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Product Reviews Staff Bikes

The Genesis Fugio

It had been 18 months of cycling without drop bars since I sold my beloved Glencoe gravel bike. 18 months of trying to turn a 29er mountain bike into a do-it-all mountain and gravel bike. And after much fiddling about with various wheel and tyre combinations (and even trying to fit a set of drop bars) it didn’t really work out.

I may not have created the beast I was hoping to with Saracen’s Zenith LSL however I did put together an awesome enduro hardtail. I can’t emphasise enough just how awesome an aggressive geometry 29er hardtail mountain bike really is. With all of the fiddling with wheels that has gone on as well, I now have the bits to run it 29”, mullet style or even full 27.5”. And not to mention all the tyres to add to the mix, I can really have a good mess about with the set up of this bike to tailor it from anything to enduro, to XC, to gravel riding to even seriously aggressive commuting.

The Saracen Zenith set up with 29″ wheels for gravel and XC on the left, and fitted with the mullet set up on the right for enduro trails.

However the one thing that this bike really put into perspective was how much a drop handlebar and being in a good “road position” makes pedalling and maintaining a higher pace just so much easier. Which brings us on to what this blog post is actually about – the genesis Fugio gravel bike.

So earlier this year I finally admitting defeat, and I was resigned to hunting for a new gravel bike – oh woe is me! And it just so happened we had a Genesis Fugio 10 sitting on display in a 52cm, just my size. The Fugio was a bike that I had initially been interested in when I bought the Glencoe many moons ago, and it had been a tough way-up between both bikes with them being so similar. Both built for maximum comfort and versatility, wide flared handlebars, 1x groupset, the ability to run either 650b or 700c wheels courtesy of spacious tyre clearance, and more lugs than you know what to do with. 

The Glencoe won in the end, really due to the fact that it’s a frickin’ good looking bike. It also had a slightly better spec for the money, and just generally carried a bit more of a racey feel with it’s lower front end, shaped tubing and well, italic logos. For me it was a case of rally car vs tractor, and when the brief for the bike was mountain bike with racey CX geometry it had to be the rally car. 

The Glencoe V1 in all it’s handsome glory.

I would like to clarify that tractor is by no means an insult, it just means more relaxed, more upright and leisurely, enjoying the miles and the views as opposed to smashing past them. But also it means more timeless, classic and even industrial, with it’s traditional style steel tubing, which is totally what Genesis are all about. But in the case with the Fugio particularly, rugged, with it’s big chunky 650b tyres. Let’s face it, steel frames and bigger tyres are just way cooler. 

Plus, commuting to work on a tractor could be the most badass thing ever.

I went for the base model of the Fugio 10 as I wanted to do a bit of messing around with the spec, which means I got the aluminium version of the Fugio frame as opposed to the steel frame that comes on the higher models. The 10 does however come with Genesis’ lovely carbon gravel fork which, when combined with the nice wide tyres that the clearance accommodates, has provided ample cushion whilst clattering down rough fireroads. After racking up a number of miles now on the Fugio, comfort has never been an issue. Which leads me to assume the steel counterpart must be mind-bogglingly comfortable.

When it came round to tampering with the spec of the Fugio not all that much was required to tailor it to my fussy requirements. The first thing though was to replace the brakes for Hydraulic versions. Hydraulic brakes are a case of once you’ve tried them, cable brakes become a thing of the past. The difference in power between the two is staggering and it’s a bit disappointing that this particular model doesn’t come with them to be honest.

Cable vs. hydraulic disc brakes.

With brakes changed the other key change I had to make was banging in a set of bombproof wheels consisting of Hope hubs laced into some super tough DT-Swiss XC MTB rims. The wheels that come on the Fugio models as standard are a sound gravel wheel, I just wanted something fancy and the DT-Swiss rims combined with noisy hubs ticked that box nicely. And finally set up tubeless with a set of tyre clearance testing Vittoria Mezcal XC tyres. One thing that I have learnt whilst experimenting with tyres on the Glencoe and Zenith is that cross country race tyres make an incredible gravel tyre.

The super grippy Mezcal tyres built onto DT rims with Hope hubs.

Although I haven’t tinkered with the Fugio all that much, with wheels and brakes it is now officially and adequately pimped (paint job pending). Despite not being an insult, I still feel bad comparing the Fugio to a tractor, it’s definitely not slow and cumbersome. It feels punchy on climbs and in general the acceleration is super snappy and feels like it just wants to let rip. With the wide bars, 650b wheels and big tyres the bike provides excellent handling – stable and planted on rough and sloppy terrain the bike feels lively and nimble giving the urge to hop off of every lip in the terrain. 

