Like Orange, Genesis has plumped for a ferrous metal chassis. This time the tubeset comes from a single company — Reynolds. Its 725 heat-treated, double-butted tubes are used for the front triangle with tubing profiles specific to frame size. This means that the feel of the bike remains the same whether you’re High Tower or Nick Nack. The front end of the bike also sees some clever thinking. Reinforcing rings are brazed around each end of the head tube to prevent any damage should your headset come loose mid-ride, and the gusset under the down tube also has some unique detailing. As well as being welded along its sides, the bottom bracket facing end is not left open as is the norm. Low temperature brazing is used to seal the gusset from the elements, preventing any unseen corrosion.
The lack of chainring crimping on the stays keeps everything tracking accurately, while the tubing’s butting and tapering maintains the fabled steel ride. Keeping the rear wheel attached are genuine Breeze dropouts. These combine with a cast disc mount and a very neat curved bracing tube between stays to distribute any forces from the discs.
Marzocchi may have a great reputation for long-lasting forks, but the MZ Super Comps fitted here are left wanting. They lack any compression damping adjustment and, while adjustable, rebound damping goes from treacle slow to topping out, jumping past a usable middle ground. The fork sits in its travel after a single hit, and feels very harsh on each subsequent undulation as the overzealous stock compression setting prevents it from accommodating further trail obstacles.
Second only to the Bontragers fitted to the Fisher in terms of low weight, the DT-rimmed wheels are a high point. Folding-bead Continental tyres are also a rare find at this price point. Despite the width, these 2.3 tyres roll well, offer a decent amount of grip in the majority of conditions, and the lack of rotating mass has a huge impact on the sprightliness of the ride.
As Genesis is the brainchild of Shimano’s UK importer, it is no surprise that no one else’s components grace the drivetrain. An upgraded XT mech offers little in terms of improved performance, but it will last and it’s something to talk about for the shop staff. The rest of the finishing kit is rebranded Kalloy stuff, and it’s nice to see a full 26in width bar. Early production models had an errant spacer fitted between the bottom bracket and shell, so make sure your dealer gets rid of it, or front shifting will be temperamental at times.
On paper this should be the perfect machine for the hardtail-riding moorland hacker and the ride comfort is spot on. The forks really let the machine down though, and it’s difficult to ride with the front weight bias you need to get the most from a hardtail. Unrefined damping results in too much trail noise coming at you through the rigid rear end. Lightweight wheels and reliable stop’n’go bits make sure the rest of the ride is uninterrupted and enjoyable. The trail-ready geometry (a good couple of degrees slacker than a race bike) makes for a neutral machine — great on a long day out. A high bottom bracket is good for ground clearance, but we’d rather drop it a touch and improve cornering.
Despite the failings up front, the Genesis is a fun bike to ride. We’d tweak the geometry very slightly, dropping the rider more into — rather than onto — the machine. Still, an upgrading (or new) rider would love this bike, especially those who live, or ride in rocky areas. It’s almost a certainty that the Altitude 1.0 will convince many people to delve deeper into the sport. The shape is on the button, almost all the important bits perform well, and the frame is upgrade-worthy. With a decent fork fitted there is not much more a lot of folk would need from a steel hardtail.
MBR RATING: 9/10