The Genesis Equilibrium Ti is a machine whose release we’d long anticipated.
Our First Look article in late September focused on the details of the frame and its various components. We’ll focus here on how it performed.
The Equilibrium Ti is a fine machine but one that will perhaps suffer by comparison with the excellent Reynolds 725 version in the opinion of riders who already own the steel incarnation. We expected more zip, more vim, more vigor from this new, more expensive Equilibrium. Instead, we received another helping of the considered, dependable, straight talking and fun handling so beloved of our 725 ‘Test Rig’. While this Ti version lacked the springy vitality of its steel brother, it was lighter, and will doubtless offer greater longevity from its inherent resistance to corrosion.
Let’s take a closer look.
The frame is fabricated from the easiest of the titanium alloys to work into the shape of a bicycle frame: 3Al/2.5V. Here, it is double butted and seamless. The front end starts with the now sadly departed, XX44 oversize headtube from the titanium Latitude Ti bike (fear not, road friends – this is fabulous heritage, and not to be sniffed at).
The oversized top and down tubes look simple in comparison to the beautifully sculpted chainstays which are squeezed vertically to provide clearance at the bottom bracket, and in the mid section are flattened horizontally to increase the ‘dissipation of vibrations’. Neat cowled rear dropouts finish off the chainstays and connect to the super thin seatstays, also flattened to enhance comfort.
The Equibrium Ti handled every bit as well as it’s steel stable mate, largely due to a shared geometry. This makes the Equilibrium a superb descender regardless of the cloth from which it is cut; one that felt well connected to the ground in corners. Neutral handling can be dull, but the Equilibrium does not fall into this category; it is instead dependable, providing sufficient feedback through the carbon fork and titanium rear end to inform the rider what is going on beneath the 25c Continental tyres.
While the front triangle is stiff, the rear has a degree of compliance. We found it a very comfortable ride, wholly suited to long days in the saddle.
We were broadly satisfied with the components. Shimano’s R650 brake caliper would perhaps have made a better choice than Tektro R317s; the former offering greater stopping power and more progressive braking in our experience. The compact bar felt a little spindly underhand when riding on the ‘tops’; a double wrap of tape would resolve this minor complaint. The wheels (more of which later), are ideal for winter miles. They rolled well and held their momentum when brought up to speed.
Opinions on the grey fork varied among riding colleagues. Gloss black would have provided a ‘collars and cuffs’ match for the stem and seatpost. Genesis may have baulked at such a commonplace selection, but we suspect it may have set off the clean lines and natural titanium finish to greater effect.
To return to the wheels: for our final ride, we swapped the supplied rolling stock (notably heavy 105 hubs laced to DT Swiss 450 rims) for a set of Mavic Ksyrium Elites, newly arrived for our winter bike project, and shaved just over a kilo from the weight of the whole bike, reducing it to 8.2kg. Our reason for the change? Genesis intend the Equilibrium Ti to be an all-season cycle, and so one required to hold its own in a fast moving summer pack as well as carry mudguards through the winter months. The former use would in our opinion necessitate a wheel upgrade (not unreasonable for a Ti-framed package retailing at £2,300; the frame costs £1,500). As might be expected, the lighter rolling stock improved acceleration and performance uphill. Additionally, the Ksyriums demonstrated how accomplished the frame is in corners.
If you don’t already own a steel Equilibrium, and want a machine with its vaunted qualities but lighter and more resistant to corrosion, this is the bike for you. It is very good. Owners of the 725 steel incarnation may choose to delay an upgrade until sampling the 953 Volare in the Genesis pipeline.