just during races.
For 2017 Genesis have continued to expanded their range of models to tempt buyers with. I’ve already been fortunate enough to ride and review the new Genesis Zero disc, that brought disc brakes and through axles to the company’s race bike line. Now I’m also fortunate enough to have their new carbon cyclocross race bike to review.
This isn’t quite a first review posts as I’ve already spent a number of rides on the bike both on and off-road but it’s certainly my first thoughts that I’ll be refining and reflecting on in my final review. I’ve already introduced the Vapour Carbon CX range in this post, if you’d like to find out more about all of the options available. The bike I have to try is the top of the range Vapour Carbon CX 30, which has a strong specification with a full Ultegra mechanical, hydraulic disc brake groupset. Genesis’s own and very good finishing kit, Fulcrum Racing 5 DB wheels, shod with Challenge Grifo tyres. It also has a terrific paint job as you’ll see in the photos. Geneis have been doing some great work on the look of their bikes and I think this is another resounding success.
The heart of the bike though, is the completely new design carbon (30/40 Tonne like the Zero Disc race bikes) frame, with a full carbon tapered steerer fork to match. There is internal cable routing – with compatibility for Di2 groupsets or 1x groupsets, flat mount disc brakes and 12 mm through axles front and rear.
Disc brakes have allowed Genesis to drop the rear brake bridge to increase mud clearance and the bike as a whole has very good mud clearance, with nice shaping around the bottom bracket and chainstays to encourage mud not to cling on to the frame.
Thanks to the full carbon construction, Genesis have also been able to create asymetric chain stays for improved power transfer and they’ve put all of this into a new cyclocross geometry that boasts shorter reach than many bikes matched with increased trail to help you ride over bumpy ground. The shorter reach also helps with wider bars or flared bars like the fitted Genesis X-Race Pro. Overall the bike’s designed for performance and the carbon layup is focused on delivering acceleration and speed, as well as good handling.
On my early rides, it was quickly clear that the Vapour Carbon CX delivers very well on the design objectives. The stiff and strong frame delivers excellent power transfer and acceleration regardless of surface or the steepness of the slope you’re attacking. The through axles add to feeling of strength and stiffness. The bike has nimble handling as you’d expect from a race bike and the Ultegra hydraulic groupset provides faultless braking and shifting.
Whilst the ride is definitely on the firm side of stiff, it’s far from a bone-shaker and I’ve found it fun bike to ride so far. On one ride, travelling across a very rutted field, the stiffness resulted in a bouncy riding experience but with 33mm cyclocross tyres, the Vapour Carbon CX gives a good ride feel and is a bike that feel nimble, fun to ride and also feels lighter on the move than it’s “kerb weight” would suggest – (8.6kgs with pedals and a bottle cage). The stiff platform is efficient and I’ve been impressed at how well the Vapour Carbon CX climbs, on or off-road. There’s good traction and power transfer and the bike clambers well up even steep climbs.
If you’re wondering how the Vapour Carbon CX 30 differs to say the Datum, it’s a clearer differentiation than you might expect. Firstly the Vapour Carbon CX has a higher modulous carbon to fit it’s racing ambitions. The geometry is shorter reach (which works well with wider bars) and a lower stack as you’d expect on a race bike – to help you get lower. The Vapour doesn’t have mudguard mounts nor as much clearance for wider tyres, as you’re restricted to 33mm for racing. The Vapour is much more single purpose compared to the all-round ability of the Datum. However although the Vapour is a race bike, I’m not a racer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed riding it so far on rides including brisk multi-surface cross country rides to leisurely rides off road with my kids.
As far as first impressions go, I’ve been really enjoying the Genesis Vapour Carbon CX 30 and will look forward to writing more in due course.
You can find out more at the Genesis bikes site here: http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/cyclocross/cyclocross
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