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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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Product Reviews Staff Bikes

A Year With The Whyte Glencoe

It’s been just over a year since I buckled to the temptations of Whyte’s mould breaking Glencoe. And what a smashing year it has been, churning out miles over all sorts of ground.

I’ve always been a mountain biker through and through but the idea of having a road bike had always appealed to me. The convenience of being able to jump on the bike right outside your front door and get the legs spinning for a wee workout straight away is something that isn’t quite so possible with the mountain bike – you usually require a thirty minute (plus) drive before getting to your destination. I was also using my beloved Whyte 905 to commute to the shop each day which was putting unnecessary wear on the components. Great fun to commute on, but putting your weekend toy through the everyday Glasgow brutality that destroys commuters is a painful one.

So I was essentially looking for a do-it-all hack that I could pay minimal attention to, to keep it working while the bike was still saucy enough for me to enjoy the odd recreational road ride. The Glencoe was one of the earlier 650b adventure road bikes and came out offering astounding bang-for-buck; tubeless wheels, 1x Apex groupset, bolt-thru axles and TRP HYRD disc brakes. And not to mention the frame features; nice geometry with a long top tube length and short steerer tube, wide tyre clearance with room for mudguards too, and a comfy low bb height that helps you feel in, as opposed to on the bike. Oh, and the tan wall tyres look the berries, actually, wait a minute – the whole bike looks nothing other than awesome (largest deciding factor obviously).

Therefore the Glencoe was a no brainer. And it wasn’t much time of riding to and from work till I was riding it at the weekends, getting out the night lights and racking up miles after work, letting the mountain bikes gather dust (wit?!). Within a month there was a few hundred miles of all sorts of terrain under the tyres and all largely done on cycle paths, landcover tracks and dirt paths. It had become infectious exploring new routes, seeing where I would end up and setting new post-work challenges to complete on the bike. It’s so incredibly capable, it just makes you want to go exploring.

Now the Glencoe is obviously no lightweight racer. But for what it lacks in weight saving, makes up for with spades of fun and comfort. Long rides are a doddle with the comfort turned up 11, you won’t set any records but the bike is by no means slow. The slick tyres roll surprisingly quickly at lower pressures, and having the wider tyre allows you to corner quicker or perhaps go through the mud and cut the corner altogether. However the tyres can be quite slidey when run at higher pressures, perhaps the marginally grippier WTB Byway tyre would have been a better option. The low pressures are definitely required – I tried running the WTB Horizon tyres between 20 and 30PSI and settled for 25 in the front and just shy of 30 in the rear. So tubeless is a must in order to avoid being susceptible to punctures. If the tyres were over 30PSI I felt the ride became harsh quite quickly and felt a bit like a marble on a glass table. And below 20, well, I’d be putting the rim through the tyre on every pothole!

The tyres were tricky to get set up tubeless but once the tyres were seated and set up, few issues followed. In the past year I’ve had only two puncture issues on the Glencoe. Both of which required a single dismount between them, and the pump stayed firmly in the bag the whole time. The first required getting off the bike to pull out a pretty descent sized nail, leaving a hole that sealed shortly after pulling it out and spinning the wheel a few times. The second, was a case of keep pedalling until the spinning/hissing noise stopped. And it did, allowing me to do the last two thirds of a 60mile ride with out getting off of the bike *smug face*. Who knows how many times the tubeless sealant has worked it’s magic and I’ve been none the wiser though.

One of the greatest aspects of the Glencoe is it’s versatility. In the shop we’ve put out 700c variations with the Mavic Allroad wheelset, kitted out loads with full length mudguards and/or pannier racks, narrowed the bars, upraded the brakes to full hydraulic, added bike packing frame bags, fitted knobbly MTB tyres, and even added dropper posts! And for me this is where a lot of the fun with the bike lies (in the shop we even toyed with the idea of creating the TT Glencoe!).

Therefore I’ve made a good (and bad) few changes to the bike over the past year. The first change was giving the bike a bit more a road racer/CX fit, so saddle in the air, longer stem and slammed. I never really got on with the super-wide 50cm bars – as opposed to increasing manoeuvrability and stability I felt the bar was cumbersome and prevented me tucking in and sprinting. So I replaced them with a set of 3T 42cm aerobars which definitely provided the aggressive road fit I was looking for, while also offering an incredible aero advantage (Dougie, you’re mad). The handlebar is a bit of fun really, no need to ask why it’s on, just accept it and chuckle. Also the saddle is tartan patterned, chosen with no regards to its fit or comfort aspects, merely because it’s tartan.

Later on, the aim was to make it more mountain bikey from the ground up, essentially producing a mountain bike with a road racer cockpit. So off came the handsome tan wall tyres for a pair of Maxxis Crossmark II XC MTB tyres, despite all the nobbles the tyres are rapid!! While offering loads more grip when traction is in less supply. Tyre clearance with these tyres on is next to nothing so personally wouldn’t recommend (why are you doing it then you madman?!) but the skinnier knobbly WTB Resolute tyres fit no issues, you get to keep the tan walls and a mudguards fits too!The most recent change to the bike was fitting on the largest disc rotor size available – 203mm disc brake rotors! (Yep, you’ve lost your marbles Dougie). Now I love tinkering and this “upgrade” was more to see if it was possible – could 203mm rotors be fitted to a road bike? The answer is that, with a considerable amount of faff, a replacement post mount calliper and a rucksack full of disc brake adapters the Glencoe makes it possible. Solely due to the fact that Whyte opted for 160mm rotors instead of the standard road sized 140mm, I imagine because the grippier tyre is able to hold the ground better under bigger braking forces. In the shop we don’t recommend this change at all for a number of reasons but I decided to go for because, well, it looks frickin’ great.

Most of the changes I’ve made have really been about testing the bike’s capabilities as opposed to enhancing the performance. The bike works so well as standard that it really doesn’t need any changes, as I said I’m just a tinkerer! I’ve had so much fun with and on this bike I can’t recommend it enough. Off the bat it is a bike that is ready to play and explore. Whether commuting, bike packing, touring, road riding, adventure roading, cycle-crossing, trail riding or even mountain biking the Glencoe will have a good crack at them all and leave you with a big grin on your face!