Genesis IO singlespeed review

Basic brilliance

BikeRadar score4/5

UK-designed Genesis bikes have always keyed in very well to riding trends on this often offbeat island. The iO singlespeed is on the money for stripped-down singletrack fun.

Ride & handling: Fast and forgiving – shows you don't need big wheels for big fun

Point-and-shoot agility is good in the tight stuff, with a precise feel from the fork combined with a forgiving spring in the slim tapered rear stays. There’s flex as you put the power down on climbs, but it feels like the spring is working in your favour and ground connection is good for a fully rigid bike.

At just 24.7lb, the Genesis is quick to get up to speed and can sneak through trees and find its line better than the 29ers which are increasingly becoming popular with singlespeed aficionados. On the downside, pelting over open ground or switching from smooth to rough shows its smaller wheels don't roll over stuff or keep momentum as well as bigger ones.

Genesis io: genesis io
Genesis io: genesis io

Frame: The bike equivalent of a mod suit

The main frame triangle is UK-designed Reynolds 520 steel with a clean traditional look under the metallic brown paintwork. Details such as the reinforced head tube, gussetted down tube and rear facing dropouts with tension screws are well executed. Singlespeed-only mounts mean no untidy empty cable slots.

Add Crud Catcher-style mudguard bosses, ample rear tyre space and a forward-facing seatpost slot and you’ve got the bike equivalent of a mod suit: clean cut, sharply tailored and distinctively English.

Equipment: A decent selection, plus frame is upgrade-ready

Kit selection is a mixture of proven favourites and own-brand components. The long double-butted chromoly rigid fork makes this bike a steep learning curve but keeps it light, lively and low maintenance. It's long enough to swap for suspension without altering steering too. 

Shimano brakes, 1/8in chain and freewheel give proven reliability and the Continental Mountain Kings are great all-round tyres. 26in wheels mean a far broader range of upgrade options for tyres, wheels and forks.

Track-style rear facing slot dropouts keep chain tension: track-style rear facing slot dropouts keep chain tension
Track-style rear facing slot dropouts keep chain tension: track-style rear facing slot dropouts keep chain tension

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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