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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.