A great gravel route near Adgarten.

Even without the upgrades the Fugio is one rapid bike, and would leave my Zenith in the dust (dust being weather dependent). With some great off road miles under the wheels and the fit tweaked to suit, it’s definitely resembling the rally car. But I prefer the term Pimped Out Tractor. 

The Fugio 10, ready for shredding.

The Fugio for me really highlights what’s so great about gravel bikes and really defines what makes an excellent gravel bike. Maximum versatility. The range of options on gravel bikes is nearly endless. Pretty much anything goes and gravel allows for any wheel size, frame material, tyre width, groupset or brakeset to be fitted to a drop bar bike. And it doesn’t even have to be a drop bar bike. Gravel is a bit like an episode of Wacky Racers and a large part of my enjoyment is seeing all the different creations people come up with – you may remember all of the different versions of the Glencoe we put out through the shop that I had mentioned in the blog post I wrote “A Year With The Glencoe”.

For me the awesomest gravel bikes should have a frame that offers the ability to switch up as many of these options as possible, allowing the rider to really tailor the bike to what they want from it. This is where the Glencoe, Topstone and Fugio absolutely smash it. I find it hard to understand why this bike isn’t one of the most popular bikes within the Genesis gravel range.

For more info on the Topstone, check out Ellie’s blog on her Carbon Topstone here.

While I wasn’t sure about the Fugio at first, after each ride I love the bike more and more, and it could only be made better by opting for one of the steel models. Not only with the steel frame will the ride be much improved but the bike will come with the essential hydraulic disc brakes, a slicker gearing option and a well more bling paint job. 

The Fugio 30, for more info check it out here.

You could argue that Genesis are responsible for the modern gravel bike with the influence that their Croix De Fer has had over the years. A road bike that 13 years ago when it first launched, had the ability to take wide tyres with full length mudguards, and all the lugs needed for commuting and touring. The “Iron Cross” bike for a long time had been THE one bike to do it all. With gravel bikes having gained so much popularity over the past two or three years, the number of options has dramatically increased with the vast majority of bike brands providing a gravel offering. Despite all of the extra competition Genesis are still up at the top making one of the best (and coolest) gravel bikes available. 

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Buyers Guides

Genesis Vs Cannondale – Gravel Bikes

Gravel bikes are quickly becoming the most sought after bikes in the industry, as they propose this ‘one bike’ theory that many customers are after. Commuting – Gravel bike, BikePacking – Gravel bike, Leisure rides – Gravel bike, Events/races – Gravel bike. These bikes are often all lumped into one category. However since Gravel bikes can do such a multitude of activities it is impossible for every bike to be the best at every activity. Therefore naturally there are some differences between bikes to look out for when buying one that will suit you better, depending on your riding style.

Generally Gravel bikes are split into two main categories – reliability and performance. Brands such as Genesis are best known for their exceptional reliability which makes there bikes ideal for multiday tours in remote areas where bike shops are few and far between and getting to work mechanical free. On the other hand brands such as Cannondale are best known for their performance, which makes their bikes best suited for Gravel events and BikePacking adventures. Both brands offer bikes that fall into both the reliability category and performance category, but as a general rule of thumb Genesis = reliabilty and Cannondale = performance.

Reasons to buy a Genesis –

CDA

Budget. The CDA range from Genesis offers outstanding quality and reliability at an affordable price range starting at £749.99. The CDA is the little brother of the ever popular (and more expensive) Croix de Fer (CDF) from Genesis. They share the same frame design and therefore have the same mounting points to take on mudguards, pannier racks and anything else you might need. The only difference is the frame material, the CDA is made from aluminium whereas the CDF is available in Titanium and Steel options. Aluminium isn’t quite as reliable as Titanium or Steel, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have benefits of its own. Aluminium is a whole lot lighter than steel and comes in at a way cheaper price point than titanium. Making this bike more accessible to a wider demographic and your overall set up will be lighter once you load it up with bags and the like. The CDA is best suited to riders who are just getting into gravel, commuting as it keeps the cost down on repairs and riders starting out their touring/BikePacking journey.

