The Genesis Fugio 30 is the brand’s offering for the ‘road plus’ corner of the market. I’ve something of a tendency to take gravel riding to a ‘gravel plus’ or perhaps ‘mountain bike minus’ level, so how would the Fugio 30 fare?
Sitting at the top of the range, above the Fugio 20 with Mjolnir steel frame, the Fugio 30 has a double-butted Chromoly frame and carbon fork. It comes fitted with a SRAM Rival 1X hydraulic drivetrain and brakes and WTB Byway 47C tyres, all held in place by 12mm thru axles front and rear. It’s not fitted with any electronics, but has full internal Di2 and dynamo routing if you want to go that (internal) route. Boom tish.
Prior to December 2018 rims were not tubeless compatible, with XM420 rims, as I have on this model here. If you’re looking in the shops however, you should find models there have tubeless compatible HD490 rims – and there’s surely a bargaining opportunity there if you find one thats not tubeless compatible.
And really that’s about it for spec. It’s a simple set up with no real quirks or surprises, all fitted onto a sleek and simple frame with classic looks. Does all that add up to anything more than a glorified touring bike?
I was riding the Medium frame, and hopping on I noticed two things. One was the saddle. This was a wedge shaped instrument of torture/birth control which had me standing up for one commute rather than engage my nethers with the provided perch. I swapped that out pronto.
The second thing I noticed was that it was great fun to pedal. It really skips along the canal towpath and through the occasional rough sett paved spill ways. Even running at a firm tyre pressure, this was a comfortable experience offering a great balance of speed and cushioning. Time to head away from the canal flatlands, and off to the ups and downs…
The SRAM Rival gears perform as you’d expect, giving plenty of range for getting up even the steepest of hills. As I’ve found before, the SRAM Rival gearing does seem to be a little sensitive to b-screw tension, resulting in a bit of skipping in the two largest sprockets. I ground my way up a few hills on a couple of rides without the benefit of the dinner plate gears, before getting that tension right and having the easier sit and spin option. Sitting or standing however, the bike offered comfortable climbing positions and was nicely balanced, allowing an easy shift between sitting and standing when necessary.
I have no complaints whatsoever about the brakes, or the bike’s performance on descents. On one of my first rides on the Fugio 30, I rode a local track which varies between blown out rocky and gravelly ruts, fast hard packed hard core, and some truly technical and steep packhorse trail and setts sections in various states of disrepair. If I’m honest, I set off down it forgetting that the only other times I’d ridden it clipped in were on a full suspension bike, and there are a few points of no return – you either clean it, or you’re off. I arrived at the bottom of the descent without so much as a dab, a few shouts of ‘how on earth did I ride that?!’, and a huge grin. Despite the relatively slick tread pattern on the tyres, I’d made it without mishap.
While it might be marketed as ‘road plus’, I’ve found this bike to be very much in the ‘mountain bike minus’ camp. The chainstays are fairly short at 425mm, a product of that unusual-for-steel dropped drive side chainstay, and with the head angle of 70.5 degrees it seemed to me to combine to provide a confidence inspiring ride position that feels really playful. In fact, I’ve not ridden a true gravel bike (as opposed to a drop bar bike with MTB tyres like the Juliana Quincy) that has had me hopping, jumping and seeking out fun like this one since I tested the NS RAG+ a couple of years ago (and that’s a bike I still rather regret not buying). You might also be wondering how it compares to the Cotic Escapade I tested last year. In ride comfort, they’re very similar, although I’d say that the Fugio 30 takes the rocky trails with more confidence and feels just a little more MTB minus than the Escapade’s road plus. But then, even at a Gold Level build with a road plus upgrade, the Escapade is a good few pounds cheaper, so if you’re not planning on riding so aggressively, you might not mind the compromise.
Back to comparison with the RAG+, that ‘bike that got away’ in my mind. Dare I say it, but the Fugio 30 might just be a little better than the RAG+ with the steel frame giving that added comfort level to the ride – I could run the Fugio 30 at higher tyre pressures for the same comfort levels, adding a bit of speed and snap to proceedings. However, it’s not all been dream riding on the Fugio 30 – I took it for a 60 mile road ride. While the bike shifted along comfortably and quickly enough, with no significant drag or sluggishness, the prolonged seated position made it apparent that the bike is ever so slightly too long for me. I suspect this could have been addressed by a shorter stem, but when you’d in the middle of nowhere with a hurty neck, that’s not a ready option.
There should perhaps have been another clue that a shorter reach would have been good – while hopping on the bike felt comfortable, my test period on this bike was interrupted by a brief spell on the Julian Quincy. It was really noticeable on that bike that I could spend a lot more time on the tops, able to brake confidently without hitting the drops. Getting back on the Fugio 30, the difference in my ability to brake comfortably off the drops in rougher sections was highlighted. It’s a minor niggle though, one that only became obvious due to the combined factors of me riding a different bike, and a prolonged period in a seated position.
Beyond the saddle and the reach (both relevant specifically for me and my proportions, and not necessarily applicable to you) I can’t find another gripe about the bike. Sure, the parts aren’t the greatest spec for the money, but they all work, and I’ve given them a damned good grinding. Sloppy gritty canal tow paths, heathery muddy moorland, rocky packhorse trails, miles of tarmac, and even a beach ride… this test bike has been used, abused, and is still running sweetly, with little if anything to show for its trials. When you do finally grind your way through the components, you’re left with a fine and timeless frame onto which to hang whatever new parts you might choose. With its subtle graphics, steel tubing and svelte shape, I don’t see anyone looking at this bike a few years down the line and thinking ‘meh, that was the trend back then’. If you can swallow the initial outlay, I think it’s a frame with the flexibility to stand the test of time, as well as to adapt to your evolving needs.