Genesis has a very big range of bikes. Look at the website and you’ll more than likely find what you’re looking for, whatever you’re looking for. Trail bikes (that’s mountain bikes to you and I), fat bikes, cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes (or are they cyclocross bikes?), road bikes, winter road bikes, women-specific bikes, urban bikes (you know, for being urban on), adventure bikes and youths’ bikes. Titanium, steel, aluminium. It’s all nice stuff with pretty-much every two wheeled need catered for, unless you’re after a tandem.
The Longitude is listed as a mountain bike but is described as a ‘mid-fat, expedition-ready, fully rigid adventure machine’, so feet in two camps then.
But is it mainly a rigid, steel, slightly-unfashionable mountain bike or is it some kind of adventure bike for merely hauling a rider and all of his or her bags of food, stoves, sleeping bags and dirty washing?
Even though the Longitude is sold with 27.5+ wheels and tyres (a brilliant pair of WTB Scraper i35 rims built with everlasting Shimano M525 hubs), it’ll happily take regular-width 29er wheels too. The price of the complete bike is a Ride to Work Scheme-friendly £999 but if you’re going to commute to work on it then the lower rolling resistance of a pair of nippy 29er tyres might be your first accessory purchase.
The frame is butted cromoly steel with a matching fork. It’s quite large for a given size, presumably so you can fit a whopping great big bag inside the main triangle but check the reach and standover before you buy. Fork and stay clearance is absolutely massive and there’s tons of room to spare even with those wide rims and WTB Trailblazer 2.8” tyres. There are LOADS of fittings and eyelets for mudguards, racks front at rear and bosses on the fork legs for a pair of Gorilla cages (which are included)– handy for carrying more water, even more sleeping bags, fire extinguishers, salami….
The rest of the bike is all dependable in-house Genesis stuff or Good Old Deore. Nothing spectacular but good for the price of the bike and anything posher would probably look a bit out of place anyway. Nothing here is particularly lightweight but once covered in luggage, not many bikes are.
It’s worth noting too that the standard specification includes a front mech and a double chainset with 36 and 26 tooth chainrings. In case your fashion radar is twitching, believe me a small chainring on a bike like this makes perfect sense. Granted there’s an extra couple of moving parts and a cable to potentially go wrong while you’re in the middle of the Gobi Desert or 5 miles from a business park in Slough but you’ll be glad of it one day.
As for the ride – it’s unremarkable. It’s totally stable, not unpredictable and doesn’t get the adrenalin pumping. It doesn’t encourage silly over-confident behaviour nor does it threaten to bite you on the bum if you’re not concentrating for a nanosecond. It just rumbles along, does its thing and doesn’t cause offence. A bit of a Ford Mondeo or a Digestive biscuit. Nothing wrong with either, but you’re not going to look edgy and dangerous and you’re probably not going to pull.
All of this is a good thing of course in the world of bikes intended for long weekends away in the hills all covered in bikepacking luggage. Buggering up your bike’s handling with an extra 15Kg of stuff strapped to the bars, seatpost and fork takes enough rider adjustment as it is, so a neutral platform is the perfect starting point.
Overall: A good-value, tough and honest bike from Genesis that can handle more than one wheel size and offers versatility for commuting and bikepacking. The fact that it seems to have been designed with carrying bikepacking luggage in mind is a good move and the bike’s very stable handling reinforces the Longitude’s ‘sleeping outside in a bin bag’ credentials.