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To view the Gensis CDA range on our website

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CDF

The CDF from Genesis is one for the ‘Steel is real’ club. If you’re an avid tourer/BikePacker with plans to be off in the wilderness for days on end, then the CDF offers the best reliability and comfort to do so. Steel is not only reliable but it also offers a super smooth, yet responsive, ride feel which you will be thankful for on those long days in the saddle. The CDF also has relaxed geometry with riding fully laden in mind. Meaning that the CDF is a lot easier to navigate once you’ve got all your bags on, which can be a lifesaver when on unfamiliar routes. Like I said above the CDF is also available in a Titanium frame option which provides the best of both world, lightweight and bombproof. However that does come at a price. Unlike other brands, the CDF is a high end touring/BikePacking machine with mounting compatibility for pannier racks (due to the bike not being full carbon). Therefor the CDF is ideal for riders not looking to break any time records but have the ability to be on tour with more luggage. Or have a bombproof commuter.

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To view the Genesis CDF range on our website

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Fugio

If you’re all about having fun with friends on weekend Gravel rides and overnight BikePacking adventures then the Fugio is the bike for you. Built for fun and backed up with Genesis’ heritage in reliability, you can push your limits without worry. The Fugio comes spec’d with 650c wheels and wide tyres allowing you to ride even the roughest terrain. It’s not all about fun though, the Fugio still has the practicality of mounting points for bags on the frame so you can always carry gear for longer trips. Furthermore the ‘entry level’ Fugio is available in an aluminium frame option, as well as steel further up the range, so can be available to customers on a bit more of a budget (however still not CDA territory). Like the CDF above if you’re after a high end Gravel smasher, that isn’t carbon, the Fugio is an ideal bike for epic social rides and overnight stays.

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To view the range of Genesis Fugios on our website

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Reasons to buy a Cannondale –

Topstone Aluminium

The Topstone Aluminium is Cannondale’s ‘entry level’ Gravel bike range which blends performance with practicality. Therefore the Aluminium Topstone is ideal for people looking for a slightly nicer bike to commute on or a BikePacking adventure ride without splashing the cash for full carbon. This bike has the capacity to take full length mudguards and a pannier rack (which none of the other Topstones can offer) making it ideal for carry laptops to work or longer BikePacking/Touring trips. Since the Topstone is aluminium rather than steel (like the CDF) it is a lot lighter, especially once you have loaded up with luggage. Therefore if you’re more of a weight weenie, as opposed to searching for ultimate robustness, then the Topstone Aluminium is a great performance option with a cheap price tag for what you get.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Aluminium on our website

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Topstone Carbon

The Topstone Carbon is Cannondale’s flagship range of Gravel bikes which are ideal for events/racing and minimalist BikePacking set ups in order to keep the speed high, even when carrying kit. Whilst offering a an exceptionally high performance fast ride, the Topstone really stands out from the crowd with what they call, ‘Kingpin suspension’, this is a single pivot design, located at the join of the seat stays to seat tube, which offers 30mm of suspension. Don’t worry this doesn’t hinder its efficiency and therefore speed, Kingpin actually advances efficiency, comfort, control and therefor in turn, speed. However this does mean that the Topstone carbon cannot take a rear pannier rack, however BikePacking bags are still suitable. If you’re after a performance Gravel machine to rip the legs off your mates, chase the win at Grinduro or faster BikePacking trips then go for the Topstone Carbon.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Carbon on our website

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Topstone Carbon Lefty

If you’re really a mountain biker at heart or looking for a bit more comfort and confidence when out on rides then the Topstone Carbon Lefty could be for you. This bike is ideal for blurring the line between Gravel and MTB, with Kingpin rear suspension, Cannondale’s Lefty Oliver Gravel specific front suspension fork and 650c wheels with wide tyres, you can tackle much more challenging terrain than a rigid Gravel bike. On the other hand if you are new to off road riding, having that extra bit of cushion can boost your confidence and allow you to push yourself to ride further without taking unnecessary risks. Again due to the Kinpin design the Topstone Lefty cannot take a pannier rack but BikePacking bags can be fitted if you wanted to take your adventures to the next level. Due to the 650c wheels this bike has more of a comfort and/or playful story as oppossed to flat out speed. However depending on how technical the event, this bike could be the one to go for so you don’t get caught out on any descents.

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To view the range of Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty’s on our site

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In summary, Genesis’ heat lies in long tours in the outback, whereas Cannondale’s lie in going fast and day trips with your friends. Therefore depending on your top priority (Reliability or Performance) start with choosing between Brands then decipher which other characteristics you would like. For example, if your top priority is reliability but you still want to be able to have fun on the weekends and don’t plan to be an out and out tourer then go for a Genesis Fugio. Whereas if Performance is your top priority but you don’t want to break the bank, then go for a Cannondale Topstone Aluminium.