More and more bike brands are beginning to grow their bike ranges to include models specifically designed for women, and Genesis has joined in with their 2017 range.
The in-house brand from British distributor Madison, Genesis are not a giant of the bike world. They don't set out to maximize production and offer the very best spec at the cheapest price - but they do pride themselves on building excellent frames with the best materials for the job. I've actually yet to try one, to assess the ride quality - but taking one for a whirl is now pretty high on my to do list.
In terms of fitting, Madison have done away with traditional 51s and 52s - their bikes run from XS to L and they say they work on a 'stack and reach based system'. In other words they encourage customers to focus on choosing a bike with the best stack and reach measurement to meet their needs - then using stems, seatposts, handlebars etcetera to find the optimum fit. Essentially discouraging people from buying bikes with overly long or short top tubes that cause them to require silly stems and offensive offsets.
Genesis believe their bikes allow adjustability to the degree that they don't need to gender their frames - instead their new women's bikes have been fitted with narrower handlebars, shorter stems (perhaps the traditional reach doesn't suit the average woman with a traditional stem?), women's saddles, and shorter cranks - so "the days of buying a bike and throwing these parts in the bin are over." All but the disc models are available in an XXS size, too.
The women's range includes four complete bikes, and three frames:
- Zero Disc Women's Frameset - £1,799.99
- Zeal Women's Carbon Road - £1,399.99 with Shimano Tiagra
- Zeal Women's Carbon Road Frameset - £1,199.99
- Delta 20 Women's Sportive Bike with Shimano Tiagra - £849.99
- Delta 10 Women's Sportive Bike with Shimano Claris - £649.99
- Datum Women's Adventure Bike with Shimano Tiagra - £1,899.99
- Datum Women's Adventure Bike Frameset - £1,499.99
Here's a look at each of the bikes in the range...
Genesis Zero Disc Frameset
I'm starting here, because I really, really love this frame. Picking it up on a visit to Genesis towers, it felt incredibly light. And look at that colour!
The Zero is the bike which the men's UK race team Madison Genesis ride, and the women's Zero Disc is made from the same high quality 30/40 Ton Monocoque Carbon. A small frame weighs 1.34kg, and picking up a built bike used on a recent press ride, it felt every inch the top end machine. I've not ridden one yet to comment on the effect the lovely light chassis has on stiffness - but I'll be calling in one to try ASAP.
The frame has been built around a disc brake platform. Unfortunately, Genesis haven't created a women's Zero, built or unbuilt, without discs. Considering this is the race orientated bike, I really feel like they're missing a trick here - you can't race on a bike with discs at present.
This said, since this is a frame only, and the only 'women's touches' are the handlebars, saddle, stem, and cranks [which don't come on the frame just for clarification] it's a little bit irrelevant. Effectively Genesis have added a disc version of the Zero in a really lovely purple colourway. If you want a bike to race - you'd still just be looking at their unisex Zero.
Zeal Women's Carbon Road Performance Bike
The Zeal is a carbon frame road bike that comes in at just under 9kg and will set you back £1399.99, with all the bits in the right place and set up ready to go.
The build features a full Shimano Tiagra ST-4700 groupset. The groupset has seen some great upgrades over the past year or so - the cables now route under the bars and the system looks much neater. Front shifting is more efficient than it used to be too, but it's still a 10 speed set up which gives you bigger jumps between gears. The chainset is a compact 50/34 and cassette an 11-28, so you’ve got plenty of range for hilly sportives which is probably what this bike was made for.
The saddle and bars are Genesis’ own, whilst the wheels are Alex AT470 – they’re not light, but they do have a high spoke count and are likely to be pretty bombproof even thorough winter. They’re shod with Kenda Kriterium 25c tyres which are the brands ‘do it all’ option – designed to feel relatively fast without being fragile.
We’ve yet to test the bike to say how it rides, but at first glance, I’ve got to say I just can’t help but constantly admire the artwork on the insides of the forks, top tube, and stem. Very smart.
The Zeal is also available as a Frameset only, for £1199.99.
Delta 20 & Delta 10 Women's Sportive Bikes
The Delta is designed around an aluminium frame and it's the brand's attempt at fantastic value for the new rider, or the rider that doesn't want to shell out crazy bills for a set of wheels.
The Delta 20 (pictured) is dressed up with a Shimano Tiagra groupset, Alex AT470 wheels with 25c Kenda Kriterium tyres plus Genesis finishing kit. The built bike (in a small, minus pedals) weighs 9.8kg. And the price tag? £849.99 - which fits nicely under the 'Ride to Work/Cyclescheme' voucher threshold and represents pretty good value for a frame from a premium UK company.
The Delta Women's 10 comes in at £649.99 (that leaves LOADS to spend on accessories if you're using a Cyclescheme voucher) and shares the same frame, with Shimano Claris components, the same wheels and tyres and finishing kit.
Datum Women's Adventure Multisport Bike
At £1899.99, the Datum is a carbon disc equipped frame with a mix of Shimano components, featuring Tiagra derailleurs (the rear of which takes a lot of bashing off road) and hydraulic brakes.
Genesis have offered a pretty standard gearing set up - with a 50/34 compact chainset and a couple of extra 'get out of jail' gears via an 11-32 cassette.
The bike is built to offer enough clearance for muddy trails, but without going so 'hashtagcrossiscoming' that it'll feel rubbish on the road - so Genesis have used Clement Strada 32 tyres which are beefy enough but not knobbly mud shedders.
You can also grab the Datum as a frame set only, for £1499.99.
Of course, Genesis offer a WIDE range of bikes for CX riders, bike packers, all day tourers and 0ut-and-out racers, and their unisex selection is pretty conclusive - so don't forget to look outside the women's specific box too!