Genesis Equilibrium 20 2012 Bike Review

The Equilibrium 20 is a beautiful steel road bicycle from Genesis, a bicycle company based here in the United Kingdom.

I am a very avid cyclist, there’s nothing I enjoy more than cycling at 6.30am in the morning; the crisp, moist and fresh air; the lack of people, and the silence. To me, that’s perfection.

The only things that can improve this are the sound of perfectly calibrated gears changing, the faint clicking of the freewheel and the feeling of the early morning air hitting your face.

Aesthetics of the Genesis Equilibrium 20

The Genesis Equilibrium 20 is a really pretty bike. It is a striking metallic cherry red colour, with white panels that have ‘Genesis’ and ‘Equilibrium’ on them on the frame as well as one with their logo on it on the forks. They are almost like the racing stripes you’d find on vintage racing cars which detail the car number.

Its bar tape is white, which bares a continuative resemblance to the white panels on the frame, increasing its aesthetic quality even more and showing that a great deal of time, thought and effort has been put into the design of the Genesis Equilibrium 20.

All the additional items are silver, including the Shimano 105 groupset, Genesis Alloy stem and Shimano RS10 wheelset; another wonderful show of continuity.

The badge of the head tube of the Equilibrium looks attractive, but it is a bit too plasticky for me to fall in love with it.

Technology Behind the Genesis Equilibrium 20

Some awesome technology is behind the Equilibrium 20, including Reynolds’s 725 Chrome Alloy steel and Shimano’s 105 groupset.

Frame

The Equilibrium 20’s frame is constructed from Reynolds’s 725 heat-treated chrome alloy steel; renowned for being relatively strong and light. Steel bikes are heavier than their carbon and aluminium counterparts, but generally gives a smoother ride, so you don’t feel the less than perfect road surfaces as profoundly; very useful when riding through the early morning lanes here in Devon.

Forks

The forks on the Genesis Equilibrium 20 are carbon, painted the same attractive colour as the frame. This makes them light and strong, just what you want forks to be.

Groupset

The Genesis Equilibrium 20 uses the fantastic Shimano 10 speed 105 groupset, one of my favorites. This includes the shifters, rear and front derailleur, chainset and chain as well as the brake levers. All of these are glossy and chrome coloured, with the cranks being the exception to the glossy rule; they are a cool matt.

The 105 groupset doesn’t have a granny ring (smallest front ring), which is great for training and building strength in your legs on the hills and is also great for speed. However, this makes hills that are steeper than around 7% a challenge if you don’t have enough speed – which can be difficult if it’s hundreds or even thousands of meters long, especially annoying considering that it is more of a long ride bike than a racing bike.

105 groupset shimano genesis equilibrium

The Shimano 105 STi shifters are 10 speed. They are very smooth at shifting and also great for braking, with a nice motion to them. You can shift up three gears with one stroke as with the majority of shifters; I love this. It’s great when you’re approaching a hill and you can shift into the gear you’re going to want to be in quickly and efficiently.

Wheelset

The hubs, spokes and rims are all Shimano RS10s. Their hubs are very well sealed from the elements and also very smooth. Some people I’ve talked to have said that they are a bit weak due to their relatively low spoke count, but after accidentally going off-road on them and them staying true, I disagree.

Riding on these rims are Continental Ultra Race tyres, these seem extremely strong and hard-wearing as well as grippy in all conditions I’ve encountered on the road so far.

Brakes

Unexpectedly, Genesis haven’t opted for the 105 brakes to complete the 105 groupset, but instead opted for Tektro 57mms. They appear strong, but I’d have much preferred for them to be Shimano 105s to complete the set.

Contact Zone

The Equilibrium’s handlebars are Genesis 60

61 Alloy Drops, they feel very solid with no sign of wobble, a lovely chrome again. These are wrapped in white microfiber tape, matching the white patches on the frame.

The handlebars are attached to the headset with a Genesis Alloy stem which is the perfect size for an iPhone to fit on using a purchasable kit. This is great when you use Runkeeper, Strava, or another ride tracker.

The seat is a surprisingly comfortable Madison Prime held on by a Genesis 6061 27.2mm seat post.

The Genesis Equilibrium 20 in the Wild

Technical brilliance is nothing if it doesn’t perform brilliantly in the wild. And luckily, to complete this fantastic package of brilliance, it does.

I’ve ridden over 700 miles on my Genesis Equilibrium 20 in the past few weeks, and I’ve loved every moment of it; through the rain, unusually early ice, and blazing sunshine. Even when Google Maps’s cycling directions have taken me off of the well-worn lane onto a slippery, muddy, wet one; the wheels have stayed true, the brakes have managed to keep clinging on and the gears have remained calibrated. This is a road bike with an affordable price, not a cross bike, or mountain bike but it still handled this. Remarkable.

Even blazing down a seasonally quiet, early morning road at 40mph the Genesis Equilibrium 20 remains solid, shock-absorbing and stable. Not that I condone doing such a dangerous activity, of course!

Craig Lackie Looking Fly on a Genesis Equilibrium 20
Only three things annoy me about the Equilibrium 20; the first is that after finishing adjusting the saddle’s position, as I was tightening the bolts back up, one of the threads inside the seat clamp stripped while it wasn’t even properly tightened. This left me unable to ride the Genesis for a few days while a £40 replacement was delivered. Pricey malfunction.
My second annoyance is that the brakes aren’t quite as effective as I’d like them to be; they’ll stop you, but if a tractor pulled out 10m in front of you while you were going 20mph on a slight decline, you’d be in a sticky situation. My third and final annoyance is the badge on the head tube being too plasticky for my liking, a small detail but still something that seems to have been overlooked.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a reliable road bicycle, the Genesis Equilibrium 20 is a great contender. It is fairly responsive, fast and great looking; but if you’re looking for a major climber, the 105 groupset probably isn’t for you. However, this makes a great long distance bike as long as you’re not climbing too much. Like the look of the Genesis Equilibrium 20? You can pick one up for £1299 over at Evan’s Cycles. Have fun and stay safe out there!

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