Genesis Bikes Alpitude  2010 Mountain Bike Review

Genesis Bikes Alpitude 2010

Reviews / Hard Tails

Genesis Bikes 18,381

At a glance

Genesis are building a reputation for thoughtful and well designed bikes so it is fair to say that there had been a sense of expectation once we knew the Alpitude was winging its way to us.

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There has been much talk about the Alpitude and the clear design ethos behind it, which was to make a bike that you could take anywhere and ride anything on. The understated finish and determined stance of the Alpitude certainly suggest that this is a bike that will go about its business in a quiet and purposeful manner.

Tech heads

The heart of this bike is its frame and this has been fashioned from Reynolds 853 tubing. A slightly oversized down tube ensures stiffness and there are gussets on both the top tube and down tube where they meet the head tube to deal with the stresses of taking a 150mm travel fork.

The rear triangle is a beefed up to deal with the hammering that this bike is intended for and the seat tube is shortened so that the lower top tube gives bags of standover room. Seat stays are straight with a smooth sweep in to meet the seat tube, no bridge means that there is plenty of mud clearance even with 2.35 tyres fitted.

There is a bottle mount and a mud guard mount, our test bike came with the Cycraguard mudguard fitted, this is an optional extra.

Genesis give their geometry figures with the bike at 25% sag, so you can take just over a degree off the stated numbers to give you the figures of the bike unweighted. At 25% sag the head angle is 68.5º and the seat angle is 73º. On our 16.5inch frame, which is a virtual 17.5inch, the effective top tube length is a shortish 578mm, chain stays are 425mm and the wheelbase is 1120mm.

Up front a Rockshox Revelation Race provides the suspension duties, this fork comes with U-turn adjustment that enables you to adjust the travel to anything between 120mm to 150mm. They also feature a lockout and come with the Maxle axle.

Transmission duties are taken care of by Shimano, shifters are Deore, there is a double SLX chainset, SLX front mech with a short cage XT mech at the rear, brakes are SLX as well.

Wheels are built around SLX hubs with Alex XED-44 rims, these are shod with Maxxis High Rollers 2.35 tyres.

Genesis own brand kit provides the contact points with their 60mm 6º rise stem holding their 680mm wide 30mm rise bars.

Overall bike weight on our scales is 29.5lbs without pedals.

On the trail

The Revelation fork is simple to set up but it is worth remembering to go back and reset them after a couple of rides as they begin to sink into their travel once bedded in.

Once set and on the bike the first thing that you notice is the high front end, the high rise bars and 6º rise stem are the reason for this and can easily be changed if you prefer to go wide and low.

On most of our rides we tend to head up hill early and the Alpitude is a steady climber, the long wheelbase and lengthy chain stays mean you only need to wind the forks down if you are pointing the bike up anything steep but that is why adjustable forks have been fitted. The cockpit felt a little cramped and we found that our knees clashed with the bars round tight hairpins. Grip out back is reliable rather than amazing and a determined effort will see you up pretty much any hill.

Once rocking along through wooded singletrack the bike feels capable, speed has to be built up but once you are motoring handling is good as your weight is pushed forward making you drive the forks through turns, this makes the rear drift slightly but that felt good and added to the enjoyment.

The Alpitude needs to be ridden hard to get the best from the frame, if you hit rough sections too slow then the bike can stall and you have to work to get back up to speed.

It is on rough descents that the Alpitude lives up to its name and once stood on the pedals heading downhill the bike comes to life.

Steep technical drops are taken in its stride and on fast smooth downs the Alpitude feels stable so long as you stay out of the saddle. Let the bike run and as speeds pick up you will find the sweet spot where the frame suddenly starts to glide rather than bump over rough ground, it is now that you are reaping the rewards for your labours and it is these moments the Alpitude was built for.

For

The big plus with the Alpitude is that it handles truly rough terrain well, the faster you go you better it rides and at no point do you think you are going to break it.

The adjustable Revelation forks up front give you the option to wind down the travel to sharpen up the handling through singletrack and help you up the steep stuff, turning the Alpitude into a true all mountain steed.

Against

Our main criticism of the Alpitude is its lack of acceleration; this is a combination of the short top tube, high front end, weight and slightly draggy tyres. None of these things alone would be an issue but add them up and they mean you have to push hard to get the bike really moving. You get out what you put in though and once up to speed the bike is a different animal.

The main area that you notice the need to work to maintain momentum is when riding across rough ground at a relaxed pace, the bike can stall and you have to give it some oomph to get motoring again.

Overall

The Alpitude is a serious bike built to handle serious terrain but not many of us get to ride truly hardcore trails all the time so it is important that your bike can handle your every day trails well.

The adjustable travel fork plays a big part in giving this bike the versatility it needs and once you are out on big terrain with gnarly drops, roots and rock gardens then it all makes sense and you get back what you put in.

The harder you ride the Alpitude the bigger your smile… so if you have the right attitude to get the most out of the Alpitude then this bike can rock your socks off.

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This review was in Issue 5 of IMB.

For more information visit Genesis Bikes

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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