What started out as one model in the Ridgeback range is now a fully fledged brand. Ridgeback forged its reputation making mountain bike-inspired, flat bar road bikes under the Genesis name. That was five years ago, and in 2006 the Genesis model transformed into a proper brand. The range comprises MTBs of various shapes and sizes, flat barred city commuters and, tested here, the Flyer, a singlespeed road bike.
If you’re riding to work on a daily basis you’re going to put a lot of wear and tear through your main bike, so getting a bike specifically for commuting duties is a sound idea. You (probably) don’t want to spend much money, which is why the £499 Flyer looks such an attractive proposition, on paper at least. Let’s find out if it’s any good…
At this price point you might expect some no-name tubing, but the company has instead opted for Reynolds 520 double butted Cro-Mo tubing. It’s a good choice, as despite being Reynolds budget tubeset and made in Taiwan, it’s still built to Reynolds specifications. The frame follows clean and simple lines, with 74.5° head and seat angles for sharp handling (on our 58cm tester).
The top tube has an ever-so-slightly sloping top tube. The rear stays follow a straight path to the neat dropouts, and there’s plenty of tyre and heel clearance. They’ve avoided crimping the chain stays to keep clearance good. Up front a Genesis branded carbon fork plugs into the non-integrated headset, and the head tube is externally reinforced for good measure.
We were disappointed not to find any mud guard mounts on the frame or fork for what is undoubtedly a superb bike choice for winter commuters – you’ll have to make do with clip-on’s if you want guards. The Pure White paint finish looks great and made the bike look more expensive than the price tag suggested. Five sizes from 52 to 60cm are available, and geometry is size-specific.
This section will be a little briefer than normal, what with the Flyer only having one gear. The Sugino crankset is a good choice, though a rough finish on the inside of the spider reminds of the low cost of the overall package. Genesis has taken the decision to fit the Flyer with a 72in gear, which means a 48T chain ring and 18T sprocket. Gear choice is very much down to individual preference and the requirements of your riding or commute to work – but the 72in provides a good starting point. It’s an easy gear to get up to speed from traffic lights and happily spins along at a comfortable speed.
Most of the finishing kit (bars, stem, carbon seat post and saddle) are all Genesis branded, and we had no problems wtih them. The saddle was a particularly comfy choice. Brakes come from Shimano – Sora callipers and BL-600 levers – which provided excellent stopping. Wheels are Genesis 00S sealed bearing hubs laced via 32 stainless spokes to Alex AT-400 rims which stayed true despite hammering through every pothole we could find… Usefully (for some) the rear hub is a flip-flop item – so it’s fixed ready. Continental Ultra Race 23mm tyres found no complaints.
In the Flyer you get a well priced, nicely handling bike which is just the job for commuting. The straight rear stays get the power down well for getting past errant buses, steering is predictable and quick, the brakes bring it to a stop quickly – and all for under £500. It’s tough too: we took it through some of the worst roads in London in our effort to find a weaknesses with the Flyer, but we struggled. The only weekenesses is the lack of mudguard mounts. That aside, it’s a great commuter bike.