Madison-Genesis made their international debut at Challenge Majorca this week and the team’s Genesis Volare 953 attracted plenty of attention in the professional peloton.
Why? It’s made from steel – which makes it unique in an age where carbon fibre machines are ubiquitous at the highest level of the sport.
The frame, unveiled at the London Bike Show, is designed by UK-based Genesis and made from Reynolds 953 stainless steel tubing. Reynolds’ top-of-the-range tubing is notoriously difficult to work with but Genesis chief Dom Thomas has designed a frame which he says is fit for racing at the highest level.
And early-season results are testament to that, with Ian Bibby winning the indoor London Nocturne on the team’s debut in January, before registering a fine top ten finish on Challenge Majorca’s mountain stage.
We checked in with the team in Majorca and took the opportunity to take a closer look at Dean Downing’s machine.
The key to the bike’s success is partly down to tube walls that are just 0.4mm thick. That’s thanks to Reynolds 953’s superior strength-to-weight ratio, which has allowed Genesis to reduce the weight of the frame without sacrificing strength or stiffness
The tubeset has been developed specifically by Reynolds for Genesis and is quite unlike the spindly steel frames of old. The tubes are ovalised to increase stiffness, while there’s also a PressFit BB86 bottom bracket shell and chunky 24mm chainstays. All in the name of creating a ride which responds to the power output of a professional rider
Up front the oversized XX44 headtube is big enough to accommodate a tapered steerer which, by the way, is part of a Easton EC90 SL full carbon fork
The Volare uses a 27.2mm seatpost in order to add a little comfort, while, like most carbon fibre frames, the seatstays are super-skinny to reduce road buzz
Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that steel remains heavier than carbon fibre and the Genesis Volare weighs in the region of 1600-1700g for a size 54cm frame, whereas most of the top-of-the-range carbon competition will be sub-kilo
However, the Madison-Genesis team will soon be issued with a revised frame (this is an on-going project for Genesis Bikes) with a semi-compact geometry which should shave an additional 200g off the frame weight
Madison is distributor of some of the UK’s biggest and most well known brands, Genesis included, so the Volare is equipped with a range of components from the company’s stable, including the latest Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed mechanical groupset. The team will be switching to electronic 11-speed once it becomes available
The wheels are also from Shimano, with Downing’s machine pictured with the latest version of the Dura-Ace 35 hoops, wrapped in Continental Competition tubular tyres, one of the most popular rubbers in the peloton.
The cockpit components are from Shimano subsidiary PRO, while each of the team ride with a Garmin, with Downing attaching it to his bike using a K-Edge out front mount
This Selle San Marco Concor saddle in custom team colours is a very smart touch
And Giro have also provided the team with Aeon helmets in Madison-Genesis colours to complete a very smart package
The team have also taken a fresh approach to social media, with each rider’s Twitter handle printed on their toptube. If you want to follow Downing’s team-mate Sebastian Baylis, then you know where to go…
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RoadCyclingUK attended Challenge Majorca as a guest of race sponsor Iberostar, staying at the Iberostar Playa de Muro hotel in Alcudia. For more information visit www.iberostar.com