At first glance
Genesis are a British brand that have been building decent bikes and a decent reputation so I was looking forward to a chance to see if the positive buzz about the company and their bikes was well earned.Buy Hard Tails on
A combination of clean lines and an eye pleasing Cyan Blue paint job make the Core a very pretty bike and at a price that is pretty attractive too.
Testing hardtails often throws up some pleasant surprises and the Core was calling out to me with its old school looks and promising geometry, motivation enough to get me out in the cold through frost and snow galore to see what this 120mm equipped ‘trail hardtail’ was all about.
The Core range is based around a 6061 aluminium tube set that is butted where needed with some gentle manipulation to ovalise the down tube as it meets the seat tube at the bottom bracket shell. There are strengthening gussets where the down tube and top tube meet the tapered head tube and the seat stays are an old school wishbone style, the lack of a bridge gives ample mud clearance.
Kit wise the Genesis is sensibly specced, Shimano Deore takes care of transmission duties with a SLX rear derailleur, brakes are Deore too.
The wheelset is lightweight with an internal rim width of 19mm that will take good sized rubber which means you could add some float to the ride with some high volume tyres. The Core 26.4 came fitted with 2.2 Mountain Kings, the originals not the much improved Mountain King II.
Genesis supply the 27.2mm seat post, 75mm stem and 685mm medium rise bars, the Flux saddle is practical but may not suit everyone.
Last but by no means least is the better than expected Rock Shox Recon Gold TK with 120mm of travel, a tapered steerer and a 15mm axle.
Genesis Core 26.4 17.5''
Seat tube 445mm
Effective top tube 585mm
Head tube 110mm
Chain stay 420mm
Front triangle 680mm
Wheel base 1100mm
BB height 320mm
Head angle 68.5°
Seat angle 72.5°
Weight w/o pedals 26.6lbs
On the trail
Set up was simple, the bike did come with a whole bunch of spacers below the stem, after less than 30 seconds on the bike I had these shuffled to get the front as low as possible and it was off to the trails.
The first thing you notice is that the cockpit is comfortable, it just feels right. Not too long and well balanced with none of the ‘too much weight on the wrists’ feeling that sometimes comes on trail hardtails.
At around 27lbs the Core weighs in somewhere in the middle of the scale that you would expect for a 120mm trail blaster but it feels nippy and easy to spin up to speed thanks to the lightweight rims and fast rolling tyres.
Once rolling the true nature of the Genesis started to shine through, a lively agile ride that encourages you to push on and flick the bike through singletrack whilst looking for roots and rocks to bunny hop and pop off. Cornering is quick and precise with rear wheel drift easily attainable.
Climbing steep technical stuff requires concentration as the tight rear triangle that gives such good acceleration does mean that the front end does get light when driving uphill.
Point it downwards and speeds soon pick up, the Core has a tendency to encourage an attacking riding style but it is worth remembering that the bike is equipped with 120mm up front and can get out of its depth if you try to blunder through rather than use finesse.
Genesis has got the formula bang on with the Core 26.4. An impressive fork at this price point and sensible kit are great and the wheels finish the package off nicely but the main attraction here is the geometry.
The sorted geometry is pitched just right, making the bike exciting and fun yet not too much of a handful and it is not just a quick blast fun bike, it is light and the comfortable riding position means it will take you as far as you want to go.
Complaints about the Genesis are hard to come by but there are one or two.
The greatest restriction on how fast you can go when pinning singletrack is the tyres, yes they are fast rolling but they lack bite, something with greater cornering grip would certainly show off bikes handling better.
The correct tyre choice would also help calm the stiff and somewhat unforgiving rear end, it is not as harsh as many aluminium frames but taking the edge off it with some floaty rubber would help ease take some of the sting out of the trail.
Well thought out geometry, good looks and great handling make the Genesis Core 26.4 stand out as a great bike at a good price.
Whilst he Core is not a ‘balls out’ 140/160mm hardcore hardtail it is an attacking, agile trail bike that is always encouraging and bags of fun and will repay rider input in Spades.
Price: £1099Buy Hard Tails on
This review was in Issue 16 of IMB.For more information visit Genesis Bikes
By Nigel GarroodNigel 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!