Expanding its range, sorting its sizing and making the best of Plus-size tyres — Genesis has been busy creating another trail-ripping hardtail, the Tarn.
Need to know
- Updated steel trail hardtail with 27.5 Plus tyres
- 120mm travel RockShox Yari fork offers great steering precision
- Modern geometry and sizing make the Tarn 20 the ideal choice for taller riders
- Boost dropout spacing front and rear
Genesis has a solid footing in road bike design, building up a wealth of experience working with steel and other materials. In recent years it’s upped its game in the mountain bike world, with cutting-edge hardcore hardtails featuring relaxed geometry and generous sizing.
The Tarn 20 takes all that know-how and throws 27.5 Plus tyres into the mix.
This top-end version shares the same frame as the other models in the three-strong range. Crafted from doubled butted cro-mo tubing, it casts a very similar shadow to the 2016 High Latitude.
Thanks to Boost spacing front and rear, the Tarn 20 can fit both 29in and 27.5 Plus wheels — an added bonus of the wider hubs being improved wheel strength.
The main updates for 2017 have been to its components. To bring it in line with modern trail riding, these changes include the burly 120mm travel RockShox Yari fork coupled to a wide 760mm riser bar. Both changes hugely improve steering precision and control over last year’s bike.
The difference between the 29in wheels of the High Latitude and 27.5 Plus on the Tarn 20 was more noticeable than I anticipated. The Tarn 20 comes with the fast rolling/light casing versions of the WTB Ranger 2.8in tyres, with rolling speeds similar to its 29er counterpart.
With pressures set to 19psi in the rear and 17psi up front, losing grip and slowing down isn’t an issue, even with the harder compound rubber and low-end Shimano Deore brakes. Traction is simply on another level.
The biggest difference, though, is the extra suppleness of the 2.8in tyres that allow you to ascend out of the saddle, without bouncing over every rock and root. This, together with the inherent softness of the steel frame, means you can also spend a lot more time in the saddle, as it is noticeably less jarring on your lower back.
It’s on the descents, however, where the Tarn 20 really shines. It feels very stable for a hardtail, and it finds traction on rough off-camber sections where other non-Plus hardtails would struggle.
Occasionally the tyres felt as if they rolled around during hard cornering and through big compressions, even with the FatLab 40mm rims, but this is a small price to pay for all of the upsides of the bigger tyres.
Needless to say, the Tarn 20 is a well-rounded trail hardtail. The balanced and contemporary frame proportions inspire you to go fast, and the 2.8in tyres simply increase confidence further.
Spotlight on: sizing
Genesis has got the sizing spot-on with its latest range of mountain bikes. With generous frame proportions and a 470mm reach measurement, for once, this size L bike was actually too big for me. I’m not complaining though. At 5ft 10in tall, I consider myself an average guy, so it’s fitting (sorry) that a size medium Tarn 20 would have been a better option for me.
And, with sizes ranging from S all the way up to XL, this means that even the tallest riders can be accommodated on the Tarn 20. Couple this with a relatively slack 67.9° head angle, low 305mm BB height and the added traction and comfort of the Plus tyres, and the Tarn 20 can definitely charge.